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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 23 Nov 2010 (Tuesday) 16:04
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CMYK & RGB color space/printing help

 
HappySnapper90
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Nov 23, 2010 16:04 |  #1

I'm having trouble color spaces. I'm creating a calendar for a lab to print that will print in CMYK from a PDF. I'm using Microsoft Publisher 2010, and set the Publisher file's color space to CMYK.

Images are tuned up using Lightroom, exporting using sRGB color space. (or should I find a CMYK color space and export using that?) Image are originally recorded by digital cameras in sRGB of course.

The first 2 images are a screen capture from Publisher (one file being a copy and paste from PSE 5 the other being a saved file insert).
The 2nd 2 images are a screen capture from the PDF file that Publisher creates. Note how red the faces are and how flat and plain the green shirt is compared to the first ones.

If I set Publisher to RGB color space, the images in a saved PDF turns out looking just great. Can anyone give advice or help me with what to do?

Edit: Seems to be a Publisher PDF issue. When I save the Publisher page (set to CMYK color space) as a JPG, the images look just like they should. I'm then able to use IrfanView to save it as a PDF. But I don't know if the CMYK color space is being maintained. Still looking for comments and assistance.


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tricky500
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Nov 23, 2010 16:25 |  #2

I'm just a color noob but I would think any "professional" Lab would have an .icc profile they use and give out freely so people like yourselves can properly color manage their jobs. Do not convert to just any old cmyk profile as this does not accurately represent the color space it will be going into. If I were you I would take my rgb photo, go to File > Convert, choose the appropriate said .icc profile and set to Relative Colormetric with Dither and black point compensation.


- Paul

  
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HappySnapper90
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Nov 23, 2010 18:14 |  #3

The features you mentioned are not available in Photoshop Elements. The only options for converting color space is to sRGB, to Adobe RGB, or remove profile. But Lightroom allows exporting of files with a icc or icm file you can provide and select.




  
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tonylong
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Nov 23, 2010 19:48 |  #4

Has the lab specified that you submit a CMYK image? Can you get any other specific suggestions from them?

Depending on your hardware and software, you will likely see some "strange" things -- you may need to work with them to do some test prints -- of course if they will accept images in sRGB that would be a "safer" color space to work in.


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BestVisuals
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Nov 23, 2010 19:57 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #5

It's an 8-bit JPEG world, folks. Shoot sRGB as it matches the color space of your monitor and any color printer. Unless you're printing in hexachrome, very few printers in the world can even print the entire sRGB colorspace. That's the dirty secret of printers that I never see pointed out in any digital color book I've read. Take the color space of sRGB as a diagram. Take the color space of any commercial printer. Overlay the two - guess what? Your best printer can't print the entire sRGB color space. Your eyes can't distinguish the additional colors in an 16-bit color space, either.


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HappySnapper90
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Nov 23, 2010 20:32 |  #6

Yes the lab specified best results with a CMYK PDF file. I have heard that RGB files printed on a CMYK system will look a bit dark which I am trying to not have happen. I'm just going by the lab's requirements so I don't care which printers can printer better in which color space. I have had RGB files printed by Kinkos before and they came out a disappointingly dark, which I don't want to have happen again. And Kinkos is not the lab and I have been communicating with the lab to try to get things right.

Thanks for any help on the posted images especially the CMYK output that looks so off.




  
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Peano
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Nov 23, 2010 20:48 |  #7

HappySnapper90 wrote in post #11336304 (external link)
Thanks for any help on the posted images especially the CMYK output that looks so off.

CMYK is very tricky to work with, and saving PDF files is far trickier than you might imagine. Here's what I suggest: Ask the lab if they can convert an sRGB file to CMYK. They should be able to do that. If you don't understand the ins and outs of setting up CMYK for an offset press (and you clearly don't), you're most likely going to make a mess of it.


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tricky500
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Nov 23, 2010 21:19 |  #8

HappySnapper90 wrote in post #11335631 (external link)
But Lightroom allows exporting of files with a icc or icm file you can provide and select.

Regardless of which program color manages it, it needs to be converted into the Destinations color space. There will almost certainly be some deviation in color of the returned product but if the conversion profile they give you is somewhat up to date the difference will be minimal and you will be happy. If they can convert it for you fine, but otherwise ask them for the .icc. Offset printing is pretty much effortless as a whole when compared to others so don't worry about that.


- Paul

  
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tonylong
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Nov 23, 2010 22:40 |  #9

tricky500 wrote in post #11336626 (external link)
Regardless of which program color manages it, it needs to be converted into the Destinations color space. There will almost certainly be some deviation in color of the returned product but if the conversion profile they give you is somewhat up to date the difference will be minimal and you will be happy. If they can convert it for you fine, but otherwise ask them for the .icc. Offset printing is pretty much effortless as a whole when compared to others so don't worry about that.

So, I'm going to claim ignorance of the CMYK process here, and so how I want to reply to your comments is not with a correction but more a request for clarification.

Generally converting an image to use an ICC profile is not recommended -- you use the profile to softproof but have it in an established color space.

