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kevincwalina
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Pantone 295U is off from my pantone book

Jun 20, 2012 11:45 AM

I am working with a client that uses pantone 295u as their primary color. I looked it up in my physical pantone book and it is a nice dark blue even in the uncoated guide. But...when I use the color book in ilustrator and pull up PMS 295 it looks like a 75% tint of the color, its not the dark blue thats in the printed guide book. I tried using overprint preview to see if the LAB preview might help, but with this color it makes no difference. Has anyone run into this? I'm not sure how to work with this as I cant show this greyed version in my proofs with the client as they will think I have not selected the right color.

 

Thanks

-KC

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2012 3:10 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    Kevin,

     

    Obviously, it should look right.

     

    Which CMYK values do you get if you create a copy of a path with that fill and then, with that selected, click CMYK in the Color palette/panel flyout (maybe not exactly depending on version, you should get something like 100/57/0/40)?

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 11:23 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    It looks the same on my monitor and the book. Is your monitor calibrated and profiled?

     

    @ Jacob,

    These are the book values provided by Pantone and they display the color way off (much more saturated on my monitor) than the color in the book. In the Swatches palette, if I select Spot Colors and choose the Lab conversion method this changes the color on screen and matches the actual book. The Lab values are also provided by Pantone and can be checked by double clicking the swatch and making sure the sliders are set to Book Color mode. Then these values are translated by the color management from the Lab color space to the color space in the document which is indicated in the Show menu at the bottom left of the document window when set to Color Profile.

    On my computer the conversion from Lab to U.S Web Coated (SWAP) v2 gives me 85.14/ 67.04/33.58/ 16.16 but these numbers will be different for each different color space used and the color appearance will also be corrected to the monitor's color space of the user. In this way the color will look the same on calibrated monitors when using the same viewing conditions

     

    The book method values provided by Pantone will be the same for everyone but the appearance on screen will not match any pantone ink final output because  they are not converted and corrected to any color space. You know that each paper substrate like coated and uncoated have different color spaces (profiles) which describe how the same ink produces different colors on different media. The book method values are absolute and does not take this into account.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 12:37 AM   in reply to emil emil

    What version of Illustrator?

     

    Pantone color builds changed in CS6.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 12:53 AM   in reply to [scott w]

    I'm using CS5 but AFAIK in CS6 the only change is that it is using the new Pantone Plus books which include more colors but the lab values of the colors previously available remain the same. However for the Plus books, Pantone is not providing the CMYK book values like before but only the lab values. For this reason CS6 is using lab as default method for conversion and the CMYK book values option is available only for the old books.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 7:39 AM   in reply to kevincwalina

    In case anyone thinks this is not a problem here is what the OP is encountering a Comparison of what the call 295 U from the Pantone site and what you see in Illustrator. Why in the world there is no way for the Pantone or other swatch libraries to automatically update is a bit of a mystery to me and why there should be a discrepancy between what Pantone publishes and what they make available in Photoshop and Illustrator is a bigger mystery.

     

    But something is clearly not correct

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-21 at 10.30.00 AM.png

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 11:37 AM   in reply to kevincwalina

    Thus is why I asked what version of Illustrator.

     

    286U from Pantone+ color books (CS6) will not look the same as 286U from older color books (Pre-CS6) due to the way the Pantone+ digitial books are built. But you can open a color book from CS5 (not a Pantone+ book) and it will look the same.

     

    Here, I fully understand why there's a difference, but I hate it. My clients don't understand "oh that color won't be that washed out when printed." and I have to use older color books in order to get client approvals. That's just a HUGE extra step Pantone and Adobe have created.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 11:49 AM   in reply to kevincwalina

    There's absolutely no issue with using old color books in Illustrator.

     

    Are you using Pantone+ colors in Indesign or Photoshop CS6?

    The only time there may be issues is if you are using Pantone+ books in other apps, most notably Indesign CS6. Colors won't match if you place an ai file using old color books in an Indesign CS6 document with Pantone+ colors in it. So you could get extra plates for extensibly the same color. At times, extra care has to be taken to ensure all the "286U" items appear on one plate when output.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 1:19 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    ... Below is a screen grab of what I am looking at. ...

    No one can tell what colors you are seeing on your monitors when looking at  your screen grab on another monitor. First of all, you posted a untagged (no color profile) RGB  jpg image which doesn't describe the meaning of (a way to display) the color values on my monitor. Second of all, even if you had embedded a color profile with the image, it will be valid only if you have a calibrated and profiled monitor that displays correctly the meaning of the colors.

    All I can tell from your image is what RGB color values your video card is using when rendering the colors you specified but no one can tell how your monitor is displaying these color values and thus what you are seeing.

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    ...One thing I noticed is that the CMYK valused that the style guide is called out are different from the CYMK values that pantone called out in the Pantone plus color bridge. ...

    The Pantone colors in programs represent inks used on offset press. They don't represent anything else. In programs like Illustrator, when a color value like CMYK, Lab, RGB, etc is used to represent a pantone ink for display on monitor or for printing with process colors, it represents a match either originating from the lab definition and converted from color management or by the CMYK definition, both provided by Pantone. The CMYK definition used in the older Pantone color libraries and for that matter the RGB values specified in the new (all) books (not software libraries) were created by a decision from Pantone. They do not represent the printed result on any particular media and the display result on any particular monitor. As such they can output very differently on different print media and displayed differently on every monitor. The purpose of these values, at least in my view, is to have something than nothing regardless how useful it is. The lab values (definition) however are really useful. The Pantone color is defined based on its appearance to human perception independent of any device output and defined as such with lab values. From there it is converted by color management to any particular color space of the device used. Depending on the gamut and other parameters of the output color space of the device there could be various different color values representing and matching as much as possible the same color as it appears to the human eye.

