I am curious about what palette to use for what purpose. I know you are supposed to use CMYK palette when designing for separations printing processes, but on the other hand - you could use the RGB palette just as well, if you have a color calibrated system and a printer profile and if you leave a PDF to the printer, which I suppose most people do. It works if you set the color output to CMYK and use the printer ICC profile for conversion.
So, what is your choice regarding color models? It would be interesting to hear how you all work.
Thank you Jeff for your answer. However I think I know about the good stuff with color management and so. It's a bit more subtle than that. See my answer at your blog.
Posting your response to my blog here:
Lars: My wonderings about this subject really stem from the fact that If I
have both the standard RGB and CMYK palettes open and I turn CM off,
they look exactly the same, then with CM turned on, the CMYK palette is
mure subdued than the RGB one, thus making it harder to find colors
especially among the darker shades that really come to look very much
the same, especially among the (cmyk) blues and greens. I don't know
why this is, because I figure the CMYK colors are mapped into RGB
space, so C100 is equal to G255B255, so they should, but they don't,
print the same. Anyway, I'd rather use a palette that looks like the
RGB one in CM mode, than the extra dull CMYK one. To me it seems like
the CMYK palette is too darn dull, when CM is applied even though it
varies quite a lot with the ICC profile in action. But anyway, can you
tell me why C100 doesn't print like G255B255? They are the same colors
uncalibrated (w/o CM on) and should be the same in a calibrated state.
Jeff: Any insight?
All blues and greens are not created alike. In grade school, I had a box of Prang watercolors. They give you an ultramarine blue and no other blue, so it is like printing your sky in Reflex Blue, now how would that look? So when I got to college I discovered that Penguin made a much better box of dry watercolous, and there were three blues and several greens. Because you cannot get some shades with just using Cyan and mixing it with Yellow, Magenta and Black. Same as an artist needs other colors beyond an amateur paint box to get the subtle shades and hues they want in their painting. And in tube watercolors you'll find that Payne's Gray becomes a must have. Why? Because there are some tones which are not possible unless you invest in a wider variety of paint.
The whole point of CMYK colors is that when you are printing, you don't want to have to "eat the job" because you chose poorly when it came to colors. The on-screen colors are dull for a reason, so you design realistically. Having a Pantone swatch book is also handy, that way if you see a hue you want, you can find that number and convert that in DRAW to your equivalent CMYK color. This is quite safe and most accurate, I've found. Why bother? Customers want what they want and do not understand between an on-screen proof and one which is printed. So I do my best to make them aware of the differences. So if you have to adjust colors for the web or vice versa to please a customer, in order so print and web colors look roughly the same, then that is what you have to do. With on-screen RGB you have millions of colors, there just aren't as many colors possible in print. Now if you go to hexachrome, it is different, you have six colors to print with so you have many more shades of color available. The more colors you have to print with, the more accurate and true to color your output will be. But you can switch back and forth from one palette to another but you have to know which way to switch. Yes, you can get an accurate switch every time going from CMYK to RGB, but then that is guaranteed, you have millions of colors to work with. But the other way, you get "out of the gammut" warnings if you have those turned on. If you don't know which colors are going to be affected, it is a good idea to turn this on so you are aware.
It is a good idea to print a color proof of what you are sending for professional printing and if it is too large, to sample the parts which are key and important.
I've found that there are some successful mixes in blues that I like better than the stock Corel's CMYK colors. I do not use what is called "blue" because it come out looking inky violet. Too much magenta, you can print C=100, M=80, Y=0 and K=0 and get a result much like 072, Pantone Blue. If you compare this to Corel's standard CMYK blue, the formula is: C=100, M=100, Y=0, K=0. You can see, you have 20% more magenta, now what is that going to do to the color? Make it on the purple side. But this is good to know to go more to the violet range, add more magenta, more to the Navy range, add more black.Corel's Navy Blue also doesn't print very well, but I've had a much better success finding the color I want with a swatch book. But you do get more a feel of mixing colors even though you are doing it by juggling numbers and not how much of one color more than another I am actually dipping a brush into. It is very much like painting with a paint box but you only have CMYK to paint with. So you have to think differently. If you've never painted with real media, it is an experience you should have. I think it makes understanding print colors much more easy, especially if you are using watercolors from dry colors and having to mix all of your own colors yourself.
Some deskjet and laser tone color printers make lousy proofers, but if you have a 6 or 8 tank ink jet, it makes a pretty good proofer as this is what our HP proofer uses. I have an i9900 by Canon and it gives superior results, but it has 8 colors to work with, twice the gammut of CMYK, the proofer at work only has 6 tanks of ink. Normally a proofer adds photo magenta and photo cyan but the Canon has a true red and a true green as well. I bought it for printing portraits, it is so much better than a four head machine.
If you do have a 6 head machine, your color may not be quite that vivid when you print, if you are in doubt as to how a crucial job will print, get a printed proof from the service bureau you are doing business with. If you are having 10,000 impressions made, you must be sure that you are not going to have a customer reject that job, then these customers must come in and proof their printed copy in person and sign off.
Calibrated colors change the look of the CMYK colors because they are showing you what the output colors will look like, trying to force the desktop printer to requires both the monitor and the printer to be in agreement. If your printed proof from the service bureau is too dull looking, you may decide you need to run hexachrome to be able to get some crucial color and if you need to be sure, some service bureaus will run spot color before or after the job is complete to add in a specific color that has to be just right or they require as a solid without a dot pattern. Packaging is done this way for cereal companies quite often. But hexachrome is not run by everyone and you are looking at a much higher price. This is where life becomes real to a customer as all of a sudden when faced with a huge price, all of a sudden, they like what you have shown them and you have become the hero in saving them so much money.
Yes, having your monitor calibrated correctly is good, but if you are using a standard LCD monitor, you are going to lose some of your brights and some of your darks as most LCD's don't do a good job on these colors. Actually, you get better color with a CRT display. There are excepts. Apple make exceptional monitors but they also come with an exceptional price. On the other hand, it is cheaper to buy the perfect monitor than to have to reprint an expensive job at your cost. Likewise if the place you have your printing done is really cheap, they may not be using proper color management, they may be staffed by college students and even a properly done job won't look its best as they have calibrated their printer to see what the screen shows them. Not a great idea if you have a lousy monitor. The printer should always go with the embedded color profile and not assign a new one unless they want to reprint the job. Likewise in crucial colors, changing dpi, or stretching or shrinking the job can have other poor effects.
All in all, one can never be too careful.
Anyway, regarding colors on screen, my LCD monitor is a mid-range Sony which I think is rather good. I won't spend the money for a high end monitor as they retail for about 4000-5000 dollars! I paid about 1000 for mine, and that's about as far as I would go. Well, they get cheaper all the time, I got mine about a year ago.
My inkjet printer is a 6-color Epson, but I don't really know If I can trust it's output as proofs. Some people say you got to have a RIP software and print through that with an inkjet. I downloaded a couple and didn't understand that much, let alone the output looked awful. I also have a solid ink printer that is Postscript, but I think the color space is rather limited so I won't trust that either.