4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 27, 2016 10:58 PM by Stephen_A_Marsh

    Pantone Ink Solidity

    dmtetard Level 1

      I need to mix a spot color with a grayscale image.

      Photoshop let's me choose the solidity of the spot channel, which is if i understood well, only for previewing the image, and doesn't affect the printing itself.


      So... what's are the "correct" solidity percentages for pantone solid colors?

      Documentation and forums bring me no further than: 0% for varnish, 100% for metallic inks. But how opaque are pantone solid colors? (I guess they are more opaque than process colors?).

      PMS 032C is the color in fact.


      It's a big difference between 0 and 100%, so what would be a reasonable percentage to have a (somewhat) correct simulation of the ink mixing?

        • 1. Re: Pantone Ink Solidity
          davetwo Level 2

          I've often wondered about this, but have never got any real answers. I would presume that each colour differs, as with oil paint.


          In your case however you can get a decent preview just my multiplying the black over your Pantone colour, no?

          • 2. Re: Pantone Ink Solidity
            dmtetard Level 1

            I consulted my printer, he told me something similar: the darker the ink, the less transparent it is.

            Meanwhile i did print something with pms 032 c (bright red), and 0% solidity gives me the most realistic preview on screen, compared with the printed result.

            For dark pms colors, i shouldn't set the solidity much higher than maybe 20%, as pms inks seem to be very un-opaque (uh what's to oposite of opaque?). Bright pms inks in offset printing should be set to 0% solidity. Hope that helps.

            • 3. Re: Pantone Ink Solidity
              DCardillo Level 1

              came across this post looking for a good reason there's even an option to set the solidity to anything other than 0.


              There isn't.


              That setting only affects the appearance on screen. It does nothing to affect how the inks are applied.


              For practical purposes, assume all of your inks are translucent. Even process black. If you print a black frame over 4-color art, you'll see the art through it.


              Yeah, a particular ink may be opaque, but how much? Yes, that was your original question, but there's no point trying to guesstimate how the inks will interact. You're always better off controlling that with masking.


              Long story short, you need to knock any spot ink out of any other ink, unless you want them to mix together. And then you have to trap it.

              • 4. Re: Pantone Ink Solidity
                Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                Yes, there is no way to really know what opacity value to input as a preview.


                There is only a solid Lab colour value, there is no TVI/dot gain curve info, nor is there any info on Lab values at different tones, nor is there any opacity info, nor is there any info to show how this may mix with other inks on a given substrate.


                Spot colours and their interaction with other spots or process colours is basically guesswork in Adobe apps and in many hard copy inkjet proofing scenarios and most softproofing software.


                There is a new ISO standard – 17972. This new standard uses CxF (XML based) information to communicate spot colour information throughout the supply chain (Brand > Design > Prepress > Ink Lab > Print Production). Spectral reflectance data and is used instead of colorimetric data. A minimum of 6 patches can be used to capture spot colour behaviour. Ideally only 22 patches are recommended for greater accuracy (not thousands of patches as with traditional ICC profiling).


                More info: