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Color conversion: Be careful

Will your machine explode? Not exactly. But your colors may. Macromedia Flash uses RGB color because its only goal is displaying images onscreen. Although the Flash Player now has the ability to print (ever since version 4.0r28 or so) Macromedia Flash was never designed to see a printing press. On the other hand, FreeHand was. It’s likely that you’ll be designing comps in FreeHand that may be intended ultimately for print and the web. In that case, it’s very likely that you’ll be working in the CMYK color space.

That’s not a huge problem, because when Macromedia Flash imports a FreeHand file, it converts all CMYK colors to RGB, including any grayscale bitmaps you may have in the file. Unfortunately, this conversion process isn’t perfect and the colors you get in Flash may not exactly match the colors you started with in FreeHand. Usually they’ll be too saturated.

Below, FreeHand 10 displays the same color as CMYK (left) and RGB (right):


FreeHand color dialog box - CMYK

FreeHand color dialog box - RGB

The safest thing you can do is convert the colors to RGB inside FreeHand. If you need to keep a CMYK version of the FreeHand file for print purposes, then do a Save As to protect the original file. Convert the colors to RGB and bring them into Flash. VoilĂ ! Matching RBG colors.

Below you see the FreeHand Color Palette containing several RGB colors. You can tell they’re RGB because the name is in italics and the three-color RGB dots appear to the right of the name. Right-clicking (Control-clicking on a Macintosh) allows you to convert the CMYK color to RGB using the Make RGB selection from the pop-up menu:


FreeHand color palette