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When designing for print, we use CMYK for images and color. But when we're creating digital documents, we need to use RGB because our ultimate destination for these documents will be on the computer screen. By default, when there's no document opened and we go to our Swatches panel, you'll see that there are CMYK images in here. But if we make a new document--I am going to File > New > Document--and we change our Intent to Web, and click OK, you'll see they all switch to RGB. There's no need to have to worry about changing these beforehand. Let's say we make a brand-new color swatch, and it happens to be CMYK.
I am going to change its color to something like this. If we want to convert this back to RGB, all we have to do is double-click and go to Color mode, and change it to RGB and click OK. Something else to look out for is our Transparency Blend Space. By going to Edit > Transparency Blend Space, we want to be sure we're using Document RGB. The Transparency Blend Space helps you avoid color mismatches when you use transparency effects inside your document. Because our document is going to end up onscreen, we want the Blend Space to render correctly into RGB.
We also have to pay attention to our images. I am going to deselect and close this. Let's bring in an image. I am going to go to File > Place, or Command+D or Ctrl+D on the PC, and I'm going to go into my Links folder. Inside my Place dialog box, I am going to scroll down and select bird.jpg. Now, I could use a TIFF or EPS, but JPEGs work just fine for onscreen. I am going to click Open and then click and drag and place this image. Now, when I go to my Links panel and look inside the Link Info, you'll see the Color Space is CMYK.
CMYK is useful for printing, but if this is going to be going onscreen, it needs to be RGB. Now, if I leave it at CMYK, and I output it to a PDF or a SWF file, InDesign will convert it for me. But I prefer to have Photoshop do the conversion, because it can do a better job. So to convert it myself, I am going to go to the Panel menu, choose Edit With > Adobe Photoshop. Inside Photoshop, I am going to go to Image > Mode > RGB. Now, I can go to File > Save, and close the image.
Back inside InDesign, you'll see it's updated, and now it's an RGB image. When we're designing for digital documents, it's going to end up onscreen, which means we can use a smaller resolution. Normally for print, we want around 300 DPI, but for onscreen, it only has to be 72 PPI, which is pixels per inch, so we can get away with using smaller file size. You can use larger ones if you like, but they are going to be downsampled when you export to your final output. Well, it may seem strange to work with RGB if you're used to only working with CMYK, don't let it bother you because they really aren't that different. I think you'll find that over time working in RGB will seem as natural as CMYK.
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