What Is CMYK & How to Convert RGB to CMYK
Anyone who knows anything about computer printing and digital photo editing must be aware of the CMYK scheme. The first three letters, CMY, stand for cyan, magenta, yellow, and the last letter, K, stands for key, which actually means black. Black is the key color in printing today. So here is the CMYK definition: a pigment scheme for combining primary pigments.
The RGB (red, green, blue) scheme, which is mostly used for displaying images on computer screens. This means that if your image has an RGB scheme, it won’t come out so nicely in print. In order to get a high-quality printed images, you should first convert RGB to CMYK.
So if your image has an RGB scheme and you need to print it, then it’s a good idea to convert it first to a CMYK scheme. Fortunately, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator come with a built-in RGB to CMYK image converter that allows you to do the job with a few clicks of the mouse button.
Here is how to convert RBG to CMYK in Adobe Photoshop.
- Select “Edit” and then “Color Setting.” You will see a drop-down list that shows you presets for North America, Europe, and Japan.
- Select a CMYK profile that suits your printing method and paper type.
- Click on the “More Options” button if you want to set the rendering intent when converting RGB values to CMYK values. For example, choose “Perceptual” if you want to preserve the visual relationships of the source image.
- Open the RGB image you want to convert to a CMYK image. If you get the message “Embedded Profile Mismatch” (you will get this message if you are trying to convert a photo from a digital camera), then select “Use the embedded profile.”
- If you want to make any adjustments to the image, such as applying filters, then this is the time to do it.
- Select “View” and “Gamut Warning” to see which colors cannot be produced in the CMYK image. They will be shown in gray. Photoshop will automatically convert them to the nearest color.
- Now you are ready to convert your RGB image to a CMYK image. Select “Image,” then “Mode,” and then “CMYK Color” to convert the image. You will notice the changes in colors immediately. Some colors become sharper and some duller.
- Save your image. Now you can print it if your printer and paper are ready.
Now you are probably wondering what CMYK profile is best for printing. The answer lies in the printing method and paper type.Choose the following:
- For sheetfed printing: “Coated GRACoL 2006” for grade 1 paper (it has a TAC of 340%)
- For web offset printing: “Web Coated SWOP 2006 Grade 3 Paper” (it has a TAC of 310%) or “Web Coated SWOP 2006 Grade 5 Paper” (it has a TAC of 300%). If you don’t know your paper type, then choose the latter.
Thus, you can easily convert an RGB image to a CMYK image for printing. But why not let a professional printer handle the process convert RGB to CMYK if you have a bulk printing job to do?
Hawk Graphics Inc. is a full-service commercial printer in NJ, with a full staff of professionals to help you with your individual printing needs. We service the 48 contiguous states. Give us a call today 973.895.5569 and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.