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annabel398  annabel398 is offline
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Join Date: 27 Nov 2011
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 489
annabel398 

Computer monitors produce colors with light, the three primary colors of which are Red Green Blue (RGB). Red + blue make magenta (fuchsia), blue + green make cyan (turquoise), and red + green make yellow.

Yes. Red + green = YELLOW.

Now, this is colored light we're talking about.

On the other hand, to produce cards (books, magazines, etc.), we must use INKS, not light, and there are four primary ink colors: cyan (aka "process blue," aka blue-green), magenta (aka fuchsia), yellow, and black. CMYK, where K = blacK because B is already taken. Think about those pop art paintings of blown-up comics... The dots are CMYK.

(Edited to add: okay, any more it's usually toner rather than ink, but toner is also CMYK, so same difference.)

It gets complicated, because the two systems don't match up exactly in terms of what colors they can reproduce (called the "gamut"). Paint a solid cyan rectangle in your favorite painting program, and print it on a color printer. Not the same color AT ALL, are they?

it may be that your monitor needs calibration. More likely than not, actually. And it may also be that your printer's equipment needs calibration (frankly, less likely--most of these guys spend real money on color calibration). And it may be that the color you're creating on-screen (with light) can't actually be reproduced in ink.

A good printer will supply you (if asked) with a calibration card, so you can at least try to make what you see match what you'll get.

Here's a tip: make a file consisting of your favorite color palette and have your printer print it. Now compare the printout to the same file on your screen. This will help you understand what can and can't be reproduced.

If you own a color printer (they're so cheap these days!), find the manuals that came with it and run the calibrations they built in. You might be surprised how much your printouts improve!
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