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Pantones in Photoshop


I've created a menu in CMYK - now need to specify Pantones for litho print.
Unfortunately don't have Pnatone booklet, which is a bad start.
Second, the Pantones that I think most accurately match the process colours i'd been working with, when opened in Photoshop look nothing like they do in Illustrator.

Any ideas?
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1 Solution
Open Photshop>open the file>Choose the color by using the Ink Picker tool>double click on the color box (bottom of the tool pane)>click on Custom Color button
and now you can have the pantone
aidan09Author Commented:
hi there

the root of the question is really more 'the Pantones that I think most accurately match the process colours i'd been working with, when opened in Photoshop look nothing like they do in Illustrator.'

any ideas?
I've had a similar problem without solution.

I generated initial artwork for a small business and, in the process, decided on a palette of pantone colours to use as the base for all further website / printed artwork for them.

Annoyingly, I've produced vector artwork in Illustrator (because its scalable) using these pantones and stuff incorporating images (or more complex layer effects which don't work in Illustrator) using Photoshop.  The differences are particularly notable on the web when one graphic is generated in Illustrator and an adjoining one in Photoshop.

If you pick the colours from the Pantone swatches in each, then change the display of the colour pickers to RGB, the #FFFFFF codes they translate to differ between the two applications.  Online resources for Pantone ->RGB offer yet more different translations that are not equivalent to either Photoshop's or Illustrator's!

The conclusion I came to is that Pantones don't convert to specific RGBs which are valid between applications.

After a lot of grief over this, I've decided on generating everything for the website in Photoshop and everything for print in Illustrator and have had to accept that the colours between the two differ.

Good luck in getting a resolution to your problem!
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David BruggeCommented:
Hello All,

You will see many of us bring up the topic of managed work flow. This incorporates the use of icc profiles, color spaces, and calibrated settings.

The Pantone Color System was designed (well before desktop printing) to be a way for printers and designers to get consistent colors. A designer in London could call a printer in New York and say he wanted the job to be printed with Pantone  355 and Pantone 369 and he would know exactly what colors the job would be printed, without even seeing a proof.

The same holds true when creating artwork for spot colors. The printer doesn't really care what colors that you see on your monitor. If you tell him that you want the job printed with Pantone 355 you are going to get a job printed in that shade of green, no matter what the settings are on your computer. Everywhere that you have ink, you will get green. The only control that you have is where the ink goes and how much.

Your software tries to do two things with Pantone colors. It tries to render them as accurately as it can on the monitor, and it tries to translate them into RGB colors (which your desktop printer then translates into CMYK colors) so that you can get a close facsimile with a desktop printer. Some colors can be simulated very accurately, others t don’t even come close.

This gets back to the managed work flow. Pantone works with Adobe, Quark, and other software developers to provide them with the most accurate translations of their colors as are possible. Each program, when opening up the color, looks at your program’s color, as well as the color settings that you have for your document and translates these colors in an effort to keep them consistent. These translations assume that you have calibrated your monitor to show them accurately.

The difference in Illustrator and Photoshop is caused by them translating the colors differently (using different settings) on your machine.

This is no easy feat to get everything working together. Professional graphic studios and print houses recalibrate their equipment every month, and often every week. Getting your monitor right is the first step. Iherrou gave a link to an excellent FREE monitor calibration tool (as well as a lot of good advice) at Q_21934886.

It’s worth looking at.
Hi All,

I'm quite interested in D Brugge's comments - the explanation for why things may differ from Photoshop to Illustrator sounds reasonable.  That said, I'm struggling to see how the same machine with a singular combination of monitor and colour settings would have two programs (both from the Adobe camp) translating the same colours differently. Is there some explanation for this?

As a quick test to see whether the "translations" are machine-settings-specific or simply hard coded into the swatches used in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, I've noted how the two programs translate one Pantone colour on my PC below.

(Using the swatch for Pantone Solid Coated for each:
Pantone 117C (Photoshop) = BF9B00
Pantone 117C (Illustrator) = D9B200

Do you get the same on yours?

if so, sounds like they're colour translations built into Adobe's products.
David BruggeCommented:
Just to confuse you even more, Pantone 117 Coated on my machine it is D7AC0F!

Try this. Open a new page in Photoshop in sRGB color space. On a new layer, draw a box and fill it with Pantone 117C.
Now open another page only this time set it to Adobe RGB. Again, draw a new layer and fill a box with Pantone 117C. Adjust the two windows so that they are side by side. You should see a difference in color. Measure them one at a time with your eyedrop tool. They should give you the same numbers, only you can see that these are not the same colors.

Open your color settings (Shift-Ctrl-K) and make sure that “Ask when pasting” is checked. Close the settings and drag the swatch from one window into the other. You will be asked if you want to convert the swatch to a different color space or preserve the color numbers. Choose convert.

