Color Settings for Print in 3 Steps!




Qilin here!

Today I'll be explaining color settings, and how to get an image ready for print in CLIP STUDIO PAINT. It's simple, really, and you will be able to learn it in 3 easy steps! You can watch the video above, or read the tutorial below!


1. Preparing your Canvas

2. Editing the Color Profile

3. Exporting your image for Print


But before we begin, let's first go over what RGB and CMYK color modes are, and their differences.

Introduction to RGB and CMYK

RGB and CMYK are important to distinguish and differentiate as your printed image might result looking extremely different from what you expect.


RGB is an additive color mode which combines Red, Green and Blue light to create various colors. This system is typically used in digital settings, for whatever uses an electronic screen to display an image composed of different combinations of these colored lights.


When combined at their strongest, white light is produced. RGB can produce many vibrant colors that are not as easily replicated in CMYK.

CMYK is a subtractive color mode which combines Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is considered subtractive because when the colors are layered on top of one another, light is absorbed to create more colors.


There is no “white ink” when using this system because the CMYK system, used in printing, often uses white paper for the brightest color.


In short, the color modes work best when:

RGB is used for Digital media.

CMYK is used for Printed media.

Preparing your Canvas

If you are planning ahead and know that you want to eventually print your artwork out, it might be easiest to go for standard paper sizes that can be found in CSP's canvas creation menu (A4, A5, B5, B6, etc).


A very important thing to watch out for that beginners often miss is your canvas resolution. Low resolution images like 72 DPI will result in a low-quality printed image:

Whereas higher resolutions like 300-350 DPI will result in higher-quality printed images.

An easy general rule is to simply go BIGGER with your canvas sizes - I usually recommend something similar to A4 size at 350 DPI.


Keep in mind that it is difficult to blow up small canvas sizes into huge prints and keep the same quality, whereas if you already are working on a bigger size, you have a lot more options for your print sizes.

Editing the Color Profile

So, what exactly are color profiles, and how can you change them on Clip Studio Paint?


From what we’ve learned about RGB and CMYK earlier, we established that RGB is best used for digital viewing, whereas CMYK is best to use when printing. We can use Color Profiles to change our image from RGB to CMYK, which will prepare it for print.


By going to: View -> Color Profile -> Preview Settings, you can open up CSP’s color settings window.


While the list can look quite daunting, the main standards for RGB are usually "Adobe RGB (1998)" and sRGB modes. The CMYK refer to the type of country's printer and also the type of paper that is used for printing.


YOU SHOULD contact your printing service to ask which CMYK option to use - it will likely be different depending on where you're located.

Because RGB can use a wider range of colors, it may not look the same in CMYK. Often, the results look slightly desaturated after conversion. This affects particularly vibrant and bright colors.


Below is a drawing I've done that I'm using as an example. In the original RGB mode, the purple-blues look a lot more vivid and saturated, and after converting to CMYK they seem to be slightly washed out.

You can use CSP's "Tonal Correction" function, which includes curves, as well as levels, which will allow you to make adjustments to the image, and toggle the colors a little more to what you want.


You can also go more specifically into adjusting the overall CMYK, cyan, magenta, yellow, and key tone/black.


Another tip is that, if you want to refer to your RGB colors without switching back and forth and trying to estimate, you can look at CSP's navigator window, which will still be in its original colors until you hit "OK".

Exporting your Image for Print

CLIP STUDIO PAINT already works in RGB mode by default, so I recommend that you save your original .clip file separately from the file that you’re using to print.


File types are important to note:

RGB works best with .jpg, .png, and .psd or .clip files.

CMYK works best with .pdf, or .tif files.


Let’s export the image as a .tif file. Go to File -> Export (Single Layer) -> .tif (TIFF).


After you choose a safe place to save it, you'll get a box that looks like this:

Under Color -> Expression color, be sure to select CMYK from the drop-down list.


You also have the option to change the output size, which means that you can increase or decrease the size it is saved as, and most of CSP's default settings already work great!


After you hit OK, you should be done, and have a file ready to send off to the printers!




Thanks for looking/watching the tutorial!

I hope you found it helpful!



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