11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2012 6:40 PM by spaciousmind RSS

    I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..

    spaciousmind Community Member

      hey all,
      I am designing something for a CD cover that is going to be printed at a print shop, They say they want their images in CMYK and prefer it in a PDF or highest quality JPEG....
      So I have been working in CMYK, everything looks fine in photoshop, but when I save out to a JPG the whole thing gets dark and colours get horribly over saturated. colour test imbalance.jpg
      here you can see the image on the left is what happens when I save out directly from my CMYK file in photoshop. there is a big loss in detail in the darker areas and colours are over saturated. the image on the right is what I get if I convert to mode>RGB and then save the JPG. .. . .this is what I want it to look like....

       

      my problem is the print shop requests the image in CMYK, but I want them to print like it looks in the RGB version
      any help would be greatfully appreciated! Thankyou!

       

      also here are the actual .jpegs as saved from photoshop

      the CMYK version:

      colour test CMYK.jpg

       

      and the RGB version:

      colour test RGB.jpg

      edit: I don't know too much about colour profiles, and the print shop hasn't provided one on their site, so I picked the default one - Working CMYK, U.S WebCoated (SWOP v2)

      edit: these are the file formats the printers say they take on their site:
      PDF - 300 dpi - (preferred), Tiff, Highest resolution JPG, EPS

      I don't really have any experience with the other formats but I presume I would get the same colour results

        • 1. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
          Curt Y Community Member

          RGB and CMYK will probably not be exactly the same color.

           

          JPEG is a lossy compressed format, does not save layers or transparency so you may not see the same photo when saved.

           

          Can you use a TIFF?  That is a much better format and all shops should be able to use it.

          • 2. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
            spaciousmind Community Member

            yeah I can use a TIFF, I just saved one from CMYK to try it out but the colours and contrast are still just as bad as in the jpeg example I provided

            • 3. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
              the_wine_snob Community Member

              I would definitely contact the print shop. They might, or might not, use the CMYK profile, that you chose, and their specs. will be what you want. Any good print shop will be glad to furnish you with what they want.

               

              Now, the CMYK gamut is different from the RGB gamuts. Certain colors will never look the same. Greens are perfect examples. That is just how it is, when using inks on paper vs glowing pixels on a monitor.

               

              Good luck, and either e-mail, or phone the shop. They should be very happy to help, as it will give you the best possible job.

               

              Hunt

              • 4. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                the_wine_snob Community Member

                For a bit more on RGB vs CMYK, take a look at this LINK.

                 

                Good luck,

                 

                Hunt

                • 5. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                  spaciousmind Community Member

                  Thanks, I will contact the shop and hope they can give me an ICC profile, although I would have thought it would have been on their site somewhere if they had one.

                   

                  But this still doesnt explain why my image looks good inside photoshop (working in CMYK) and then only looks awful when I open up the (jpeg/tiff) in any other program/browser..... I gather its probably something to do with the working profile applied by photoshop? How do I know which one the printers are going to see?

                  • 6. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                    Curt Y Community Member

                    Many browsers are not color balanced as is Photoshop.  So in all likelyhood it will look different.

                    • 7. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                      Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                      And most other applications can't read CMYK JPEG, much less preview it correctly.

                      • 8. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                        CindyMotsinger Community Member

                        I recommend converting a copy of your .psd over to cmyk profile. You may see some adjustment at that point in your colors. Open levels, and play with adjustments (sometimes just making it a little lighter helps) until you get it close to what you want.

                         

                        Rasterize all text layers to ensure fonts are embedded and save as pdf. If you have a newer version of Photoshop, you may be able to select the specifications of the final pdf. If high quality print is an option, it is what I recommend.

                        • 9. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                          John Danek Community Member

                          I take it the entire file is from Photoshop?  The print vendor wants hiRes PDF CMYK.  Simple enough in Photoshop.  However, it appears you have a conflict in the conversion from RGB to CMYK, specifically a gamut clip in your shadows.  You do not mention what RGB space the original is in, just that you are going to SWOP CMYK.  I'd be interested in knowing a few things up front:

                           

                          1.) How many layers involved?

                           

                          2.) What are your application Color Settings?  Is "Desaturate Monitor Colors" > selected?

                           

                          3.) What is the bit depth of the original?  16 or 8?

                           

                          Try flattening a "copy" of the original, in the copy assign or apply an Adobe RGB profile to it.  In your Color Settings, honor profiles when converting to CMYK in order to maximize the conversion gamut.  I believe you can still adjust the image in the PDF format as suggested already.  If, for whatever reason, you get the clip in the PDF generating, you may have to adjust the levels and curves to get back the shadow detail.  That said, I have not encountered such a dramatic conversion mess as what you are showing in your thumbs.  Hope this helps.

                          • 10. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                            gator soup Community Member

                            i wasn't able to follow this entire thread, but generally, from photoshop

                             

                            Edit> Convert to Profile> Destination Space: (the CMYK profile your printer recommends)

                            if your printer 'genius' is clueless, US Web Coated SWOP v2 is a good bet

                             

                            if your color shifts on the monitor when you Convert RGB to CMYK profiles in photoshop, you need to read up on Out of Gamut colors, Gamut Warning and Soft Proofing in photoshop

                             

                            >>this still doesnt explain why my image looks good inside photoshop (working in CMYK) and then only looks awful when I open up the (jpeg/tiff) in any other program/browser

                             

                            aside from Mr. Cox pointed out about CMYK .jpg — only applications that read embedded profiles (or assume the correct source profile by default) will display or print the color as photoshop does

                             

                            probably saving in .tif for the printer is also a good idea (.jpg degrades pixel quality)

                             

                            PDF

                             

                            you could also setup the Conversion in a PDF (beware of behind-the-scenes jpg compression and mysterious profile issues tho)...but i would certainly NOT rasterise any type/text that you want vector sharp on the printed piece, and scream bloody murder if the print 'genius' drags your .pdf into photoshop and ruins your vector type sharpness

                            • 11. Re: I have to save as CMYK for print, but the colours are out of whack..
                              spaciousmind Community Member

                              Thanks all for the replies.
                              Just to be clear the file is already in CMYK (U.S web coated SWOPv2), I understand now its probably smarter to work in RGB and then convert at the end but hadn't done so in this case.


                              If I change image mode to RGB (or vice versa) i notice a tiny shift in the colours on my monitor but nothing as dramatic as what im seeing in those CMYK Jpeg/TIFF's.

                               

                              John Danek -
                              there are probably more than 20 layers in there, my colour settings should all be default because ive never even looked in there before, but here is a screenshot of the dialogue box

                              default colour settings.jpg

                              and the bit depth is 8-bits per channel

                               

                               

                              If I save it out as a CMYK .pdf then it looks fine, presumably because im opening it in Adobe acrobat reader so it can see the embedded profile. So I think this is the problem after all, thanks Chris Cox and gator soup for clearing that up!

                               

                              I have emailed the printers and asked if they can read my embedded profiles correctly with their software (presumably they can) and asked for them to recommend an ICC colour profile but have yet to hear back from them.