Adobe Photoshop Color Picker CMYK values

The Details of Color

You look around and with everything, there is a color to either differentiate it from similar objects are to blend it in with other objects to prevent it from being singled out. Call it style or camouflage, it’s nothing but color. How a computer sees this color is not only difficult for graphic designers to match, but then to create the vision of a client to their linking is all together another topic.

Photoshop can display color in lots of ways but the two most known methods are RGB (Red, Blue, Green) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).

RGB Color Mode

RGB schemes are mainly thought of when dealing with viewing designs visually on a monitor, screen or display. By simply throwing red, blue and green into a pot, you get the varying ranges of the RGB color spectrum from black to white. If you could add the tiniest dash of RGB, you get black. Conversely, by adding all the RGB you can into the pot, you get white.

Typically, RGB values are shown in triplet values of one of the 256 (0 -255) shades, the first value being the red, the second the green and the third the blue. This is displayed a (255, 255, 255), otherwise known as white. Red would be shown as (255, 0, 0). Another method for annotating color is through the use of a hexadecimal number, where white is known as #FFFFFF. Again, the first two alphanumeric digits are for the red, the second the green and the last two the blue. The hexadecimal number for red is #FF0000. The range is in 16 values from 0 to F (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F).

Where RGB is the choice for digital viewing because of it offers the widest color range, CMYK is the printing champ. The utilization of the colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black were in a sort of reverse of the RGB method. CMYK gets darker the more color you add. You might be thinking, “Why do I need to add CMY together to get black when it already has black (K)?” Good question! If you add CMY together, you actually get brown…are really dark brown. So the K is needed to get a true black.

Adobe Photoshop color picker hexidecimal value

CMYK Color Mode

CMYK values deal in percentages of the value. The red in the RGB mode would convert over in the CMYK mode as cmyk (0%, 99%, 100%, 0%) which is why when you print our something on the computer, the colors sometimes don’t match up to what you see on the screen. So it may be necessary to convert an image’s color from RGB to CMYK when you send it to print.

Adobe Photoshop Color Picker CMYK values

Whether you’re pushing 256 or shades of red, just 16 or 99% magenta with 100% yellow, red is what you’ll get. Understanding these differences are important in getting what the client wants.

Will Denney

Will Denney

He is the Creative Director of Desert Designs AZ in Phoenix, Arizona
and a retired Air Force Veteran with a BS in Computer Studies.


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