Why do most color inkjet printers use four colors to print, instead of the three primary colors for subtractive color mixing?

It would seem that a color inkjet printer mixing the three primary pigments of yellow, magenta, and cyan should be able to produce all the other colors, including black. When all three primary colors are combined, however, the mix looks more like a muddy brown color than black. Although these are the primary colors of which other shades can be created, they do not represent all the colors of the spectrum needed to form black. That is, there are gaps in the wavelengths that these pigments absorb. Therefore, most color inkjet printers have a cartridge with yellow, cyan, and magenta ink, and another separate ink cartridge of just black.


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