- COLOR VARIES: The ways in which color can vary are many and vast. Don’t expect 100% this-to-that conversion.
- DON’T STRESS: If something looks odd on someone else’s machine or phone, don’t freak out too much.
- BE RESOURCEFUL: Use the conversion provided as much as possible, but remember the true north to aim at if what you perceive.
Basic Color Modes:
- Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (Key).
- Used for printed materials
- Called “Process Color” or “4-Color Process”
- Subtractive Color Process—the more you add you get black
- Red, Green, Blue
- Used for screens
- How your eye perceives light via short, medium, long length cones in your eyes
- Additive Color Process—the more you add you get white
Pantone / PMS:
- Pantone is a company which provides this system, sometimes called PMS
- Used for printed materials
- The letter or book used specifies the type of substrate it’s intended for. C = Coated Paper, U = Uncoated Paper, TPX = Textiles, etc.
- Can be more expensive to print
Color Can Vary Because Of:
- What you print it on
- Whether it’s ink on paper (subtractive)
- Coated or Uncoated paper
- Whether the color is accurately calibrated or not
- or Light on screen (additive)
- What type of device (age, size, etc)
- What Gamma settings (Mac OS / Windows / Etc.)
- What color profiles you use (honor or not)
- What lighting conditions it’s viewed under
- The eyes of the person viewing it (color blindness, etc)
- And so on…
Color Doesn’t Actually Exist
- Color is a wavelength of light, it’s not a touchable thing
- A standard chromaticity diagram can be abstracted to the color wheel we’re used to
- Color blind people have a different chromaticity diagram than everyone else
- A “gamut” is just how many colors something can reproduce.
- So every human’s eye can see a portion of the visible spectrum
- Every device and printing method has a gamut of what colors it can reproduce
- RGB has the largest gamut, sRGB color mode is the industry standard. 16.7 million colors
- CMYK has a much more limited gamut
- Pantones also have a limited gamut compared to RGB
Issues with CMYK
- You view and prepare it on an RGB monitor, so it will never look as it does on screen
Issues with RGB:
- Every device has it’s own settings for brightness, color, and gamut, and gamma in terms of how it will reproduce an image
- Once an image leaves your screen, you have very little control over how it shows up for someone else.
- RGB probably has the largest amount of variation in terms of final reproduction due to variance in device type
Issues with Pantones:
- They show up different on different types of paper
- Pantone books fade over time, chips can vary
- The environment you’re in affects how you perceive color
- Color-constancy with your brain can shift colors
- Every “color issue” with a client is more of a customer service hurdle than a technical one