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Full colour translation of Pantone: CS vs Pantone

Jan 18, 2013 1:45 AM

Tags: #pantone #colour_settings

Hi there,

 

I never got around to ask this question. Most of you have noticed that ID, AI and PS give different full colour translations of a Pantone colour. And then there's Pantone who says something completely different on their colour fans. Now who's right, and for CS which of the 3 is the most accurate? I'm working with CS 5.5 Master, my Pantone colour fans are 4th Edition, 2nd printing.

 

TIA.

 
Replies
  • Rob Day
    3,120 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 18, 2013 8:00 AM   in reply to motiondude

    ID, AI and PS give different full colour translations of a Pantone colour

     

    If you are looking at solid ink libraries then you have to compare the Lab values, which do match between the three programs as long as you are comparing the same libraries.

     

    If you are converting the Lab swatch values to CMYK or RGB the results depend on the document's profile, or the current working color spaces if there's no document profile.

     

    So if you look at Photoshop's Color Picker and pick  Pantone Purple, you get different CMYK or RGB values depending on the current Color Setting's Working Spaces and conversion options. Below is US SWOP Coated/AdobeRGB vs. Japan Coated/sRGB—note  the Lab values don't change and are the same values you would get in ID or AI.

     

     

    Screen shot 2013-01-18 at 10.04.51 AM.png

     

     

     

    US SWOP Coated CMYK, AdobeRGB

    Screen shot 2013-01-18 at 10.04.58 AM.png

     

     

    Japan Coated CMYK, sRGB

    Screen shot 2013-01-18 at 10.22.43 AM.png

     

     

    Pantone has recommended CMYK translations, but the values would have to be for one particular set of printing conditions. No translation would work for Pantone Purple because that color is out of the CMYK gamut.

     

    Message was edited by: Rob Day

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,120 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 10:17 AM   in reply to motiondude

    Thanks Rob. The question was: why do I get 3 different cmyk values under the same colorspace (Europe, prepress 3) from PS, AI and ID for the same Pantone colour?

    I'm not seeing that with the Pantone + Solid Libraries when the solid spot colors are Lab.

     

    Make sure InDesign and Illustrator are set to define spots as Lab (in Photoshop solid libraries are always Lab). In ID it's under Ink Manager. In AI it's Spot Colors... under the Swatches flyout.

     

    Also make sure the document CMYK assignments (Edit>Assign Profiles) are Europe Prepress 3 before you convert the swatch to CMYK. It's the assigned color profile not Color Setting's Working CMYK profile that makes the conversion, so simply syncing your color settings might not work.

     

    Pantone can't print conversions for every printing condition on their swatches so their CMYK values are somewhat arbitrary—they would have to be for one specific  condition.

     

    If you don't want color managed conversions use the Pantone + Color Bridge libraries, which are set CMYK builds.

     

    Here's what I get for Pantone Cool Gray 10 solid conversions in the 3 apps when US Sheetfed is the assignment:

     

    PhotoshopScreenSnapz002.png

     

    Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 9.23.33 AM.png

    Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 9.25.05 AM.png

     

    Message was edited by: Rob Day

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 3, 2013 2:08 AM   in reply to motiondude

    I haven't seen fractional percentages cause a problem (and I suspect that may RIPs just round or truncate them). Holding color to +/- 1% on press for any plate would be well within the normal variation of a press run anyway and it's pretty unlikely that you'd see a significant difference between 10% and 10.05%, for example, and probably not even for a difference between 10% and 11%.

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,120 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 3, 2013 5:36 AM   in reply to motiondude

    I always learned that the cmyk percentages must be integers, not decimals

     

    The output would have to be real numbers if the device is capable of outputting 8-bits per channel (256 not 100 levels of gray).  I don't know why ID let's you choose percentages and PS doesn't

    I just found the differences between Pantone and Adobe pretty remarkable

     

    Adobe isn't providing a CMYK formula, you're getting a color managed conversion from a Lab color to CMYK. It's the same as when you convert an RGB color to CMYK, the resulting CMYK values could be anything depending on the source RGB and destination CMYK profiles.

     

    You can see the problem with CMYK definitions with a spot color like Pantone 253—it can't be accurately printed or displayed with CMYK values. But if you prefer to have an unchanging set of CMYK values you can use the Pantone + Bridge library.

     
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