Coloring Comics Question

Okay this is what happened.  I just finished coloring a page in photoshop elements 11, and of course it looks really good on my computer, so I wanted to print it to see what it would like in print. First I tried to print on regular paper and as expected it didn't look impressive as it does on my computer because of the paper.  I expected it. But, I remember my wife had some special print glossy paper she bought for our son's science fair project. When she used it for the pictures that we took for our son's project it came out great.  When I used it for my comic page, the accuracy of the colors I used didn't pop. Like on the computer screen.  Now I know the computer screen is brighter so it will come out a little darker when it's time to print.  And pretty much that is what happened. 


But I feel a few things about this. 

#1 Maybe I need to save it not in jpeg but in something else for print. Do you know?  :/

#2 Should I just color it how I see it in my head, and the printer people who I send it to  knows what adjustments to make?

#3 I did play with the brightness and then printed, and repeated that until I got something close to what I see on the computer.  Now should I do that for every picture myself, or should I leave it alone and give that responsibility to the printer shop, because I will mess up whatever the printer does normally to fix color print issues like this one. I mean do they have the right paper and the right printer to do this stuff, and it's my lack of knowledge and non comic book printer that is the problem?

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  • what he said...

    it good stuff and true

  • Christopher, welcome to the wonderful world of color on the computer...

    Ok, here's from years of research and actually working at a printing company for a while:

    1. Screen colors are RGB - except when they aren't (confused yet?)
    2. Print Colors are in CMYK.

    RGB is brighter and has more range since it is light based. CMYK is slightly duller with a more limited range of color.

    Now: 95% of the time, if you are going to print, you should convert your file to CMYK.

    If you colored your file in RGB, and convert to CMYK, then you will have a slight color shift. This may or may not be acceptable to you. You may have to adjust your brightness or levels a touch until your happy.

    A way to resolve this is to color things in CMYK to start. That way, your color choices will reflect the final print better to begin with. However, if you want really bright colors, and your going to be using the web for your comic, you may wish to remain in RGB mode to color anyway.

    HOWEVER, if your program of choice doesn't have CMYK options (e.g. your photoshop elements, or Corel Painter or other) then you save it out as is in RGB and either you open it up in another program and convert it, (e.g. Photoshop maybe Gimp), or you save it as is and leave it up to the print shop to convert it for you.

    Now, why did I say RGB are screen colors - except when they aren't? Well, some printing companies actually want you send them the RGB files (e.g. Kablam).  Typically these will be for Digital printing presses. For traditional style printing (aka Letterpress), you will need to provide CMYK - or they will convert them for you (possibly for a slight fee...sometimes free - the best thing to do when printing is always ask the company what their specifications are).

    Interestingly enough, some home printers actually can be set up to print RGB too - you will obviously have to research each printer regarding this - search engines are your friends. And obviously, the better the paper you use, the better your output. Note: Color printing at home for the odd single page, or self made poster is fine, however, to print out a book, or lots of pages is cost prohibitive, wastes ink (and refilling the ink cartridges costs big bucks) - and typically the paper you get for home isn't quality enough.

    One other thing to note: When printing, there will ALWAYS be a color shift from what you  see on your screen to what you see in print. ALWAYS. Even with CMYK. It will never be exactly exact. This is due to the following factors:

    1. Different companies use different inks.
    2. Different papers will affect the colors in different ways.
    3. Different types of printing machines will have different output. Sometimes the same machine will have output shifts and there is a margin of error that is deemed acceptable.
    4. The wind, the weather, someone coughed, the political landscape, and tide all moved slightly. Therefore, what's on your screen, won't quite match what you see in print.

    What you need to do when this happens is bolster yourself, and then go - it's close enough. IF the color shift is really radical - as in one color is printing completely wrong like red is printing green, THEN you have a valid reason to cry foul. However, if the page is like 10% darker than you want it to be, but your overall colors are "true" to your intent, then you just say, hey that's great, and move on.

    Also choosing a really bright or semi-gloss paper can help a lot with brightening up your colors. (Full gloss is is a little too much and is hard on the eyes - at least in my opinion.)

    1. RGB colors are typically for the computer screen (Great for web comics!)
    2. RGB can be used for print for specific printing companies and specific printers
    3. CMYK is typically used for final output
    4. There will be a color shift when converting files from RGB to CMYK. Adjustments may need to be made - but you will never match your original "RGB" file. If you want to keep the "Bright" version of the page, save two versions of the file - one in RGB and one in CMYK.
    5. Your screen colors RGB and CMYK will never match exactly what comes off the printer. There is an acceptable margin of shift, and you will need to determine what that is.

    Hope this helps.

  • try using a png.  the jpeg format tends to "add" colors. where png's color is a little more crisp. jpgs compress better though. 

    i think you are on the right train of thought for the image printing darker (dot gain). but with newer inkjet  color laser, and digital offset printers this is less of a problem. 

    lastly your screen might not be calibrated. this used to be a serious issue (a long time ago in the 1990s) but with newer technology this is not an issue as much.

    let me know either way how it turns out using the png over the jpg option.

  • Ok yeah I just checked and did research and Photoshop elements doesn't do cmyk.  Do you have any suggestions?

    I'm really glad I only colored one page of my comic.

  •  Thanks Steve yu da man..hold on let me check.

  • Is the psd file in RGB, or CMYK color mode?

    RGB colors are made for viewing on screen. They may print muddy as they cannot be reproduced with ink print processes. They don't have the same vibrancy.

    CMYK colors are made for print, and depending on your screen calibration, they should print well.

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