Photoshop: CYMK darker colours

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I'm making a poster with the settings of CMYK and whenever I chose a color it automatically chooses a darker color, even though I want a bright one. There is an exclamation point next to the color tool and even when I don't click it, it still turns to a darker color. How do I fix this!? This is very frustrating! Thanks!
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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Mark Heaps

Mark Heaps, Champion

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It means the color you are picking is out of the gamut range for that image (color) mode.

So when you pick a color in the color picker and you see the little hazard symbol with the exclamation point, it means that color is beyond the CMYK gamut. The color spectrum that can be produced with CMYK inks in a 4 color process print. So what it does is it changes the color to what is estimated as the nearest possible option that CAN be produced in those inks for that color gamut. So for example in the screenshot below, I've currently got a bright blue selected in the top right corner of the color window. But you can see in the New versus Current swatches show, the Current is the same color as the warning swatch. That's because the new color I've picked is out of gamut.

You may find this article very helpful:

Another thing that can help you see which colors can't be produced in CMYK is to use the gamut warning feature in Photoshop. When you have a color picker open, or your document open, go to VIEW in the menu bar, and choose GAMUT WARNING.

At least that way you can see what colors you can, and cannot, work with for a CMYK print. Don't be alarmed by your shock when you first start to see how many colors cannot be used in CMYK. It's a lot in comparison to an RGB color gamut. But there is a difference between what can be projected with light, like a monitor, and what can be produced in ink, like a print.