Your second window will have two swatches that match each other, but don’t match the other window.

Drag a swatch again, only this time tell it to preserve color numbers. You will how have a window with two swatches that match and one that doesn’t. It will still match the swatch in the first window, but if you measure it with the eyedrop tool, you will see that it’s now a different color.

This is a demonstration of how your programs translate colors behind the scene to try and render accurate colors on different machines.

The goal of a managed work flow is to be consistent from start to finish with your color settings. Photoshop, Illustrator, and others programs do a pretty good job translating colors, but they have to know what the starting point is and what they are translating to so that everyone is on the same page.

The fact that your colors change from program to program tells me that they are not “on the same page” yet.

And just in case your life wasn’t complicated enough, each version of Photoshop and Illustrator handles color in a slightly different way.

Any other Experts out there that want to chime in, please do so!

I think I get it now.  I inadvertently did a slight variation on your test.  I launched two new documents and drew a Pantone 117C square in each.  In my case, both looked the same but the eyedropper revealed different RGB codes.

So - the killer question: is there any known way of synchronising the settings (as perceived by the engine which generates colour) in Photoshop with those in Illustrator?  The aim (for me at least) is to generate stock graphics of logos and commonly used stuff in vector format specified as Pantone colours for printing - and also use these same files to produce bitmap RGB images for website use where the translations from the original Pantone match in both Photoshop and Illustrator.

David BruggeCommented:
> I launched two new documents and drew a Pantone 117C square in each.  In my case, both looked the same but the eyedropper revealed different RGB codes.

Did you launch two new documents in the same program with the same settings? Then the colors should be the same.
aidan09Author Commented:
Thank you both for your contributions. Seems there's a fair bit of conjecture regarding this issue, and it just escapes me why Adobe aren't able to come up with equivalent colour interpretations from Photoshop to Illustrator. I'm going to leave this question open for a while longer, just in case Adobe get wind of it and feel urged to comment, else will split the points accordingly.

Thanks again
David BruggeCommented:
I'm sorry aidan, I got side tracked there a little. I forgot who was paying the points.

>Adobe aren't able to come up with equivalent colour interpretations from Photoshop to Illustrator.

Well, they have, and they haven't. To Adobe's credit, they have come a long, long way in getting programs and devices to understand each other when talking about color. It's just that it's a very complex task.

On the other hand, many feel that Illustrator has become Adobe's redheaded stepchild as they pursue the more exciting world of video production, and web based design. I'm with you in one fact: While Adobe blew a lot of smoke at the press about getting all of their programs to integrate better, I really haven't seen it. Getting matching colors out of both, while it can be done, is a struggle, and I don't think that it has to be.
David BruggeCommented:
Here's something that has slipped my mind. Pantone revised their formulas a few years ago. It's possible that you might have one set in one program and another set in the other. If you go to Pantone's web site and register, you can download the latest formulas for all of your programs.
Let me begin by saying that Pantone colors are for spot-color commercial printing use only. Pantone colors are ink colors. They have no place in web design or video production or process color printing for that matter. That's of little consequence to big corporations who have designed their visual appearance around a particular Pantone color, I know.

Pantone has graciously established a process-color formula for each one of their ink colors for use when a particular project must be printed using process color inks rather than their own inks. These formulas must be adhered to in order for different projects produced in different environments to resemble one another. For this reason, Illustrator's Pantone libraries are defined using Pantone's CMYK formulas. If the project is printed using spot colors, this formula has no bearing and is disregarded. However, if the project is printed using process colors, the formula must match those provided by Pantone.

The CMYK equivalent of most Pantone colors is significantly different from the actual ink color.

Pantone has not established an RGB formula for any of its ink colors (to my knowledge) for use if a project is repurposed for web or video production. But it is possible to get much closer to the actual ink color using RGB than it is using CMYK. The Photoshop team recognized that fact and in one of its revisions where it began its break-away from print production toward web production they decided to redo its Pantone libraries. A really radical move considering that Pantone colors are INK colors. They chose the even-more-robust Lab color space for this task.

So, if you chose a color from the Pantone library in Photoshop, it will be converted from Lab color space to whichever color space you're working in. If you happen to be working in CMYK, the color you achieve will not match the Pantone established formula. For this reason, if you're working on a project that will be printed using process color ink, you should manually define your color from a Pantone color booklet.

However, if you're working on a project for web or video production, the color you achieve in RGB will more closely match the actual ink color. Unless you're trying to match a corporate color, you shouldn't be selecting Pantone colors anyway.

If you're working on a project in Illustrator for web production and you need to match a Pantone color for whatever reason, I suggest you determine the RGB value in Photoshop and define your color in Illustrator to match.
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