Friday, March 11, 2011


I just learned something about the printing of colors. Have you ever wondered why your images onscreen do not come out looking the same when printed?

My watercolor painting, "Garden Art," has been a challenge to print because with some printers it will print blue instead of purple.

I think I now have the answer!


When we create an image with a camera or a scanner, we create one using technology which uses the RGB color model (an additive model - where light is added to create the colour). If you want an image printed the printer needs a CMYK color model (a subtractive model - light is subtracted to achieve the colour before it meets our eyes). This is one of the reasons why what we look at on the screen does not print out quite as we expect. Colors can look off or lose their intensity.

Another reason is that the RGB model actually has a higher number of hues than the CMYK model.

You can convert a RGB model to a CMYK model without loosing any color quality, however the inverse does not work.

For a great explanation read Katherine Tyrrel's blog, Making A Mark.

Here is an online website where it is possible to convert your photos.


  1. Great post. RGB has a much wider range of colors than CMYK. That's one thing I try to explain to clients when I'm doing graphic design work. The colors may not appear on the printed material as they do on the screen. Also, every monitor shows colors differently so while you may think it looks right on one monitor, it may look completely different on another monitor.

  2. Hi Deanna,


    Appreciate your input.