While passing through Undernet's IRC server last week, I came upon a #photoshop channel. Hoping to find some useful information, I entered the channel. Surprisingly, it was empty except for one person nicknamed Nikon. Evaluating the situation, I decided to ask if he had any new tips for Photoshop. He answered,
"Always use the RGB mode. I don't really advise using CMYK because it projects dull color tones."
Although his statement holds some truth, I realized that many people are completely clueless about color composition. I hope the following information makes the subject a bit clearer.
Note: A detailed coverage of color is impossible in the allotted space. If you would like some information that is not covered here, drop me an e-mail. I will be more than happy to answer. Also, I suggest you read my column in ATPM 3.07. It contains some related information.
RGB versus CMYK
The most significant difference between the two is that RGB is used mainly for images or presentations that are displayed on monitors, while CMYK is the only way to go for color separation (traditional printing). For simplicity's sake, I will not discuss Color Modes in relation to printing (no ink pigments, dot pattern or moirees ...Rejoice!). Rather, I'll relate more about how the computer handles colors.
Bit-depth, Calibration, Hexadecimal...Chaos...
Okay I choose a green color from the color picker and use the bucket tool. Boom! The page is filled with green. What more is there to know? Well, many things. Here are a few factors that affect color:
Bit-depth: Most of you have come across this term, but may not know its meaning. Do not concern yourself with the math, just think of it as:
32 bit = billions of colors
24 bit = millions of colors
16 bit = thousands of colors
8 bit = 256 colors
4 bit = 16 colors
2 bit = monochrome
Percentages are the numerical counterpart for defining a color. You can do this by setting the C,M,Y,K--R,G,B--Hex percentages for print media--screen--Web, respectively.
Calibration is the process of maintaining a true WYSIWYG experience. I'll try to explain with an example. Let's say I make a graphic and post it on the Web. Tom and Belinda both look at it, each using a different screen gamma setting. Both will see the same visual but not with exactly the same color tones. Although these discrepancies can be resolved through periodical calibration, the cost involved usually prohibits everyone except professionals from doing it.
Miscellaneous: These include ways that the computer's operating system or web browser can potentially alter the way an image is displayed, unless some precautions are taken.
I'll bet you never thought there was so much to color, eh? Next issue, I'll show you how to potentially reduce your image file sizes up to 40% by using color schemes properly. Moreover, I will discuss how to achieve the best Web-safe colors!
Copyright © 1998 Jamal Ghandour,<firstname.lastname@example.org>. Jamal Ghandour
is currently the Executive Manager at SwiftAd international. His motivation
for completing his masters degree in computer science was to research adevice to clone many Guy Kawasakis! The research continues...