1 2 Previous Next 63 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2011 6:51 AM by Peter Spier

    why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?

    sasabombasa Level 1

      i thought i had this problem solved, but here it is again with a new wrinkle.  i have this gorgeous orchid bg box, cmyk 9-10-0-0 in a file with cmyk transparency blend space.   same set up in file 2.  i create a new bg box with the same numbers and it's a whole different color.  there must be some parameters mismatched.  what else should i be looking for to make sure the file setups are identical?

        • 1. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
          Stix Hart Level 5

          Have you checked that they both use the same transparency blend space?  Could one of them have an effect applied to it?  Overprint or Seperation preview turned on?  What do they look like when exported?

          • 2. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
            sasabombasa Level 1

            transparency blend space is the same in both: cmyk

             

            no effects on either

             

            how do i determine if: Overprint or Seperation preview turned on?

             

            What do they look like when exported?  have not exported, am just looking at what i see on the screen (diff in both files) and how they print:  output different in both files

            • 3. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              Do both files have the same working color space assigned?


              • 4. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                sasabombasa Level 1

                where would i find out what working color space is?

                • 5. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                  sasabombasa Level 1

                  scratch previous query.  i just found working space, and they are identical in both files.  however, i noticed that the box which has the color i love was actually imported from photoshop.  it's a link.  but it still has the same cmyk values--so shouldnt it look the same?

                  • 6. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    To know what working space is assigned to any particular document, I usually use Edit > Convert to Profile... becuse it lists the currently assigned profile, which might be different from the profiles in the current deault working space set in Edit > Color Settings...

                     

                    If you import a photoshop file with an embedded profile that does not match your working space, the color may or may not match, depending on wheter you r profile mismatch policy is set to preserve profiles or preserve numbers.

                    • 7. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                      i just found working space, and they are identical in both files.

                       

                       

                      It's the assigned space that has to match, which may or may not be the same as Color Setting's Working space. You can check the assigned space via Edit> Assign Profile...

                       

                      Also the placed Photoshop file could confilct with the ID doc's profile. You can check or change that by selecting the image and choosing Object>Image Color Settings.

                      • 8. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        I suggested Edit > Convert to Profile... rather than Assign Profile because I find it clearer that it says definitively what profile is currently assigned while the Assign... dialog list the the current profile in the dropdown, but it's labeled "Assign" and the radio button above is labeled "current working space," so it ay be a little confusing to someone who doesn't understand the distinction between "working Space" and "document profile."

                         

                        But I suppose that's not terribly important in the larger picture.

                        • 9. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                          sasabombasa Level 1

                          in both fileswhen i go  to Edit>convert to profile

                           

                          they are identical, so that's not the problem with the color mismatch

                          • 10. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            So if I have this straight, in one case you have a photoshop file with a color, and in the other you have a native ID object thatuses the same numbers, and they look different. Is that correct so far? If yes, right-click the photoshop object, and choose Graphics > Image color Settings... and see if the listed profile is the same as the document CMYK profile.

                            • 11. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                              sasabombasa Level 1

                              not quite.  i have 2 indd files.  in one of them is a block of color that i created in pshop and then placed in the indd file

                              • 12. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                i tried this:

                                 

                                Also the placed Photoshop file could confilct with the ID doc's profile.  You can check or change that by selecting the image and choosing  Object>Image Color Settings.

                                 

                                and i looks like its a srgb, whereas my transparency blend space is cmyk, and my printer tells me i have to use cmyk and i somehow caht recreate this shade of lavendar in a cmyk blend space.   any tips?

                                 

                                really all i want to do is get the color i want.  in theory, shouldnt i be able to get the same color in rgb or cmyk?

                                • 13. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                  blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                  sorry to confuse.  sasabombasa and blurbblurb1 are both me.  i got tangled up in usernames.  still have the same question

                                  • 14. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    In your original post you wrote that you were trying to match a CMYK value  9-10-0-0. If your placed PSD file has an sRGB tag then it is RGB and can't match your  cmyk 9-10-0-0. If you want to apply the value in the PSD file to an ID object you can pick it up with the eye dropper tool—that value will be RGB

                                    • 15. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                      blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                      i'm sorry, rob, i don'tunderstand what you are saying.

                                       

                                      re

                                      If you want to apply the value in the PSD file to an ID object you can  pick it up with the eye dropper tool—that value will be RGB

                                       

                                       

                                      i dont care what the values are, i only care how it looks.  and although both files have identical transpaerncy blend space and identical color settings. the lavendar box looks different in each file--even though, using the eyedropper, i see they have the same values  (both rgb and cmyk values are shown)

                                      • 16. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                        Looks where? On screen or in print?

