Okay. I am bewildered. I haven't done much with Frame and color, so when my company asked me to set up a 4C template, I figured I would give it a try. Here's the problem.
I need an orange color defined as M80, Y100, as defined in InDesign. When I use these values in Frame's color definition dialog box, the color is not correct (way too bright) on the display, nor does it print to PDF correctly. When I examine the color with Acrobat's Print Production preview, I get M92, Y100.
Okay, I know Frame is really an RGB-based program, so I went into Photoshop to get the equivalent RGB definition, which is R241, G90, B34. Well, Frame doesn't allow RGB numbers greater than 100%, so there's no way to enter these values.
I am stumped. I get the same results with Frame 7.1, Frame 8, Acrobat 7, and Acrobat 9. I print to a .ps file and then use Distiller to create the PDF, leaving colors unchanged. The same color outputs correctly from Photoshop.
Years ago I did some color work in Frame and don't recall having these problems.
sglinert, Mar 25, 2009 11:55 AM
Always tell your version of software when asking for a hand. <g><br /><br />R241 isn't really 241% red, it's 241/255*100% red. So, you don't have to enter RGB values greater than 100% in FrameMaker.<br /><br />Even with FrameMaker 9, I'd recommend avoiding CMYK in FrameMaker and using CMYK only in EPS files created elsewhere and imported into FrameMaker by reference.<br /><br />What are you using the CMYK colors for?<br /><br />Cheers,<br /><br />Sean
I echo Sean's suggestion that you try adding color by using referenced eps files that use the cmyk color. Frame passes these through to Distiller as is.
There is another strategy to add color within FrameMaker; however, I cannot find a reference to the information that I used to do this. FrameMaker allows you to add custom inks to the application with an acf file. You define the custom colors in the acf file in both cmyk and rgb. So you can specify the rgb equivalents as they come from Photoshop or Illustrator, which are different than the ones used by Frame.
Note that the acf file specifies rgb colors in 16 bits, not 8 bits. The formula I used was
16-bit component = (8-bit component * 256) + 255
The 8-bit component values are the ones you got from Photoshop.
The acf file is added to the fminit > color folder within the FrameMaker programs folder.
I tested this in my case by importing a square eps file painted in the cmyk color. Then overlapped it with a square created in Frame and painted with the custom rgb color. Printing on my color laser printer showed negligible difference. We have yet to print to an ink printer.
I know this is vague, but maybe someone else can provide the link to a better explanation. THere might be something about this in the Frame help files.
As you know, there is no unique conversion from rgb to cmyk. I do work in a workflow that needs color management, so I am just making guesses here. You might look into your Distiller settings. Maybe you can play with the color options, such as preserving or not under color removal. Or turning off color management.
You also need to make an adjustment in a maker.ini setting that
affects how FM renders colours on output.
Find the entry for GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK in the [Preferences]
Set it to: GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK=None
For more detailed info about this see:
http://www.techknowledgecorp.com/help/color.html at Tim Murray's site.
This info was originally posted by Mike Hardy a couple of years ago on
this site, but it's scrolled off now. Here's the original posting
This post gives all the information I know about using colors in
under Windows. It does not cover the use of separations. It instead
describes display, and direct output to color devices such as printers
including creating PDFs.
FrameMaker supports three different color models:
- CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key)
- RGB (Red, Green, Blue)
- HLS (Hue, Light, Saturation).
FrameMaker uses an algorithm to convert between each of these color
RGB to CMYK:
C = max(R, G, B) - R
M = max(R, G, B) - G
Y = max(R, G, B) - B
K = 100 - max(R, G, B)
CMYK to RGB:
R = min(100 - K - C, 0)
G = min(100 - K - M, 0)
B = min(100 - K - Y, 0)
Like most Windows applications, FrameMaker uses the Windows graphics
interface (GDI) for its output. The GDI handles both display and
Unfortunately, the GDI only supports the RGB color model. Any colors
are defined in other color models are therefore converted to RGB for
The only exception to this is Encapsulated PostScript (EPS). When you
to a PostScript printer, or distill a PDF, the EPS is inserted
into the PostScript. So any CMYK colors in the EPS get printed
This is the only way to output a CMYK color from FrameMaker under
(Note that if you instead print to a non-PostScript printer, any EPS
are output using their preview bitmap, in RGB.)
