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Colour accuracy for CD duplication can be a big challenge because the colours you see on your computer monitor can be different than what actually prints. Unfortunately this isnt uncommon as it has caused problems for designers regardless of their experience.

Different Colour Modes - RGB and CMYK

Computer monitors display imagery in the RGB colour mode (red, green, blue) yet commercial print is produced using the CMYK colour mode (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

Because RGB has a larger gamut (ie: range) of colours than CMYK, its possible to design using RGB colours that are outside the range of what CMYK can reproduce. When converting an RGB design to CMYK, any RGB colours that are outside of the CMYK gamut will be automatically converted within the CMYK gamut and the visual result will be a less vibrant colour.

What can you do? Always set your design page properties to CMYK before you begin designing your CD duplication design, and then only work with CMYK colours.

What You See On Your Computer Monitor

Have you ever gone into an electronics store where they have a row of televisions on display all lined up side-by-side, and all displaying the same channel? Even though they are all displaying the same channel, did you notice that the colouration of each televisions display was slightly different or even a lot different?

The same holds true for computer monitors most computer monitors dont display true colour. The result of that means (a) the colouration of your finished print may look different than what you view on your computer monitor, and (b) the colour of your CD duplication design may look different when viewed on different monitors.

What can you do? To improve the colour accuracy of your computer monitor you can have it colour calibrated (calibration means having the monitors display optimized for colour accuracy). Mechanical calibration using a sensor is a popular way of calibrating a monitor, but, while calibration can improve your colour display you cannot rely on it to be completely accurate. You should be able to buy a mechanical calibration kit from an electronic store that carries a good range of software titles.

Rich and Vibrant Colour

All of the colours you view on your computer monitor are created through the generation of light, thus youre able to achieve very vibrant and rich colours in your designs. When it comes time to print those colours, the application of ink onto paper (or plastic, in the case of the CD or DVD disc) is not going to be able to produce the same vibrancy and richness of colour that your monitor was able to display. The result is typically a flatter or duller appearance on the finished print than what you viewed on your monitor.

What can you do? If you have any concerns about colouration of the final print, hard-copy printed proofs are recommended. It is important that the hard-copy proofs come from the same company that will be producing your finished CD duplication product because different printing equipment, calibration, inks and substrates can produce different results.

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