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CMYK to RGB (affinity designer)

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Hi !

If I want to create an illustration for PRINT AND WEB.. I think starting with CMYK is the better option..

But how can I convert CMYK to RGB without big changes of color, saturation and opacity? :(

 

 

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That I thought years ago. It depends very heavily on your most usual target clients and workflows. Today, I work mostly as an illustrator (side projects in design, 3D, games, etc), directly in Adobe RGB or, very frequently, even sRGB. If needed, I'd convert to CMYK, last step. Also as I know quite well how to not get out of the usual spectrum in printing (yeah, harder to do in a sci fi project with lots of nebulae and laser rays, neon lights, lol....). Some projects are heavily tied to a particular CMYK color profile, ink amount, etc, etc. In those cases, depending on the style (flat shades, or realism, or even...pixel art! ) I might start with the CMYK exact profile and everything since the file creation. If the other side does its job, nothing gets as accurate as that once printed...

I've seen that sometimes (edited, as had eaten that word, and it read as if these print companies always work better with sRGB, not the case) one gets worse results when delivering to POD printers in CMYK fully correct files, PDFs with their own specified color profile and everything, than the other option they give of just a sRGB based file... 

For web, you'd better off with sRGB, IMO. There's ways to have your browser see well color managed pics with Adobe RGB profile, not sure how is today's situation of the latest browsers, tho, Firefox used to rock at that...back in the day one had to set that ON, in advanced prefs, so, was a no-way for the average jane and joe, and so, a no-go.   sRGB gives you a very wide spectrum of compatibility, ie, basically old iPhones were just that (now there's p3 and stuff, but I guess sRGB keeps being ultra safe). sRGB tends to be the standard in a ton of devices where there's a screen. 

Conversion from CMYK to sRGB should not make you see variance in color, would be rare.  Typically is going from a smaller color space to a wider one, even if a small one to be an RGB color space (Adobe RGB has more intense greens and other tones not in the sRGB space). In vectors I often just go ahead directly in CMYK, and if specified, well, with specific pantones. Projects can be very different. IE, for an UI work for a website only, I'd go directly sRGB from start despite being vectors.

EDIT: Maybe I'm wrong in doing so, but what I mean is that due to my workflows, lately what I do is treat CMYK like the JPG of the color space world. Like going to a reduced quality thingy. So, is in any case my last step, when work is finished, provided I've been careful with the color tones. (and only if I need a CMYK output ! ). Most apps also give you more editing features in RGB, and also, the processing is less destructive. For a similar reason, I'm more often illustrating in 16 bits RGB.

EDIT: (Ouch, just read you said in Affinity Designer. I was mostly thinking in raster.... well, also valid for vectors, I spoke a bit about all...)

Edited by SrPx
Huge typo, eating a word, which changed the whole meaning.

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Thanks for all this informations! I really appreciate. It will help me for the future :)

I'm a begginer about all this things. I started color with acrylic painting. So I don't have this graphic knowledge when I choose my colors (...And I'm french, so it's even more difficult to understand all this informations right now ^^'). Can you explain this phrase please? : " lately what I do is treat CMYK like the JPG of the color space world. Like going to a reduced quality thingy "  What does "treat like the JPG of the color space world" means?

The illustrations I created are not for a special project or client, it's for my first portfolio ^^. I was training with vectorial drawing. So, when I started, color profiles and formats were not my priority. I just wanted to create... I did my illustrations in RVB. But later I told myself that If I wanted to print them one day (in order to sell some prints), I'll need a CMYK file. So I convert all my files in CMYK. Choosing the profile I appreciate the most - US web coated V2 (for the colors it gaves to my work after the conversion). Now I know, we need to choose the CMYK profile according to the printer,  paper, etc... But I don't know the printer yet...

On the other hand, working in CMYK helped me a lot to manage the color harmony between them. (I was used to paint with acrylic.. It's very different, so my "RGB style" was terrible :D. CMYK gave me a kind of "style" I prefer. For me it's easier to work with. So, I start all my new illustrations with this format since a few months.

I have to convert 18 CMYK illustrations to RGB, in order to put them on my future website.

Yesterday I was totally blocked, but this morning, a friend tell me how to do to resolve this problem. I will export the files as CMYK (in a JPEG or PNG). And open it in affinity, in order to convert the illustrations in RGB. Normally, the colors will be exactly the same. I think, convert the export is the quickest solution. I don't want to touch up all the colors of my 18 illustrations one by one!

When I try to convert the affinity designer file, it's impossible to have the same colors in CMYK and RGB. With the "Wide gamut RGB", the colors look better than with the other profiles. But there are some differences (opacity, and big saturation with some colors)

 

 

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8 hours ago, L-K said:

When I try to convert the affinity designer file, it's impossible to have the same colors in CMYK and RGB. With the "Wide gamut RGB", the colors look better than with the other profiles. But there are some differences (opacity, and big saturation with some colors)

Well as you can see from certain gamut (color space) comparison overviews ...