                                         

                                        CMYK values that you see for an RGB file in photoshop are the closest in-gamut approximation of the RGB color in the the chosen CMYK space. Unless you actually convert the file to CMYK, or use Proof Colors in Photoshop or Overprint Preview or Proof Colors in ID you are looking at the RGB representation, NOT the CMYK, so there is no reason to expect the screen color to match in that case.

                                         

                                        Whether they will look the same in print is very dependent on whether transparency is involved and ESPECIALLY on the device used for printing. Most desktop or office-class printers are considered to be RGB devices, and even many commercial class digital printers will gladly accept RGB data directly and convert to CMYK internally. For the desktops, all data gets converted to CMYK internally, and CMYK data is generally converted to RGB first and then back, introducing errors, becasue the printer can't handle the CMYK numbers directly unless you are using a Postscript driver.

                                        • 17. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                          the lavendar box looks different in each file--even though, using the eyedropper, i see they have the same values  (both rgb and cmyk values are shown)

                                           

                                          Are you using InDesign's Separation Preview? That's where you would get the output values of the two objects.

                                          • 18. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                            sasabombasa Level 1

                                            where do i find InDesign's Separation Preview?  (am using cs3, btw)

                                            • 19. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Window>Output>Separations Preview. The panel shows output CMYK values. If an object is RGB, the readout shows the conversion you will get if  Document CMYK is set as the destination profile at output.

                                               

                                              The readouts you see in Photoshop aren't necessarily output values. For example you can get a CMYK reading from and RGB image, but that's just showing you how the image would separate from its RGB space to your current PS Color Setting's Working CMYK space.

                                              1 person found this helpful
                                              • 20. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                sasabombasa Level 1

                                                ok, let's leave aside how it looks printed (too many variables there).  i cant even get the boxes to look the same on screen. 

                                                 

                                                let's forget about the specifics of my case and go to general principles.  in theory, shouldnt i be able to achieve all the colors that are achievable on one computer via rgb and cmyk? arent they just 2 different pathways to the same place? or am i misinformed?  so far all the cymk i can manage are far duller colors. they just dont pop.  whether i create in ID or pshop.

                                                • 21. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                  sasabombasa Level 1

                                                  ok, when i go there and switch from Off to Separations indeed the colors on screen change.  does this mean that if i import a pshop rgb imageinto ID file that has a cmyk output, it will comvert the rgb image into cmyk?

                                                  • 22. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                    sasabombasa Level 1

                                                    i just realized part of the problem.  in ID, when i try to create a color via eyedropper, it defaults to "RGB color space view", so i've been finding what i thjink is the right color, but when i click on it and it fills a box on the screen, the color is way off.  aaak!  because i'm choosing color based on rgb. sooooo, how do i chage to cmyk color space view?

                                                    • 23. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                      Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Can one of you fellows post a decent color-model and color-management intro tutorial?

                                                       

                                                      let's forget about the specifics of my case and go to general principles.  in theory, shouldnt i be able to achieve all the colors that are achievable on one computer via rgb and cmyk? arent they just 2 different pathways to the same place? or am i misinformed?

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      I know that you're misinformed, but I'm pretty ignorant of color-related issues and fear that my explanation would be incorrect. Just Google the terms "color gamut" and read the Wikipedia entry, and look at some of the image search results, and you'll see that each color model can represent a different, limited subset of what the eye can see.

                                                      1 person found this helpful
                                                      • 24. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                                        does this mean that if i import a pshop rgb imageinto ID file that has a cmyk output

                                                         

                                                        In InDesign any RGB object or color can be converted to CMYK at output. When you turn on Separation Preview or Overprint Preview you get a preview of how RGB color looks inside of your document's CMYK space—out-of-gamut colors are previewed in the document CMYK space.

                                                         

                                                        If you want to match your InDesign CMYK 9-10-0-0 mix in a Photoshop file, its color mode needs to be CMYK and its profile needs to match your ID doc's profile.

                                                        • 25. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                          sasabombasa Level 1

                                                          thank you, i'm understanding better.   what i would love is a response to my earlier post:

                                                           

                                                          i just realized part of the problem.  in ID, when i try to create a color via eyedropper, it defaults to "RGB color space view", so i've been finding what i thjink is the right color, but when i click on it and it fills a box on the screen, the color is way off.  aaak!  because i'm choosing color based on rgb.

