What Is the Difference Between RGB and CMYK Color Models?
December 28, 2017
Web designers and printing professionals are familiar with the acronyms RGB and CMYK. These two color models come into play when creating print and digital projects. And if you are outsourcing a project or designing it yourself, you should know what these two industry standards for color are and how they differ.
What Is RGB?
RGB is an acronym that stands for the primary colors red, green, and blue. An additive color model, it is based on adding and mixing light. Red, green, and blue inks combine in different variations to create a whole spectrum of colors. When all three colors are displayed completely, the result is white. Used minimally, all three colors appear as black. Computer screens, scanners, and digital cameras display colors using the RGB system. This model works well for photo editing and designing web pages.
What Is CMYK?
CMYK is an acronym that stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Professional printers use this color system. This is the process used for printing brochures, postcards, business cards, flyers, magazines, and signs. This model is a subtractive process, using ink to subtract brightness from white. Cyan, magenta, and yellow combined create black. These four colors used in various amounts create the necessary range of colors for printing images.
Why Would RGB and CMYK Matter to Me?
Whether you are creating your own projects or hiring a professional to design or print them, it’s helpful to know more about these color models. And when using Photoshop image editing software you’ll be asked to select the correct model for your project. RGB and CMYK color processes are ideal for different mediums. For example, the subtractive nature of CMYK lends itself to printing, especially on white backgrounds. The RGB color process is suitable for images that are viewed digitally because the devices use light to create color.
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