Types of color in FrameMaker
There are two types of color in FrameMaker:
- those defined by component values that you type in
- those defined by choosing a named ink from a color library.
FrameMaker handles these differently.
If you type in the component values
FrameMaker stores the color in the document as CMYK. If the color was
defined as CMYK, FrameMaker uses its own conversion algorithm. So the
values that are stored are the same values that you see in the CMYK
the Color Definitions dialog.
FrameMaker outputs the color as RGB. If the color was not defined as
FrameMaker uses its own conversion algorithm. So the RGB values that
output are the same values that you see in the RGB view of the Color
If you choose the color from a library
FrameMaker also supports color libraries that contain named inks.
libraries specify both CMYK and RGB values for each ink. The important
is that the mapping between the CMYK and RGB values can be very
the algorithm that FrameMaker uses.
FrameMaker stores the color in the document as the color library and
name. It also stores CMYK values for the color, for backup. When
opens the document, it looks for the color library and ink name, first
cache, then on disk:
- if it finds the color library and ink, it reads the CMYK and RGB
for the ink from the color library
- if it doesn't find the color library or ink, it instead uses the
values that are stored in the document, exactly as if you'd typed them
(see "If you type in the component values" above).
FrameMaker outputs the ink as RGB. It can use:
- the RGB values for the ink that are stored in the library
- the CMYK values for the ink that are stored in the library,
RGB using its own algorithm.
This depends on the output device that FrameMaker is using, and the
GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK setting in the maker.ini file:
- If GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK is set to "Screen", FrameMaker does
output by converting the CMYK values for the ink to RGB. For printer
it instead uses the RGB values for the ink.
- If GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK is set to "Printing", FrameMaker does
printer and PDF output by converting the CMYK values for the ink to
screen output, it instead uses the RGB values for the ink.
- If GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK is set to "Printing&Screen",
all output by converting the CMYK values for the ink to RGB. It never
the RGB values for the ink.
- If GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK is set to "None", FrameMaker never
CMYK values for the ink. It does all output using the RGB values for
For the most WYSIWYG results with the predefined libraries, I'd
setting GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK to "None". This means that the RGB
in the color library get used for the screen - and they're probably
faithful colors for this. The same RGB color will be printed, giving
same color mismatches that you get for most other Windows
you will often find that the RGB to CMYK conversion of your output
will give more faithful results than FrameMaker's own conversion.
Defining your own libraries
Finally, note that you can define your own libraries. From the online
"Customizing FrameMaker" manual:
"ColorLib [in maker.ini] specifies the folder that contains color
files. These files are read in at startup and appear in the Color
pop-up menu in the Color Definitions dialog box. You can add any
file formatted in the ASCII Color Format (.acf), version 2.1 or
in the Binary Color Format (.bcf), version 2.0. You can't use a
product to save a .bcf library file."
A web search might reveal details of these file formats, but if not,
ASCII one is pretty obvious. Here's a file I put together:
You can then control exactly what RGB values FrameMaker uses for
- determine the RGB values that you want to use for display, and note
the RGB values
- determine the RGB values that you want to use for printing, perhaps
trial and error in another application
- set the FrameMaker Color Definitions dialog to your RGB values for
printing, then change to the CMYK color model, and note down the
"equivalent" CMYK values
- define your own color library
- in your color library, define an ink with the RGB values you noted
display, and the CMYK values you noted for printing
- set GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK to "Printing"
This doesn't get you CMYK output, but it's the best you can do under
Windows. Note, however, that setting GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK to
"Printing" might not give such good results with the predefined color
libraries (see above).
Oh my. Thank you so very much! This is priceless information.
I am not doing separations, I was just inspecting the conversion results in Acrobat using the Output Preview. A color C100, B40 should print on only the cyan and black plates, but instead, I get sort of a mish-mash of colors on all the plates. I will have to carefully study this information and make a color library for my company's colors.