This guide was first published on Nov 30, 2012. It was last
updated on Nov 30, 2012.
This page (Colors) was last updated on May 18, 2019.
The reason that you can mix any color you like by varying the quantities of red, green and blue light is that your eye has three types of light receptor in it (red, green and blue). Your eye and brain process the amounts of red, green and blue and convert it into a color of the spectrum.
In a way, by using the three LEDs we are playing a trick on the eye. This same idea is used in TVs, where the LCD has red, green and blue color dots next to each other making up each pixel.
If we set the brightness of all three LEDs to be the same, then the overall color of the light will be white. If we turn off the blue LED, so that just the red and green LEDs are the same brightness, then the light will appear yellow.
We can control the brightness of each of the red, green and blue parts of the LED separately, making it possible to mix any color we like.
Black is not so much a color as an absense of light. So the closest we can come to black with our LED is to turn off all three colors.