Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speaking of color

RGB vs. CMYK has always eluded me. Primarily because I don't print, not even now in CMYK (at least I don't have to deliver my files to my printer in CMYK profiles).

But what the hell is CMYK? What is RGB for that matter?

Upon reading a few articles on colors, I stumbled across this:


- RGB together make white. CMY together make black.
- CMY stands for Cyan Magenta and Yellow.
- R/C, G/M, and B/Y are complementary colors. In Photoshop, the "color balance" layer adjustment gives you these options for shadows, midtones, and highlights.
- There is nearly impossible for CMY to reflect pure RGB values and vice versa. It's nearly impossible to make pure blue with CMY colors. You can get close but it won't be perfect. This is why displays (which are RGB) must be calibrated but fall short sometimes when attempting to show CMY colors (pure C, pure M, and pure Y).
-"They (CMY and RGB) are opposites and yet complementary at the same time" I love this line ;)

Here's a second article for reference:


  1. Hey Charles, I too was having difficulties with the articles on the web, some where too technical with no practical application and others, well, were just weird ;) I found this one, http://www.cinepaint.org/more/tutorial/Grokking-the-GIMP/node53.html this morning and things started to click ;)

  2. Interesting. Just read it. Makes good sense! Good addendum to the 2 articles above. I don't use GIMP though :) Do you?