This is a term that is something that as far as I know -- I just like to use when teaching. I like it a lot along with my other favorite terms for the same which are: "dull out" and "dump down". All three mean to lower the intensity of a color. You lower the intensity of a color by mixing it with another color. The more the second color is opposite the first color the more and faster the first color becomes dull. An example would be to dull out orange you could add blue. When colors become more dull they become less intense. When they are dull and less intense they tend to recede. Not only do they recede -- they will also kind of sink down. So they can head AWAY in a couple of directions -- either farther back and/or farther down. This can really help with settling shadows down into the surface that they are on. It can also help you shove an area or edge back. Thus I like to say let's "knock that down" or "dump it down" or "dull it out" meaning let's lower the intensity to move it farther away or down.
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