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“Primary Colors”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: Top of Thread.  
Date Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2014 8:01:16 AM Replies: 0
   
Enclosures: None.

We had Lauren Monday night. That's wonderful! Her parents have been really generous lately about letting us spend time with her.

She's in second grade now, and what was not so wonderful was her homework. It was a reading-timing test. (As in, time her for a minute to determine how much of this essay she can read.)

The essay was the problem. It was all about how Red, Yellow and Blue are the primary colors. "They're called the primary colors because you can make any color with them."

It's simply not true. It's not even close to true. The primary colors are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Mixing pigments of those pure colors, you can make any other color in the visible spectrum. In fact, you can even make red (magenta and yellow) and blue (magenta and cyan), which are not actually primary colors.

You can't make magenta or cyan with those fake primary colors. No mixture of red, blue or yellow will give you either magenta or cyan, because magenta and cyan are actually both primary colors. You can't really make a pure green because green is actually cyan and yellow, not blue and yellow.

It is possible to cheat a little with crayons (and perhaps ONLY with crayons), because you're not really mixing the colors so much as layering them, so the top color becomes dominant. You still can't make magenta or cyan.

The funny thing is that even people in the printing/prepress business get confused about this. Everybody in the business knows the the 4-color printing process uses CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks), yet many still think of red and blue as primary colors, because that's what they were taught in primary school.

I don't mean to claim this is a big deal, but it's an example of the kind of thing that gets under my skin. Kids are taught one thing that's absolutely untrue, and then anybody who ends up in a line of work or hobby that requires an understanding must be RETAUGHT the very most basic points because they've been misled their whole lives.

Incidentally, the same is true about the Bible. People are told what it says and means by other people who are just repeating what still other people have told them. When teaching someone, a huge amount of time has to be devoted to easing the student over and through those misconceptions which aren't their fault at all.


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