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...This is a screen grab from the style guide file, note the RGB icon under the 100%

    PMS-295_STYLE_GUIDE.JPG...

    Note the number 2 next the PMS 295 U. This means that someone duplicated the swatch, and in the Swatch Options (double click on the swatch to get there) changed the Color mode of the sliders to RGB.

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...Now this is what happened when I copy pasted the above color into another document,

    Note the RGB icon is now magicly a CMYK icon...

    PMS_295_PASTED.JPG

    No magic at all, you are comparing different colors 295 U 2 and 295 U. When you paste spot colors between different documents regardless their color mode the original color mode definition of the spot color remains.

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ..So, I feel like I know a little more about what's going on, but I have no idea about why and what this means. Is there any way for me to use the color from the style guide with the RBG icon so it previews closer to the color? And is that a mistake, am I setting myself up for having it print incorectly by doing that? I'm so used to only sending CMYK to printers that I get scared to send them anything else. They will be printing banners on a digital press so its not technicaly CMYK printing there are some other colors involved in the process so I'm not sure what to do at this point...

    The little icon under the spot color in the color panel shows how the spot color is defined and not at all that it is going to be printed with the values of certain color model - you can define it even in HSV and Web Safe Colors too but no printers will print in that mode. If you print separations the spot colors will be printed in addition to the CMYK plates, If you print composite all colors will be processed in the color space of the printer depending on the color management setup. If someone is sending you CMYK values representing a pantone color, you have to find what they want from you. Do they want these values printed on a certain printer or do they want to get a printed color that appears the same as it appears in their pantone book? The last one may not be possible if the pantone color is out of gamut used by the printer.

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...The bigger question I have is about the LAB color. Now that I understand what is going on, what I don't get is why the New and improved version of PMS 295U is so radically different from the color swatch in the printed swatch books. One would think that the older CMYK version would be the one that would be off, since it has a smaller gamut to work in. LAB is supposed to have a greater gamut so you would think that it would be the one, in theroy to be closer in color to the printed version. This I just don't get. Perhaps the LAB color for this specific color is just screwed up? and I happened to be giving the one color thats off? Any thougts?...

    Looks fine here, it matches the color in the book. I'm comparing it in a RGB document but even in CMYK document it is slightly off gamut there making a very small  change. I'm using CS5 but I have the plus libraries installed. Double clicking on the swatch in the Swatches panel shows the lab value of 33/-2/-22. From there the color is converted to the RGB color space of you monitor for display. Making a screen capture and measuring the values show what RGB values your video card is using for displaying it. As I said, is your monitor calibrated and profiled? You can't expect accurate color representation on screen without this.

     

     

    @Wade,

    check what it says in the note  on that page

    "* Before using, understand that the colors shown on this site are computer simulations of the PANTONE colors and may not match PANTONE-identified color standards.  Always consult PANTONE Publications to visually evaluate any result before utilization."

    I checked the html source code used for this pantone color on the page and it showed this:

    <img src="/images/clear.gif" style="background-color: rgb(0, 47, 95);" border="0" height="120" width="120">

    </td>


    and you are also comparing a color managed image with a non-color managed code with rgb values without any meaning directly sent to your video card.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 3:01 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    See, that's what gets me. It doesn't really matter. I can rename a bright red to Pantone 286U and it gets output on its own plate as a spot... the pressman sees the "286U" designation on the plate and grabs the 286 bue ink and prints the piece blue. All this inspite of the fact that I used a bright red. So in reality, the only purpose of the digital color books is so one can see approximations of the colors on screen. So why make the aproximations so far off visually due to the LAB build?

     

    The only time it may be an issue is when converting spots to CMYK upon output. But surely there must be a way to have the proper numbers and a better visual representation of the color density.

     

    All I can think is, I must be missing some reasoning.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 5:45 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    Thanks Emil,

         I get that the colors will not match exactly with using rgb jpgs, I was just trying to show how much the change in color was between the CMYK and LAB color versions, which seemed odd to me to have that much change and to have the LAB color be the one that looks off. I would have expected the CMYK one to be the one that looked out of gamut. ...

    I don't understand how you get the values and the color differences in this image. If you select the Lab values in the Spot color options from the Swatches panel menu, when you convert the  PMS 295 color by selecting the CMYK sliders in the Color panel, this should give the same color appearance on screen because the color management is already displaying the pantone color in the CMYK gamut. How did you get these values C:100, M:69, Y:8, K:54?   Likewise the same is also valid if you select CMYK values in the Spot Color options before the conversion and the PMS color should have the same appearance as C:100, M:57, Y:0, K:40.

     

    If you used the new Pantone plus libraries they are always with LAB definition regardless what  you choose in the Spot Color options and when in CMYK document the color is already displayed in the color space of the document, so when converting by choosing CMYK sliders there should be no change in appearance. How did you get that change?

    http://forums.adobe.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/2-4510314-206782/450-295/PMS_295.JPG

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    ... Pretty much I have found that if I go to the spot color settings and switch to CMYK mode the colors now look correct....

    Correct refering to what? The printed Pantone book or something else?

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    ... In CS5 this was not an issue, as I just went and tried it on cs5 with the pantone+ colors installed. ...

    So doing the same in both versions gives different result? Although i'm not sure what exactly you did.

     

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...

