So what can you do? Here are some of the few things that I've learned about color on my own.
- First, know what files your printer accepts. I don't really understand the complexities of RGB vs CMYK, all I know is that if you save a file that you created in Illustrator (always CMYK) in Photoshop, it will print neon. If you have something that turns out neon, go back to the document and change it to RGB mode before saving it.
- Don't just pick any color on the color palette. It's tempting I know. But some colors even though they are there, are actually out of gamut and will print weird. Photoshop and Illustrator have a warning box that appears if something is out of gamut. If you are lucky enough to own Pantone Color Swatches, then color accuracy should be easier for you, but if you can't afford them like most of us, it's all a guessing game.
- It takes time! I would guess that I spend as much time selecting and adjusting colors as I do actually drawing the project. Maybe even more time.
- When uploading projects or photos to the web, know that they can and probably will look different from monitor to monitor and even on the same monitor but in different browsers. Very annoying. I had this problem the other week when I was uploading photos to this blog. Everything looked fine on my monitor in Photoshop, but desaturated and gray on the blog on the same monitor. Turns out I had to change the image mode to sRGB. See the photos of me at the top and the photos of the Hiltons below for an example. Both images are the same, just saved differently. The images on the left are saved as AdobeRGB and the images on the right are sRGB. Images for the web need to be saved as sRGB to maintain color accuracy.
-Photo A is the original file that I designed in Illustrator. I changed the colors of this print hundreds of times (I'm not exaggerating) before I even printed it.
-Photo B is a screenshot of how the photographer's photo of the print looked on my monitor. I realized that my monitor was way too saturated. The only way to turn down the saturation of the monitor was through the intel graphics card. I also had to adjust just the yellows and reds on my monitor. It took lots of going back and forth.
-Photo C is what the photographer's photo of the print looked like on her screen and on mine after I fixed my monitor. It looks much better, but still not like the original file or oddly enough, like the physical print that she was actually photographing. It was confusing to me how the photograph of the print could look so different than the print itself. And very frustrating.
-Photo D is the photographer's photo of the print after *much* tweaking in Photoshop. Now it looks more like the original, but still not exactly the same, sigh. At least it isn't the nasty yellow colors of photos B/C.
Please share with me what you have learned about colors! Do you have any time saving tips? Or good classes to take/articles to read? I still have a long way to go on understanding color in the digital world.