Color generation using pigments to subtract from white, rather than light adding to black as in additive color. CMYK process color is the most common version of this, though there are efforts to create 6- and 8- color process color systems.
A term used to describe the subtractive primary colors: Cyan, magenta, yellow. As ink applied to a piece of paper by a printing press, these colors absorb light and alter the colors seen by one looking at the press sheet. Cyan ink absorbs the red third of the spectrum, magenta ink absorbs the green third, and yellow ink absorbs the blue third. This should theoretically cause the viewer to see a black color, (with three thirds absorbed, no light is reflected) but due to unavoidable impurities in the inks, there is still light reflected and the viewer sees a muddy brown.
Commonly called the CMYK color model. White is produced when subtracting the primaries Ñ red, yellow and blue. Cyan, magenta and yellow pigments or dyes are used in printing presses to approximate these primaries, and black is added to compensate for chemical impurities, creating richer blacks and deeper shadow tones. In newer inkjet printers Cyan Light and Yellow Light are also added to add color to the highlights less than 20%. The color gamut of CMYK systems is generally very narrow compared to RGB. See also Additive Color.
Subtractive color explains the theory of mixing paints, dyes, inks, and natural colorants to create colors which absorb some wavelengths of light and reflect others. The color that an opaque object appears to have is based on what parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are reflected by it, or conversely by what parts of the spectrum are not absorbed.