    We usualy use Super Color Digital to print our work for this client. They use a press like this. http://www.supercolor.com/green-eco-friendly-printing-equipment  So it will be a composite print. So does it matter if I use the CMYK version vs the LAB version? It seems like it dosent matter as they just read that its PMS 295U and then will use their own rip servers to figure out the best way to match that color? Is that right?...

    This depends on how the color management is set to be handled - by Illustrator or by the printer and if by the printer also on the color management capability of the printer and its rip. The proper way using color management is to have the color profile of the printer on your computer and either assign it as the color space of the document by choosing Edit > Assign Profile or at least if you trust your monitor you can soft proof  using Proof Setup and Proof Colors from the View menu. If the color profile of the printer describes well how it prints colors  the converted LAB values to the color space of the printer should match the pantone color from  the book as much as possible depending on the gamut of the printer. And if your monitor also has a good profile describing how it displays colors, the color on your monitor should display accurately the printed output and also the colors in the printed Pantone book.

     
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    Jun 21, 2012 6:38 PM   in reply to emil emil

    This won't be the first time that pantone and Adobe have miss the requirement for consistency. And I hate to m pint the finger if you know what I mean but I think this about Pantone making money by confusing the user and requiring them to purchase updates their printed sample books. I think they can go about it in a more professional way and I think they will get much more positive response and sales if they took the higher road and not act  like petty thieves.

     
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    Jun 22, 2012 4:10 PM   in reply to kevincwalina

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...

    I sent a note to Pantone asking them about the discrepency.  They dident really address the question...

     

    Basically the only difference between the new plus libraries and the old ones is that the new ones don't specify anymore the meaningless CMYK definition values. Both, the old and new libraries have the same LAB definition - there is no change there. The old libraries had CMYK and Lab definition options with CMYK being default. The new plus libraries have only Lab definition. the CMYK and Lab definitions  have always produced two different colors. So, the discrepancy between the CMYK  and Lab definition values is not something new it has always been there. But it becomes a problem now because Pantone removed the meaningless CMYK definition and Illustrator can't use it anymore - it is all Lab now. So those who previously used the CMYK definition are seeing their pantone colors change appearance on screen and process printing.

     

    The problem as I see it comes from the fact that Pantone has used meaningless values in the first place, and the fact that Illustrator has used these meaningless values as default.

    Any color values be it CMYK or RGB means nothing until the color space is specified. For example no one can tell what color is C:100, M:57, Y:0, K:40. Every different device will show a different color using these values, combine this with every different paper used and we get a lot of different colors using the same values. That's why they are called meaningless. However if along with these values the device, its state, and paper is specified then they have a meaning which is a certain color. But it is impossible to specify values for all possible devices and media and this is where LAB values become very useful. Lab is a color space and a color model build based on human perception with a gamut that covers the visible spectrum. Pantone decided which is the color that represents their ink and measured it with a spectrophotometer which identifies the LAB values. From these LAB values the color management can convert to any other color space representing a device, its state, and media. When used properly this actually works surprisingly well.

    kevincwalina wrote:

    ...They dident really address the question. They are of the thinking that the LAB version is a closer match to the printed guide books. Even though what I was showing them was that it clearly was not....

    How did you manage to show them that it was clearly not? If you showed them the same image from your post #5, as I explained before, no one can tell what color you are seeing on your monitor. They only thing I can see is that you are seeing differences but not what colors actually you are seeing. If I take your jpg screen capture from post #5, assume that you are using a standard gamut monitor, assign sRGB color space to it which although not exact is in the ballpark, then what I see is that the first swatch with the label PMS 295 is quite close to the printed color in the Pantone book. The second swatch with label C:100, M:57, Y:0, K:40 is very different from the book - it is very saturated in comparison and the hue is more bluish, the third swatch is also very different with similar saturation as the second and similar hue as the first but very dark. From all you said, I gather that for you the second swatch in this image matches most the color in the printed Pantone book. If this is true it means that you monitor is completely off from any accurate calibration and you should not rely on it.

    kevincwalina wrote:

     

    ...

    This is the reply from Pantone:

    Thank you for resubmitting the image.  I now can see what you were referring to by 'CMYK' preview.  Older versions of Adobe Illustrator stored the PANTONE solid color libraries in CMYK space which never made sense to me.  Reviewing your screen shot, you can see that the 'new' version of PANTONE 295 U displays as a much dirtier color, which is actually closer to accurate than the old preview which was much too red and bright.


    While it is true that L*a*b* data should make the on screen preview more accurate, the idea that any display will precisely 'match' printed PANTONE colors is simply not realistic.  All monitors are deficient in some area of color space and won't replicate all areas of the PANTONE color palette.


    The best advice you can give your client is the same that we give all the time - you should NEVER rely solely on your computer display.  The printed PANTONE guides and books should always serve as the final determinant of color correctness.

    ...

    The facts in the reply are true but put in a way to sell the books.

    If it has to be more objective I would rephrase the second paragraph with my poor English like this:

     

    "While it is true that L*a*b* data should make the on screen preview more accurate, the idea that any display will precisely 'match' printed PANTONE colors is simply not realistic for Pantone colors that are outside the gamut of your monitor's color space.  All monitors are deficient in some area of color space and won't replicate all areas of the PANTONE color palette. If you have a wide gamut monitor it will cover most of the pantone colors"

     

    The third paragraph is a sales speech. It should specify that the printed pantone books are valid only for the offset press and paper they were printed on. So, in your case using a different printer, they are useless.

     
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    Aug 3, 2012 11:59 AM   in reply to emil emil

    We have designers here that reference PMS colors but actually print using process inks. The process values are too different in CS5 and CS6 after converting to CMYK.  Is there a method to keep from getting different CMYK values after converting a Pantone color to process in CS5 versus CS6?

