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What Is Color? : Page 8

Color is the byproduct of the spectrum of light, as it is reflected or absorbed, as received by the human eye and processed by the human brain.




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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.

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