The CMYK color mode is the mode that you might need if you are going to be creating images for offset printing. I'm going to go to my channels palette so you can see that currently we are in RGB mode. Since this picture was shot with my digital camera. So if I wanted to convert it to CMYK, I would go to image menu>mode>CMYK. But before I do that, I am going to talk a little bit about what really happens when you convert something. In this case Photoshop looks at the color settings. Under the edit menu you might want to go down to the bottom and choose color settings, and it will bring up your color settings dialogue box. And you can see that my presets that I have chosen are for US pre-press defaults. And notice when you choose US pre-press defaults, your working spaces for CMYK is the US web coated or SWOP version 2, which stands for standard web offset press - SWOP. Well SWOP actually does a pretty nice job of converting RGB into CMYK. It's important to understand that the CMYK color space actually contains a smaller gamut in general. Which means that there are fewer colors than the RGB color space can contain. So what happens is essentially often your colors desaturate a bit. But the US pre-press SWOP version-2 is a fairly large gamut as far as CMYK goes, so it doesn't do too bad of a job. And we can see what it does if we actually go to image mode and convert it by choosing CMYK. And you can see that now this is CMYK, and it looks pretty good. I'm going to go ahead and undo that. Edit menu>undo. And another way we can see how that will look, is to go to the view menu and choose proof colors after we first check that proof set up is looking at our working CMYK color space. And now if I choose proof colors, that is essentially what my RGB document will look like when I convert it to CMYK. So that's one way I can see the final effect without actually converting it. Well, to show you how dramatic and important those color settings are, I'm going to change them to a type of CMYK device that doesn't have a very large color gamut. Edit menu>color settings, and for CMYK I'm going to choose a different one - I'm going to choose the color laser writer. And now notice that my settings pull down menu is changed to custom, because the color laser writer is not part of my US pre-press collection of color settings here. So that, since I made that change, my settings will switch to custom. The color laser writer is a desktop color printer. And it does a pretty good job for desktop color printers. With that caveat in mind, please understand that its color gamut is very limited. So now I'm going to go to view menu>proof, and I can see that I am proofing, will be proofing my working CMYK, which is been switched now. And I'm going to choose proof colors. And you can see the dramatic change in my colors - really made it much less saturated because this particular color printer could not maintain the blue-purples in the background very well, since it has a very limited color range. And the same thing will happen of course if I actually converted the pixel data from RGB to CMYK. I would be stuck with this type of conversion. So choosing the right settings under the color settings is fairly important, but you can rest assured that if you go with some of the default preset list of listings here, such as US pre-press defaults - and if I choose that I'll go back to those collection of settings. Those settings are generally pretty good for the color workflow that each one of those settings describes. And the last thing I would have you do is if you know you are going to be converting your images to CMYK for printing in the offset press environment, I would recommend speaking directly to your service bureau, or perhaps the printer, and find out what settings they recommend - what kind of conversion settings they recommend and for doing this in Photoshop.
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