     
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    Aug 5, 2012 11:49 AM   in reply to HL_WML

    As I said before, in older Pantone libraries installed with versions prior to CS6, there are two options for getting process values for the Pantone colors. One is the default CMYK values with an unidentified color space and the other option is Lab values which are in the device independent Lab color space based on human perception. In CS6 only the Lab option remained, they removed the option with the meaningless CMYK values . You can replace the Pantone Plus libraries with the older libraries from the previous versions and you will have the two options again. Instructions here http://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/pantone-plus.html

     

    In practical terms, the designers who used the CMYK option to get process values for pantone colors will have a problem only when they want to match such color used in documents created with the old libraries. If it was me dealing with such situation I would keep the new Pantone Plus libraries and create a custom swatch library with the CMYK values of all pantone colors used previously and use these swatches when the goal is to match colors previously used. For any other Pantone colors I would use the Lab values from the new Pantone Plus libraries.

     
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    Aug 6, 2012 6:33 AM   in reply to emil emil

    Eric,

     

    This is the reply I received from an Illustrator guru at Adobe when I asked for advice concerning our Pantone library issue. Basically the solution he suggests is a lot of work to match color from old documents.

     

     

     

    Will Lay

     

    Prepress – Art & Creative Dept

     

    Hobby Lobby Corp

     

    405-745-7366

     
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    Aug 7, 2012 9:22 PM   in reply to emil emil

    emil emil wrote:

     

    As I said before, in older Pantone libraries installed with versions prior to CS6, there are two options for getting process values for the Pantone colors. One is the default CMYK values with an unidentified color space and the other option is Lab values which are in the device independent Lab color space based on human perception. In CS6 only the Lab option remained, they removed the option with the meaningless CMYK values . You can replace the Pantone Plus libraries with the older libraries from the previous versions and you will have the two options again. Instructions here http://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/pantone-plus.html

     

    In practical terms, the designers who used the CMYK option to get process values for pantone colors will have a problem only when they want to match such color used in documents created with the old libraries. If it was me dealing with such situation I would keep the new Pantone Plus libraries and create a custom swatch library with the CMYK values of all pantone colors used previously and use these swatches when the goal is to match colors previously used. For any other Pantone colors I would use the Lab values from the new Pantone Plus libraries.

    Pantone's recommended CMYK values for spot colours are hardly 'meaningless' in practice, since designers typically use Pantone colours in work destined for process printing. Previously, you could use just one one Pantone library consistently (our studio always used the Solid Coated library), and get predictable results whether you printed as a spot colour job or a process job by referring to the relevant Pantone guide. InDesign makes this easy with the 'Convert Spots to Process' option in the Ink Manager, and this was, in my opinion, the easiest way to manage colour across different jobs. To my way of thinking, predictable colour on the press is far more important than getting accurate colours on screen (though in my experience, the on-screen colour accuracy was mostly very good too.)

     

    But now we have a situation where designers are using the new Pantone Plus solid colour libraries and wondering why output CMYK values aren't anything like those specified by Pantone. This is a problem! Who has time to 'create a custom swatch library with the CMYK values of all pantone colors used previously'??

     

    What you can do is use the new Color Bridge libraries, but there are some gotchas to be aware of. These are specified as process colours, so if you want to output a spot-colour job, you need to manually change each colour to a spot. You also need to be aware that the CMYK values are now different between the coated and uncoated Color Bridge guides! No doubt that's to try and achieve a more consistent looking colour density on both stocks, but this creates yet another opportunity for designers to use the wrong library and get a result they weren't expecting.

     

    I suppose Pantone imagines a workflow where designers all know to choose a specific colour library based on the final print specs—Solid Coated for spot colours on coated paper, Solid Uncoated for spot colours on uncoated paper, Color Bridge Coated for process colour equivalents on coated paper, and Color Bridge Uncoated for process colour equivalents on uncoated paper. That workflow is fraught with the potential for designer-error—and to be honest, most designers probably aren't even aware of the issues being discussed here. I think it's a huge step backwards in practical terms.

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 6:50 AM   in reply to Kals

    Kals wrote:

    .... Pantone's recommended CMYK values for spot colours are hardly 'meaningless' ...

    Any color value without specifying its color space or in other words its output is meaningless. Any CMYK value printed on different printers and different media will give a different color.  So, what color is a CMYK value without knowing where it will output?

    ...To my way of thinking, predictable colour on the press is far more important than getting accurate colours on screen ...

    Again, a color value  without specifying its output is unpredictable on press and on screen all the same. How can you predict what color is a CMYK value without being given its output space or in other word its meaning. You can't  just think colors in CMYK, it is a color model (a way to describe color values) not a color space. You can think colors only in a certain color space, for example print on coated paper on North American offset press - the name of this color space is U.S. Web Coated Swop v2. Use another CMYK color space like Agfa Swop Standard, or Euroscale Coated v2 and the same value gives a different color. The same thing with RGB spaces and on monitors too - use the same RGB value in sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto, or the monitor color space of every user and you get a different color in each color space.

    ... But now we have a situation where designers are using the new Pantone Plus solid colour libraries and wondering why output CMYK values aren't anything like those specified by Pantone. This is a problem! ...

