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Basic color question - RGB & CMYK assets in same files

Discussion in 'RIP Software & Color Management' started by JoeBoomer, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. JoeBoomer

    JoeBoomer Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    Yeah, yeah I need to learn color profiling, blah blah.... (spare me)

    Anyway, I have an AI file with spot colors and a RGB file (.psd) placed in the file.

    Print using Onyx and choose: "Profiles Off" - Spot colors look good, but image is washed out.

    Onyx - Profiles ON: get the opposite. Spot colors washed out & image looks good.
    I expected this, but need a good way to deal with it


    How should I handle these types of files? Should I convert placed images first, convert spot colors? Flatten the whole thing and save as raster image?

    Basically, I need an easy way to handle f:helpiles with any combination of Spot, RGB, and CMYK assets in the same file.

  2. JoeBoomer

    JoeBoomer Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    FYI - The AI colorspace is RGB. I did try changing the colorspace to CMYK as well as RGB without any I always work in CMYK, but obviously I'm open to suggestions.

    This seems like one of those things that I should just know, but I must of slept through that lesson somewhere. Actually, I use to question my designer at my previous shop and she didn't have any clue either. She would just make it work somehow.

    Thanks TEAM!
  3. JoeBoomer

    JoeBoomer Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  4. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    May 23, 2008
    If you are printing in CMYK as mentioned, then of course any RGB placed image will print differently (different color gamut) than if it was printed in an RGB color space as intended, so I would convert the RGB image to CMYK before placing it into the CMYK document.

    Keep in mind converting files from RGB to CMYK may cause a color shift, so I recommend that you make any necessary adjustments to your colors to compensate for any possible shifts

    In Photoshop, under New document window, select RGB as color mode and set resolution to 300 dots per inch. Immediately after that, turn onCMYK color imitation (View > Proof colors). When done, convert your final document to CMYK color mode (Image > Mode > CMYK > Flatten) then save the file under a different name. Use this file to finalize your print design in Illustrator.

    Note that you can also create CMYK files right from the start (just pick CMYK mode on the New document window), but this will prevent you from using certain effects and functions in Photoshop.

    Here is a short tutorial on how to fix Out-of-Gamut Colors with Hue and Saturation in Photoshop:


  5. Hotspur

    Hotspur Member

    Jul 7, 2008

    With a rip and digital printer there is no need to work in CMYK if you are designing your own stuff.

    Assuming you are not outputting to separations, working in CMYK is just a hangover from another industry and is unnecessary unless you are handling files from another source who insists on designing in CMYK.

    Input devices and monitors are RGB and the rip will convert whatever you send it into LAB and then into CMYK whether you send it a CMYK or RGB so there's no real reason other than habit.

    Having said that two issues to understand - if you are using Pantones none of this really matters. Onyx is Pantone ready so when you send a spot color it will use the printer profile to give you the best shot at that spot color assuming you have them switched on in the rip - it either uses them or it doesn't regardless of RGB or CMYK usage so if they are washed out its likely they are accurate but maybe not as close to the required Pantone as you would like - thats down to the media profile - just because you can make it "look good" by switching off all the profiles doesn't mean you should do this as they will not be accurate.

    Secondly if you work in PDFs then the CMYK and RGB elements can be retained in the same file and sent to the rip and the rip can apply different input profiles to each type of element within the file so you can have accurate RGBs with strong CMYKs (unless you flatten them all in the app) This is the preferred option if you are not running a full color managed workflow.

    "washed out" doesn't mean wrong and "looks good" doesn't mean correct - setting "all profiles off" is basically turning off color management which is never advisable even if you prefer the result. You will be forever using guesswork rather than accurate and repeatable color standards. If you really can't live with the results you may see more gamut by using a different input profile - Adobe 1998 RGB and Fogra39 for CMYK is a good start rather than the generic "all profiles on" assuming you don't have an embedded profile in the file or you don't want to use it.
  6. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    If your profiles are set up right and you have an accurate profile for your printer/media it should not matter.
  7. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Have you tried turning on the rgb input profiles and leaving the cmyk input profiles off?

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