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  /   Knowledge Bank   /   RGB and CMYK Color Difference

RGB and CMYK Color Difference

RGB Color Model
RGB Color Model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue lights are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of this model is from the first letters of three additive primary colors. This RGB color model has been found of immense value in sensing, representation and display of images in electronic systems. This works very well in Televisions, Computers and Photography. RGB Color model is a device dependent color model. Every device detects or reproduces a given RGB value differently since the color elements and their response to the individual RGB levels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer or same device can give different results in different times. To maintain same color in every device needs color management. This RGB color model works in both input as well as output devices. The RGB Color value has to be same in both the devices otherwise the end result may vary from input to output device. A classic example is a TV camera and a TV set. The RGB color value may differ in both the devices and the results will be different from the actual. This works very typically in Photography where images in a Camera, an input device, should have same RGB level to the Printer, an output device, otherwise the results will vary.

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Additive Color model
In RGB, the three light beams, one red, one green, one blue must be superimposed on one another. These are components of colors, having an arbitrary intensity. It can be lowered to make higher, from fully off to fully on. The end result is as a result of this color mixing, though the process of addition. A range of colors can be produced from a hue to a shade by controlling the intensity of components of RGB colors.

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cmyk-rgb-differance

CMYK Color Model
The CKYK color model is a subtractive color model, which is mainly used in color printing. This color model refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key [Black] colors. These are basically colors of inks used in color printing. The Key stands as a key color because in four colors printing, cyan, magenta and yellow printing plates are carefully aligned with the key of black key plate. This CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. That is why CMYK is a subtractive model because the ink subtracts brightness from white.

The Difference between RGB & CMYK color Models
• RGB is based on projection of RED+GREEN+BLUE Lights. All projected together create WHITE. BLACK is encoded as absence of any color.
• CMYK is based on ink. CYAN+MAGENTA+YELLOW creates BLACK. WHITE is encoded as absence of any color.
• Prism uses RGB. Exporting RGB is very close to screen projection.
• Color conversions from RGB to CMYK changes the appearance of color. RGB gives BRIGHT colors where as CMYK gives DULL colors.

RGB versus CMYK. When to use Which and Why

WHEN
A designer has to know when to use RGB and when to use CMYK. Anything dealing with electronics or Web should always be in RGB Color model and all printed materials, on any surface should be in CMYK Color model.

WHY
Previously Printing Presses used separate ink plates for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and they printed one after another, allowing each one to dry first. Now the offset printers can use a SPOT color SWATCH as the Pantone Color. Some place Digital Printing uses RGB Color Model. But in all printing needs CMYK should be used as the color will appear different if printed in RGB Color model.

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