I'm using GIMP2 and found Blue and Yellow are making gray. Red and Green are making gray too. I'm using layers (one per color) and first assumed opacity would get me Green or Yellow in the examples above. Grain Merge gives the right secondaries, but if the mask layer is over white, the color is desaturated at about half-strength; red becomes salmon-y or pink. My question is: What do I do to ensure a Blue layer results in Green when over a Yellow layer without surprise color distortions? Am I missing something obvious?

  • Unfortunately you can't properly simulate pigments blending in GIMP. You'd really need software that supports CMYK colour. GIMP only supports RGB colour. But Krita (which is free) and Photoshop support CMYK colour.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 17, 2020 at 16:04
  • Blue is absence of yellow, yellow is absence of blue, so if you mix dark blue and yellow wyou should get grayish tone even with pigments. Light blue (which we have since ages clarified to be called cyan) on the otherhand is absence of red and thus is mixable.
    – joojaa
    May 18, 2020 at 5:05

1 Answer 1


First of all, let me spam you with this answer. Generating a series of colors between two colors It is filled with wisdom n_n

Blue is the exact complementary of yellow, on this RGB model.

With pure yellow, you have R and G components, and no blue. With blue, you have no G or R.

Gimp is using a linear transition, (Number 1 on my other diagram) this is the color is passing thru the middle of the circle... Or the square on my example.

Image of yellow fading into blue

But Cyan is another primary color, so you can use several blending modes that will give you green.

Using blending modes to add cyan to create green

With programs like Gimp, the truth is that you cannot simulate painting very well, but using multiply and a normal brush you can simulate something like markers.

Using Multiply layering to mix two colors as per markers

If you want a program that simulates painting the best option is Corel Painter, but there are other options like MyPaint.

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