Calagaz Commercial Printing in Mobile, Ala., Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

But it looked great on my screen…

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I often am asked “why does the printed pieces not look like the image on my computer screen?” I usually end up sitting with the customer and having a very long complicated discussion about CMYK vs RGB ColorSpace. I have already covered CMYK and now it is time for RGB…

RGB ColorSpace use Red Green & Blue to create your color pallet.

RGB Color is typically used with equipment that used light to create the mix. As you can see in this image, three colored spotlights are being use to mix or create colors.

Things like your computer monitors are RGB (if you have never held a magnifying glass up to your monitor you should, if it is strong enough magnification, you will actually see the individual Red Green and Blue dots that create your image on screen) Also, most scanner and digital camera use RGB to capture photographic images. All of these devices represent your images fairly well because they are all using the same primary colors to create the intended color, the real issue arises when you move out of the RGB space into another color space like CMYK(the most common colorspace for printing).

When you change colorspace you will find that color will not only shift but may actually not be reproducible at all. The first time I realized how different these two color spaces are was when I was trying to print an image that had a tremdous amount of green variations and shadeing. Unfortunatly for me that because of the conversion to CMYK for printing the greens all became one big solid area of green. If you really think about the color green in these two ways of “mixing” colors one has a green base to start from and the other has to mix colors to make a standard green.

I hope this helped a little….