Printing Issue - CMYK - Lost contrast

smd

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Does anyone know why I am loosing contrast in my images when saving a CMYK version? I opened the RAW image in photoshop and did Convert to Profile > CMYK and then saved it.

I them printed a business card with this image and it turned out washed out with low contrast, even though it didn't look washed out on the screen.

Any help would be great, thanks!

Photo attached - RGB on the left ,CMYK on the right

cmyk-issue.jpg
 

Ysarex

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You should not be converting your RGB image to CMYK. You are not printing your photo on a 4 color offset press. Your RGB photo should stay RGB when you print it. How are you printing?

Joe
 
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smd

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When I upload the files to the online printer, I got a warning saying RGB was detected and that it should be in CMYK. Should I have ignored that warning?
 

Ysarex

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When I upload the files to the online printer, I got a warning saying RGB was detected and that it should be in CMYK. Should I have ignored that warning?

What online printer?

Joe
 
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smd

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primoprint.com
 

Ysarex

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primoprint.com

You are having the work printed on a press. I assume lots of business cards. In that case the files will ultimately be converted to CMYK to be printed.

By asking you to do the conversion they're trying to:
1. Save a lot of money (good for you if they charge you less).
2. Dodge responsibility (good for them if they can get away with it).

The CMYK conversion from RGB is correctly done by the press operator. By press operator I mean the operator of that specific press. Not a similar press or another press of the same brand and model, I mean THAT SPECIFIC press. Obviously they don't want to do that job and pay personnel skilled and qualified to do that job. In their defense they'd have to charge you and it's a cut-throat business out there. You can't correctly convert your files to CMYK for this job because you don't have the necessary information. The conversion requires profile characteristics of THE SPECIFIC PRESS. It likewise requires a color-managed and calibrated proofing system.

To make their business model work they just skip the hard part and tell you to send them CMYK PDF files. You're option is to do a generic CMYK conversion and then edit the result as best you can and keep your fingers crossed (all bad ideas).

They do have an FAQ that addresses the topic in which they present false information: Here's the FAQ: Primo Print | Artwork & Files

And here's the false information: What color mode should my files be in?

primo.jpg


They're showing you in the FAQ what happens if an RGB file is generically converted to CMYK and printed without press operator intervention. It's pretty funny, "These are the same colors, but in CMYK." Obviously they're not the same colors. They should be if they were doing their job right! That's why a skilled press operator is required to do the RGB to CMYK conversion. This is their responsibility dodge: By pressuring you upfront to do a CYMK conversion incorrectly they're dodging what should be their responsibility.

Again in their defense: It's a cut-throat business and do you want to pay more for those business cards to have them do a professional job? What if their price doubled in order for them to do this right?

Good luck,

Joe
 
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smd

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Wow. This is interesting. So would you recommend that I leave the image RGB and upload it with the warnings? I will be ordering more cards in the future so I'd like to know what the solution is. I have been talking to the company and they can't give me any tips except for "add some contrast to your photo in photoshop" or they think it could be because of a color shift.
 

Ysarex

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Wow. This is interesting. So would you recommend that I leave the image RGB and upload it with the warnings? I will be ordering more cards in the future so I'd like to know what the solution is. I have been talking to the company and they can't give me any tips except for "add some contrast to your photo in photoshop" or they think it could be because of a color shift.

Sorry for the delay -- had to run to the grocery store.

Under the circumstances and considering their behavior I'd go ahead with the generic CMYK conversion. Then I'd make adjustments to that converted image to improve it's appearance on your display. Understand that you're not working in a proofing environment and there will be discrepancies between what you see and what will finally print. Hopefully the differences will be minor and acceptable. I'd then save the result in a PDF file as they prefer, send them the PDF and keep your fingers crossed.

Their response as you report it, "they think it could be because of a color shift" suggests you're talking to someone who is clueless.

Joe
 

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There should be no need at all for most people to use CMYK nowadays Your printer works in CMYK but the use of RGB is now so dominant that, for a long time, home printers have been set up to do the conversion automatically before making the print itself.
Again, big print houses once required files to be submitted as CMYKs, but most seem accept that they will do the necessary conversion
 

Ysarex

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There should be no need at all for most people to use CMYK nowadays Your printer works in CMYK but the use of RGB is now so dominant that, for a long time, home printers have been set up to do the conversion automatically before making the print itself.
Again, big print houses once required files to be submitted as CMYKs, but most seem accept that they will do the necessary conversion

No, big print houses once (and good ones still do) expected files to be submitted as RGB so they could do their job properly and have their technician create a correct CMYK conversion for their press. Fly by night low-price print houses started asking clients to submit CMYK files as a way to avoid doing their job ($$$$) and as a way to try and snow the uneducated client.

Joe
 

GHK

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I think my experience must go back much further than yours
 

Ysarex

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I think my experience must go back much further than yours

I started working at a press shop operating a stat camera and making press plates back in the mid 1970s. Far enough back for you?

Joe
 

GHK

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Not bad, though my first magazine publication was in 1951.
I now wonder if there was a difference in practice between the UK and theUSA?
 

Watchful

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Are you converting from RGB to CMYK, or from sRGB to CMYK?
sRGB will convert more accurately. If you are printing yourself, I suggest you feed RGB files to the print driver. It knows more about what the printer
needs and its translation algorithms than you or photoshop do.

If you are converting, make sure you convert and never assign a CMYK profile to the file.
 

Ysarex

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Not bad, though my first magazine publication was in 1951.
I now wonder if there was a difference in practice between the UK and theUSA?

OK, so your photo experience goes back a little further than mine. And your experience then actually working in a press shop?

Joe

Now let's move on to actual good information on the topic: is colourmanagement needed in prepress and print? | colourmanagement.net

Here's the sentence that hits the nail on the head: "Unfortunately, as we know, even quite inexperienced users of ©Adobe Photoshop, perhaps designers or photographers, might feel they can "separate" RGB to make CMYK and this is most often done without any guidance, or knowledge of press destination and / or paper type. Perhaps even using Photoshop defaults." Wow! Hard to believe: even using Photoshop defaults! Oh the horror!
 
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