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Understanding Color: RGB and CMYK when Used As Design Elements Online and in Print

By Tracy Narvaez Subscribe to RSS | March 9th 2012 | Views:
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If you are producing published materials using color, then you probably have encountered RGB and CMYK design settings. The two classifications for color display work optimally for different situations. The short explanation is that red, green and blue, or combinations of them, are what you see on a computer screen, and cyan, magenta, yellow and black are used for print production.

Electronic creation of color behaves differently than an offset, printed form. When you use or mix variations of red, blue and green, you can obtain a variety of shades and colors. Use them all together at equal intensity and your screen will display white. No color, and the result is black. This formula in this medium is an example of additive colors, when the addition is necessary to show palettes.

In print, colors respond differently than when represented electronically. Since they are being applied in this case to a solid form, they are absorbed or reflected by wavelengths for visual interpretation. No color means white, while all colors in one mix go dark. Black is created with separate ink in this medium, and is used to define the other colors.

It can be essential to stick with the correct formatting for the type of color you want to see. If you need to come up with a palette for a website, for example, you need to stick with the electronic version of color mixing. These same colors, however, may give you an extremely altered result if used on an offset press.

Some color formulas for Web display can be unrecognizable when printed out. Make sure you have the colors separated into CMYK when you check your output manager functions in a design program if you are printing the finished product. This will ensure you get a black separation that will help define the rest of the colors.

Some websites offer color gamut comparisons for you to see what conversions may do to your colors. You may find that some of the electronic versions are in the spectrum, while others fall outside of this. This detail can help you determine more about what can be reproduced accurately in print.

Some printers can do palette conversions for you, but you may not realize how the printed material will look until the process is complete. By that time, it may be too late to fix a display error when the print product emerges. To help reduce the risk of printing accidents, you can do your own conversions so that separations are locked in before the printer receives the project.

Knowing what RGB and CMYK combinations mean depending on the medium used can improve your skills as a designer for Web and print. You can find information to learn more about managing color through books and Internet sources. Your next project may be a rainbow of creativity with a vivid arrangement of design.

Tracy Narvaez - About Author:
Learn everything you need to know about RGB and CMYK color models and find information about a stock photo agency at http://www.photokore.com now.

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