Why RGB Can Never Be Used for Print? | RGB vs CMYK

Why only CMYK and not RGB can be used for print? Is it ever possible for a printer to have RGB colors and print naturally? Why RGB has to be converted to CMYK before printing? All this and more in this episode.

In this episode, we'll go in depth about two color spaces: RGB and CMYK and why one is used for screen and the other for print. First off, we would understand both the color spaces through a color wheel. Then, we will understand how these two types of color profiles relate to each other.

First off, what is a color wheel? Not going into the science of wavelengths and frequencies, the color wheel is nothing but the colors of the rainbow arranged in a circle, that's it. Now, interestingly if we look at the opposites of Red, Green, and Blue (RGB), we will find Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (CMY-K, where K is key, meaning the amount of black).

Now, to understand the difference between RGB and CMYK let us understand how white is represented on screen and paper. For the color white, on screen, the values of RGB are 255, 255, 255, which is the maximum. Which means that your screen's each pixel's individual red, green, and blue lights are at it's maximum and equal brightness. But on a white paper white is represented by nothing but NO INK! Now, for white, the values of RGB are at its maximum. Besides, since Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow are exact opposites of Red, Green, and Blue, the corresponding values of CMYK would be 0,0,0,0. You might wonder, why is K zero. It is because, for white, there is no amount of black. And since all the values are zero, do you think any ink would come out of the printer?

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