What is CMYK?

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Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black

CMYK is the abbreviation of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is a color model that allows description of colors as a mix of four process colors. The CMYK standard model is used in offset printing of documents done in full color. Since this king of printing makes use of four basic colors, it is often referred to as the four-color printing. On the other hand, display devices use a color model known as RGB, which is Red, Green and Blue. A major challenge in desktop publishing is color matching. This involves proper conversion of RGB colors to CMYK colors in such a way that the printed output is exactly the way it appears on the computer monitor.

Difference between CMYK and RGB

When graphics are generated on a computer, there is an assumption that the printed copy will appear exactly the same as what is seen on the computer. Due to this assumption, files are sent out for printing in the RGB format. However, the challenge is that computer screens as well as most programs used in editing photos use RGB mode to show colors while printing on paper is done using the CMYK mode. In some cases, converting RGB in to CMYK is relatively easy and problem free hence the printed images are identical to the computer screen versions. However, there are situations where the difference in color shades is visible. RGB color format is mostly associated with displays on electronic devices such as LCD monitors, CRT, scanners and digital cameras. It is an additive kind of color that combines basic colors i.e. red, green and blue to varied degrees to generate a range of different colors. On the other hand, CMYK is the color mode that is used by printers to generate printed versions of images. This color format utilizes colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black in varied amounts to generate the required colors for printing images.

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