RGB-vs-CMYK-chart.jpg.75de69c9167924b98d41f456745d213d.jpg

... the biggest portion of CMYK and RGB color space do overlap and only few colors aren't mapped 1:1 here. So converting from CMYK to sRGB shouldn't be that much of a deal here, since CMYK is the smallest color space.

Things are usually more difficult into the other direction here, meaning here converting from a higher/wider gamut to a small one, like for example from Adobe RGB to CMYK, since the wide gamut does have much more colors which you can't map 1:1 here.

Gamut-01-600.jpg.2aa2cc048dd9501b3e4f8ff03137a0f8.jpg

However in your case converting from CMYK to sRGB there shouldn't be such a big discrepancy between the shown colors.


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11 hours ago, L-K said:

I'm a begginer about all this things. I started color with acrylic painting. So I don't have this graphic knowledge when I choose my colors

Actually, (and hello from someone who started in color pencils, then went to pastels, then to oils, then to acrylic, to end up in doing the fast stages with acrylic, and finishing with oils (obviously never the opposite!) if you started so, you might know what is really important about color, which is definitely not these unnecessary overwhelming and non crucial technicalities. Your understanding of color, balance, harmony, contrast, rules of composition, all those apply, are just the same, and absolutely key for about any field.  :)

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Can you explain this phrase please? : " lately what I do is treat CMYK like the JPG of the color space world. Like going to a reduced quality thingy "  What does "treat like the JPG of the color space world" means?

Ehm...is not more complicated than it seems... Simply, I work ALL in RGB these days, with some exceptions. Most of the times this has a stronger reason behind it. Like happening right now, the client does not know beforehand where is he gonna send the stuff to print (will hunt for bargains). And each print on demand -or whatever- company has its templates, bleed, margins, particular color profile, that they even require... etc. So, I do NOT limit my self with a generic CMYK profile, be it US web coated V2 ( a ton of ppl use it just because is the standard in Adobe apps, but many US print places use GRACoL instead), or the non US, Europe most common standard FOGRA (whatever the version), because I'd be limiting my self,

AND the final CMYK profile, if such thing is required would mean a different gamma somehow. So, I just work in full RGB mode, and once the client has required all modifications, I've gone applying all, and is finally satisfied, and call it final, we agree on that, etc, then is when I convert to CMYK (IF needed). But only after he or she tells me which is the company for printing, I no longer ask them the profile and specs, most of the times that's a disaster, just the company name, and I myself dig in the site to find the specs. Much more productive, they also don't want/need to deal with that (part of the reason why they called you). With some brilliant exceptions.  But you see, till that very moment at the end, when she/he knows where is the best bargain for printing, and in some cases the best quality or quality/price ratio, (or the best company to print in a whatever type of cloth, or whatever) which is often in the end (also as the prices in these companies,and the specs, DO CHANGE very fast, too) , they cannot even tell me the company till the very end, most of the cases. So, it'd be crazy to set it in CMYK from start, even more, a specific profile from the beginning, let alone knowing the paper type and etc.

So, to summarize, I just work in RGB, but as most of my work is in raster, digital painting, textures, game sprites, book covers, etc, is not so much about flat colors one can replace more or less easily. Is that I'm painting or pixel pushing, and I kind of know what is out of range for printing. I had my set of bad choices when doing work for sci fi games that needed stuff printed, as there's quite some opportunities to wreck it all when trying to  illustrate amazing laser rays that find no limits in light-screen based color only, while many of those tones are impossible outside pigment based color range, they are not actually printable. Of course, one could use very special paper, and very advanced-expensive print systems, and get very particular colors. Tends not to be the case in my usual project. Over all, beware the super saturated tones, also very bright, mostly any combination of the two values being high. You can always do proofs while in the process, or work in proof mode in some tools (now even open source tools are incorporating this ! ), there's many many ways to stay in range, and don't worry, am not a guru from a photo lab (easily noticed, lol...), or a 40 years worth of experience offset tech specialist, like I suspect there are a bunch around here, and yet I "kind of" already get a total feel of when I'm going out of range in a non printable tone. But if finding it hard, you can as well just convert from time to time to cmyk, see if sth is going very off.

I wanted to clarify the "like a jpeg" in fewer words, but am known around here to be one of the most verbose chit-chatters, sorry. In the bright side, I hope, after reading all ppl posts, your view changed in not seeing it as some "impossible task" , as indeed, is quite a dumb thing, is not sth you should be loosing all your energy on. IMO focus on your art and ENJOY it. That's what gets MOST obvious in your portfolio. Do stuff you like. So, "enjoy" is the best "technical advice". That gets seen in the actual portfolio, if you enjoyed making it. IMO. Live the passion of making a portfolio. I don't give myself time to just build it anymore, always on the next gig, and that's a prob, as then, u can't show the other ppl's property, or, the gigs are very much in the idea of the client, NOT exactly what you would have done. So, yup, is KEY the portfolio building stage, no matter if you are a seasoned pro in other matters and are beginning in your 50s your painting or design (side business or hobby) career. Portfolio is still key, and an absolute JOY to make, nothing should throw a shadow of anxiety or worry over it, don't let that happen, IMO, as the technicalities are the less important, and you can learn them all as you go ! :)

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The illustrations

Another illustrator ! A "brother in arms".... ! :D I need more people crying for brush/picker improvements around here (joking ! ) , haha (they're so patient, aren't they, the devs...) . You know, there's overbooking of high end photographers around here... But that's good, too...I've realized they're people that put a lot of attention to detail and accuracy. That's good...

