On Color Models
Translated from: 察顏觀色 (上)
What’s going on with the cover page for this season’s brochure? It’s darker than expected and the colors don’t seem right. I don’t think it appears to be the one we saw on the Power Point slide during our last group meeting. Didn’t I remind you to double-check things out before it’s sent for print?
I did reconfirm the file and I am sure that the print shop received the final version of our brochure—the one we went over in the meeting—but I seriously don’t know why everything is different…bawl…waah…
Perhaps you’ve also encountered similar dilemma to what Tiny Inc. faces. Yet, do you know what causes such conundrum? It has a lot to do with “Color Models” (aka. color modes).
What is Color Model?
Color mode is an objective way or system to define how colors in terms of hue (i.e. the attribute of a color), value (i.e. the brightness of a color), and saturation (i.e. the intensity of a color) are presented for the subjective human eyes.
For different applications and purposes, different color modes are used. Normally, for digital devices such as computer, television, or mobile screens, the RGB Model is used, whereas the CMYK Model applies to printing machines.
RGB Color Mode
RGB Color Mode is the color system used by electronic devices when showing digital graphics. As the name indicates, it stands for the combination of Red, Green, and Blue. The colored images we see on digital screens are presented through the mix of Red, Green, and Blue lights under different wavelengths (Coreal, n.d.).
The RGB is an additive color model where all the colors are created by adding and mixing the three different color lights. For instance, if we mix the three colors all with a fair proportion, we may then get a pure white color (99designs, 2019).
If we mix the Red light and Green light only, yellow would be created. An add-up of perfect Red and Blue would result in a magenta (i.e. between red and purple). Green and Blue will make a cyan-blue.
The numeric scale for Red, Green, and Blue spans from 0 to 255 respectively. A pure red, for example, yields a 255 for the Red scale while 0s for the Green and Blue scales.
Pure yellow, as noted earlier, comes from an addition of Red 255 and Green 255 with a Blue 0.
If the three colors are set at 255 on the scales, pure white would be created; zeroes on the three-color scales, on the other hand, turns out to form a pure black color. When the three-color scales are set in equal proportions other than 255 or 0, grey would be shown, either in a darker or lighter form.
CMYK Color Mode
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK (or some say Key). It is a color system used in the printing industry, and unlike the RGB, which is an additive color model, the CMYK model is a subtractive one. That is, the colors are formed by the subtraction of light or brightness.
For example, whereas the combination of Red, Green, and Blue forms a pure White in the RGB mode, an overlapping of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow forms a pure Black color as bright light is removed in the blending process (Modern Soapmaking, n.d.).
CMYK color system takes advantage of print papers by absorbing the paints and reflecting them onto our human eyes through a myriad of light forms. When white lights are spotlighted on the dark paints, part of the light on the color spectrum would be absorbed into the material while another part of it would create a reflex for eye inspection (Coreal, n.d.).
Now, I assume, brilliant as you are, you must have discovered what probably have happened when Tiny Inc. sent the company brochures for print.
Mainly, that is due to the fact that under different devices, different color modes will be used, and hence results in the discrepancies between the screen-displayed colors and the paper-displayed colors.
If that is the case, how then should we avoid such color gaps?
Stay tuned for next week’s column, and you’ll find the brilliant way to solve this problem!
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