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process friendly pantone colours not printing accurately

Sep 4, 2012 2:06 PM

Tags: #illustrator #color #cmyk #printer #pms #print #pantone #calibration #color-management

I'm at a complete loss. I am trying to figure out a way to have Pantone colours match as closely as possible to my Pantone book. The colours I want to match are, according to Pantone, achievable by CMYK but the colours are so off it's driving me crazy. Example: I choose Pantone Black 4U in Illustrator or InDesign. On Screen it appears quite grey. I'm not so concerned about how it appears on screen as long as it prints relatively accurately. When I print, it prints grey just like on my monitor. Is it a printer setting issue? Is it a CS preference issue? I'm at my wit's end. Someone help me please.


Using CS6

Printing off a Canon MX870

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2012 6:39 PM   in reply to teaksato

    What type of paper are you printing on?  That Pantone Black 4U is, in my version of Illustrator, a CMYK equivalent of 0%C, 22%M, 100%Y, 89%K, which = a warm Black.  Not even close to Gray.  That Canon is not really a proofer is it?  You've got some application color settings out-of-whack; a non-calibrated printer and monitor, no Postscript color management in place.  Sorry to say, you've got to pony-up some dough for some serious color matching hardware or settle for what you are getting now with what you have in place at the moment.  I do not mean to be a wise-***, but really man, take a look at your driver ( is it up-to-date? ) and, at a minimum, give us some application color settings and your print setup ( i.e., paper, profile ( if any ), driver settings ).

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2012 7:28 AM   in reply to teaksato

    OK, I apologize for my abrasiveness. 


    I wonder if your Adobe Bridge Color Settings may be affecting Colorsync conversions?  Try creating a Color Swatch of the )C, 22M, 100Y, and 89K percentages and print that solo, thereby over-riding whatever conversion takes place using a Spot Color swatch.  And, have you ever been able to get good color matching before ( i.e., CS4, CS5.5, etc. ) CS6?  The 59.6C, 68.69M, 73.91Y, and 70.8K is still going to print a Black, with a higher total ink ( 273 ) than the 0C, 22M, 100Y, 89K ( 211 ).  It almosts seems like a print cartridge error of some sort.  My post was an effort to help you in taking a look at your application settings and print dialog setups.  I recommend experimenting with other Print dialog setups to see if any get you closer to a match ( i.e., color match = Canon, instead of Colorsync, and / or "None".  The following are screen shots of my current non-Postscript printer Print settings and my current Illustrator Color Settings:


    Application Color Settings =


    Picture 1.png


    Print Dialogs =


    Picture 4.png

    Picture 2.png

    Picture 3.png


    See if you can insert the above info to see if that makes a difference.  Look at the Colorsync setup, paper, Illustrator ( or InDesign ) settings.  I get pretty good color matching using these settings.


    Again, I apologize for being a jerk.  I hope this helps, let me know.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2012 8:43 AM   in reply to teaksato

    The big mystery here, the more I think about it, is why the color looks Gray on screen and prints Gray?  Almost as if there has been an error in the color's identity.  On my workstation, when I load the Pantone Black 4U swatch, it appears like it should...Black or off-Black.  But, not Gray.  And, it prints Black even on my non-Postscipt HP Deskjet 5850.  The only deviate is the LAB affected percentages ( see below ).


    I cannot show you my file print-out, but I can tell you that my Spot swatch and the coordinating 0c, 22m, 100y,and 89k is just slightly darker than the Spot swatch ( see screen shot below ), but my print matches my screen.


    Picture 1sm.png


    None of the color on screen or in print appear like a Pantone 409.  Color conversion depends on the printer driver which interprets incoming data from your color settings and print dialog setups.  Some Pantone Spot colors are impossible to match using CMYK.  But, again, your on-screen representation should not be a Gray, so this may be an Operating System error or something is affecting your screen colors and your output colors.  Try attaching some screen shots of your Colorsync setup, application color settings, and your print dialogs.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2012 5:54 PM   in reply to teaksato

    I see in a corresponding forum topic that CS6 ( and perhaps Mountain Lion ) users are having difficulties with Pantones + Series Color libraries.  The only workaround is to delete the + Series libraries and re-load the previous Swatch libraries installed before the + Series install.  The post stated the user was seeing muted color on screen and in-print.  This sounds like what you are experiencing with the Black 4U on-screen view and Gray output.

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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,387 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 6, 2012 8:07 AM   in reply to teaksato

    teaksato wrote:


    Thanks for the various feedback. I was able to go through some of my settings and my print out has improved. Curiously, the Printer Profile "ProPhoto RGB" seemed to produce the best result after all of the adjustments.

    ProPhoto RGB isn't a printer profile, it is a working space profile. You need to be selecting the correct output profile for the printer based on paper and so forth. That would not affect the screen preivew however which is another issue. Display properly calibrated and profiled?

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