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When we talk about light in an image, we're usually referring to the illusion of light created by an artist. But what if the light is real? When you look at an image on your computer screen, it's color could be shockingly different from what appears on a printed page. Light emanating through an image creates a vibrant quality that's difficult to match on paper. This translation is different mechanically. It's CMYK for print and RGB for digital. CMYK refers to the four inks used in most color printing.
Cyan, magenta, yellow and key. Key's actually black, the k being for the last letter of the word and is considered subtractive color. Because the colors take away from the brightness of the white paper. This process is used for traditional printing. RGB is an additive color process because it refers to the red, blue and green light that is added together to reproduce an array of colors. This process is used for digitally displayed images. Let's look at a traditional book that I retold and illustrated and developed as an app, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
This is a challenge to demonstrate to you because you're obviously viewing this on a screen not on a piece of paper. But if you look at the original paintings, then printed with CMYK color printing process. And then a scanned version of the print displayed on the iPad. You can see the difference between each form. Light literally bounces off the physical images because they were painted in acrylic and watercolor. The acrylic gloss aids in creating transparency and depth of color, much like the masters were able to achieve in glazing in linseed oil, turpentine and oil paint.
But the glazing can be problematic when printing if the light reflects off the surface and reveals uneven tones and a washed out reflected section like this. If we compare it to the printed page, the colors are less vibrant than the original art because the inks on the paper can only achieve so much saturation. And the coded stock of the paper does not have the added benefit of the original glaze enhancing the luminosity of the color. If the page had a shiny coating it might mimick the glaze but the paper is still limited by the ability of the inks to soak in and not through the thin paper stock of the book.
Books tend to have imagery on both sides of the pages so soaking through would not be ideal. If we then compare this to the app made by DemiBooks, the difference in color is remarkable. The glowing light of the device enhances the quality of luminosity much like light passing through a stained glass window. Clothes appear more vibrant. Remembering to make sure that your computer is set to CMYK for print versions and RGB for digital one basic solution for color to be true. Well, the surfaces will never look exactly alike because of the issue of light.
Understanding the mechanics that you can tinker with to get the color just right from one display to another helps if you are aware of the specific settings involved.
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