No other colour combination can be utilised to create white paint since every other hue absorbs at least one specific wavelength. Subtractive colour mixing is the process of mixing paints or filters to create new hues.

For instance, regardless of its hue, cyan paint absorbs some red-wavelength light. Yellow paint absorbs some light with blue-wavelengths. Both red and blue wavelengths are largely absorbed when these colours are mixed, resulting in a green hue. Because magenta pigments absorb some green light, combining equal amounts of equally brilliant cyan, yellow, and magenta paint results in a grey hue. Even if all three pigments are very light, the only possible result is a very light grey because not all wavelengths are reflected rather than absorbed. Consequently, the only way to create pure white paint is to utilise a single compound that reflects red, green, and blue light, which to the human eye appears white.

In additive colour mixing, where wavelengths are emitted as opposed to absorbed, the situation is reversed. When red, green, and blue spotlights converge on the same location, the result is white. This concept is utilised in televisions, fluorescent bulbs, and computer displays.

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