Explain how the mixture of cyan and yellow makes its color when seen in white light?

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t-nez | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In the Cyan-Magenta-Yellow color model, used for printer ink, cyan and yellow make green. Here's how this works:

When an object is illuminated by white light and we see it as a certain color, that's because the object is reflecting the combination of wavelengths that produces that color and absorbing all other wavelengths. Inks, paints and dyes contain pigments that absorb all wavelengths except those that produce the desired color. 

Cyan, magenta and yellow are the primary colors of pigments, combining to make black. Red, blue and green are the primary colors of light, combining to make white. Yellow pigment absorbs blue light and cyan absorbs red light. When white light passes through yellow and cyan ink layers on paper and reflects back off the paper, all but the green light is absorbed so we see green being reflected. In order for green light to be absorbed and not reflected it would have to pass through magenta pigment.

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