Understanding the Difference between CMYK and RGB Color Mode


In the graphic design lesson, you have to understand the difference between CMYK and RGB because it is the basic lesson to master Photoshop. There is some method to know and differentiate CMYK and RGB.

The Definition of CMYK is Process Color/Four Colors

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black. It’s also known as process colour or four colours. CMYK is a colour mode as reduction of lightwave or subtractive colours model and the most common mode used in the printing process. To make the perfect result, it needs 4 inks by colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This is also known as process colour.

The meaning of process ink is ink for making colour by a special process, such as offset, lithography, rotogravure, letterpress and printing. It is different from the ink used as a single layer because the ink qualification has to meet the standard.

There is a colour error in 2 layers with many kinds of ink like ink trapping error which has a different meaning with layout trapping error. ISO 2846-5 is an international standard for colour and transparency value of 4 colour process. It also requires a standard for every colour in CMYK mode to printing processes like sheet-feed and heat-set web offset lithographic printing, cold offset lithographic printing, publication gravure printing, screen printing, and flexographic printing.

Today, the separation technique has been developed using 4 the same process ink. The method to add printing ink also improved. The method uses the high-fidelity colour which can be developed by some user like pantone which succeed to improve process hexachrome and opaltone. While in the digital inkjet printing technique, improvement of colour also shows good progress because of the technical support and competition to produce a perfect colour as market demands.

Understanding RGB Color Mode

RGB -stand for Red, Blue, Green- is a colour mode contains light colour used to apply as input equipment, such as scanner or output equipment like display monitor.

Its primary colours are red, blue, and green; depending on the technology used like CCD or PMT on the scanner or digital camera, and CRT or LCD on display monitor.

The combination of those three colours produces white because RGB is a light colour. RGB is the colour principle which can be used by digital media like television, monitor, scanner, and handphone. So that, colour produced by RGB has bright and light impression because it was ready to set for display monitor and not for printing.

The conclusion is, the colour used by the display is RGB while the colour for the printing process is CMYK.

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