Thomas is an established artist who is known for creating extremely odd, almost other-worldly pieces of art, but he has a secret. See, Thomas has discovered the secret to traveling to different dimensions, and he is only able to return to our own dimension once he has successfully painted a scene from the new dimension he traveled to, exact down to the last detail.

When Thomas traveled to a new dimension this morning, he thought something was wrong. The world looked exactly like our own world; he couldn't tell anything at all was different. However, when he went to paint a scene he noticed that his colors didn't behave at all like they normally did.

He mixed together yellow and blue paint, but instead of getting green, it came out as purple. He then tried mixing yellow and red, and once again it came out purple! Thoroughly confused, he mixed together blue and red, expecting purple this time, and it came out orange.

Through a bit of trial and error, Thomas determined the following:

  • Yellow + Blue = Purple (expected green)
  • Yellow + Red = Purple (expected orange)
  • Blue + Red = Orange (expected purple)
  • Red + Purple = Violet (expected magenta)
  • Purple + Blue = Teal (expected violet)
  • Red + Orange = Amber (expected vermillion)

Thomas has figured out the secret to mixing colors in this dimension, but have you? What are the two different mixtures that will create the color green?

For reference, here is the color wheel that Thomas uses:

A color wheel showing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

  • $\begingroup$ Do the orders of colours matter? $\endgroup$
    – Corsaka
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Corsaka Yes, they do $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


It appears that

bizarrely, color mixing is not commutative! The rule is "from the first color, go 1.5 times the direction of the second color". So, Red to Orange is 2 steps clockwise; go an additional 1 step clockwise and you get to Amber. Yellow to Red is 4 steps counterclockwise; go an additional 2 steps counterclockwise and you get to Purple.

So Thomas can create green by mixing

red with blue, or red with yellow.

And curiously,

who knows what will happen if he tries to mix red and green? He might get violet, amber, or a weird combination of both!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "And curiously," ... Perhaps not all that curious considering mixing complementaries doesn't work in the standard setting either (at least not in terms of the wheel). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulPanzer True, but it seems like given the rules here, "doesn't work" might do something entirely different. (That's a good point though!) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 14:40

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