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Pantone color keeps changing on me

Posted on 2004-10-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I am creating a Photoshop document (Photoshop CS V8.0) and I am setting the color of various elements (Text, custom shapes and blending options) to "Pantone Solid Coated 288C".
After I save my document and reopen it the 288C colors have all been changed to "Pantone Solid Coated 534C"

Any idea why this occurs, and how can I keep the 288C color?

P.S. My knowledge/experience of CMYK is only 24 hours old - I had submitted a job to a printer in RGB and the job came back with all the wrong colors. A brutal introduction to the notion that that is more than one color space and RGB does not translate (automatically) well into CMYK. (Especially blacks - all my blacks are now K=100% blacks)
So if you fell the need to explain even the most basic/trivial things in regards to RGB and CMYK - I won't be offended.

Anyway the printer said I should change everything into Pantone colors. We sat down and selected the colors from swatches. One color we selected (that closely matches the RGB colors I am using) was "Pantonce Solid Coated 288C" but I cannot get that color to stay set in the document.
What am I doing wrong?  (Ok, so I'm designing my own artwork - that's my first mistake) :(

Is there some setting somewhere that tells Photoshop that my output device (printer) does not allow 288C? (I do get a gamut warning when using 288C). I really don't care whether or not my printer (Minolta QMS color laser) can print that color or not, since the job is going directly to a screen printer to be printed.

Question by:zebada
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

Lobo042399 earned 2000 total points
ID: 12453937
Hi zebada,

Two things to keep in mind when creating art in Photoshop for screen printing. Colour and size.

Let's start with colour. Unless your image is to be printed in only one ink or as process colour (CMYK) then you should be using the Multichannel mode. In Multichannel mode, you create one Channel for each colour that's gonna be printed, including a white underbase if it's gonna be printed on dark coloured shirts. When the moment comes to produce film, Photoshop prints each of these channels separately. These channe;s should be set to Spot Color and their colour set to whatever Pantone PMS colour you want. Also, for a better preview of what the finished work will look like, set each channel's opacity to 5% with the exception of the white underbase (100%).

About size. The image should be done at at least 200ppi at print size. Forget 72 ppi. That's only for the web. 200 ppi is the minimum that will get you a good print.

Now, about your problem. The reason why colour keeps shifting may be that youe image is still set to RGB mode (or even CMYK mode) and, Photoshop keeps trying to approximate the values of PMS 288C to the closest RGB or CMYK equivalents, and then converting back to PMS from those altered values gives you the 534C. I tried it and in my case it gave me 654C as the new value. The difference could also depend on the colour profile you're using.

So, that should have you covered. Good Vibes!


Author Comment

ID: 12454281
> Photoshop keeps trying to approximate the values of PMS 288C to the closest RGB or CMYK equivalents
That is the part I did not understand.
I was under the mistaken belief that the Pantone color swatches from which I was choosing my colors were *ALL* reproducable in the CMYK printing process. The printer I spoke to seemed to indicate that he could print *any* pantone color I chose. I find it strange that the printer even recommended that I use "Reflex Blue" which is not able to be printed using CMYK. To print that I would need a spot color on a 5th plate since I am already using "full color" images. (so I can't use a black + spot color process).

So one final question, is it true that when designing an image in CMYK, I *must* stick to colors (including preset Pantone colors) that do *not* have the out of gamut warning? Otherwise they will be approximated to the nearest "in gamut" CMYK representation?

Oh, and I am using 100 dots per cm (that's about 254 dpi)

Thanks for the info - things are starting to make sense now.

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 12454381
Hi zebada,

Printing CMYK + one or two spot colours is not rare, so that is what your printer may have meant. If you have a JPG comp of your image that you can upload somewhere that would be great as it would let me see what the colour breaks are. Having worked in the screening industry for several years, I'm used to eyeing images and calculating the minimum amount of inks that would be required for good reproduction.

The PMS system consists of over 800 colours only, a lot less in numbers than what you can reproduce using 4-colour process; but there are certain shades in the PMS gamut that have no CMYK equivalent. Also, some PMS colours have special characteristics like metallic or neon shines. Some PMS colours have more transparency, too; they look kind of "watery", like Rhodamine Red, and are reccommended for mixing only; mixing being the combination of "base" PMS inks to obtain a particular colour.

The "out of gamut" warning is mostly to indicate that a selected colour is not being reproduced accurately on screen (RGB). If you're designing on CMYK for print only then you should not worry about it except in that when choosing out of gamut colours Photoshop is displaying only an approximation of that colour and the printed product may look more or less different. That's why, before running a job in a press, a printer produces a colour proof sheet to show the customer what exactly he's getting. The same if you're designing in PMS colours only. Out of Gamut means the colour you've chosen is not being displayed accurately and thee may be differences. That's where the Pantone swatch book comes handy, by showing you exactly what your colours look like.

I hope this i of help to you. If you need more clarifications please do not hesitate to ask.

Good Vibes!


Author Comment

ID: 12454564

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