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I created are not for a special project or client, it's for my first portfolio ^^. I was training with vectorial drawing. So, when I started, color profiles and formats were not my priority. I just wanted to create...

The right approach, IMO.

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I did my illustrations in RVB.

RGB, I guess ( or an app that I don't know...).

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But later I told myself that If I wanted to print them one day (in order to sell some prints), I'll need a CMYK file. So I convert all my files in CMYK. Choosing the profile I appreciate the most - US web coated V2 (for the colors it gaves to my work after the conversion).

In the past, I'd do that, just Fogra 27, and the 39... as these are more usual in Europe. In that matter, GRACoL gave me often a better result, BTW.

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Now I know, we need to choose the CMYK profile according to the printer,  paper, etc... But I don't know the printer yet...

Yep. Happens all the time. That's what I explained above.... Working directly in CMYK, specially in vectors with fully flat colors, not a bad idea as keep you more or less in track of what is printable. Still, you can as well work in RGB. Yet tho my workflow advice is mostly from someone who work more often in raster....

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On the other hand, working in CMYK helped me a lot to manage the color harmony between them.

Because limits your gamma. And as you know from traditional ( and that knowledge is what really counts) , just random crazy colors lead you nowhere, and this can happen more often when there are no restrictions. You still can do a harmonized color scheme in RGB, and work in RGB, with proof setup if your apps allow it, or doing conversions from time to time to check. Once getting used, those conversions or working on proof mode are needed less frequently, IMO. But also depends totally on the type of work you are doing. Is miles away doing a logo with an specified pantone color that doing a digital painting for a book cover...For the former I would start with the exact colors and profile and everything, of course.

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(I was used to paint with acrylic.. It's very different, so my "RGB style" was terrible :D. CMYK gave me a kind of "style" I prefer. For me it's easier to work with.

Then, keep doing so. You know, all roads lead to Rome, sooner or later. Mostly, don't get overwhelmed. :) 

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So, I start all my new illustrations with this format since a few months.

I have to convert 18 CMYK illustrations to RGB, in order to put them on my future website.

Yesterday I was totally blocked, but this morning, a friend tell me how to do to resolve this problem. I will export the files as CMYK (in a JPEG or PNG).

 

To my knowledge, PNG does not support CMYK model (neither other also print related info) . And JPEG (supports CMYK) is always a format that introduces losses in quality, I strongly dislike it for print, tho a lot of people, magazines, do print JPGs. At maximum quality of compression, can be done, but I dislike that is always a diminished artifact that affect clarity and color. It changes my pixels. I hate that.... I'd rather advice tiffs (layered or not)...You are not a photographer, you only have now 18 files... And anyway, as I was saying somewhere else, you can zip the stored past work tiffs in external hard disk drives. Anyway you're gonna need at least one external HD, these by USB ports... Are cheap like never where,these days... really worth it, those 40 - 50 euros.  For a minimal safety of your work, and more importantly, your client's work. None of this formats (TIFF...)  is how is done in vector work. Vector files, unless containing a crazy load of nodes (not usual) are pretty light in disk size, be it a vectors PDF, EPS, AI, etc. Which would be crazy would be to destroy all editing capability of a vector based work by storing as a JPEG or TIFF, but I suppose you are not really talking about doing that other that to provide a final fast conversion for a client who just wants a raster, or a web upload to your portfolio.

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And open it in affinity, in order to convert the illustrations in RGB. Normally, the colors will be exactly the same. I think, convert the export is the quickest solution. I don't want to touch up all the colors of my 18 illustrations one by one!

If they are vectors, by all means, keep the vectors file, I don't care if they are RGB files. And all layers,  font layers, gradients, etc. You could convert to CMYK as vectors, and yeah, if you went crazy with the tones, you will see differences, as a neon intense magenta-cyan-aqua surely wont print...But ideally should keep vectors-editable. No issue tho  in keeping em as RGB vectors, do a bitmap export, and convert the bitmaps (raster files in RGB) to the whatever CMYK profile you would be required to to send to print, if that's easier/faster for you. Wouldn't be my fav workflow, but surely not a problem.

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When I try to convert the affinity designer file, it's impossible to have the same colors in CMYK and RGB. With the "Wide gamut RGB", the colors look better than with the other profiles. But there are some differences (opacity, and big saturation with some colors)

A piece created in Adobe RGB or the like without any constraints can definitely look different (not if the tones weren't saturated/bright ,etc) once converted to CMYK, that can be expected...

