PDA

View Full Version : For Print: work in RGB or CMYK?


michaelb
04-12-2005, 09:32 PM
Hi,
For those of you who are working on projects destined for print: Do you find it better to do all your digital artwork in RGB mode, and then convert to CMYK mode when you're ready for printing; or do you get a better idea of the final printed colors if you do the whole project in CMYK from the start? Basically, I wanted to know if I work in RGB mode, are there going to be real headaches getting a good color approximation in print? I am familar with some of the issues involved, but I would like to have the benefit of your experience as well.

Thanks,
MB

chrismoose
04-13-2005, 09:25 AM
hi,

i cant help answer your question but in order to keep this post alive, and because people who do know seem to have a problem in giving answers (so i've found), i thought i'd post here as i do have a similar query;

can anyone tell me about the types of color profiles that publishers/printers use. do they use a standard that can be downloaded from somewhere. in painter 8 you can set the color management profile to make things look a certain way/color. if i had this, then i could get a closer idea of the colors a publisher/printer would see.
i've heard of the adobe 19?? something like that...
any ideas.ta.

chris.

Jinbrown
04-13-2005, 06:41 PM
Hi guys,

I can't help you with color profiles, etc. myself, but here are some things that may help you with color, generally speaking:

Painter only works in RGB though two file formats can be saved from Painter in CMYK: PSD and TIFF.

On the Corel site, there's a tutoral written, I believe, by one of the original Painter developers, John Derry:

Matching Color Management Settings in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter (http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Corel2/Products/Content&pid=1047022702185&cid=1047022948841)

On Sandman's site, there's a CMYK compatible Color Set created by artist Tim Jessell that you can download and use in Painter. Tim says it's helped him save time after the image is completed since there's not so much color tweaking required in Photoshop. Scroll to the bottom of this page to find Tim's Color Set:

Tim's CMYK Compatible Color Set (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.gell/Pages/Guest_Resources.html)

If you're interested, Tim's a successful artist, long time expert Painter user, and does beautiful childrens' book illustration as well as advertising and editorial art:

Tim Jessel Illustration (http://www.timjessell.com)

DigArts
04-13-2005, 08:12 PM
Hi,
For those of you who are working on projects destined for print: Do you find it better to do all your digital artwork in RGB mode, and then convert to CMYK mode when you're ready for printing; or do you get a better idea of the final printed colors if you do the whole project in CMYK from the start? Basically, I wanted to know if I work in RGB mode, are there going to be real headaches getting a good color approximation in print? I am familar with some of the issues involved, but I would like to have the benefit of your experience as well.

Thanks,
MB

What kind of print?

If you're working with a publisher, ask. If you're working with Epsons, you may find it better to stay in RGB. Much depends on who and what is printing the file. Most of the people I know working in Painter/PS and using an Epson 2200-9600 stay in RGB.

For example, it would be a shame to limit your palette to Painter's CMYK only to discover later that the printer offered a much wider color gamut than the image.

Calibrating your monitor to match the capabilities of the printer is the best way to insure a successful result. If you're going to do this often, you'll want to get a calibrating device. They go in the $250 range (and up) as I recall.

Once you start proofing you can usually adjust your monitor within 20% of the print result even without calibration. The idea is to make your monitor display the printer's result. That eliminates the guesswork.

Try the digital fine art group at Yahoo. Some knowledgeable printers are there. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/digital-fineart?yguid=214439401

Good luck.

Dennis@DigArts
http://www.gardenhose.com (http://www.gardenhose.com/)
Tree & foliage tools for art professionals

michaelb
04-13-2005, 09:48 PM
Thanks for all the nifty information, I'm sure it will come in handy. The link to the Yahoo digital fine art group looks especially promising, because I was interested in learning more about the giclee digital fine art process. I was paging through one of the most recent artist magazines (I forget which one), and I noticed that giclees are printed using 12 colors, instead of just 4 like CMYK printing. Now that would be nice to have for color fidelity! I used some CMYK color calibration software/hardware years ago, but at that point in time the cost was over $1000 and the results did not live up to the hype. I went back to using RGB only, converting to CMYK for printing and tweaking the file as needed for printing from a desktop printer. Nowadays I am thinking of large-format fine art prints, possibly up to 3 x 4 feet, and I wanted to get an idea what was the most efficient way to work. I guess there are as many ways of getting your work into print as there are of getting it made in the first place! :)

chrismoose
04-14-2005, 12:04 PM
thanks for the info people. i'll get back to you if i have any more q's.

regards,
chris

c-g
04-14-2005, 07:14 PM
Thanks for all the nifty information, I'm sure it will come in handy. The link to the Yahoo digital fine art group looks especially promising, because I was interested in learning more about the giclee digital fine art process. I was paging through one of the most recent artist magazines (I forget which one), and I noticed that giclees are printed using 12 colors, instead of just 4 like CMYK printing.

