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  • RGB or CMYK?

    Should it matter to the retouching house if I work in
    RGB or CMYK? You can always convert the mode - is it
    such a big deal?

  • #2
    Re: RGB or CMYK?

    Yup, its a big deal! Conversions are not lossless, in terms of the data and color gamut. There are not CMYK capture devices, everything starts out in RGB of some flavor. CMYK is an output color space, intended for a specific print condition and thus, should be done as one of the last steps.

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    • #3
      Re: RGB or CMYK?

      I concur. CMYK being a subtractive color model is less optimal for evaluating and prepping files on-screen. RGB and CMYK have different color spaces and CMYK gamut is smaller than RGB generally anyway. AND RGB files apparently take up less space than CMYK. You should save converting to CMYK as a last step in pre-flight if you're specifically optimizing to that for printing.

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      • #4
        Re: RGB or CMYK?

        Well, the thing is they want me to work in CMYK from start to finish,
        no RGB! What's the point?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: RGB or CMYK?

          Who is "they" and why would they want you to work in CMYK from start to finish if they didn't know any better? Maybe you should describe exactly what the project is because either "they" don't know what they're doing or they need it this way for a specific reason that we could better explain if we knew what that was. Are the images coming to you in CMYK to begin with perhaps? Are they specifying CMYK to optimize the image for print (because there are better ways of doing that when you do the final conversion to CMYK at the end)?

          If this was a reputable retouching house, I can 't imagine any reason why they would want you to work in CMYK if it were normal circumstances.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: RGB or CMYK?

            This is a big and pretty reputable prepress company with a huge retouching
            department. Images are coming in RGB. Of course conversion is done to optimize
            images for print, but not at the end - first step before retouching is to convert RGB
            image to CMYK. I'm trying to find the reason, if there is any.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: RGB or CMYK?

              Could be the photographer or art director has told the pre-press company that the images coming in for this project are being done by an outside retoucher and will require no conversions, adjustments or corrections for press.

              If that's the case, the pre-press dept. would want you to work in CMYK so they are not responsible for what goes to press. Many newer art directors and designers have a hard time with what happens to RGB during conversion to CMYK.

              Nobody wants to be the one to explain why a beautiful RGB file turned to mud on press. At least with CMYK, you are reasonably sure what numbers will produce what color on press.

              But that's just a guess. Maybe "they"re idiots.

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              • #8
                Re: RGB or CMYK?

                Originally posted by ekuna View Post
                Well, the thing is they want me to work in CMYK from start to finish,
                no RGB! What's the point?
                Then if it output’s like crap, you better have an out. If they expect you to do any tone or color work, you better have an out. You can’t be responsible for how the image reproduces when you are handed CMYK and expected to alter the tone or color, its in an output color space, ready for print.

                Worse, if after retouching, they want to repurpose the data (print it to another type of device), they are SOL.

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                • #9
                  Re: RGB or CMYK?

                  i work for a place in Toronto (one of the largest photo studios/ prepress shops in Canada) that retouches mostly in CMYK, only a few of us truly understand what RGB has to offer and refuse to do anything but the final step in CMYK, we tried to show everybody the benefits and logic of working in an RGB color space but they think we are just trying to pull the wool over everyones eyes.

                  sometimes it is just the lack of understanding and ignorance that leads a company, or hiring friends and relatives not Prepress people.

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                  • #10
                    Re: RGB or CMYK?

                    Originally posted by ekuna View Post
                    This is a big and pretty reputable prepress company with a huge retouching
                    department. Images are coming in RGB. Of course conversion is done to optimize
                    images for print, but not at the end - first step before retouching is to convert RGB
                    image to CMYK. I'm trying to find the reason, if there is any.

                    that is the norm these days for most prepress companies, especially when they know the bulk of their work is going to a 4/c press..another reason is due to the fact that most prepress retouchers have much more experience with CMYK color...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: RGB or CMYK?

                      Originally posted by pixelzombie View Post
                      ... they know the bulk of their work is going to a 4/c press..
                      Which 4 color press, running which paper? They are all different. Burning in retouch work in a highly device dependent color space is mightily inflexible. Now maybe this shop does this so that should another output be needed, they start from scratch (including retouching, proofs, etc). Its a great way to keep the profit margins up. But scan once, use many, an RGB approach is far more flexible. You can convert to any CMYK or other color model as often as you wish after all the retouch work. Putting the cart before the horse in terms of conversions is great when you charge by the hour and love doing the same work over and over again but its a prehistoric workflow by today’s standards.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: RGB or CMYK?

                        Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                        Putting the cart before the horse in terms of conversions is great when you charge by the hour and love doing the same work over and over again but its a prehistoric workflow by today’s standards.
                        I'm sorry. What does this mean? Correcting color in CMYK from a CMYK marked proof (inkjet) is prehistoric?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: RGB or CMYK?

                          Originally posted by SilvaFox View Post
                          I'm sorry. What does this mean? Correcting color in CMYK from a CMYK marked proof (inkjet) is prehistoric?
                          Nope, correcting color based on one output device when multiple output needs may be required are prehistoric in terms of workflow. Or to put it another way, you fix the image for output A and all you output is to device A, fine. You try to send that to any other device, you’re in a world of hurt. Do the same in RGB, then convert to as many output devices as you wish to use. No pain here.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: RGB or CMYK?

                            Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                            Which 4 color press, running which paper? They are all different. Burning in retouch work in a highly device dependent color space is mightily inflexible. Now maybe this shop does this so that should another output be needed, they start from scratch (including retouching, proofs, etc). Its a great way to keep the profit margins up. But scan once, use many, an RGB approach is far more flexible. You can convert to any CMYK or other color model as often as you wish after all the retouch work. Putting the cart before the horse in terms of conversions is great when you charge by the hour and love doing the same work over and over again but its a prehistoric workflow by today’s standards.
                            it is prehistoric but it does work, the images get converted to their working space and the output profile takes care of the rest, i'm curious to hear what workflow you prefer...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: RGB or CMYK?

                              Originally posted by pixelzombie View Post
                              it is prehistoric but it does work, the images get converted to their working space and the output profile takes care of the rest, i'm curious to hear what workflow you prefer...
                              What do you mean they get converted to their working space? They are in CMYK, that’s an output specific space (highly device dependent).

                              Don’t tell me someone is now going CMYK output to RGB working space? What’s worse than prehistoric?

                              Comment

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