10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2009 11:53 AM by Printer_Rick

    Which color swatches to use?

    Skwurl

      Hi there,

       

      I need to make a quick run of 100 prints at a local print shop where they'll be printing on a digital printer. I'm assuming the digital print process still uses CMYK and I'm wondering what, if any, color swatches I should be using to assign my colors in Indesign.

       

      Should I just be using a solid uncoated library (the prints are going on matte paper), or should I just mix them myself? It's not hugely important that I get 100% color accuracy (it is a digital printer after all).

       

      Thanks

        • 1. Re: Which color swatches to use?
          Printer_Rick Level 4

          Since it's a digital printer, I would say first you should find out if they would rather have RGB or CMYK.

           

          They will print in CMYK but it's possible they will want to do an RGB - CMYK conversion.

           

          Also are you supplying PDF or native files?

           

          Also if they want CMYK, request a CMYK press profile. If they don't have one, ask which ones they use, hopefully you will get an answer

           

          Message was edited by: Printer_Rick

          • 2. Re: Which color swatches to use?
            Skwurl Level 1

            Hey Rick,

             

            I'm not sure yet what color space the printer is using. I have a feeling that they use CMYK toner. As for the PDF, yes, I'll be providing the PDF myself.

            • 3. Re: Which color swatches to use?
              Printer_Rick Level 4

              Skwurl wrote:

               

              Hey Rick,

               

              I'm not sure yet what color space the printer is using. I have a feeling that they use CMYK toner. As for the PDF, yes, I'll be providing the PDF myself.

              There is great debate on swatch setup. I will explain the new way which is more progressive...

               

              I'm not sure what you mean by matte and uncoated. These are two different things. Find out which stock matches your job. There is uncoated, and matte. Matte is a coated sheet but the coating is not glossy.

               

              Select your color by choosing a number in ID in the appropriate library (color mode), Solid Matte or Solid Uncoated. Once the color swatch shows up in the dialog, change mode to Lab and color type to process.

               

              PDF output - if they want RGB, output convert to destination, document RGB, include all profiles. There is another option, convert to destination (preserve numbers). If you output to document RGB, that makes no difference.

               

              CMYK- output convert to destination, the printers CMYK, include all profiles.

               

              There may be others who tell you to create swatches differently. It is an ongoing issue. The steps above are very brief explanations, and it can become more complicated. Remember lab swatches are progressive. I can give you the more traditional approach if you want.

              • 4. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                Skwurl Level 1

                Hi Rick,

                 

                Thanks for the detailed reply. I was always unsure what the difference between matte and uncoated was - now it makes sense. I'm not quite sure what the final paper will be, but I imagine it will be a matte finish.

                 

                One quick question though, why do you convert the color over to lab after selecting it?

                • 5. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                  Printer_Rick Level 4

                  Skwurl wrote:

                   

                  Hi Rick,

                   

                  Thanks for the detailed reply. I was always unsure what the difference between matte and uncoated was - now it makes sense. I'm not quite sure what the final paper will be, but I imagine it will be a matte finish.

                   

                  One quick question though, why do you convert the color over to lab after selecting it?

                  I have given you bad info. Use the Solid to Process library. ID is not giving proper Lab numbers. My apologies.

                   

                  You can also use Color Bridge CMYK PC (coated) or Bridge CMYK UP (uncoated). Do you have an actual printed swatch book?

                   

                  This is a real mess. All these libraries are CMYK. It would be too confusing to get the proper Lab numbers, they are not in the ID application. Again my apologies.

                  • 6. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                    Printer_Rick Level 4

                    To explain more thoroughly what's going on - all of the solid coated numbers have Lab definitions. Lab is device independent and is the only color space which can truly define a color.

                     

                    If ID did what it should do, you would be able to use the Lab as a source color space and then convert to the CMYK or RGB. But for now the only app that has the true Lab numbers seems to be Photoshop.

                     

                    I'm still not sure if you are referencing an actual printed swatch book. Just remember, if you are looking at a Solid book, it does not have CMYK. Most of these colors cannot be matched using CMYK. Many greens, oranges, and most definitely the blues -  CMYK will be much duller, unfortunately. CMYK does a pretty good job with reds and yellows though.

                     

                    Again my sincere apologies. I need to report this swatch issue as a software bug, one of the Photoshop engineers also agrees it is a bug. If you really do want to go the Lab route, you can always make custom Lab swatches, and type in the proper values (you can get them from Photoshop). But realistically that takes too much time.

                     

                    What a mess.

                    • 7. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                      Skwurl Level 1

                      Hi Rick,

                       

                      Don't worry about it, you've been very helpful.

                       

                      I'm not referencing an actual swatch book, I just wanted to get as close as possible during the printing process. Like I said, this is just for a quick run of 100 copies on a digital printer.

                      • 8. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                        Printer_Rick Level 4

                        There may be hope for the Lab method after all, if you are interested, and you have Photoshop and a minute or two. If you don't that's cool, but you never know someone else may read this thread. I just learned about this myself I'm glad I did.

                         

                        Go to Photoshop, swatch panel. If you use swatches a lot in this app, first save your current swatches with a custom name. Now in the pull down select the appropriate Pantone Solid library, hit enter (not append, you can go back to your custom swatches later, you saved them). Now in pull down Save Swatches for exchange, save to an easy to find location where it can remain for future use, name it Photoshop Solid...

                         

                        Back to ID. In the swatch panel there, New Color Swatch. In color mode, pull down to "other Library". Navigate to the just-saved Photoshop Library. Again in color mode, select this new library, and pick your color.

                         

                        The new swatch will have a Lab icon in ID (make sure it does). The library is also saved for future use in ID. Use it to pick your Lab based solid Pantones.

                         

                        This method is a real runaround but it works.

                         

                        Also remember you can use proof preview to better see how the colors will look in CMYK. In ID go to View: Proof Setup: Custom - and under Device to simulate,  select the profile the printer gave you. Click off of preserve numbers. The other options are debatable, I would click on simulate black ink. Hit enter. Now go to view: Proof colors.

                         

                        Of course color accuracy depends on monitor calibration. If you need accurate color, get a good monitor calibration package. But if you're just doing non-critical work, spend your money on something else. Hope this helps.

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                        • 9. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                          Skwurl Level 1

                          Thanks for all the help Rick.

                           

                          I really appreciate it.

                          • 10. Re: Which color swatches to use?
                            Printer_Rick Level 4

                            This is an update for anyone who wants to use Pantone Lab values in InDesign or Illustrator

                             

                            1. InDesign - Swatches Panel - Ink Manager (flyout). In the bottom click "Use Standard Lab Values for Spots"

                             

                            2. Illustrator - Swatches Panel - Spot Colors (flyout). Select "Use Lab Values specified by the book manufacturer"