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(...And I'm french, so it's even more difficult to understand all this informations right 

Well, I'm from your southern neighbor country, Spain... this is also my second language, despite the (broken English) verbosity. I got so used to it at some jobs that now I put almost all my apps in English, otherwise am slightly lost... Still after years working and talking to all my colleagues in several companies in English (despite living here!), and doing gigs, I still have this broken English, lol.... ( someone could argue that I have a broken Spanish as well, haha)

4 hours ago, gbjack said:

Work in RGB and export to PDF exchange format (PDF/X) for print. That's my workflow, and no problems at all. I don't do any manual conversion for many years now.

Yup, I do that always that I am allowed. Is just that a bunch of print sites or just the client, would require a very specific other format, in a very specific CMYK (or RGB) color profile, even specifying the ink level, etc... But I rather prefer to export in PDF/X.


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Thank you everyone for your explanations  :)

 

10 hours ago, v_kyr said:

However in your case converting from CMYK to sRGB there shouldn't be such a big discrepancy between the shown colors.

I understand more now! (why sRGB is so useful). magenta/purple and some blue are a problem with CMYK profiles in general, I guess.. 

11 hours ago, gbjack said:

Work in RGB and export to PDF exchange format (PDF/X) for print. That's my workflow, and no problems at all. I don't do any manual conversion for many years now.

Thanks for this advice. It seems efficient and easier. I should try this method

5 hours ago, SrPx said:

You still can do a harmonized color scheme in RGB, and work in RGB, with proof setup if your apps allow it, or doing conversions from time to time to check.

2 very good ideas, I will try it too :)

5 hours ago, SrPx said:

I hope, after reading all ppl posts, your view changed in not seeing it as some "impossible task" , as indeed, is quite a dumb thing, is not sth you should be loosing all your energy on. IMO focus on your art and ENJOY it. That's what gets MOST obvious in your portfolio. Do stuff you like. So, "enjoy" is the best "technical advice".

Yes, I want to enjoy my art in priority! I didn't see all these things as an "impossible task" anymore. But there is so many things to learn.. it seems very significant. Other people's experience help me a lot.

5 hours ago, SrPx said:

Well, I'm from your southern neighbor country, Spain... this is also my second language, despite the (broken English)

Ahah x). I thought you where from US or UK, because I didn't see any difference. Google translation understand very well your "broken english"! They have improved in recent years. You are a chit-chatter but it's really cool. I learned some new english words, design vocabulary and technical things. It will be useful! I should put my apps in english as you do.

 

Yes, I meant RGB! (RVB is the french name of this colors -(Rouge Vert Bleu)

 

I will take the time to study these informations more in details

 

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21 hours ago, SrPx said:

Yup, I do that always that I am allowed. Is just that a bunch of print sites or just the client, would require a very specific other format, in a very specific CMYK (or RGB) color profile, even specifying the ink level, etc... But I rather prefer to export in PDF/X. 

My workflow with Adobe - use RGB PSD but CMYK to set colour attributes (e.g., set brand logo colour at M100, Y100 instead of using RGB. Doing this will not result in colour shift later), use CMYK illustrator files, Stock images in default JPEG, any PNG or JPEG (pixel size had to be big though because adobe distiller will convert the DPI to 300dpi)

PDF/ X is used for offset printing. I use it for all my print jobs, brochures, annual reports, flyers, event booth graphics including newspaper print (Newspaper only accept PDF through electronic transfer for a long time already). All printers will require you to use this format, but some designers still don't use it due to some reasons of their own.

If printer require special PDF settings, you can just set it or they will email you the settings for import. To be true, I don't remember I doing this at all since switching to PDF workflow more than 20 years ago.

There are a few types of PDF exchange format, I tried to keep to PDF/X-4 as much as possible because it is more flexible, unless your printer uses an old RIP that don't support this newer PDF format:

  1. PDF/X-1a:2003, blind exchange in CMYK + spot colors, based on PDF 1.4
  2. PDF/X-3:2003, allows CMYK, spot, calibrated (managed) RGB, CIELAB, with ICC Profile, based on PDF 1.4
  3. PDF/X-4, Colour-managed, CMYK, gray, RGB or spot colour data are supported, as are PDF transparency and optional content

For newspaper print, we will need to adjust the total ink coverage to 200% or as specify by your newspaper printer.

For web graphics, save your profile as sRGB will do. The old ways of converting images to CMYK and using TIFF format are long gone, there is no need to keep the old unproductive workflow.

Things to check in PDF

  • Check printer's marks
  • Check overprint if you need in some instances
  • Preflight PDF/X format in acrobat
  • Check printing plates
  • Check embedded fonts
  • Check ink percentage
  • Check total ink coverage, e.g., if you are printing on thin stock, don't use high percentage on all CMYK. The ink will soaked the paper and affect printing quality and drying time

Hope this clarify everything.

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16 hours ago, L-K said:

Yes, I meant RGB! (RVB is the french name of this colors -(Rouge Vert Bleu)

CMYK = CMJN? Curious anglophone here.


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7 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:

CMYK = CMJN? Curious anglophone here.

