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Pigments can be broadly classified as either organic or inorganic.

Inorganic pigments are of mineral origin, some of which include raw umber, ochre, burnt umber and burnt sienna. Artificially prepared mineral colors include cadmium yellow, zinc oxide, etc. Organic pigments are of animal, vegetable or synthetic origin and include indigo, madder, Indian yellow, etc. Synthetic organic pigments such as cerulean blue, cobalt green and cobalt yellow are characterized by great brilliance and intensity and should not be thought of as inferior to their natural counterparts.