6 Replies Latest reply on Nov 4, 2013 6:29 AM by LaveAuto

    Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???


      Hey Everyone,


      I just signed up to the forum and had a look around. Hello everyone and I'm glad forums like this are around!


      So, my question is hopefully one that is possible. I've looked elsewhere but can't find any difinitive answer or perhaps I haven't worded the question right but here it goes...


      What I'd like to do [in photoshop] is treat 4 pantone colors just like CMYK channels. What I mean by that is that I would like to replace Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black with my own colors [pantone colors] and have them mix and act exactly like those channels. As in, when I open a full color image, and my pantone [or any color] channels or color profile is active, the full color image will react to those colors [with the blending of the colors].


      Instead of 45% Cyan, 55% Magenta, 83% Yellow, and 2% Black in a given spot, it would be a mix of the 4 chosen colors [example: 45% pantone A, 55% Pantone B, 83% Pantone C, 2% Pantone D].


      or to put it another way, if I were to color the background in, say, a blue, I would be able to use the "Info" panel to see how much of each pantone color was mixed to create that color. Obviously there would be a limit to the colors I could create based on the pantone colors I select.


      I don't want to do anything printing wise with this technique. I am looking at it solely as an onscreen viewer or perhaps use it in some manner for screen printing.


      Anybody have any ideas on how to achieve this?


      Many thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Beyond setting up a multichannel document there is no magic. And it is still merely an approximation because some colors can neither be simulated on-screen nor actually printed that way. That ultimately is the whole point - PS can't simulate anything that is impossibole in the "real world" and expressed as a color profile. Anyway, I have the feeling that you have a wrong understanding what spot colors actually are/ are meant for. They simply won't respond like the basic CMYK channels because their actual inks don't behave that way. Your ink percentages will never represent anything equivalent to a mathematical mixing formula as when using RGB or CMYK, instead they are the inks color multiplied by the opacity. In case of an on-screen simulation/ proof they would not even necessarily include effects that happen due to spectral absorption when light travels through the inks or the inks mixing chemically/ physically at the pigment level. It really doesn't exactly make sense for what you have possibly in mind due to the aforementioned specifics and limitations of the simulation. One could even go so far as to craft everything in red on screen and then swap the color for green during the printing process, assuming only 100% opacities are used. That is to say spot colors are often more considered like masks that constrain the actual ink to certian areas and when you think of it that way, you may begin to understand how and why your grand plan may fall apart. Of course we don't know what your artwork looks like, so it may work, after all, but I realyl think you are heading in the wrong direction, dreaming up something that doesn't exist.



          • 2. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
            G.Hoffmann Level 3

            You may try


            Image > Mode Grayscale

            Image > Mode > Duotone > Quadtone


            Here you can mix four spot colors visually.


            For first tests one shouldn't use spot colors which are out-of gamut

            for sRGB. This and the result  can be checked by


            Image > Mode > Lab

            View > Proof Setup > Custom > sRGB

            View > Proof Colors

            View > Gamut Warning


            Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

            • 3. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
              LaveAuto Level 1

              I like exploring the realm of impossibility! But, I do understand what you're getting at. I'm actually looking for a way to slighty alter the colour of the CMYK channels to more accurately represent the CMYK that I am achieving with fabric dyes.


              Synthetic dyes come in 4 main colors [turquoise, fushia, lemon, black, or their version of CMYK] and all other colors are mixed from those. Now, most of the time, colors are just thrown together in rough estimations of what percentage of each would be necessary to achieve a desired color. What I've done is dyed 4 pieces of fabric, each one of the base colors. I've matched the subsequent colors to 4 pantone colors, that are slightly different than the CYMK process colors.


              Pantone 306 C for Cyan

              Pantone 227 C for Magenta

              Pantone 101 C for Yellow

              Pantone 433 C for Black


              So, really what I'd like to do is just adjust the CMYK process colors to match the colors above so that I can [theoretically] "mix" dyes on screen to show me what color will come of it. Doing this would also provide me with the percentages of each so that I could calculate the percentage of each dye required.

              • 4. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
                Chuck Uebele Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                The only thing I can think to do is to use four solid color adjustment layers, each with your pantone color, and all set to multiply blend mode.


                Selecte the layer masks for each one and use apply image to apply the actual CYMK values from the base (normal) layer.  Once you get all the channels assigned to the layer mask, you can tweak the tones of the masks with the normal tools: levels, curves, etc.  Not totally sure about measuring the percentage; however, I would imagine that you could read the mask black values to get your percentages.


                P.S. I just tried this, and you need to invert the layer mask.  I also agree with Mylenium about this being a total hit and miss - mostly miss process. 

                • 5. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
                  Danny Whitehead. Adobe Community Professional

                  How about using old-fashioned, pre-ICC-profile colour management settings?


                  Go into your Color Settings and select Custom CMYK as your CMYK working space. Under Ink Colors, select Custom, set the four colours by eye, and check Estimate Overprints. It won't be very accurate, and would definitely be better done by using colour profiles, but I guess you're not expecting too much accuracy. And remember to change your settings back to something more appropriate for litho print work, if you do any.

                  • 6. Re: Mixing Pantone Colors - Just like CMYK channels???
                    LaveAuto Level 1

                    Awesome! Thank you @DannyWhitehead. I used a Panton to RGB/CMYK coversion tool to get the closest approximations of the colors, plugged in the HTML color codes and had it approximate the overprints.


                    Seems to be working as I would expect something like this to work. I had, at one point, gone into the color settings and tried to do it that way but didn't realize that I could switch the the "Ink Colors - Swop" section to "Customize".


                    Thanks everyone for their responses!