     

    The Lab values of the new Plus libraries as well as the Lab values of the older libraries are also specified by Pantone. They gave two different methods with different results. The designers used one of the methods (the CMYK values) because it was the default in Illustrator and most likely they didn't know there was another method. If they used the other method (Lab) they woudn't have this problem now. As I tried to explain before, the Lab values represent the color of the Pantone ink as it appears to the human eye. The CMYK values don't represent any specific color but some average color from all outputs that Pantone considered and is not intended to match exactly a Pantone ink on any color space but will be in the ballpark. For this reason (avoiding inaccuracy) Pantone removed the CMYK method and now is using only the Lab method for matching Pantone inks with process colors.

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 8:31 AM   in reply to emil emil

     

    emil emil wrote:

     

    Any color value without specifying its color space or in other words its output is meaningless. Any CMYK value printed on different printers and different media will give a different color.  So, what color is a CMYK value without knowing where it will output?

    The output colour space IS defined, in a language both designers and printers understand—it's defined by the Pantone colour guide. The simplest workflow to understand (when specifying Pantone colours for CMYK output) is where the conditions under which Pantone prints the Colour Bridge guide are matched by your printer (as best they can). In that case, there is no conversion necessary. This kind of workflow predates digital colour management. It's simple and it works, because your source matches your target. When the printing conditions are not matched by your printer (different press, different paper, different inks, etc), this is where the printer's own colour management system comes into play, to ensure a close match to the Pantone guide. This means the designer doesn't have to worry about CMYK to CMYK conversions, and you'd probably find that most don't. (The default 'Press Quality' colour conversion setting for exporting PDF artwork from InDesign is set to 'preserve numbers' for CMYK colours.)

     

    But now with Pantone Plus, if the designer unwittingly chooses a colour from the Solid Colour library when it's a full-colour process job, their CMYK profile better match their printer's perfectly, or they're in for a surprise, because these Lab colours will be converted to CMYK values when they export the PDF artwork. Like I said before, it's just another opportunity for designer error and unexpected results. There are also times when you actually want to be aware and in control of the CMYK values (e.g. to ensure a solid process component rather than a screen), and in this instance you lose all that control.

     

    If you're a designer who never looks at the Pantone guide, choosing all your colours on screen, then yes, you need accurate digital colour management every step of the way. But either way, there's no requirement to specify Lab values in place of CMYK values.

    As I tried to explain before, the Lab values represent the color of the Pantone ink as it appears to the human eye. The CMYK values don't represent any specific color but some average color from all outputs that Pantone considered and is not intended to match exactly a Pantone ink on any color space but will be in the ballpark. For this reason (avoiding inaccuracy) Pantone removed the CMYK method and now is using only the Lab method for matching Pantone inks with process colors.

    Well, technically each human eye (device) is different and therefore requires its own colour profile. (Bad joke, but now that I think about it, that's a pretty cool idea and one I should probably patent.) Lab may well attempt to describes colour in values that are meaningful to how the eye perceives colour, but as I understand it, the real point of it in software is that it's device-independent, and can therefore be used to translate between other device-dependent colour spaces.

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to Kals

    Kals wrote:

    ...

    The output colour space IS defined, in a language both designers and printers understand—it's defined by the Pantone colour guide. ...

    How it is defined? It is the same CMYK values for any possible printer and paper used. When you convert a Pantone color with the CMYK method in Illustrator to process it doesn't ask you what is you printer and paper - it always gives the same values regardless what output you are using. The same values on different outputs give different color so, color matching this way is practically impossible. And they can't provide CMYK values for any possible printer and paper combination, this is simply impossible. However if you use the Lab method when you convert to process colors the CMYK values will be different in each color space thus matching the appearance of the Pantone ink as much as possible in the current color space (profile) of the document.

    Kals wrote:

    ... Well, technically each human eye (device) is different and therefore requires its own colour profile. (Bad joke, but now that I think about it, that's a pretty cool idea and one I should probably patent.)

    No one can tell how each person comprehend colors but all people with normal vision will agree if a color is the same. So no color profiles needed and no one will use your patent . The colors are different wavelengths  that reach the eye and these wavelengths can be measured with a colorimeter. So defining a color with such measurement guarantees that all people will agree it is the same color and that's what Lab color space is based on.

    On the other hand different devices don't agree that the same numbers are the same color and this is the problem color management is designed to solve.

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 9:43 AM   in reply to emil emil

    emil emil wrote:

     

    How it is defined?

    By its appearance!   

     

    If you think that's an unscientific answer, ask yourself how all these colour profiles get made in the first place. The profile that defines my display's colour space was created using an optical calibration device that scans the colours on my screen. I also have two optical devices in my head, and indeed I used to calibrate monitors with those many years ago, although it's certainly slower and a little less precise.

     

    I know there are many more variables with printing than when calibrating a display, but the principle is the same. Your Lab values and device profiles are all meaningless until the printer can hold one print next to the other and say, 'Yep, that's a match!'

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 9:52 AM   in reply to emil emil

    emil emil wrote:

     

    No one can tell how each person comprehend colors but all people with normal vision will agree if a color is the same. So no color profiles needed and no one will use your patent . The colors are different wavelengths  that reach the eye and these wavelengths can be measured with a colorimeter. So defining a color with such measurement guarantees that all people will agree it is the same color and that's what Lab color space is based on.

    On the other hand different devices don't agree that the same numbers are the same color and this is the problem color management is designed to solve.

    No… If these devices could talk, they would all say that it's the same colour! The only reason we know the colours are different is because we can see what each one sees and compare them—I mean that's the whole purpose of a computer display or printer, to show us what they see. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!) no one else can see exactly what our eyes see. I think a device which lets us see the world through someone else's eyes would make me very rich indeed. But I'm getting a little off topic now.

     
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    Aug 8, 2012 12:23 PM   in reply to Kals

    Kals wrote:

     

    emil emil wrote:

     

    How it is defined?

