Does saving as CMYK affect the quality of greyscale images?

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  1. #1
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    Does saving as CMYK affect the quality of greyscale images?

    Hi friends.

    I´m freelancing for a rpg company, doing greyscale illustrations for their upcoming book. So far i have saved the images as greyscale, but reseantly i heard that saving greyscale images as CMYK would improve the quality of the prints.

    Is this true or not? I find it hard to believe since greyscale is just greyscale, and as long as i save the pics in a non destructive format, everything should be fine, but i´m not entirely sure anymore.. I asked my boss about it, and he said he didn´t know. I want my images to look as good as possible so i really want to know this.

    I would be gratefull for any answers or experiences you people have on this.

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  3. #2
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    I'm not sure how they're gonna print out the final product, but I assume since it's gonna be in the interior of a book it's just going to be one or two colors, so you'd be better off working on the file in grayscale and then converting it to a monotone, or duotone file. Saving it in CMYK won't really help anything if the job's not going to be 4-color process, no reason to use 4 inks if it's just going to be a grayscale image, unless there's other colored images on the same page.

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    Thanks Groover, that was the answer i was hoping for. I´m new to printing so i wasn´t sure.

    Thanks again and take care. :chug:

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    though if they plan on having color on the same page they will print it in cmyk, then you might loose some info when you convert.. sorry...

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    Actually, technically speaking, CMYK will give you a greater dynamic range when printing. Not obvious or intuitive, but mathematically and physically true.

    Why is this?

    Grayscale, in the digital world, only is one channel of 8-bit color...that means 256 levels of gray. That's it.

    CMYK, while having an extremely limited color gamut next to RGB, still reproduces well over 65,000 human-discernable discrete colors.

    Now, does this mean your print job will benefit? Maybe not. Then again, your client or their printer may be taking advantage of the fact that "colorless" images can still be printed with CMYK process to gain richer blacks and greater shadow detail, which can indeed be a real advantage. Grayscale printed with just black ink can often looked washed out due to dot gain and high-rag paper.

    The key here is to ask the right questions to the PRINTER, not your client contact. If it's an RPG publisher, to conserve costs they may just be doing a black-plate print run, in which case CMYK is completely silly for your purposes. However, if you art is mixing with other color elements in the book and there is a substantial print budget, they might just now what they are doing.

    HTH,
    -Atomick

    --------------------------------------------
    freelance imagemaker + digital experience designer
    http://www.atomick.net
    --------------------------------------------
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    Thanks for the reply Atomick and Vimmzy, that´s usefull information. I guess i will just have to wait for the company to find a printer and save as CMYK just in case.

    Cheers.

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