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Chapter 5. Working with Images and Color... > Understanding the Two Types of Color

Understanding the Two Types of Color

Colors in Photoshop can be considered additive or subtractive. Additive colors produce white when all colors are combined (added) at full strength. Subtractive colors produce white by removing (subtracting) all component colors. Conversely, a lack of color in an additive model produces black, whereas combining all colors in a subtractive model produces black.

Consider spotlights in a theater. The more spotlights you train on a specific area of the stage, the more brightly lit that area is; this is additive color. You can aim spotlights of many colors at the same spot, but when you've added enough different lights, regardless of their color, the audience sees only white light.


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