Free Knowledge – What is CMYK

What is CMYK?

This is the Four Colour Process (also known as Process Colour or Full-Colour)

Based upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Colour Circle, Four colour process printing was originally developed in the late nineteenth century along with the half-tone process for reproduction of continuous tone images (photographs) and has been used for over 100 years to reproduce colour images. The colours Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow appear directly opposite the Red, Green, and Blue on the Colour Circle devised by Newton over 300 years ago.

This is called an “subtractive” process. The various inks absorb the light reflected from the underlying white paper to produce the colours that your eye sees. The colours that you see are those colours which were not absorbed by the ink. It is called subtractive because when you subtract the other colours, the colour that is left is the colour that
you see.

Professional printing presses print full colour pictures by using the four colours CMYK.The C is the abbreviation of CYAN, M for MAGENTA, Y for YELLOW, and K for KEY. The KEY colour is BLACK. Black ink (KEY) is added to improve the quality of 3-colour blacks, to provide added detail to images, to speed drying, and to reduce overall ink costs, thus the name: Four Colour Process also known as Process Colour or Full Colour.

In the CMYK colour system equal proportions of:
Yellow ink plus Magenta ink produces Red (R)
Yellow ink plus Cyan ink produces Green (G)
Cyan ink plus Magenta ink produces Blue (B)
(actually more like purple to most eyes).

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