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Unless you've rigorously set up and maintained a color management system in your studio, it's quite likely that the colors you are seeing on your screen are different from the colors that you will see when you print your documents. In some cases they can be dramatically different. At its most basic level, this difference is because you are looking at light coming through glass at your eyes versus light bouncing off of pigment on a paper and then back to your eyes. But beyond that, there are color modeling systems that are different from each other and the colors that you display or your monitor can produce and show you are in a much broader spectrum and can be much more vibrant than can be reproduced in ink on paper.
But if you understand some basic principles, you can get it under control and not be dramatically surprised by what you get when you output your file. Your monitor uses three colors to create the colors that you are seeing on screen. It uses Red, Green and Blue. In the standard four color printing process, all the colors are created by combining four different process colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to create all the colors that you see with your eyes. Let me show you a quick demonstration of how that can affect your project. QuarkXPress 7 and above have a really great feature built into the View menu, called Proof Output.
Now, by default, it's just showing you the pictures and the images and the colors, however they were created, and just dumped right to your display. But you can ask QuarkXPress to display all your colors in one specific color space by choosing it from this list below. The two most common you'll run into are RGB and CMYK. I'm going to switch to RGB and watch this red and brown dog. Notice how bright they got, notice how the whole thing got brighter. Well, if that's how it displays on your screen and you think you are going to get it printed that way, think again.
Let's go back to the View menu and proof the output, as it might be printed on a CMYK device, such as the printing press at your print shop. Again, watch the red and the brown. And do you see how dull they became? That's because the inks on a CMYK press just can't reproduce those kinds of vibrant colors. Now that you know that, if your intended output is to a CMYK printing device, you may want to go to the View menu every so often and make sure that your Proof Output is set to CMYK. That way you'll be looking at colors on screen that will be a little bit closer to the kinds of colors you can expect to see on a print press.
You can create colors in QuarkXPress in any color model, including RGB or CMYK and several others. Knowing your intended output can help you from the beginning in determining which colors you are going to be using in your layout. In the next movies, we'll look at how to create new colors and how to specify the color models that you are using within them.
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