                                                           

                                                          sooooo, how do i change to cmyk color space view?

                                                          • 26. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            InDesign doesn't have a document color space—you can have a mix of RGB, CMYK, or Lab objects. The color mode you get from the Color Picker depends on where your cursor is when you click OK or Add Swatch—if you want CMYK make sure your cursor is in one of the CMYK fields. You can also use the Color or Swatches panels to create a CMYK color.

                                                            • 27. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                              The eyedropper picks up the color in the image, in theory, so if the image is RGB it picks up RGB value, if CMYK, it picks up CMYK. This is true for 8-bit images, but not for 16, if I remember correctly. For 16-bit cmyk (and possibly RGB) the eyedropper picks up color from the RGB preview, which could be different, even for RBG images. I get a warning when this happens, but I think it's possible to turn it off so you might not see such a warning in all cases.

                                                               

                                                              The eydroppers in ID and Photoshop are also a bit differnt in how they sample. ID is a single pixel source, but in Photoshop you have a number of averageing options as well as the single pixel. Anything other than a flat color is likely to be a little off in appearance becasue your eye averages the individual pixels into some composite shade (which is why four-color printing works). Rob may also recall a discussion we had some months ago where it seemed that on my system (windows) the alignment of the dropper and the target pixel were poorly aligned -- if I clicked in the upper left corner of the lower right box in a checkerboard pattern, the eydropper picked up the color in the lower right corner of the upper left box, so it appeared I was getting a 1-pixel up, 1-pixel left offset.

                                                              • 28. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                                                For 16-bit cmyk (and possibly RGB) the eyedropper picks up color from the RGB preview, which could be different, even for RBG images. I get a warning when this happens, but I think it's possible to turn it off so you might not see such a warning in all cases.

                                                                 

                                                                Peter, I'm not seeing a difference between 8 & 16 bit .psd images on OSX, the eydropper picks up values matching the Photoshop values in both cases.

                                                                • 29. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                  Maybe it's because I don't save a compatibility maximized version?

                                                                  • 30. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                    blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                                                    For simplicity's sake, and because my knowledge of these programs is about 1000 times less sophisticated than yours and Peter's, let's just deal with ID; and rather than trying to figure out what has happened, just trying to figure out how to do what I want to do. Which is to simply create a background color in CMYK mode. Attached is an image of what the color picker looks like after I have used the eyedropper to sample what I believed to be a swath of CMYK color. Given that I may be wrong about the mode in which I created this color, let me just ask how I can get that color picker to show me CMYK values in  CMYK color space so that when I choose a color there it will look the same as when I apply it to a background box in the same document, which does have a CMYK transparency blend space and separations preview in output.

                                                                     

                                                                    also, related question: why does changing from View to Separations within Separations Preview change the color of my CMYK background so dramatically?   I'm particularly perplexed because I've never known about much less manipulated the separations preview function, and yet when I print the colors have been much truer to what I see on screen than what's going on now. Since I usually work in RGB is it possible that it's just easier to match colors in that mode?color picker.jpg

                                                                    • 31. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                      My personal opinion of the color picker is you should avoid it, but from where you are in the screen shot you should put the cursor into one of the CMYK fields and the button will change to Add CMYK Swatch. That doesn't guarantee the CMYK numbers have the same appearance as the little square patch, just that they are th closest match for the RGB.

                                                                       

                                                                      I much prefer to use the Color panel, or the Swatches panel itself for defining a new color. You can choose CMYK sliders in the Color Panel, or set the color mode to CMYK in the swatch definition to get sliders there, and waht you see inthe box should reflect the values of the sliders. You can open the Color panel and then collect a sample with the eyedropper to start.

                                                                      • 32. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                                                        Attached is an image of what the color picker looks like after I have used the eyedropper to sample what I believed to be a swath of CMYK color.

                                                                         

                                                                        It looks to me like the image you are sampling from is an RGB image. You can check that by opening the Links panel and clicking on the link, which will display the image's color space and profile.

                                                                         

                                                                        If you are picking up an out-of-gamut color from an RGB image, you can't match that color with a CMYK fill. You could make the background fill an RGB color and get a match. In that case both the fill and the image would get separated to the same CMYK mix on output to a CMYK device.

                                                                         

                                                                        which does have a CMYK transparency blend space and separations preview in output.

