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What color cancels out blue or green?

When it comes to color theory, understanding complementary colors is key. Complementary colors are pairs of colors that cancel each other out when mixed together. This results in shades of gray or brown. Knowing what colors cancel out blue and green specifically can help artists, designers, and even interior decorators make important color choices.

What are complementary colors?

Complementary colors (also called opposite colors) are colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are examples of complementary pairs. When complementary colors are mixed together, they neutralize each other. This muting effect creates shades of gray, brown, or black.

The term “complementary” refers to the fact that these color pairs complement each other when placed side-by-side. This creates maximum contrast and vibrancy. Complementary color schemes are popular in design because they grab the viewer’s attention.

Why do complementary colors neutralize each other?

On the traditional RYB color wheel, primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. The secondary colors — orange, green, and purple — are created by mixing two primaries. Complementary colors sit across from each other on the wheel.

Each primary color has a wavelength value. Red has the longest wavelength, blue has the shortest, and yellow is in between. When two complementary colors are mixed, their wavelength values essentially cancel each other out. This results in shades of brown or gray, which have no strong wavelength value.

What color cancels out blue?

The complementary color of blue is orange. When blue and orange paint or light mix together, they neutralize each other to create varying shades of brown. On the RYB color wheel, blue and orange are directly across from one another.

Blue has the shortest wavelength value of all the primary and secondary colors. Its complement, orange, has the longest wavelength. When these extremes come together, they cancel out to produce a neutral color. Specifically, mixingComplementary colors are color pairs that cancel each other out, resulting in a neutral shade like gray, brown or black. Knowing what colors are complementary helps artists, designers and decorators make impactful color choices. Here’s what cancels out blue and green:

– The complement of blue is orange. Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel. When mixed, they create a neutral brown.

– The complement of green is red. Together they make a neutral brown or gray.

Complementary colors neutralize each other because they contain opposite wavelengths. Blue has the shortest wavelength and orange has the longest. Green is medium-wavelength and red is long-wavelength. Mixing these opposites cancels out the color intensities.

Using complementary colors together creates vibrancy and contrast. But mixing them results in muting. Understanding these color relationships gives designers control over the visual experience. Whether seeking bold contrast or neutral grays, knowledge of color theory is key.

Quick Facts on Complementary Colors

Complement of Blue Orange
Complement of Green Red
Complement of Yellow Purple
Complement of Red Green
Complement of Purple Yellow
Complement of Orange Blue

Using Complementary Colors in Design

Complementary colors are a popular choice in design and photography. When placed next to each other, they create maximum contrast and vibrancy, grabbing the viewer’s attention. Here are some examples of using blue/orange and green/red together:

– An abstract painting with blocks of blue next to orange, and green next to red. The juxtaposition makes the colors pop.

– A website layout with an orange call-to-action button on a blue background. This draws the eye to the important CTA.

– A garden planting scheme with blue hydrangeas and orange daylilies, along with red roses and green hostas. The complementary pairs stand out beautifully.

– A photograph of fall leaves, with intense red leaves contrasting against green ones. The opposites enhance one another.

– A bowl of fruit, with oranges and blueberries, and kiwi slices with red flesh. Complementary colors add energy.

Thoughtfully combining complements creates exciting compositions. But overdoing it can look garish. Be strategic when leveraging these color relationships. With the right balance, complements lend vibrancy, contrast and visual interest.

Mixing Complements Produces Neutrals

While adjacent complements pop, blended complements neutralize into muted browns, grays and black. This is useful when subtlety is preferred:

– Mixing blue and orange paint creates earthy browns. Useful for painting neutral backgrounds.

– Adding grey to bright colors mutes them. Mix in the complement to dull a color naturally.

– Printers use black ink combined with color inks to create dark shades. The black neutralizes the complements present in process color mixing.

– Mixing red and green light produces dim brown. This can create a warm lighting effect.

– Overlapping blue and orange transparencies result in a dark neutral overlay. Photographers use this for subtle filtering effects.

Purposefully combining complements creates rich neutrals. And layering colored light or transparent gels produces atmospheric dimming. Mastering the interplay of complements gives endless options for vibrant color, high contrast, or muted tones.


The complementary pairs of blue/orange and green/red provide powerful visual effects. Their high-contrast juxtaposition grabs attention. Yet blended together, they neutralize into muted browns and grays. Understanding these fundamental color relationships allows limitless applications in art, photography, graphic design and the world around us. A color theory-informed approach leads to impactful and meaningful use of one of our most expressive visual media.