    By its appearance!    ...

    OK then, how do you define the appearance.

     

    Color management basics very roughly:

    Color is an event in your brain. This event is a reaction to a certain wavelength hitting your eyes. Whenever the same wavelength hit your eyes you react the same (you see the same color). A color measuring device measures the wavelength from a color (or in other words what you see).. The calibration software sends a color value to the monitor or printer, the device measures the output (the screen or the print) and the software records in the color profile of the device what wavelength (or color) this value gives on this device. The Color Management using the Lab color space knows which color gives what wavelength (or how you see colors). Then when you give a color value like CMYK or RGB and specify in what color space it is (the meaning), the Color Management knows what color it is the way you see it and will use the color profile of the output to match it.

    You can’t see a color value, you see an output and, once more, the different outputs give different color from the same value. But the Color Management knowing what color you see can match it between devices by converting the color values to different numbers that represent the color you see on the target device.

     

    ... If you think that's an unscientific answer, ask yourself how all these colour profiles get made in the first place. ...

    I explained above how color is measured and profiles made. The Lab color values provided by Pantone were made by measuring with a color device  the wavelength from the Pantone Formula inks and the values recorded in the Lab color space which covers the visible spectrum.

     

    But how Pantone made the CMYK values? They didn’t use the Pantone inks but four process color inks.

    There is only two known ways to get matching colors:

     

    One way is using the Color Management by converting the Lab values representing a Pantone ink the way you see it to any output color space. But Pantone didn’t get the CMYK values that way because they are not specifying the output and these CMYK values do not match the Lab conversion to any standard or well known output.

     

    The other way which is apparently what they used to decide the CMYK values representing their inks and this was done apparently before the Color Management hit the main street is trial and error. What else can be done without a color measuring device but print on various CMYK printers and different media and visually decide some average CMYK values that are close in appearance to the inks. Anything more scientific than this will involve color measuring device and then all values will go through the Lab color space.

     
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    Aug 15, 2012 8:09 AM   in reply to emil emil

    This is a better thread of the conversation CS6 PMS Book Colors only as LAB because I agree with Kals...

     

    Maybe I'm missing something here about best practices working with Pantone colors but...

     

    I have clients with very specific CMYK specifications for their Pantone Spots (usually based on the CMYK values from the Manufacturer's Books).

     

    In Illustrator (or InDesign), I used the same native files for a Spot color job and a process color job for expediency.

     

    But now in Illustrator, when I switch from a spot to a process job using Pantone+: I get a CMYK separation value that is based on my Color Settings which is not the same as that in the Manufacturer's Book. The only way I know to fix this is to somehow find those original specs and rework the individual files.

     

    In the new Illustrator, it appears like if I choose "Use CMYK values from Manufacturer's Books" (in spot colors dialogue in the swatch panel) when using Pantone+, I will get the correct Book value. But I don't. I get my Color Setting's idea of what that Pantone color should be.

     

    Pantone hasn't changed their Book values for spot color separations with Pantone+. The average Joe, like me, who switches to a Pantone specced process job, is lead to believe that the Illustrator (InDesign or Photoshop) CMYK values are just fine and dandy. It's true that the CMYK spec (US Web Coated (SWOP) v2 for example) from the provided LAB color is a better approximation of the pantone color, but it's not the same as the Book value (which in most cases is the Client value which is the MOST important).

     

    Is this something that's going to be fixed?

     

    (In Photoshop, I'd love to see the integration of a similar workable "Use CMYK values from Manufacturer's Books" option. I constantly have to refer to the old Manufacturer's Books to get the appropriate CMYK values and adjust swatches to match or else I'm getting my Color Setting's idea of what that color should be.)

     
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    Aug 15, 2012 8:55 AM   in reply to Cam Reesor

    Here's an example.

     

    I'm creating a 16 page booklet (Web coated SWOP) for AMEX (on befalf of an agency) that requires their artwork to be printed as PMS 288C (specced by AMEX as a Pantone Book Color of C100M67Y0K23). I get $5,000 to design the book and the print job is worth $150,000.

     

    If for whatever reason AMEX isn't happy about the color of the book, I gotta be sure that there's at least no yellow dots on that thing or I'm exposed to liability that is far beyond my pay grade. I can't afford to have Illustrator or InDesign decide for me that a little bit more yellow and a little less black will be just the ticket to match that Pantone.

     

    I have depended on the "Use CMYK value from Pantone's Book" option, the default 'Press Quality' colour conversion setting for exporting PDF artwork from InDesign set to 'preserve numbers' for CMYK colours, and the "Convert Spots to Process" without thinking twice about the outcome. Now I can't afford to just do that. Those "old" CMYK specs aren't just archaic, they're a kinda contractual agreement for me that helps me to sleep.

     
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    Aug 15, 2012 12:41 PM   in reply to Cam Reesor

    Cam Reesor wrote:

     

    Here's an example.

     

    I'm creating a 16 page booklet (Web coated SWOP) for AMEX (on befalf of an agency) that requires their artwork to be printed as PMS 288C (specced by AMEX as a Pantone Book Color of C100M67Y0K23)...

    If the client gives you the CMYK values for a color that will be printed 4 color process, why do you care if these values represent a Pantone color and why are you using Pantone colors in the first place for something that is going to be printed in CMYK and its CMYK values are specified? Illustrator has Color panel where you can create a CMYK color with specified values and save it as a swatch with any name like "My client's CMYK idea for PMS 288C"

     

    If a client gives me such information for 4 colors CMYK printing, I will ask them why are they telling me that the given CMYK values are related with a Pantone color and what do they expect to happen from this additional information.