They use 12 but they are doubles 2 black, 2 Cyan, etc... One the printer behind me the extra ones are Light cyan and Light magentas. If we wanted we could have the printer set up to use green and orange instead of these two light colors. Digital files look great from this type of system. Gradients are the only thing that starts to look funny because of the color banding. Most printers do that though.

michaelb
04-15-2005, 12:27 AM
That's a good point. It was only this morning that I was doing some research on the issue of gradients banding. I thought, "If Painter could only process and paint with a 16 bit color range, it would really smooth out the banding I might see if I paint a smooth, large, open blue sky." Then I realized that the 16 bit Painter file would most probably have to be converted to a regular RGB 8 bit file format anyway so the giclee printer could read it, and it might introduce banding artifacts of its own in the conversion. Thanks for the tip on the giclee CMYK ink duplicates, I hadn't realized that. I figured they would have a real green, orange, purple, etc. instead of just lighter and darker versions of the C, M, Y, and K inks. Are the green and orange extra cost? Any ideas on ways to avoid the banding artifacts altogether? (Hmmm. Do they make 16 bit printers? :) )

c-g
04-15-2005, 01:59 PM
I believe you need to do a conversion and possible print head change if you use green and orange, I'm not sure though.

I don't think the banding is the color depth of the file but more of an artifact of the way printers work. It is just the halftone pattern that it lays down. That is one reason for LtC and LtM, you can lay down full ink instead of dithering regular cyan and magenta. For some reason we are only on Photoshop 7 so I don't have a real easy way to create a 16 bit content but I'm pretty sure our rip software can load it in. This seems like a good thing to test.. Over the weekend I'll make something to test at 8bit and 16bit to see if there is a visable difference when it rips the print.

michaelb
04-15-2005, 09:29 PM
I appreciate your willingness to experiment on my behalf. Just don't break anything important. :) From all the stuff I read about the high dynamic range file formats on the 3D forums, I wouldn't be surprised if 16 bits or higher would be used by printers in the future. I still have 8 bit RGB Painter though. That seems to work OK for now. :)

c-g
05-03-2005, 05:09 PM
Sorry this took so long.

The rip software didn't have any problem bringing in a 16 bit tiff*. At some level you will still be limited by the way the rip/printer produces the colors. If you consider that a vector based gradient from Illustrator will show color banding, painting in 16bit might not do anything for you. With that said it would aways be best to work in the highest possible format. Color resolution is just like pixel rez. If you work at double size why not work at double depth..expecially if you are going to do any processing. Why make your art the lowest common denominator?

*I created a 8192x8192 spectrum color gradient with zero-full saturation and zero-full values.

michaelb
05-03-2005, 09:17 PM
No problem, I appreciate your interest. I was thinking along the same lines about using 16 bit file formats in a special way. You'd have to use another application (Photoshop CS, LightWave 3D, etc., etc.) to create a 16 bit file, then create your large-area, smooth gradients in that high color resolution file. Then turn back to Painter 8 bit for anything that does NOT need a big smooth gradient transition (anything textured, etc), and save that work to an 8 bit file along with an alpha channel mask. Then simply drop your 8 bit file into your 16 bit file, move it around until it mathes up right and save the 16 bit file again. If my trick would work right, you would have your super smooth gradients, along with your painterly Painter stuff, all in the highest color res. The only problem with my scheme is that it requires me to spend more $$$ for a 16 bit painting app that I don't have. :rolleyes:

Hmmm. Maybe we'll get lucky and the Painter IX patch will transform it into a full fledged 16 bit app. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

mcarp
05-04-2005, 07:18 PM
It's what I've always done, and I got the tip from somewhere else...

always work in RGB, and if you are doing prepress, make the conversion to CMYK the last thing you do.

TogaMario
05-06-2005, 02:14 PM
I work in a prepress graphic position, and we use CMYK for everything (naturally) because we need to make absolute sure that we're representing the PMS colors requested by our clients. I have no personal preference otherwise, but when it comes to needing separation printing for plate making, CMYK would be the only accurate way to go. Now, if you're making a poster or something to that effect for printing, RGB is fine. Just make sure you've got a high res image (300 dpi) and you'll at least have no artifacting or blurring, lol.

c-g
05-06-2005, 04:21 PM
...but when it comes to needing separation printing for plate making, CMYK would be the only accurate way to go.

We have gotten REALLY good results with L*A*B files since the rip software reads that in fine and knows what the printer can print as opposed to what another program deciding what can be reproduced with generic CMYK guidlines. I'm not saying that is the best way to go, with some files it doesn't matter. I thought I'd just confuse the issue with more info. :)

BTW check with the place you are printing with. If quality is more important than price don't limit yourself to only local printers.

Also consider:


White ink is starting to become popular (used mostly for printing on clear film)
The orange and green inks mentioned earlier will give better results.
Some printers have multiple levels of black suchs as lK (light black) or even more levels. I saw an ad yesterday for a printer that used four levels of black.
Print resolution. Highspeed will be lower res and printers might push for this because your job won't tie up their printer. The higher the res the higher the cost.
Media and laminates. We mostly print on vinyl with a glossy laminate, but have an ocassional photopapaer print as well as banner material and even cloth.
Proofs. Depending on the printer and the size of the proof they may or not charge for a proof. It isn't too hard to find an area that might cause problems. If I can print a 3"x5" area we don't charge.
Be picky about the quality! If the print is screwed up and it wasn't something in the file it isn't your fault.
Web graphics don't make good prints when 1500% of their size. This drives me crazy and I may have to kill you. :) I had a print that the pixels were 3 inches across and the jpeg artifacts made up most of the graphics. I was embarased to print it.
Now with that said I am in no way trying to get your business. Chances are good that you WILL have a local printer that will work fine.

CGTalk Moderation
05-06-2005, 04:21 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.