Need help with changing colors when printing

  • I created some fantasy postcards in my self promotion class. I first created sketches, then did all the makeup on the model's faces, then I used Photoshop to change the eye and hair color, and add backgrounds and extras.

    I tried to print these for my portfolio, but we had to print everything in CMYK, and it changed all my colors - now they are dull and dark. If I can figure out how to fix it, I can reprint them, but I don't have much time. Does anyone know what I need to do?

    The first 3 pics are what they are supposed to look like. The bottom two are what happened when I changed to CMYK.

    Whimsical Mermaid Princess

    Magical Galaxy Unicorn

    Flaming Golden Phoenix

    This is what happened to the colors when I changed them to CMYK for my portfolio. The colors changed on all four, but these two are the worst.



    Please help!

  • Hi Jesse,
    There are several things to keep in mind when you plan on printing you work.

    • list itemthe RGB range is bigger than the CMYK range of colors for some hues.
      Talk to your printer and ask them if they print in RGB (Digital printing) or CMYK (cheaper when you want to print a larger number). and see if they have any other tips to get the best results when you print using their equipment. different printers have different printing equipment and will give you different results.

    • list itemUsually RGB is more accurate because in CMYK there's more human involvement...colors may need to be mixed manually, this is why companies that have a specific color and want to keep it consistent get their color mixed digitally in what is known as a spot color. more expensive of course.

    • list itemwhat you see on your screen is usually deceiving since the the light comes out of the screen, so unless you print on paper that emits light, the colors will always be darker in print.
      some artists recommended that calibrating the monitor, to be honest I don't know anyone here who does that.

    • list itemprinting on different materials can get you different results. Try different stock and see what is best for you.

    Try as many options as you can, print samples in smaller sizes and quantities at different printers.
    good luck!

  • With all due respect to Heidi, you can't print "rgb". A printer or RIP can convert RGB but a printer will not reproduce the RGB color gamut.

    RGB is meant for viewing on a monitor red/green/blue pixels that mix to create the projected colors on a monitor. CMYK is Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black which is the ink mixture to create a color range based on reflected light (printed pieces).

    One question you can ask that may improve some printed results is what type of files your printer prefers? If printing digitally, some printer RIPS are designed to convert RGD to CMYK, others prefer you convert the files on your end.

    When you create the artwork yo have to aware of the colors available in CMYK as opposed to RGB.

    Good video to watch on this page.

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