RGB Vs. CMYK Color Images…What’s The Difference?

RGB Vs. CMYK Color Images…What’s The Difference?

When you take pictures with your digital camera, or see images on your computer screen, you may assume the colors you see on screen will look the same in print. The problem is most screens show colors in RGB mode, and most printers print in CMYK mode (we’ll discuss the differences below).

When we create a brochure or another printed piece, we always convert image to CMYK from RGB, and the following outlines why that must be done.

RGB Color Mode

RGB stands for “Red-Green-Blue.” Most electronic displays – monitors, LCD displays, cameras and scanners – display in RGB by default. It is an additive-type of color mode that combines primary colors – red, green and blue – in various degrees to create the color you see. When the three are combined and displayed at 100% the result is a pure white. When all three colors are absent, the result is black. PhotoShop uses RGB as a default setting because it offers the widest range of colors.

CMYK Color Mode

Printers print color onto paper using a CMYK printing process (Cyan-Mageneta-Yellow-Black). This is a four-color process that uses the different colors in various amounts to create all of the necessary colors when printing images. It is a subtractive process. Printing is a function of removing or adding light to the color combinations. Black, is used to completely remove light from an image, so all you see is black.

Why Convert Images From RGB To CMYK?

The RGB mode has far greater capacity to display more color than a printed using CMYK can produce, so images must be converted from RGB to CMYK, or they will appear darker and lack luster when printed. When you look at CMYK images on a color-correct monitor, you are looking at the colors as they will appear on a printed piece.

Image Conversion

Converting RGB images to CMYK can be challenging. You need a trained eye and experience in using conversion tables in PhotoShop to ensure you get the color right, in addition to a number of other variables. Contact us to learn more, and we’ll help you in any way we can.

We can be reached at 336-774-9876 to learn more.

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