In the world of encodings, and more specifically image encodings, there are several mechanisms for interpreting the colors used by an image; the two most used encodings are:
- RGB: from black-to-white "adding colors", additive color pattern.
- CMYK: from white to black "removing colors", subtractive pattern.
The purpose of the two color models is different: RGB (and in particular the sRGB variant) has the specific purpose of defining the colors in order to be displayed on monitors and similar, and it is therefore the color model chosen for the use of digital assets. CMYK instead has specific definition of colors for the images to be printed.
An important element is the color pattern gamut, that is the set of all the colors that can be described by that particular color pattern. The RGB (or sRGB) and CMYK models are not exactly overlapping: the color gamut in the CMYK model is much smaller than the one available in the RGB encoding. Meaning that some colors (especially in the "magenta" and "green" areas) are coded and displayed differently. This also means that converting an image from one color space to another involves a "loss of information" (or a color distortion).
For some specific examples visit the RGB and CMYK comparison page.
Another aspect to consider is the color profile: this is a set of data that characterizes a specific device (camera, monitor, printer, ...) and describes how colors should be represented. Typically an image is associated with a color profile which is specific for the device that generated the image, and this profile is about a given color space.
Again, if the two color spaces have different gamut colors the source color space cannot remain unchanged in the transition to the target color space. The use of color profiles helps in adapting colors during the conversion phase, but can not guarantee full color representation in the destination file.
In order to ensure maximum correspondence between the original image and its representation in THRON, we recommend exporting the image to the sRGB color model and associating an embedded ICC color profile to the image itself. Uploading a THRON image with different characteristics than those depicted above can result in a different color representation than the original file.