View Full Version : CMYK colour format ...help!!

03-05-2010, 05:21 PM
I ordered some postcards from vistaprint and the colour was very poor. They have kindly agreed to replace them but say...
"save your design in CMYK color format prior to uploading so that the colour that you see will closely match the colour of the printed item."

I have learnt something new today in that most picture saving modes (eg JPEG) are in RGB format (red, green, blue), but most printers are CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow).
This explains why the colour you see on screen often differs considerably from the printed colour.

What I don't know is how to convert my pics to CMYK format - I have trawled my computer this afternoon, but cannot find the answer.



03-05-2010, 05:34 PM
What software do you have? I found info for photoshop that says "Open up link in Photoshop then select Image > Mode > CMYK"

03-05-2010, 07:05 PM
unfortuneately I don't have photoshop. I have picture it, gimp, snapfire and maybe one or two others.

My husband found something about saving as a PNG intead of JPEG, but we're not totally sure if this is CMYK format or not - anyone know?


Di Sandland
03-05-2010, 07:56 PM
Jodie, I don't think it's possible to achieve what you want without a purchased software like photoshop. Here's a list of the ones I know offer the facility - it might be that you have something like this without realising it. MS Publisher, for instance, which often comes packaged with MS Office on new pc's.

Micrososft Publisher 2000
Microsoft Publisher 2003-2007
Corel Draw 9
Adobe Illustrator
Quark Express
Adobe Pagemaker 6.5

The following programmes won't do it (including Picture It, I'm afraid)

Adobe Photoshop LE
Adobe PhotoDeluxe
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel Microsoft Powerpoint
Microsoft Works
Microsoft PhotoDraw
Picture It Publishing

03-05-2010, 08:11 PM
No, saving in a different format won't help. You need to actually alter the colour format.

Try this - CMYK Separation Plugin for The GIMP (http://www.blackfiveservices.co.uk/separate.shtml)

Alternatively, you can download a trial version of photoshop elements here: edit photos, photo editing program | Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/) (not sure how much functionality you get).

Or you could pm me and if it's just a couple of files, I'll do it for you ;)

03-05-2010, 09:01 PM
Thanks - I'll have a look at that tomorrow


Di Sandland
04-05-2010, 12:59 AM
Jodie, I posted a very long reply some hours ago but it was moderated for some reason. No matter, George has been far more helpful ;)

04-05-2010, 05:54 AM
Morning Di - the only post I can see in the queue is basically the same as the one that did go up...? I think the system may have decided that your list of packages was flagged as suspect, sorry.

Di Sandland
04-05-2010, 07:42 AM
s'alright, Peter. When I wrote at 2 a.m. my post hadn't yet appeared. I know about the system, so no worries.

04-05-2010, 09:07 AM
I've been thinking about this, and there's something I don't understand. That said, I rarely have to deal with colourspace translation or printing - all of the stuff I do at the moment is video-related.

Most devices around use sRGB as their colourspace; it is *very* well defined (although doesn't have the gamut in some areas that full CMYK has). For lower level requirements, sRGB is fine for printers - and again, well understood. Are Vistprint really saying they have to have a full colour separation done prior to you sending them the image? Surely that's outside the normal requirements for their products? I did try and find some technical info on their pages, but haven't seen anything relevant yet.

04-05-2010, 10:50 AM
I think the problem is as much about monitor calibration as anything Peter. We're all very used to being able to look at things instantly on monitors, and forget that colour handling does vary from one system to another. Most day to day printing is still CMYK, and in certain colour ranges (especially blue tones) there can be really quite dramatic differences between what we see on screen, and a final print. Spot printing can solve this, as it can be checked with a pantone reference or similar, but this doesn't help wtih photographic images. With digital images (generally captured in RGB), which are then optimised for their on-screen look, this becomes even more of a problem. The thing that amuses me is that print companies offer to send a pdf proof of a process printed article - which is utterly meaningless when viewed on screen. Sometimes, the old, slower ways are still better.

04-05-2010, 10:57 AM
I think the problem is as much about monitor calibration as anything Peter.

Ah, that makes more sense, thank you. Clearly not thinking straight after a few days away. Colour match prediction does get a bit more tricky then - but I'm still not seeing how a CMYK separation will help if it's monitor cal! Adobe's "calibration" routines are ok for very basic approximations, but not much else.

The pdf example is a prime piece of daftness, liked that...

04-05-2010, 08:26 PM
Thanks all of you for your suggestions.

Vistaprint weren't saying that images have to be in CMYK, just that it probably explained why I was disappointed with the colour. I think I have photoshop at work, so I am going to attempt to do it there tomorrow.


04-05-2010, 08:35 PM
I do indeed have microsoft publisher 2007 - I need to have a play!

P.S. how do get quotes from previous posts to appear in the blue box with quotation marks? (can you tell I'm not a techie?)

04-05-2010, 09:04 PM
P.S. how do get quotes from previous posts to appear in the blue box with quotation marks? (can you tell I'm not a techie?)

Jodie, just use the 'reply with quote' button which is at the bottom right of any post.

Di Sandland
04-05-2010, 09:09 PM
I do indeed have microsoft publisher 2007 - I need to have a play!

glad to be of help Jodie, shame that the system (and it is the system, not a person) hung onto the post; it does it when it sees a lot of products cos it sees them as spam :(