Difference Between RGB and CMYK

When you are setting up a print job for your business, there are lots of different kinds of files you need to send to the printing company. The file types are typically RGB, CYMK, PDF, and TIFF. Choosing the right printer for your business can be tough. Each printer has different requirements and different uses, and it is important to know the difference between these terms to make the most of it.

RGB vs Wide CYMK

The main difference between RGB and CYMK is that they are two different color schemes. RGB is an additive color as colors produce a brighter result with light, but CMYK counts as a subtractive model where for a darker result, you need to add more ink instead of light.


RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, which are the primary colors of light. In other words, they are the colors that have complete light waves, while the other colors need more than one light wave to create. RGB color is used in most LCD monitors and TVs to display images. RGB is a common standard. Computers and televisions use RGB colors to show images, as do digital cameras and printers.

By definition, CMYK is an acronym that stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). This is the four-color printing process used to create the colors you see when reading a book or newspaper. The cyan, magenta, and yellow are complementary colors. This means that when combined, they are capable of producing all of the colors in the visible spectrum.

Comparison Table Between RGB and CMYK

Parameters of ComparisonRGBCMYK
Full-FormRGB is the abbreviation for the Red-Green-Blue color scheme.CYMK is the abbreviation for the Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key color scheme.
Color VariationThis color scheme offers more color combinations. This color scheme offers fewer color combinations.
Cost of PrintingWith an RGB printer, the cost of printing is higher.With a CYMK printer, the cost of printing is lesser.
QualityThe quality of pictures is not as good as those in CYMK.The quality of pictures is better than RGB.
Best ForIt is best for computer and device screens.It is best for printing purposes.

What is RGB?

RGB is a model used to produce print media. RGB is a color model used in computer monitors and televisions. RGB stands for red, green, and blue. For example, if you want to make a certain pixel a red one, it will mix the red color to the right proportions and then display it on the screen.

RGB is a color model used in electronic systems such as televisions. The ‘R’ represents the red light, and ‘B’ represents the blue light. ‘G’ represents an additive mixture of both red and green light. RGB is the most common color model used in digital cameras. The reason being is that it’s simpler and more cost-effective to store data in RGB than in other models such as CMYK.

The red, green, and blue light that projectors use to create images on a screen is called RGB. That’s how the projector converts the image into pixels. Each pixel is made of red and blue light, or green and blue light. The combination allows for millions of colors on the screen. This is why you might see artifacts or blurry images – because the images are not being created properly, or the light is not working.

What is CYMK?

When it comes to printing, you have a lot of different options to choose from. One of the most the types of printing is called the four-color process (4CP). It’s called that way because you need four colors to create the finished product. Those colors are cyan, yellow, magenta, and key (black).

The letters “C,” “Y,” “M,” and “K” are the short form of the color cyan, yellow, magenta, and black, respectively. These four colors are used in the printing of documents, photographs, and even web pages. Since they are the base colors, they are also the base of the RGB color model.

When these four colors are used together, they are called CMYK. CMYK is the common printing machine ink color used to print color pictures and documents. Cyan is one of the three primary colors used in computer displays. This is the blue-green color that is often associated with technology. It is also used to represent water and the sky in maps.

Cyan and Magenta are used to create the majority of colors in the document, leaving Yellow and Black to fill in the gaps. These are the colors in your typical computer printer cartridge.

Main Differences Between RGB and CYMK

  1. RGB and CYMK are two different types of color printing. RGB’s are made from light, CYMK is made from both light and ink.
  2. RGB is better for computers and cellphones because it is capable of producing more colors than CYMK, with the use of light.
  3. RGB is the color model used in digital imaging and on the internet. This means that computers and phones use RGB to make all their colors.
  4. Computer monitors, scanners, cameras, and use red, green, and blue (RGB) light to display colorwork while printing presses work with cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink.
  5. RGB color scheme works with the transmission of light, while CYMK color scheme works with the reflection of light.


Using a color printer can be a bit confusing if you’re not sure what each color represents. RGB stands for Red Green and Blue, while CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Key (black). This can get confusing since the RGB and CMYK values can be different from one another.

If you’re looking to print out a high-quality, vibrant picture, you’ll want to use Adobe RGB. If you’re trying to print out a high-quality document, you want to use the CMYK setting. Just knowing the difference between these two colors schemes can make a great difference between what you see or print.


  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-JSJY200608038.htm
  2. https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/journals/Journal-of-Electronic-Imaging/volume-8/issue-4/0000/Evaluation-of-lossless-compression-techniques-for-high-resolution-RGB-and/10.1117/1.482709.short
  3. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2343483.2343484
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