Photoshop: Red + Yellow = Orange.

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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I don't know if this is a bug, or if something isn't implemented correctly, but here's an interesting color issue for you:

Everyone knows that the primary colors are RED, GREEN, and BLUE. From these colors (in the RGB color space,) you can create ANY color, including WHITE (all of them) and BLACK (none of them.)


Here is the image that happens when you have one of each RED, GREEN, and BLUE circles that overlap in Photoshop (one circle per layer,) and set the LAYER BLEND mode to LIGHTEN.

Ok - You probably know this, so let's move on.

Here's where the problems occur:

You already know that the primary colors (RED, GREEN, and BLUE) can combine to make ANY color, right? So - What if we need to make ORANGE?

That should be simple, right? RED + YELLOW.

And, since YELLOW is RED + GREEN, what if we combine a RED circle + GREEN circle + another RED circle?

Answer: [RED] or [YELLOW.] (or Green, or black, or white, depending on the blend mode.)


Here's an 8 bit color-scape example:
RRR, GGG, BBB = Circle Name
255, 000, 000 = Red Circle
000, 255, 000 = Green Circle
255, 000, 000 = Another Red Circle

Since the RED circle + the GREEN circle = YELLOW, we can assume:

   RRR, GGG, BBB = Circle Name
   255, 000, 000 = Red Circle 
+ 000, 255, 000 = Green Circle
   255, 255, 000 = Yellow Circle

So let's add a red circle over that:
   RRR, GGG, BBB = Circle Name
   255, 255, 000 = Yellow Circle
+ 255, 000, 000 = Red Circle
   511, 255, 000 = ??? (Normalized to: 255, 128, 0) This is orange.

But there's no way to blend that in Photoshop. Or Premiere. Or After Effects, or... or... or...

As a result, real world color blending can't be performed in Photoshop.

I'd like to request that a blend mode be created that allows for real-world color blending between colors. Please, and Thank You.

- Mike Zmuda
Photo of MikeZFS


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Posted 1 year ago

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Photo of Dennis Nisbet

Dennis Nisbet

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Some say that Ulrick Meisel was the founder of the subtractive or chromogenic photo process. He referred to the subtractive color as "The Imperfect Miracle".  There is actually a simple solution to your dilemma. Switch from RGB to CMYK. Adjust the color to 50% Magenta and 100% Yellow and you will have orange. You see, in printing, using type C paper (Chromogenic), we controlled the mixture of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow along with density (Exposure) to achieve the colors. 
Photo of Karol Bagiński

Karol Bagiński

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You can do it with of RGB 2-layer blending Screen mode. 
Your way of thinking is for subtractive CMYK, agree with @Dennis Nisbet