J = jaune (yellow)

N = noir (black)


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7 hours ago, gbjack said:

For web graphics, save your profile as sRGB will do. The old ways of converting images to CMYK and using TIFF format are long gone, there is no need to keep the old unproductive workflow.

Totally. Very good post.  The issue is one that is common with other situations : A lot (and I mean a lot) of times I am required to deliver not as a PDF, but in other formats (TIFF, very often), in CMYK, with a specific CMYK profile, certain ink coverage, etc. (well, sometimes even just a PNG...for print). In those (frequent) cases, I do my best to get the best scenario.


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All printers will require you to use this format, but some designers still don't use it due to some reasons of their own.

A bunch of the ones (print companies) I have dealt with (digital POD sites) do not, many wont let you give them a PDF... And yes, I know that is not offset, but digital printing. In the end, I don't chose the company to print with, neither a lot of other matters...This for doing graphic design stuff, but also (and mostly) illustrations.


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6 hours ago, SrPx said:

Totally. Very good post.  The issue is one that is common with other situations : A lot (and I mean a lot) of times I am required to deliver not as a PDF, but in other formats (TIFF, very often), in CMYK, with a specific CMYK profile, certain ink coverage, etc. (well, sometimes even just a PNG...for print). In those (frequent) cases, I do my best to get the best scenario.

 

5 hours ago, SrPx said:

A bunch of the ones (print companies) I have dealt with (digital POD sites) do not, many wont let you give them a PDF... And yes, I know that is not offset, but digital printing. In the end, I don't chose the company to print with, neither a lot of other matters...This for doing graphic design stuff, but also (and mostly) illustrations.

Then it is critical to make sure the colours you have chosen in RGB is within CMYK range and work in their given profile.

Also some digital printers do have a full range of colour charts. If you are regular or high volume client, they may give you a copy. This way you can get the exact colours your need. I suggest you to get such a colour book from them, and don't have to depend on the colours on your screen. We can do a test print on a smaller  output with the same printer so that we can then adjust the colours in the final actual size print.

Lastly I want to add that we need to have a good monitor too to get better colour display. Ideally 100% sRGB and 80% RGB. I am using a ThinkPad with poor sRGB at home and iMac at work. So I tend to "distrust" the display on the ThinkPad, rather replying on the colour percentages I choose.

I guess the longer you work with it, you will generally know what the output will be. E.g, if you add 100M 100Y you have a general idea how red it will be or 10m 100y, you will have an idea how the outcome will be.

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16 hours ago, Old Bruce said:

CMYK = CMJN? Curious anglophone here.

Yes! CMJN (Cyan Magenta Jaune Noir). It's weird that we don't say "CMYB" in english! I guess it's because "Blue" and "Black" start with a "B"

 

9 hours ago, SrPx said:

A bunch of the ones (print companies) I have dealt with (digital POD sites) do not, many wont let you give them a PDF... And yes, I know that is not offset, but digital printing. In the end, I don't chose the company to print with, neither a lot of other matters...This for doing graphic design stuff, but also (and mostly) illustrations.

Currently, I'm more interested in POD than Offset. Which ones do you use?

 

3 hours ago, gbjack said:

Then it is critical to make sure the colours you have chosen in RGB is within CMYK range and work in their given profile.

Also some digital printers do have a full range of colour charts. If you are regular or high volume client, they may give you a copy. This way you can get the exact colours your need. I suggest you to get such a colour book from them, and don't have to depend on the colours on your screen. We can do a test print on a smaller  output with the same printer so that we can then adjust the colours in the final actual size print. 

Lastly I want to add that we need to have a good monitor too to get better colour display. Ideally 100% sRGB and 80% RGB. I am using a ThinkPad with poor sRGB at home and iMac at work. So I tend to "distrust" the display on the ThinkPad, rather replying on the colour percentages I choose.

I guess the longer you work with it, you will generally know what the output will be. E.g, if you add 100M 100Y you have a general idea how red it will be or 10m 100y, you will have an idea how the outcome will be. 

Thanks a lot for these advices! :)

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9 hours ago, gbjack said:

Then it is critical to make sure the colours you have chosen in RGB is within CMYK range and work in their given profile.

Yep... This is what I do :).  My work has visually seamless conversion when I convert to CMYK (when needed), and when provided as RGB, I know that if they internally somehow convert to CMYK (I know at least some do despite not being offset) nothing wrong will happen. I just know I always need to have my stuff in a "printable range". Also, if something gets some variation, luckily they tend to have some sort of faked proof system first, is far from perfect but allows catching some bad things...Remember, these are at the bottom, the cheapest companies, which are the one chosen by other people, not me... :S... (or shouldn't). Been mostly works indigital painting, so is more of a visual habit while working in sRGB or Adobe RGB, rather than a scientific process. But in vector, flat colors, much easier... Anyway, been a long time since I had a problem with files sent to print to whatever the system, luckily...

9 hours ago, gbjack said:

Also some digital printers do have a full range of colour charts. If you are regular or high volume client, they may give you a copy.

