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  • cmyk and orange

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new here and have a quick question.
    When converting photos/images that contain a lot of orange from RBG to CMYK it always goes a muddy brown. For example, I had a photo of a sun set that when converted to cmyk went muddy (it went beige) - when printing from my desktop printer I just left it as RGB and it printed out nice and bright - but professional printers want everything converted to cmyk - is there something in photoshop I could do to retain the orange colour?


  • #2
    Orange is one of the harder colors to get reproduced in CMYK. I'm guessing that your desktop printer has more than 4 inks. CMYK is just four inks, and brighter colors are hard to reproduce in that gamut.

    You're going to need to work with your printer to find out a good mix in order to get some type of orange, especially if the orange you chose was a particularly vivid orange.

    If you have the option to use a Pantone color, or if you have the budget to go with Hexachrome, you might want to investigate that.
    "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply
      I checked my printer- it uses 5 colours. it's a matter of working with the printer people - I thought perhaps I was missing something in photoshop. I know about using pantone colours to get bright colours for things like logos that use flat colour, but I'm not familar with hexachrome , is that like pantone?
      Last edited by glitteringpoppies; 07-16-2006, 10:45 PM.


      • #4
        I've just looked on wikipedia for an explanation on Hexachrome - this must be the process that fine art printers use? I don't see many printers round where I live offering this type of printing - but I'll keep it in mind for the's true what they say, you learn something new every day!


        • #5
          Hexachrome is basically a different set of inks. It has green and orange, in addition to CMYK, so colors that are really vivid reproduce more accurately.

          You also factor in more cost when you use it, however, so check with your printer and see what they say. They might not even have it as an option.

          Your best bet, when you're going to be a conventional printer, is to work in CMYK as early as possible in your design process, so you won't have big shifts, and you can design for the CMYK gamut.

          If you must start off with RGB when you're designing, for whatever reason, then be sensitive to gamut warnings. In the Photoshop color picker, you'll see an exclamation point next to a color if you're selecting a color not reproducible in CMYK. You can also turn on the gamut warning in the View menu in Photoshop, and that'll show you where certain areas are using colors not reproducible in CMYK.
          "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo


          • #6
            ......but what about photographs that are simply scanned in and cropped to be used in a page layout? I 've often had problems when working with photographs that contain a lot of orange going dull and muddy when converted to cmyk - is there anything in photoshop i could do? I've tried adjusting the colour sliders, but i seem to make matters worse. Often, I try to avoid using photgraphy with orange in it all together to save me all the hassle!


            • #7
              You can use levels, curves and selective color. I'm sure there are other tools as well. One trick you can try is to convert your image to Lab color, adjust and then convert back to cmyk. When you convert the image, watch it closely for a color shift. It should be a minimum shift.


              • #8
                I'll try converting to Lab color - never tried that before, thanks for the tip!


                • #9
                  Are you "converting to profile" in Photoshop, or are you simply changing the color space from RGB to CMYK?

                  I would recommend using the "Convert to Profile" option and use one of the default settings that best fit how your job will be output. Best case scenario would be to have your printer supply you with an ICC Profile that they use for conversions.

                  Either way, a true orange is next to impossible to reproduce as CMYK, but this should get you much closer.


                  • #10
                    One of the things I have found useful is to adjust 3-4 images (each in a slightly different way) and have the printer run me a print of each one. I do this for oranges and purples in CMYK. If the color is critical then try it. This way you can pick which one works best for what you need. Just make sure to remember which file goes with each adjustment.

                    When I worked for a printer I would do this as a courtesy for my clients because I knew that purples and oranges came out different. You can adjust the levels and curves (whichever you prefer) and tweak it a bit.

                    Good luck!


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