CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, black -- the four colors that make up the standard printing process.
The CMYK color model is a subtractive model used for printing on printing presses and many color computer printers. When the three primary colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow, are combined together they do not produce a rich black, so black ink is added as a fourth color.
To create CMYK colors on the computer you must specify percentages of the primary colors. Color is controlled by moving the sliders.:
For example, this purple color is a mix of 5% cyan, 56% magenta, 0% yellow, and 39% black:
Process printing is the printing of images on paper using overlapping dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks to create full color, continuous tones. If you look at a printed photo with a loupe, you'll see it is really made of many small dots of these four colors. Many color computer printers, especially those designed to print photographs, use CMYK inks also.
|Original full color photograph.
||Enlarged representation of CMYK inks printed in a dot structure (halftone) to create the illusion of full color imagery.|
|Enlarged representation of CMYK inks printed in a dot structure (below). To the right, is each color broken out individually: cyan at the top, followed by magenta, yellow, and black.