When should I convert images to CMYK?

This is a question we’re asked regularly and it causes some confusion. Images are generally captured using the RGB colour mode but, for printing, they need to be defined as CMYK mode. Think of it as the difference between screen viewing and printing.

Image of screen and printer icons

The initials RGB represent the primary colours of the screen mode – Red, Green and Blue, CMYK represents the primary colours of printing – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Black being represented as K or the Key colour).

In the early days of desktop publishing, images were converted to CMYK using Photoshop before they were placed into a design application like Illustrator, QuarkXPress or InDesign. This process can be time consuming and creates a variety of inconvenient side-effects. The CMYK colour mode is adapted for specific printing processes and machinery and has a reduced colour range compared to RGB so CMYK images so are not suitable for reuse in many other media. A further benefit from leaving images as RGB is that much of Photoshop only works in RGB mode so, if you convert an image you’ll find a substantial amount of Photoshop’s editing capabilities are disabled.

The good news is, this process is no longer necessary, as long as you are exporting your  document to a PDF using a preset which includes a colour conversion.

Screenshot of Photoshop Convert to CMYK mode

 

Let’s explain that further. The typical way to change colour modes in Photoshop is to manually select Image>Mode>CMYK Color, however,  as all Adobe applications use the same colour engine, you can perform an RGB to CYMK conversion at any point in your workflow using any Adobe application. If you are sending print-ready PDF’s to your print provider, you can automate the conversion by placing RGB images into InDesign or Illustrator and creating a PDF using choosing a preset such as PDF/X-1a2001 or Press Quality. These presets contain a built-in conversion which will convert any images to CMYK automatically. The original pictures will remain untouched, leaving you free to reuse them for output in other media without making duplicates.

Screenshot of InDesign Export to PDF

SCreenshot of second step of InDesign export to PDF process

This does not automate creative processes such as colour correction, retouching or sharpening and these should be carried out in Photoshop in conjunction the various soft proofing tools such as Proof Colours and Gamut Warning.

In cases where you intend to send open InDesign files and links to your print provider this approach is not suitable (unless you’ve agreed that your print provider will perform the conversion). For most people, however,  converting on export to PDF offers a much quicker and more efficient way to ensure images are correctly adjusted for print.

To learn more about working with colour with Creative Cloud, contact us.

 

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New Year, New Skills: Video Editing with Photoshop

Graphic of Video Editing with Photoshop promotion

Many of us use Photoshop for a fairly standard set of tasks such as image adjustments, repairs and perhaps the odd montage but did you know that Photoshop can also be used to edit and produce video?

Using a timeline and a dedicated set of video tools, you can rapidly bring together motion video, stills, text and graphics to create great looking videos for your organisation. You don’t need to learn a whole new application and set of concepts to do it, you can use your existing Photoshop skills and quickly learn the extra features so you’ll be up and running in no time. Better still, Photoshop supports the 1080p standard for high definition video and can export in a variety of standard video formats for use on platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo as well a wide range of other formats.

At creativelab we use Photoshop for most of our video needs including promotion and advertising, software demonstrations and for our ‘flipped’ classes at the University of Stirling. We can help you build effective videos in-house and at low cost.

To find out more, email us or call 07834 237 133

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Got Adobe Creative Cloud? Got questions?

Everyone finds things out online but have you ever measured how long you spend looking for answers to Adobe or design and print related questions? and did you get exactly the answers you needed? The web is a black hole for time and attention and it can be difficult to find the answer you’re looking for. That’s why it still pays to use an expert. Creativelab has been Adobe certified since 2006 and  has decades of experience in the design, print and publishing industry. We can troubleshoot problems, provide answers to your specific questions, we can also train you in getting the best from your applications and, best of all, we’re there if you have follow-up questions or need more advice.

We like to think of ourselves as your extra pair of hands, your creative collaborator and your technical helpdesk.

If you need help with Adobe Creative Cloud, training, design or publishing, please do get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

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New Year, New Skills: Colour Management

New year new skills, colour management illustration

 

Do your images print too dark? Does your logo look the wrong colour? If you’re baffled and frustrated by colour issues, creativelab offers training and troubleshooting in colour management. Most people are unfamiliar with the complexities of colour and the rules their software packages use to describe it, this can create unpredictable and expensive results.

Image of calibration sheet and loupe magnifying glass

creativelab can show you how to set your software up to manage colour correctly, make sure your colour output is predictable across your design workflow and make sure your colours work predictably in all media.

Image of print swatch book

We’ll explain:
Colour profiles
Colour conversions
Monitor and printer calibration
Soft proofing
Measuring colour output

We can also carry out a colour health-check on your systems, identifying potential problems and recommending solutions.

To find out more, email us or call 07834 237 133

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New Year, New Skills: Social Media Sparks

Screenshot of creativelab SocialMediaSparks graphic

Do you want to create eye catching, professional social media graphics and short videos but don’t have a budget for software? Our Social Media Sparks workshop is an informal, hands-on session which will show you and your team how to get the best from Adobe’s free Spark suite of social media software tools.

We use Spark to create all sorts of content for our own social media channels including posts like these:

Short videos:

And promotional web pages:

Screen shot of creativelab Social Media Sparks web page

In our Social Media Sparks workshop, You’ll learn how to use pictures and typography to put together great looking posts, web pages and short videos. No previous software or design experience is necessary and you’ll be up and running and posting live online right away. Sparks applications are available through any web browser and in versions for iPhone and iPad so you can work on your own laptops or tablets.

We can run a Sparks workshop anywhere you like, right on your own site, or at another venue of your choice.

If you’d like find out more or get a quote please contact us.

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New Year, New Skills

Illustration of creativelab new year, new skills promotionIt’s easy to start the new year with loads of resolutions that fall by the way because they’re too ambitious or there’s just too many of them. Fortunately, developing your skills is one of those resolutions that can be achieved without too much hardship. At creativelab we offer tailored services to fit your timescale and budget from bespoke, on-site training sessions to short workshops or focused online sessions.

To help you think about what new skills you could learn we’re spending January highlighting some key software applications and features that you may not be aware of. If you want to know more just get in touch for a chat, we’ll be happy to hear from you.

Keep an eye on this blog or our social media feeds over the next few weeks for our top suggestions.

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