It’s probably safe to say that one of the things that have stuck with most of us since elementary school art classes is that red, blue, and yellow are primary colors. Mixing varying amounts of those three colors will give you the rest of the rainbow. As it turns out, we were all learning the basics of color printing.
So, what is CMYK? It is the color model of four primary inks that combine in our printer to create the full spectrum that artists need for their work. C stands for Cyan, a blue; red is replaced with Magenta; the Y is still Yellow; and the K actually means Key Black.
Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow don't actually create a complete black when mixed on their own, so the designers of this model designated a true or ‘key’ black to be added when CMY isn't enough.
CMYK is known as a subtractive color model. We see color when light reflects off a surface into the photoreceptors of our eyes. When a young aspiring artist covers a sheet of paper in finger paint in art class, they subtract the amount of light that bounces off that paper and therefore change the color they see.
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