Sadly, not the case... I'm provided with very little material, although I totally adhere to their usual templates, as if not, is calling for problems... Is quite the opposite scenario... High volume client...rarely... in a pair of cases, but it wasn't me directly contacting with them, but the client, which is often a very bad situation, as they often don't understand what they are being told (that's indeed why they contracted you, but in the print stuff, seems hard to really get to directly handle the situation with the print company). I didn't know that was a possibility, will care to ask next time. As that could be extremely helpful. Heck, any info about their workflow is, as even some bits can let me see what's  gonna happen to the file. Problem is when you are not provided with much clues.. My usual deal is do some works, the project author (often different each time) sends to print. Always a different company, even inside same project, depending on deals they find, or type of stuff to print. I even loose track, honestly. I'd rather prefer to print with one or two fav ones of mine, but I don't even dare lately to seek which are my fav ones, as people just go for their best bargain, and nothing one could say can change that.... I know, this all is far from professional, but what can one do...

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I suggest you to get such a colour book from them, and don't have to depend on the colours on your screen

heh, I have a CMYK samples book in my drawer, I use it for the whole monitor calibration / room lighting thing, to get the colors I want in the screen look pretty similar to these CMYK mixes samples... But that's the only book of samples I ever handled (and pantone books when I was working at certain agency...)
 

Quote

Lastly I want to add that we need to have a good monitor too to get better colour display. Ideally 100% sRGB and 80% RGB

I don't have a really pro monitor, the Eizos escaped my budget in its day ( and lol, definitely are out of range now,)... I have a NEC Spectraview (European branch of the NECs "pro" line, I believe), and is around those numbers. A lot of my workflow is in the sRGB range, so, rarely an issue found... Also, gradients are smooth, overall is quite a good monitor ( yet a TFT (IPS), no LED! ). Wasn't cheap, and is probably a semi professional monitor, somehow. Still, I have it hardware calibrated (i1 display Pro)  and the software included is great for that. I have a reasonable workflow, and when I get the samples printed (I usually get a totally free copy of the final product), well, is mostly fine for the price it was printed at. Lately pretty accurate, indeed. I had for some time, when I had two computers, a Dell supposed to be professional, 10 bits was quite a thing those years, supposedly great to be calibrated and all,  but in my tests, this NEC performed much better...So, when I came to sell one of the systems, preferred to get ride of the Dell.  Wish I had a better system overall, tho. Look, I've done all corporate image of a company for almost a decade,  with a mainstream crappy 19" Philips, back in the day, only software calibrated (but to be honest, I had a ton of tricks(heck, I even knew how and where was located the color non-uniformity, light leaks, gradient cuts by the crappy monitor and not in real data, etc), and delivered my self to the print facility, they knew me, allowed free proof tests, etc...otherwise would have been not just a nightmare, but an impossible nightmare.). This all might seem cr4ppy (it is), but hey, in my area I've had friends with no contract at all (yup, and not immigrants) and sleeping in the office as didn't have a flat.... !  :D (and yeah, in the "first world"...)

9 hours ago, gbjack said:

I am using a ThinkPad with poor sRGB at home and iMac at work. So I tend to "distrust" the display on the ThinkPad, rather replying on the colour percentages I choose

I have always had this issue (one of the many reasons I dislike laptops, only second to their usual inclusion of a 5400rpm or lower instead of a 7200, at least in the old times) where the people I work for , be it as a side freelancer, full time freelancer, or at the job (CEOs, CTOs, marketting people, the company's client, etc) would always have a laptop. And they'd expect that if a color does not show in their laptop, is MY fault...Because, they have a 3k or 2k laptop, how could it not display a color. Thing is, one gets the surprise of seeing great laptops with a very crappy contrast ratio screen, often really bad. Is not rare a 40% or less NTSC or Adobe RGB. A contrast ratio of 500:1 or lower... They get subtle clear tones burned to white, and loose dark tones, or, never get deep blacks (printed blacks are another total different issue, that'd be derailing this too much, but with this matter there's also issues when they check the stuff). Recently, I had this slight ( I tend to have even friendship relation with the project owners)  argument because the man was not seeing the colors right. I finally convinced him to check the image in desktops, the more the merrier. He did so, and realized I was spot on. Indeed, got surprised once printed. I received the printed sample, and was really satisfying to see once again the colors just as I had them on screen.
 

Quote

Currently, I'm more interested in POD than Offset. Which ones do you use?

After my paragraphs above, you will have at this point realized am the worst to ask that... I don't really seek the perfect print company anymore, just care to know the tricks on each one, as much.  In this, and anything else, don't follow the cr4ppy cheapo, follow better GbJack's advices... :) 

Anyway, as you asked, I find quite accurate the prints compared to what I design and illustrate in screen ( and I mean, quite a accurate) when I send to print to these ones :

https://www.printplaygames.com/  ( works quite well for me)

https://www.drivethrucards.com/    (just.... the last time I sent stuff there, the files preparation is more complex than in others. Can overwhelm someone not very used to stuff, but is at the same time an advantage if you handle well that stuff: is a more controlled thing, probably, to ensure great results. Also, they might have simplified the workflow since then.)