     
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    Aug 15, 2012 1:38 PM   in reply to emil emil

    Easy Emil...

     

    Almost every corporate client I work with specs their colors in Pantone. Almost without exception they provide CMYK color guidelines for those Pantone colors that are exactly the same as in the "old" Pantone Color Books.

     

    I may be producing 10 various projects like Direct Mail, Letterhead, Brochure, digital or whatever. Some print as spot. Some print as CMYK. Some are both. Sometimes the same piece is printed both ways. Sometimes they change.

     

    When I set up a Client program in the past, I could spec their Pantones in an Illustrator (InDesign) file and 'presto' the Book mix was there if I needed it. From there I could swing whatever way I wanted without monkeying with different setups or naming conventions (like "My Client's CMYK idea for PMS 288c which is exactly the same as in the Pantone Book"). One Illustrator logo: 10 projects. One InDesign file managed with the Ink Manager and "Preserve Numbers".

     

    Maybe it's just on my end of the world... but my Client's don't give me CMYK specs for all the various press conditions. They just expect their simple Pantone to print at 0 100 95 10, regardless whether 6 97 94 7 gets them closer to the true Pantone color. I think they kinda like that we can lose the 4th plate every once and a while too!

     

    It's just lazy of me, I know... But with every advance of CS: things always get a little more efficient.

     
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    Aug 15, 2012 1:52 PM   in reply to Cam Reesor

    Cam Reesor wrote:

     

    ... When I set up a Client program in the past, I could spec their Pantones in an Illustrator (InDesign) file and 'presto' the Book mix was there if I needed it. ...

    Well, with the new pantone colors your life is not going to be that much easy and you have to do an additional thing but another group of users who appreciate more accurate color matching will be happy.

    The additional thing that you have to do is:

    Double click on the Pantone color swatch in the Swatches panel and from the Color Mode menu choose CMYK, enter the given values, click OK, and that's it.

    Then whenever you convert the Pantone color of this document to CMYK it will always convert with the same values regardless what color space (profile) is assigned to the document.

     
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    Aug 22, 2012 7:52 PM   in reply to emil emil

    emil emil wrote:

    … but another group of users who appreciate more accurate color matching will be happy.

     

    Emil, what you don't seem to get is this… You can't use the word 'accurate' without defining what you're attempting to match to. If the client is looking at the old Color Bridge Pantone book (which was printed using the old CMYK values) and your printer is used to matching to this, then the appearance of that book is the standard by which you judge how 'accurate' the final colour is—not how close it is to the Coated Spot Color guide or whatever the LAB values are based on. Now, it's likely that this new system is capable of producing more consistent colour across various press conditions if designers and printers both understand it and embrace a different workflow. But it's now more complex for the designer, and complexity WILL lead to unexpected errors, which is evidenced by threads like this.

     

    A few examples have been discussed already. Here's another one… What colour library do we use when supplying a new logo to a client now? It used to be that you could supply one, or at most two colour versions (spot colour and CMYK). When you hand over these files, you do so knowing that you can't control under what conditions these will be used, but at least you could rest easy knowing that the CMYK numbers would remain intact, and without any client-side colour management at all, a printer could expect to see the same numbers defined by Pantone—numbers they know how to work with. But now you have different numbers defined for different papers, and no explicit CMYK numbers for spot colour libraries. So how do we supply a CMYK version of the client's new logo now? Do we give them one for coated paper and one for uncoated, in addition to spot colour versions? Then multiply that by each variation of the logo (e.g. if there is a vertical and horizontal version)? I tell you, clients have enough trouble as it is managing their logo files without all this confusion.

     

    Cam Reesor gets it.

     
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    Aug 22, 2012 11:34 PM   in reply to Kals

    Emil, you're gonna hate my guts after this next bit, but I have to pipe up after being inspired by Kals ...

     

    Editor's Note: Rich blacks and the occassional greys aside:

     

    What I love about those "old" Pantone CMYK color guidelines is that whenever I spec a color right out of the book it always just gives me a max of 3 values (a 'max black generation GCR value' for arguments sake). Whenever I create a custom color (just like in a Pantone spec), I purposefully use only K for the grey factor. As far as I'm concerned, using the 3rd color to obtain gray values doesn't take the color to any magical new place that K can't get me to. It's just redundant. But worse than that...

     

    1. Solid color just looks "sweeter" if it can be achieved with fewer plates. The fewer dots in there the better.

    2. The fewer the plates in a solid color, the easier it is to color match

    3. The more plates, the harder it is to register. And even the slightest misregistry just visually blows.

     

    These factors are not being taken into account with this New Age Accuracy. Even if by some miracle the new values get us closer to the truth by 5% in some conditions, the final printed page just looks worse because of the redundant dots.

     

    It's a personal problem I have to get over, I know, but it makes me puke when (in Illustrator(CSNow), Indesign(CSNow) and Photoshop(CSForever)) I convert a Pantone to CMYK and I get values of 96.8 58.9 12.8 23.6 . Apart from the whacky decimal places, the 12.8 Y has no business being in a solid color. Again: there's no fantasy color that it will take me to that K can't. There's really no expedient way that I can turn on and off (profile inherent GCR values) whenever I want to get what I would call a satisfactory color separation value.

     

    Emil: Please explain to me how the addition of a fourth grey factor color and the subtraction of K can achieve a better color match for solid colors in any kind of printing situation?

    Is it really just coincidence or convenience that every "old" Pantone CMYK color spec uses just 3 colors. And that no color uses anything other than K for the gray factor?