Now, you mention converting the image to the printer profile. Is this established practice when using CMYK offset printers? If so it would be good to get some real details, because most people here don't use those printers and automatically give the stock answer to have the image in a standard color space.

So, fill us in, and, do you have any link that provides some info on this?


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tricky500
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Nov 24, 2010 10:08 |  #10

I work for a Pre-Press company and any CMYK process image we go to press with gets profiled and output (trying to make this as simple to explain as possible..) through a mock up .icc of what the press conditions / ink / dot gain will do to our image and color correct accordingly so to make the client happy. Now you don't have any real way to do that because that would require an entire color management program and if you were to profile your image with said printer's profile and output it through your home's printer, this would not be to any benefit to yourself. The inks hue's will vary, the color's that are in and out of gamut will vary, the math of the colors themselves will be off..

The reason why people say just don't profile / color manage in image is largely a result of the internet and the color space of browsers. As you probably know most browsers only show one color space, sRGB. So while people say don't color manage your image's, if you're camera took a picture and it was using Adobe RGB 1998, then you upload this to the web it's not seeing the image how you saw it (the color WILL be different, not hugely but it will vary). It is showing you what, in this images CURRENT state, looks like viewed through sRGB. The browser does not take anything else into consideration and there is NO color management. BUT, if you took this image in sRGB or even convert it from Adobe 98 to sRGB and upload it to the web. This image will look exactly how it looked on your monitor in PS as it will on your browser. Color management comes into play even if you ignore the .icc and say don't embed profile. The color management starts the second you take a picture.

This is all about Source to Destination, which is what .icc profiles are intended to manage. The source - for most of us is sRGB. The destination is the final output of whatever or whomever prints this. This could be a printing press or an epson. The .icc takes into account the source profile and interprets it mathematically to be as visually and numerically close as possible to the original images color space. If you send an image is sRGB to a cmyk printer of course it isn't going to look like what you intended it to, sRGB is a huge colorspace and any saturated color's will almost certainly be out of gamut. But, it has to be converted at some point. An offset printer cannot print sRGB. Just because you don't color manage an image you send out personally does not mean it isn't getting color managed. It has to be.

Everybody's color management program varies. The best thing to do is contact whoever will be handling your files and ask how they conduct they're workflow. What are they doing to assure you that your file comes out as accurately to what you are seeing as possible? Do they convert all images into an .icc they have on hand? Do they only convert images in RGB to a standard CMYK space that really means nothing to do with final output other than it isn't RGB anymore? This is a huge subject to try and explain and cover especially when I don't have all the answers.

Then we could go on about if your monitor is profiled and so on and so on..


- Paul

  
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Nov 24, 2010 10:50 |  #11

BestVisuals wrote in post #11336124 (external link)
It's an 8-bit JPEG world, folks. Shoot sRGB as it matches the color space of your monitor and any color printer. Unless you're printing in hexachrome, very few printers in the world can even print the entire sRGB colorspace. That's the dirty secret of printers that I never see pointed out in any digital color book I've read. Take the color space of sRGB as a diagram. Take the color space of any commercial printer. Overlay the two - guess what? Your best printer can't print the entire sRGB color space. Your eyes can't distinguish the additional colors in an 16-bit color space, either.

^^^and even the so-called 'professional' level photo printers from Epson and Canon very conspicuously fail to mention any claims at all of any color gamut, much less "16.7 million colors" via 24-bit input data (8-bit, three colors) in their output gamut!


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HappySnapper90
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Nov 24, 2010 13:50 |  #12

The lab currently uses the SWOP icc file, but within a week is switching over to "the new industry standard Gracol 7". It looks like I'm going to produce in RGB and pay the lab to color correct their CMYK conversion to try to match the original look of the files I send them. Still waiting on their price for the color correction.




  
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tricky500
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Nov 24, 2010 16:08 |  #13

HappySnapper90 wrote in post #11339913 (external link)
The lab currently uses the SWOP icc file, but within a week is switching over to "the new industry standard Gracol 7". It looks like I'm going to produce in RGB and pay the lab to color correct their CMYK conversion to try to match the original look of the files I send them. Still waiting on their price for the color correction.

I haven't really had the opportunity to deal with any labs or Costco or anything so I can't shed much knowledge on how well they are doing with their color management which is something I'm interested in (if someone else wants to chime in go for it..). Unless they are willing to submit you proofs for approval and you can mark them up yourself saying more contrast, more sat., etc. I would be hesitant to pay for color correction. I would suggest the conversion in it of itself is probably good enough to get you in the ball park or even better, assuming that their final output (the press) matches their SWOP .icc well enough. This is where you have to put trust in them and assume they've done their jobs well. Just because they suggest they have a color management workflow does not mean it is a legitimate one. The reason I sound hesitant is because they are using a generic profile on something that really has not taken into account the specific printing conditions that are related to their press. I would do a test run before heavily investing into any corporation but I digress. Hope I've been of some help and you understand just a little bit better.


- Paul

  
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CMYK & RGB color space/printing help
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