Monday, 11 October 2010

cmyk printing

The CMYK colour system is extremely common in the printing world. When a printing method - be it lithographic, rotogravure, flexographic, digital, screen or pad - makes use of the CMYK method, it uses only Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Key) to produce all the colours in the printed image. These colours are also known as 'Process Colours'. For all print methods listed other than digital, 4 plates are created (one for each colour) which print the exact quantities of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black for the image to come together. By overprinting the colours, using the plates and full colour image is produced. For example, if I wanted to print this photograph of Eric Clapton in a lithographic printing process, I would have 4 CMYK plates produced for the printing process. If printed individually, this is what they would look like:

Cyan

Magenta

Yellow

Black (Key)

And when printed over each other, a full colour image is revealed. It is a SUBTRACTIVE PROCESS due to the fact that it works by building colours onto white to create black. This is taking the white out and reducing it. It subtracts the light from the image, hence why it has its name.

Here is the full colour CMYK image of Eric Clapton:

CMYK Clapton

And that is how the CMYK printing process works for all commercial printing processes. CMYK is a versatile and cost friendly print process that has made it's status in the printing world.

Be seeing you!

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