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(graphic arts)
A color model that synthesizes all colors as combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; it begins with white, and subtracts the appropriate color to yield the desired color. Also known as CMY.


cyan, magenta, yellow, key.

A colour model that describes each colour in terms of the quantity of each secondary colour (cyan, magenta, yellow), and "key" (black) it contains. The CMYK system is used for printing. For mixing of pigments, it is better to use the secondary colours, since they mix subtractively instead of additively. The secondary colours of light are cyan, magenta and yellow, which correspond to the primary colours of pigment (blue, red and yellow). In addition, although black could be obtained by mixing these three in equal proportions, in four-colour printing it always has its own ink. This gives the CMYK model. The K stands for "Key' or 'blacK,' so as not to cause confusion with the B in RGB.

Alternative colour models are RGB and HSB.


(Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) The color space used for commercial printing and most color computer printers. In theory, cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY) can print all colors, but inks are not pure and black comes out muddy. The black ink (K) is required for quality printing. See color space, RGB and ink coverage.

Colors Are Separated
Before printing, the image is separated into CMYK inks that blend together when printed. (Image courtesy of Intergraph Computer Systems.)

A CMYK Printer
Color laser printers use four toner cartridges. Unlike commercial printing, in which the page is printed four times, each of the four inks in a laser printer is applied to the drum, and then the page is printed.

CMYK Ribbon
This is a dye sublimation or thermal wax transfer ribbon where four panels of dye or wax-based ink exist for each page, and each panel is the size of the page. After printing a page, the ribbon is advanced to the next four-color set. See dye sublimation printer and thermal wax transfer printer.

CMYK and More
For greater color accuracy, inkjet printers may have one or more colors in addition to CMYK. This Canon printer has a gray cartridge. The BK cartridge is used for photos, while PGBK (page black) is used for documents.
References in periodicals archive ?
So, both programmed colour patches were reproduced in three different ways: only by three process colours (in text: CMY), and by four process colours with different amount of the achromatic substitutions, as explained earlier (in text: CMYK standard, and CMYK by profile).
Since there is a look-up table to show what color each CMYK combination produces, the monitor "knows" what color to display.
The Color Vision CMYK Suite (designed for multi-workstation environments) combines Color Vision's OptiCal(TM) 3.
1, the latest version of Pantone's award-winning, portable color identification device, which now includes the PANTONE Goe coated and uncoated libraries, as well as the CMYK values from GoeBridge.
The idea of overprinting CMYK onto a silver base has always been there," said Mr.
With more than 70 CMYK and 70 RGB color palettes to choose from, MyLogo Maker helps users fine-tune logos and tag-lines with eye-catching real-to-life color.
Affinity utilizes the latest printing techniques to provide printing in CMYK, or up to 8 spot colors, or a combination of both, with 100% ink coverage.
Available in CMYK, HexiFlex inkjet inks provide excellent adhesion on rigid and flexible PVC, polycarbonate, polyester, glass, aluminum, or stainless-steel substrates.
Equinox is a new color-conversion technology that enables the standardization of five, six or seven printing inks, eliminating the need for printers to rely completely on CMYK or spot color standards.
Blow Up supports CMYK, RGB, Lab, Grayscale, and Duotone image modes.
The swatchbook shows off the papers in CMYK, tritone, duotone and grayscale.