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/  (only a pair of times, I believe, but they went really well )

Then... A few more... There's one that totally rocked for printing HUGE vector based posters I made for events, recently... Even more, a raster too, of huge size (was a pain to make in this PC (in my signature, I'm a cr4ppy hardware magician, you know.... ;D ) . I was surprised that as fast as I had to do it, absolutely no little issue showed up.  Sadly, I don't remember now the name (and am in a rush)

Then, several others for book covers... sorry, don't remember the names...

A local one to print over cloth (I did that once for a software company on the US, had no time for a test, it was crazily complex, and also went well... yeah, a monitor calibrated and sane workflow is key.... )  I don't remember the name either, lol, but wouldn't be of help, anyway. At the end, you check, see if can do some proof test, and today most companies, well known ones, tend to do well the deal.

Obviously, not mentioning the ones with which the stuff went bad. ( and wont do, no matter what)

Again, follow best GBJack's advice. (and MikeW's )

New forum game : Count how many times I said "cr4ppy".   :D 

 


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6 hours ago, L-K said:

It's weird that we don't say "CMYB" in english! I guess it's because "Blue" and "Black" start with a "B"

Supposedly, the "K" stands for "key," a reference to the key plate registration in offset printing ... or something like that. But some sources say it was chosen because it is the last letter in "black," so take your pick.


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7 hours ago, L-K said:

Yes! CMJN (Cyan Magenta Jaune Noir). It's weird that we don't say "CMYB" in english! I guess it's because "Blue" and "Black" start with a "B"

Took me a year to figure that one out. Granted I didn't actually think about it too hard but still, A YEAR!


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Thanks a lot, SrPx

I finally understood my issue. :D

You where right, the problem came from saturated colors. In CMYK, they doesn't seems too saturated. But they where located on the triangle edge or extremities. With the conversion, they changed a lot ! I just have to touch up a few ones. sRGB fits great with the rest of the non-problematic colors/illustrations

I'll use this profile for my RGB files

 

(4 cr4ppy)

 

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You are welcome  :)  ( boring wall of text hidden (by me) below.... )

Maybe I'm wrong, but then maybe the real cause was that at some moment of the projects, you were choosing the colors to use not with the CMYK mixer, but with a RGB mixer, yet being in CMYK mode, in whichever the application ( some apps allow this). IE, instead of selecting percentages of C, M, I , Y and K ink. The numbers were so which they really were,  already back then,  though when visualized in CMYK mode (or proof), you wouldn't see that. Once in RGB mode you could see its real tone (those rgb numbers) and so, real saturation, etc.  With "real" I mean as a color in the screen, a screen light based tone, of course.

Or maybe I am very wrong, lol, dunno.   

The thing is : Yup, gbjack's way is best. And they 21th century's one, they say,  But... Thing is, many places, specially dirty cheap ones, you're not given that sort of options. At some places they will even tell you to provide JPGs or PNGs!. Or... a non PDF/X pdf, or a tiff, psd . Of course, all this speaking of raster... I've been doing the old "convert to profile" thing from rgb to cmyk for eons, converting towards whatever the requested profile from the print company, probably since '96. Old habits are hard to abandone, but I have since some time started to do mostly RGB based workflows, as... they end up much better with digital printing companies. They are more flexible, allow better result and to more varied media. With all this I mean delaying the CMYK conversion, pushing it to a later moment, or leaving it to their RIP (again, in raster stuff, not vectors). One thing I used to make a lot (mostly till around 2012 or so...even a bit more lately for other projects)  is exporting to PDF/X-1a, export with setting "preserve numbers"  in output and specifying a destination profile, indeed, the one that the print company uses. Even when already  newer versions were available, but it meant a wider range of compatible printing places. That PDF/X version forces the use of CMYK and is a minimal common denominator. Obviously more of a destructive workflow than a RGB based one. But lately, it can lead to certain problems. I've seen that with a perfectly prepared PDF/X-1a , in a way that never happened in the old years.  I guess also as is becoming quite obsolete with modern workflows and machines. To a point maybe new people wont be used to handle it... 

The thing is, whenever you are told or you dig that can use PDF/X... try it to be PDF/X-4.  As 3 and 4 allow the RGB full workflow (and have other strong advantages). But only if the print company ensures in their specs, guide or whatever (or in direct communication with them) that they support it, exactly. If not, issues, again. No matter how modern and correct way of doing things is it today. This is what I found. If they ask you sending a PNG, do so, lol... I've indeed compared results, certainly a lot of the digital print sites do a better job when provided an RGB file (in my case, best when sent a sRGB. Might be coincidence). They indeed do a better conversion than one could do, as their machines and software have been really getting better. This has become increasingly clear to me in latest scenarios. Also, they really have more specs and details on the media they will be using, and often more knowledge than you have, surely. So, that part, if makes sense, is better if done by them. But some sites will TOTALLY require an already converted CMYK file, with a very specific color profile and other settings. This is why I still recommend knowing about doing it the old way. Anyway, there remains some big truths about it : Very often you can't print the intensity of a light based color over paper with pigment based colors. Indeed, some digital printing PODs literally recognize they tell their users to provide files in CMYK because this way they ensure they don't get non-printable colors chosen by the authors. Even while they use RGB based workflows and machines.  

