CMYK vs RGB
If you’re saving your comics in RGB mode, you may be making a potentially expensive mistake.
First, we’ll start with the age-old conundrum of CMYK vs RGB.
CMYK: This mode is used for an image that will be printed at some point. It gets its name from the four inks used in process printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (which is designated “K” to avoid confusion with cyan, which is sometimes called “Blue” by some old-timers). Using these four inks, printers can create a spectrum of five-or-six thousand colors on paper.
RGB: Named for the three color of light that monitors use to create images (Red, Green, and Blue), RGB mode is used for images that are intended to be seen on TV or computer monitors. A spectrum of 16.8 million colors is possible using RGB mode — far more than CMYK mode.
I strongly recommend working in CMYK mode for the simple reason that there are some RGB colors that are impossible to achieve in CMYK, whereas the transition from CMYK to RGB is rather smooth.
If printing a book is in your future (and it is, if you’re planning to grow your business), CMYK colors are a must.
This is true despite the fact that POD printers will happily accept RGB files for print. Offset printers (like Transcontinental), however, will insist on CMYK files. And as your business grows, switching to offset printing will become imperative if you’re going to reduce unit costs and maximize profits.
So my advice is to work in CMYK in your first step. It’s much better than being faced with trying to adjust a few hundred RGB files a few years from now.
Why not both?
This presents a potential problem for some colorists who prefer to work in RGB to make use of the Photoshop filters (and other tools that are RGB-only). Luckily, there’s a workaround for that:
- In Photoshop, go to View -> Proof Setup and select Working CMYK (it may already be selected by default).
- Next, select View -> Proof Colors.
Your image will still be RGB, but you will be seeing it as it will look after it is converted.
BEWARE, however. You will still need to convert that image to CMYK when you’re done — preferably before you trap the colors under the lineart. It is still an RGB image until you have done so!