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SHOTZ Blog for News Views and Clues
Choosing colours for print
Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:18

Every professional in any print industry knows what PMS means: Its the Pantone Matching System. It's a simple system for colour matching.

For those who us who are not print professionals, lets look at how it affects you and your print job.

Here is the situation: You have an exact colour in mind for the background on your business card.

You need the printer to know what that colour is.

You can't just email it because the colour you see on your computer monitor will be different to the colour he sees on his screen. A monitor is not a precise tool and without calibration, could be many shades off.

Test printing it on your home printer won't help much either as the colour you get from the file in your computer will be very different to what the printer gets through his professional system. I.E what you get from your printer is not what's in your file.
Pantone Books

PMS


This is why PMS was created. It's a common language for colour identification and communication. When you specify red 182. The printer knows exactly what that colour is and can re-create it for you.

With the Pantone booklet, (which contains over 1000 different colours.) You can tell the printer the pantone code of the colour you choose. It means it will be the same colour every time, whether its screen printed shirts, business cards or car graphics.

Don't have a pantone guide? Drop in and have a chat to one of our reps. They will be able to show you a Pantone book or arrange to supply you a set at cost. (around $600 as of 11/2010)

cmyk

CMYK


CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, or black. These are the four colors of ink used in the traditional method of printing called Offset printing(the term offset relates to how ink is applied)  The three colors, plus black, roughly correspond to the primary colors(red green and blue), from which you can make any colour.  It is a color mixing system that depends on pigments to achieve the desired colour

Before home printers which use Red Green and Blue, most images printed on paper used offset printing with CMYK colors. A color picture is separated into its separate, constituent parts to create four related pictures in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Each separate colour is etched onto a plate onto which the right concentration, or amount, of colored ink is applied. When the four plates each print onto a page, the colors recombine and form the original image. For example, a deep plum might have equal amounts of cyan (blue-green) and magenta (pink), with a tinge of black.

CMYK cannot reproduce every color that exists in the world. It's impossible to match things like a parrot feather, rose petal, or oak leaf, but the color system can get remarkably close. CMYK creates many colours by adjusting the percentage of a particular pigment.  I.e., a percentage of yellow will warm an image. These combinations create colors that span the gamut of colour.

Conversions between CMYK color and RGB, or red-green-blue colour


 

Clashes often occur in print jobs where a CMYK project has an element of RGB.  This happens because though on screen, its just another colour, the computer sees it as an entirely different thing. When we send your files to print the computer breaks it down into colour separations. CMYK.  During the separation of colours, the computer places a box around the RGB object so it can treat it separately. Unfortunately any CMYK elements inside that box get the same treatment as the RGB.

The work around here is to always use one system when your building the job. Or come up with the ideas and get SHOTZ to build the job for you.

 

 

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