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Color Modes?

Bit Depth
Used to describe the amount of color data in a file.

Image Mode
Every digital file is in a specific image mode. These image modes are bitmap, grayscale, RGB and CMYK.

Vector artwork can be in either CMYK or RGB image modes. Bitmap images can be in bitmap, grayscale, CMYK or RGB image modes.

Bitmap Image Mode
This image mode has a bit depth of 1-bit which means each pixel is either black or white-there are no shades. This typically is seen in line drawings, cartoons or logos made up of solid black and white images and text. Images in the bitmap image mode need to have a resolution of 1200 ppi.

Grayscale Image Mode
This image mode has a bit depth of 8-bit and is used to describe images that are
composed of white, black, and numerous shades of gray. The grayscale image mode can display 256 colors (254 grays, black & white). Black and white photographs are the most common example of this image mode.

CMYK Image Mode
This image mode has a bit depth of 32-bit which means each pixel is a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. This image mode divides its data between four channels (one for each color) and is used in commercial printing. If a digital file is to be printed in CMYK it must be in the CMYK image mode. A RGB file that contains three channels of data must be converted into CMYK which contains four channels before it can be used.

RGB Image Mode
This image mode has a bit depth of 24-bit which means each pixel is combination of red, green and blue. This image mode is used with computer monitors and televisions because they project beams of red, green and blue light to your screen to display color. The RGB image mode divides its data between three channels (one for each color).

Color Gamut
The range of color a device can reproduce. This includes printers, digital cameras, scanners, monitors, etc.

Color Management
Color Management is a system of maintaining a consistent definition of color between scanners, cameras, monitors and various printers. Each device has a color gamut which is captured in a color profile. A color profile is a special digital file that records the color gamut information of a device. Matching the color of a digital proofer to what is printed on a offset press is achieved by using color profiles of each device and specialized color management software.