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If I want to change the colour of the sphere in the Material Preview Window, it's easy enough to create a Material Output node, Create a shader node, assign a colour and hook them up. The sphere colour changes accordingly.

But how do I change the colour of what's in the background, behind the sphere?

Moreover, what does that colour represent? In my example it's Magenta and I don't know why.

what does the magenta colour represent

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    $\begingroup$ Usually there is a checkerboard pattern behind the sphere. And that looks like the color that usually indicates a missing texture in the 3D viewport. I don't really know but It makes me think you are missing that image somehow. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that I somehow chose a colour (or texture?) in Blender that is impossible to display. The same magenta colour shows up in GIMP when selecting an impossible colour combination, as per this answer: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/125622/… $\endgroup$
    – brettv
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 0:14

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