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Cmyk mode in photoshop on a pc - accurate?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by kojak, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. kojak

    kojak New Member

    Do colours in CMYK mode in Photoshop appear accurately on a PC monitor? How close would they be to a physical swatch? If one is doing flat colour artwork for printing is the only way to have an accurate screen view of how things will print, is to work on a Mac? Thanku.
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    No - monitors are RGB not CMYK.

    RGB has a wider gamut than CMYK (that is there are more colours in the RGB range compared to CMYK).

    I always colour correct in RGB to get the correct look on screen.

    Then when it's converted to a CMYK profile it should closely match what you have on screen.

    The only time I colour correct in CMYK is if I'm sure of what the ink values should be for print, like say for a rich black, I may want to match the black in the photograph to a deeper black for rich black to match another black it's butting up against.

    It depends on what you're doing really - but trying to colour correct an image that's in CMYK on a RGB monitor is a crapshoot.

    Typically you would want your monitor to be colour calibrated so what you see in RGB is what is printed in CMYK.

    You also need to have your proofing setup in PHotoshop for whatever colour profile you're outputting to.
  3. kojak

    kojak New Member

    Thanks HS for your reply.

    I'm new to all this. I'm presently using a CAD software, Bentley Microstation V8i, a vector-based program which is more powerful than Autocad, to produce my flat colour artwork. It has a few colour table options inc. Standard, Pantone Colour Bridge CMYK, and NCS. Does it make sense to use any of these to help me determine how my artwork will print? Would printing on my home HP 4 colour printer be the best bet? I need to do more reading.
  4. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Depends what Standard is?

    Pantone colour bridge CMYK is a colour matching system, you pick a reference from a Pantone Book of a colour on a pre-printed sheet and then pick that reference from the computer program. When a professional printers see this colour reference they can mix an ink to that colour and compare it to their pantone book (which is the same as yours) and get an accurate colour match.

    As you can imagine a home desktop printer would use an approximation of the colour and match it as close to RGB as it can for output (even if you have cmyk inks in a digital printer it still renders under the hood as RGB profiles).

    NCS is a natural colour scheme developed in Sweden, and it's a colour opponency scheme based on 6 colours. It's not widely used in the print industry and I've only seen it on architectural stuff. Again, the same idea as pantone, there's matching reference cards. It's pretty useless in describing how light or pigments would mix. It's a weird colour system that I don't fully follow.

    Unless you're using specific inks then use the Pantone books - where you will need to purchase a Pantone printed book to see the colour printed before you pick it.

    Use an obscure colour system that is not used in the printing world.

    Use the Standard and see how it goes.
  5. kojak

    kojak New Member

    Thanks HS once again for adding more light(!) on the subject. I shall call Pantone tomorrow to see which swatch colour fan is most appropriate. I presume it's the one with the most colours. The Colour Bridge set is I presume a bridge between rgb and cmyk but that is probably incorrect. I think they mean between monitor and printer. So it seems to me that not all cmyk values on an rgb screen can be printed by Pantone, but if one, as you say, follows the Pantone system, one can't go wrong. I was told that Mac screens were calibrated for cmyk but you I think say not.
  6. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    kojak likes this.

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