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Submitted on
February 11, 2013


10,160 (3 today)
8 (who?)
Hello Everyone!

We've encountered a persistent issue with colors within our submissions, specifically regarding those using Adobe Illustrator.

The prevalent cause for this is having the 'Color Mode' for the document set as CMYK instead of RGB. This converts all RGB colors to CMYK formats - including imported Color Guides!

CMYK Color Formats are usually used for Prints, whereas RGB Color Formats are used for Digital Images.

To change the Color Mode, go to:

File --> Document Color Mode --> RGB Color Mode.

Once you've done that, make sure to re-import the Color Guide(s) and apply the new colors for your Strokes and Fills. Don't forget to update the Swatches (if you've made them previously in the CMYK Mode).

Here is a comparison between the Color Modes:

(Hover the cursor over the image to fullsize it.)

(If you'll pay close attention, you'll notice that Twilight's coat color is duller in CMYK).

(Hover the cursor over the image to fullsize it.)

(Lyra has a more extreme change between the Color Modes).

So make sure you've set the Color Mode before working on your Vector and Importing Images to avoid any issues. ;)

What's the difference?

CMYK colors are created with printed work in mind. Vector art is very useful for printing because of it's ability to be scaled infinitely, which is why Illustrator often uses CMYK color mode.

CMYK is more limited than RGB because CMYK is made from ink, whereas RGB is made from light. CMYK is made of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink, much like your printer at home probably uses. Printing presses use these same colors to make full color printed work. Though you can make a lot of colors with those four, it's difficult to get brighter colors like those used in most of the ponies.

RGB is what your computer uses to create colors. It creates images from red, green, and blue light. Most monitors and TVs work this way. RGB colors will often be much brighter than CMYK colors because they are less limited, and it is also what the show itself uses (because it's made for looking at on a TV). If you are creating vectors to be displayed on the web (such as say, here on dA), then you will want to use the less limited RGB spectrum.

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MaybeNoDR Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I use mostly inkscape but when I do use AI, I'll keep this in mind, really really helpful!
thanks, helped me out alot. 
Exerionz Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i i know the wonder that i can't upload my artwork in CMYK mode into deviantart.. :(
Hmm...well, there's nothing stopping you from doing so, except that we won't accept CMYK vector artwork.  Plenty of images on dA are in CMYK, since they're designed for printing.
Luchocas Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Even after changing from CMYK to RGB, I still have the problem :/ The colours are still more darks than they you should be
Yanoda Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello Luchoras,

did you re-import the color guide(s) and saved the colors after changing the color mode? If you don't re-import the guide and apply the new colors, there will be no change.

I hope this addressed your issue. =)
Luchocas Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for answering. I did that and it works.
Rubez2525 Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lol, if someone can't grasp the simple concept of CMYK and RGB colors. Then maybe they shouldn't be using something as advanced as Illustrator. Not to sound offensive, but cmon! :hmm:
SilverRainclouds Feb 11, 2013   Digital Artist
Since most art programs are set up for RBG by default, many users do not think that Illustrator would be any different.
Rokushou Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have been using Illustrator since I started vectoring and have known the difference between RGB and CMYK since way before then. Why is this post directed only at Illustrator users? Don't other programs have CMYK too?
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