                                                                         

                                                                        You are confusing the Transparency blend space with a document color space. The Transparency Blend Space only comes into play if you have transparent objects that need to flattened. It has no effect on non-transparent objects.

                                                                         

                                                                        why does changing from View to Separations within Separations Preview change the color of my CMYK background so dramatically?

                                                                         

                                                                        Your background isn't CMYK it's RGB. When you turn on Overprint or Separation Preview, you get a preview of how your out-of-gamut RGB violet color will convert to CMYK.

                                                                        • 33. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                                                          Since I usually work in RGB is it possible that it's just easier to match colors in that mode?

                                                                           

                                                                          Is the document's destination a CMYK printing press? If not there isn't a problem choosing RGB colors.

                                                                          • 34. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                            blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                                                            very helpful, Peter, thanks.  am able to work with the color panel and get the colors to match when i fill them on screen.  however, i'm still wondering if it's true that cmyk doesnt get as vivid colors as rgb?  because no matter how much i slide those cmyk sliders i can't seem to get the color i want

                                                                            • 35. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                              blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                                                              i wish i could stay in rgb but my printer has switched systems and insists on cmyk,  frustration has ensuedon both sides, but he's done great work for me for years so i'm trying to adapt

                                                                              • 36. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                                blurbblurb1 Level 1
                                                                                Attached is an image of what the color picker looks like after I have  used the eyedropper to sample what I believed to be a swath of CMYK  color.

                                                                                 

                                                                                It looks to me like the image you are sampling  from is an RGB image. You can check that by opening the Links panel and  clicking on the link, which will display the image's color space and  profile.

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                actually, what i'm sampling--the lavendar bg on left --is color i created in ID; it's not a link.  i thought i created it in cmyk; how can you tell it's rgb?

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                If you are picking up an out-of-gamut color from  an RGB image, you can't match that color with a CMYK fill. You could  make the background fill an RGB color and get a match. In that case both  the fill and the image would get separated to the same CMYK mix on  output to a CMYK device.

                                                                                 

                                                                                which does have a CMYK transparency blend space and separations preview in output.

                                                                                 

                                                                                You  are confusing the Transparency blend space with a document color space.  The Transparency Blend Space only comes into play if you have  transparent objects that need to flattened. It has no effect on  non-transparent objects.

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                hmmm, that's not my experience.  so far as i can determine, i have no transparent objects, and yet the color on  screen changes dramatically when i switch transparency blend space from rgb to cmyk.

                                                                                 

                                                                                why does changing from View to Separations within Separations Preview change the color of my CMYK background so dramatically?

                                                                                 

                                                                                Your  background isn't CMYK it's RGB. When you turn on Overprint or  Separation Preview, you get a preview of how your out-of-gamut RGB  violet color will convert to CMYK.

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                • 37. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                  actually, what i'm sampling--the lavendar bg on left --is color i created in ID; it's not a link.  i thought i created it in cmyk; how can you tell it's rgb?

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Open the Colors panel (not the Color Picker). What does it show as the color mix?

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

                                                                                  hmmm, that's not my experience.  so far as i can determine, i have no transparent objects, and yet the color on  screen changes dramatically when i switch transparency blend space from rgb to cmyk.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  A placed PS image with layers would be a transparent object

                                                                                  • 38. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                                    blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                                                                    yup; you're right, it's rgb.  how did you know just by looking at the clip?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    also, still wondering if, in general, one can't get as vivid colors with cmyk as with rgb?

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    re: transparent object. i do have a more complex image in the same file that's linked from a PS file.  it's created in rgb, and shows up in the ID color panel when sampled with eyedropper as rgb.  and yet, it does NOT change colors when i chg the transparency blend space back and forth btwn rgb and cmyk.  and it does NOT change color when i switch on separation view.  this doesnt make sense to me inthe face of the big changes i see when doing the same things to a simple block of color.

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    also, i have a block of color at 45% opacity.  when i do output/separation view it changes back to 100%.  does that mean i can't print something at 45% opacity?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    thanks so much for hanging in with me thru all these questions!

                                                                                    • 39. Re: why do colors with identical cmyk numbers look very different?
                                                                                      blurbblurb1 Level 1

                                                                                      so weird.  i tried again to sample the orchid bg in Color panel and now it says it's cmyk. i checked several times to be sure. below is screenshot to make sure i'm in the right place (color panel).Screen shot 2011-07-09 at 11.13.33 PM.jpg  you can see that what's selected is the orchid bg, and that the cmyk sliders show up in color panel.  right?

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