Oct 24, 2013

How is a CMYK image different than an RGB image?

When using Photoshop, what is the difference between a CMYK image and an RGB image? Why are there two different types of images?

Differences between RGB and CMYK Color Modes

"RGB Color Mode

RGB is the color scheme that is associated with electronic displays, such as CRT, LCD monitors, digital cameras and scanners. It is an additive type of color mode, that combines the primary colors, red, green and blue, in various degrees to create a variety of different colors. When all three of the colors are combined and displayed to their full extent, the result is a pure white. When all three colors are combined to the lowest degree, or value, the result is black. Software such as photo editing programs use the RGB color mode because it offers the widest range of colors.

CMYK Color Mode

Printers print color onto paper using the CMYK color mode only. This is a four color mode that utilizes the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black in various amounts to create all of the necessary colors when printing images. It is a subtractive process, which means that each additional unique color means more light is removed, or absorbed, to create colors. When the first three colors are added together, the result is not pure black, but rather a very dark brown. The K color, or black, is used to completely remove light from the printed picture, which is why the eye perceives the color as black."
Just to add to what the earlier posters said, CMYK is specifically based on the the light absorbing quality of ink on paper.

Simply put:

One is for the screen (RGB)

The other is for print (CMYK)

You have to render the colors differently depending on your final metod of publishing. 



RGB image is for eyes only i would say while CMYK is a type of image that would be used by the Printing studios which use ink to print. You need to work in CMYK mode to get an aproximate feeling of what the printed material may look (you are not seeing the real final product as you are watching the image on a computer screen, the real product can be seen only after printing).


Regarding colors:


In short: CMYK is subtractive color generally utilized in the printing industry, while RGB is additive color for the most part utilized as a part of showcase representation. 


The name of the CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (because in four-color printing, cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed, or aligned, with the key of the black key plate. ). 


The name of the RGB color stands for Red, Green, and Blue. The main use of the RGB color  is for sensing, representating and display of images in electronic devices such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography.

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