     
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    Aug 23, 2012 12:35 AM   in reply to Cam Reesor

    Cam, perhaps even more troubling than the addition of a fourth colour to me, is that you can't guarantee a 100% solid component, nicely illustrated in your example by that '96.8' value. When you're choosing colours from the book, there are instances where a clever designer might intentionally choose a colour where one of the process inks is at 100%. Why? Let's say you're reversing small white type out of a solid colour (something all designers love to do!) When you have a solid ink, you get nice crisp type at ridiculously high resolution. When it's not solid, you get a screen, and your small white type starts to look fuzzy.

     

    That's what I meant in a previous comment when I said, 'There are also times when you actually want to be aware and in control of the CMYK values (e.g. to ensure a solid process component rather than a screen), and in this instance you lose all that control.'

     
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    Aug 23, 2012 11:30 AM   in reply to Kals

    You're right. I noticed that the other day. That's no minor thing.

     

    Just so we're all on the same page:

     

    Illustrator CS(Anything Other Than 6)

    Color Settings: Anything you could even inadvertently, unwittingly or unknowingly dream up

    Pantone 1795C:   C 0 M 94 Y 100 K 0

     

    Illustrator CS6

    Color Settings: North America General Purpose 2 (which by default gives us a CMYK working color space of U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2

    Pantone 1795C:   C 10.77 M 99.87 Y 96.96 K 1.83

     

    In this case, like Kal says, a sharp designer is just going to turn that M 94 to M 100 to get that amazing sharp reversed type. But even in every day positive solid color situations with type, lines and small solid color shapes, you don't want a screen in there, if it doesn't have to be. With even a decimal point away from a 100% component you instantly go from 2400 dpi to 133 dpi for example (even for ordinary jobs on dinky presses). If you could choose to print your images at they're full resloution of 300 instead of 150, you'd jump at the chance. With line art, we always have that opportunity.

     

    So that CS6 Pantone 1795C value does this to the color:

     

    1. It adds 2 new components to the color

    2. It strips the yellow component of it's 100 value

     

    So now maybe you have a truer match, but you also have a very inefficient color that doesn't have the visual integrity of the original.

     

    This is an old whiny story, but I think it's worth adding here:

     

    In most case scenarios, when I send my flattened bulletproof PDF/X-1a 2001 to the printer today: Unless something's just screaming at them from the document, somebody's just gonna press a "GO" button and, like magic, my humble file with whatever inadvertent errors finds itself directly on the big stage. If something's wrong on press: the finger of blame goes directly to me.

     

    In the not so "old" days it took 10 pros (typographers, typesetters, proof readers, image experts, separation experts and color/film experts...) 10 hours each to produce a document. All these guys were highly experienced pros dedicated to just that trade for 20 years: They knew things we couldn't hope to know. They were also collectively earning big dollars for their contributions. Today, the little guy sitting in InDesign unwittingly has become all these guys in one. It takes him 10 hours to produce the same document. He truly needs to know everthing all those guys did to get the same results.

     

    If things were just, and we did the obvious math, the delivered prepress PDF of a full-color 16 page self cover 3.5x8.5" booklet would be billed out at say $20,000. But the conveniently forgetful marketplace say's that it's worth $2,000 because the secrets out that only one guy did the whole thing. All the knowledge and expertise is invested in that document whether 10 guys or one guy did it. Today's fantastic Adobe software hasn't vanquished the need for that knowledge and expertise. The value of the document should properly reflect that. It doesn't.

     

    The print cost for the document is the same as always: $100,000.

    If I earn $20,000 to produce the PDF it's 20% of the print cost.

    If I earn $2,000 to produce the PDF it's 2% of the print cost.

    In an average worse case scenario: The job has to be pulled off press and reworked and it costs an extra $5,000.

    The printer say's it's in the file, so I have to eat the cost if I expect to keep the client.

    That shrunken earnings value doesn't take into account the same absolute exposure to risk.

    We have wonderfully leveraged the expertise of our forefathers (by a factor of 10) to create a document that is worth 1/10th of it's original value. But since the print cost hasn't changed (and I have to factor in that 1 out of 10 times I'm gonna lose $5,000). I am also exposed to new risks that are not commensurate with my earnings.

     

    Most of my blue chip clients don't really appreciate the price for quality proposition. They don't really care that the type is razor sharp anymore or that the color is just that much more a perfect shade of blue. That's pretty much just me and I find it difficult to charge for that. But they are good with arithmetic and risk management. I think that's why the "old" book values are a nice certainty for them. Most have been stung with unwarranted and additional costs when working with novice designers and they know savings when they see it.

     

    If a job is gonna cost $100,000 dollars to print and I decide that we can do without a plate for example. That one change can save the client $5,000. The printer isn't gonna come up with that idea. If I'm billing the client $2,000. I just gave my work away for free and generated additional savings of $3,000 for the client. If the client knows I every so often pull off that kind of magic, he gladly accepts that I don't charge the market value for my services. He's actually happy that he pays me $5,000 for a $2,000 document. it's the only way I know how to reclaim some the true value of our "leveraged expertise".

     

    Adobe software makes a lot of miraculous decisions for us about our documents so we can charge our $2,000. But it doesn't help me to make the $20,000 that we justly should get. When I notice by chance that CS(NOW) has arbitrarily popped in a 99.87 M value for what I wrecklessly thought was always 100, I have to ask one of the 10 guys what on earth to do about it, because everything in the software says you're better off than before. If I don't notice the 99.87 and those 10 guys are not around, then my $2,000 credit may just as magically turn into my $3,000 debit.

     
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