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Old 11-07-2005, 02:49 AM   #1
Jon Finch
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Default Colours in a document

When providing artwork for commercial printing we are often asked to say how many colours we want to print, i.e. how many of CMYK,white and spot are in the artwork.

We can create separated files which gives a clue, but is there an easier way?

   
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Old 11-07-2005, 05:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Finch
When providing artwork for commercial printing we are often asked to say how many colours we want to print, i.e. how many of CMYK, white and spot are in the artwork.
Usually they want to know if the job is B&W, black plus one color (i.e., 2-color), or full-color (i.e., CMYK).

If they already know you are running a full-color job, they want to know if you need extra colors. Modern presses, especially large ones, may support 6 or 8 colors so they can also do inline printing of other inks. These could include Pantone spot color(s), a white layer beneath halftones, a solid black, a metallic ink, a transparent coating, etc.

Your answer will probably determine which press (assuming the place has several) the job will be run on. Using more than CMYK will affect the cost.

   
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Old 11-07-2005, 05:27 AM   #3
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Hi Kathleen,

This is for printing on CDs where the price per CD varies depending on the number of colours, where the maximum is 6 = CMYK + White + Spot.

Artwork is mostly provided by the customer so we need a way of telling how many colours have been used.

Printing is usually direct from a PDF and no films are involved. We can print the PDF as a separated file but I was looking for an easier way to find out the number of colours.

Regards,

   
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:12 AM   #4
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If you have Acrobat 6 or 7 Professional, you can find out how many colors are used in the job without printing separations. In Acrobat 7 Pro, look in "Tools -> Print Production -> Output Preview"; as I recall, it was called "Separation Preview" in Acrobat 6 Pro.

This display lets you see what colors are specified in the document, including any spot colors. It offers an "Ink Manager" in which you can specify that individual spot colors (or all spot colors) should be converted to CMYK, if you want that. The ink manager also lets you specify an "alias" for an individual spot color, which lets you combine several spot colors into one. (Some PDFs may have the same color specified differently, if the document was built using more than one application.)
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Old 11-07-2005, 12:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Finch
This is for printing on CDs where the price per CD varies depending on the number of colours, where the maximum is 6 = CMYK + White + Spot.

Artwork is mostly provided by the customer so we need a way of telling how many colours have been used.

Printing is usually direct from a PDF and no films are involved. We can print the PDF as a separated file but I was looking for an easier way to find out the number of colours.
Aha! Now I get it.

Appears that Stephen has a method for you.

   
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Old 11-07-2005, 12:39 PM   #6
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Hello stranger! Haven't spoken to you for months - hope you're well.

You only need to tell the plant how many inks to use, like this:-
3-colour (black, Pantone 286, gloss varnish). Or
5-colour (CMYK on a white base)

All the best
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Springall
Hello stranger! Haven't spoken to you for months - hope you're well.

You only need to tell the plant how many inks to use, like this:-
3-colour (black, Pantone 286, gloss varnish). Or
5-colour (CMYK on a white base)

All the best
Robin from Repeat Performance
Hi Robin,

I'm fine, how are you?

We don't have Adobe (7 or any other version) - unfortunately that's not an option open to us.

What started this off was a customer who wanted what looked like a blue print straight onto the silver surface of the CD (i.e. 1 colour ). When it reached the plant, their analysis showed that the blue was in fact a mixture of cyan and magenta . It didn't actually matter in this case (cost is the same for 1 and 2 colours) but it set me thinking about how we can tell in the future.

We have the Adobe reader (free ) and we run CorelDraw v12 which reads PDFs okay, but often the native PDF will look different when printed to the print from CorelDraw.

I just wondered if there was an easy way to tell what flavours of CMYK and spot were present in the document.

There is a follow on question too - as you know Robin, printing on a CD surface (none absorbent) is different than printing on paper (absorbent). As such, one of the pressing plants we use says that a colour of less than 15% saturation (is that the right word?) won't print and a colour of more than 85% saturation will print at 100%. This can have an effect on the finished product.

If we can answer the first question it may well answer the second!

Regards,

   
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Old 11-08-2005, 09:44 AM   #8
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Yes, fine thanks - very busy.

Quote:
how we can tell in the future
Import the PDF into Draw 12 then do a Print Preview and turn on separations: if Draw is reading the PDF correctly, you should see the cyan and magenta on separate pages. However, large areas of a solid colour don't screen print very smoothly, and the designer should really have specified a Pantone instead. (Particularly as process blues tend to go purple unless you're really careful to keep the amount of magenta low).

Quote:
often the native PDF will look different
Yep: we find Reader doesn't output colours very well at all, especially to a Postscript printer. Also, be careful to turn off all colour management in Draw - both from the Options menu, and in the print dialog.

Quote:
15% saturation won't print and 85% will print at 100%. This can have an effect on the finished product.
Yes, just a bit. However, this isn't to do with substrate absorption. It's because the dots on your films interact with the dots of the printing screen, and most screen printers working at 120lpi will specify a screen extent of 15-80%. (Too many screens in the sentence, sorry.) Oh, and remember that process inks are much more translucent than PMS colours, so you'll need to print a white base as well to prevent the CD silver from showing through the design.

You must be absolutely rigid in submitting a correct press-optimised PDF if you're going to have any control over the printing quality at all. You can tell your customers to supply them, but what about those who want to submit Illustrator artwork? Or InDesign? Or Quark, or Pagemaker, or Freehand? If you're into graphics as much as we are, then fine (set aside £10,000 at least inc the proofer). If you're not, perhaps give me a call at t'mill and we can talk about doing your repro for you.

You know the number: 020 8960 7222
Or dial 999 and ask for Spankin' Suzie!

All the best
Robin
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