i heart learning

i heart learning

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CMYK - Colors May Yuc Kify

Today was one of those days where I learned something the hard way.
It's the worst kind of learn - like discovering you are allergic to sardines when you've already eaten half your sardine-infused caesar salad.

I will try to keep my graphicky jargon to a minimum here, so as not to loose readers like my mother or auntie rosie...here goes!

I have been working all day finalizing my second issue of the Classic BMW Motorrad - a vintage bmw motorcycle magazine in which I am the creative art director for. Lets just take a moment to rewrite that and say it out loud because it has a nice ring to it. Creative Art Director. Becca the CAD. Okay that's enough. So part of sending my design files off to the printer is changing them from computer colors (RGB) to colors that tangible ink can achieve (CMYK).

Mother are you still with me?

Computers can make billions of colors, and printers only millions - so you always lose some color quality when you do these transfers - but usually it is barely noticeable, and fixable if it occurs.

Here is my beautiful and vibrant cover, in RGB computer colors.

photo by Jeffery Yost, the VBMWMO president
Nice, eh?
But today I learned that the certain shades of blue and green I used for THE COVER are not able to successfully transfer to CMYK, thereby making my COVER look like it took a part time job as an infant's soother. Although perfect dry - it's soggy and washed out, like a humid day here in Montreal.

boo for CMYK
(Click on the photos to get a better look at the color differences. This small thumbnail size makes the latter surprisingly not as bad as I have built it up to be).


MY POOR COVER! Of all the 40 pages, CMYK decided to mess with the one page that people want to be wowed by.  The only 'wow' going on in my living room today was the 'uh-oh-how-do-i-fix-this?' kind.

After much putting my sudoku left mind to use, followed by some serious guess & tests & tinkering - I managed to come up with a passable CMYK solution that is pretty darned close to the original RGB. It is not a dolly the sheep clone - but she'll do just fine.


So to recap - I have learned to avoid using quebec-flag blues and grass greens like the plague in designs that have to be transfered for print. Or I have learned to budget another couple of hours to futz around if I get stuck using those hues.

If you are interested in vintage BMW motorcycles and would like to join the official club - you can go to http://vintagebmw.org/ to sign up! By signing up you will also the get a copy of the revamped quarterly Motorrad (with a gorgeous colored cover).

I can't wait to see the final print!

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