CMYK Limitations
Clarity and Color
As viewed at printed size
The publication printing process uses only four ink colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to replicate the entire visual spectrum of colors. But there are two serious tradeoffs involved in this reproduction process: clarity and color. The dot structure used in the printed illusion severely dulls the image's detail and the CMYK ink colors are significantly less saturated than the photographic RGB (red, green, and blue colors. Fortunately, the printing dots are very small and can rarely be seen without magnification. And very few images contain colors that cannot be effectively simulated in the printing process. Publication proofs are often inkjet prints which do not use a lithographic dot structure. While colors can be matched, these proofs usually display more detail and sharpness than the printed publication.