Most of us learned in our early schooling that the primary colors are yellow, blue, and red. Remember your teacher saying, "All right class, repeat after me: 'Yellow and Blue make Green.'" And in the world of paints or any other subtractive mixing process, he would be basically correct. However, combining light is an additive and not subtractive process. With light, the primary colors are green, blue, and red. This may yet seem counterintuitive so I encourage you to prove it to yourself by exploring the mixing possibilities the JavaGel Color Tool provides. See that you really can make any color from red, blue, and green light. For example, to make a lovely orange color, experiment with mixing of red and green light.

JavaGel Features

JavaGel was developed using the Java programming language from Sun Microsystems. It was conceived several years ago as a class project for THTR-3055: Stage Lighting Design at the University of Colorado Dept of Theater and Dance. The goal was to create a simulator allowing the exploration of primary color additive mixing using the colot capability of computer monitors. Features currently incorporated include the following:

  • Adjustable red, green, and blue lighting areas.
  • An overall master control slider which acts as a gray filter. Note that this slider is only a gray filter and does not have the same effect as dimming an incandescent light. Normal incandescent lights have a tendency to go slightly red as they are dimmed.
  • Clickable light areas allowing you to display the color percentages of any light pool.

Directions for Use

  1. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the dimming controls:
    panel.gif (8280 bytes)
  2. You can click mouse.gif (1018 bytes) on the individual pools of light for information on the transmission values at that point.
  3. If your monitor is set to less than 16-bit (thousands of colors) capability, the simulation will probably look terrible. Increase your display depth if possible. JavaGel should appear to be an accurate simulation of additive light mixing.
  4. Click on the fresnel light icon below to begin the simulation!

Copyright 2014, Jeffrey Hightower