Again, follow their rules and you'll get the best they can produce. Not only in that, but also in bleed, safe area, using their own templates (also typically is cheaper to use their standard sizes and templates than a custom size) , etc.. I think it will finally go all to a point where serious places will keep using PDF/X + RGB based workflows in the way that the conversion to cmyk is delayed to the maximum, be it the global PDF export from Indesign or whatever, or even more, conversion just happening in their system. And the digital print companies will keep improving their workflow and machines, being increasingly able to deliver better results when just provided an RGB file.So, in raster you could stay in RGB mode till final export in any case . This way, you keep the maximum outputs possible for several types of papers, color profiles, web, etc. Instead of getting so limited and tied to a very short range of color and only one specific media and specific color profile since the start or early stage. If working at a company, with always a good offset printer, or varied companies which would only print with good offset ones, I think today all is easier and issues free. The PDF/X thing is specifications, collections of safe measures to actually avoid issues that always happened in the past. So, we are now in a much better moment. I always thought printing (this is said by an illustrator by passion who prefers to use the time on illustrating or designing :D ) was more complicated and tricky than it should be.... Maybe we're finally making things easier...

This all if in raster... For vectors... Dunno, I keep seeing a better idea to work directly in CMYK from start (or with the provided spot colors, etc). I've done sometimes in RGB, but was a very controlled scenario, would deal the conversion later in a very expected way, and some cases, well, the output was requested as a RGB only file from the client. When it's a logo, you requiring  specific cmyk values or spot color, I don't see the advantages of going for RGB, but dunno.

I'm a bit of a noob ( meaning , I was in '95, still am, haha. So, take it all with a LARGE grain of salt...)

 

Quote

(4 cr4ppy)

Mais oui !

Lol, you actually counted them !  :D 


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I used the shortcut ctrl + F to find the number of cr4ppy in this page!

I don't know. To pick my colors, I use the HSL wheel (triangle) in affinity designer. It's the only wheel. What does HSL means? I guess this is compatible with both (CMYK and RGB colors)
 

18 hours ago, SrPx said:

 

This all if in raster... For vectors... Dunno, I keep seeing a better idea to work directly in CMYK from start (or with the provided spot colors, etc). I've done sometimes in RGB, but was a very controlled scenario, would deal the conversion later in a very expected way, and some cases, well, the output was requested as a RGB only file from the client. When it's a logo, you requiring  specific cmyk values or spot color, I don't see the advantages of going for RGB, but dunno.

Maybe.. But we can use vectors for web too.  I think I'll check sometimes with a quick conversion, in order to see if my colors looks similars with the other format (CMYK or RGB).

For a logo, it's better to start in CMYK.. and avoid the idea of saturated turquoise or magenta if we have to print lol

 

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Thanks to google: Teinte Saturation Luminosité = Hue Saturation Luminosity

Here's another way to think of CMYK vs. RGB. CMYK is subtractive. The cyan, magenta, and yellow, if evenly mixed as paints, will give a dull brown, which will go ever darker as black is added. RGB is additive. Small amounts of RGB give a dark brownish color.  Both CMYK and RGB are limited by material considerations. CMYK dyes have different staining powers on different papers. The same press using different papers will produce different appearances. Any change in the ink from one brand to another will probably cause more changes. RGB depends on the phosphors in the computer display. Early on, when color was being introduced to desktop computing, many inexpensive monitors had a blue cast to the color, and were quite dim. Professional graphics monitors had a wider color spectrum that could be adjusted. They were brighter, but often had hoods around them to keep ambient light from degrading the display.

Also, consider. How would a painting or water color made w. only CMYK compare to one made w. perhaps 24 pigments/dyes? By comparison, the CMYK will most likely be distorted and dull compared to the subject one sees.


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thanks for these explanations!

Ok, TSL is a french thing! I will edit my message. But there is no "L" in affinity designer. It's an "I" (intensity/Intensité, maybe?)

Saturated paintings/watercolor can be difficult to convert to CMYK.. But we can touch up colors with softwares :)

I didn't really understood the comparison in your last phrase. Because CMYK is not comparable to work with real paintbrushes, and water. (And my translation in french do not make any sens..)

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6 minutes ago, L-K said:

Ok, TSL is a french thing! I will edit my message. But there is no "L" in affinity designer. It's an "I" (intensity/Intensité, maybe?)

They seem to be calling it TSI for "teinte, saturation, intensité lumineuse", but I agree that it would be better if they called it TSL.

https://affinity.help/photo/fr.lproj/index.html?page=pages/Adjustments/adjustment_HSL.html?title=Réglage TSI


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