Occasionally a science journal asks authors to submit figures as CMYK (JPG or TIFF) for publication. When I have done this in the past, the colors in the figures end up looking very muted and washed out - even when published in print format. What I don't understand is that these same journals have published articles from others where the figures are nice and vibrant both in print and online in PDFs.
My question is whether there is more than one way to convert RGB color to CMYK. The tools that I have tried (Adobe acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Deneba Canvas, Apple Preview) all produce the same muddy images.
Is CMYK actually too restrictive of a color space for modern printers? Doesn't it presume that there are only 4 colors of ink in the printer?
I'm guessing that other authors have ignored the publishers request, and have submitted their figures in RGB or some other expanded color space; perhaps the publishers hardware are capable of a wider range of color than CMYK allows -- or is there more than one way to do the color conversion?