Convert PANTONE colours optimally into CMYK. Practical aspects to the new old discussion.

A very frequent topic for us in the area of proofing is the optimal conversion of PANTONE colours in CMYK for classic, inexpensive four-colour printing. In the last few days, there has been a lively discussion on this topic in the Adobe Forum and in the colour management forum of hilfdirselbst.ch, which I would like to summarise briefly, as our customers often struggle with the same issues.

PANTONE and the PANTONE CMYK values from Bridge: The Problem

The central question is to which standard or colour profile a CMYK value of a PANTONE colour in Bridge actually refers. Specifically, a user asked for the conversion of PANTONE 116 C, a colour tone that is specified in the PANTONE Bridge fan in CMYK 0/14/100/0 (here you can see the original value in PANTONE). But if you now convert the underlying PANTONE Lab color value in InDesign or Photoshop into different CMYK profiles, you will get different, significantly different color values. “What does the PANTONE Bridge CMYK colour value refer to” was the original question of the discussion.

The starting point of the PANTONE Bridge fan

In the PANTONE Bridge Fan, “equivalents” of the PANTONE spot colours on a coated and an uncoated paper grade, separated with 4 Pantone scale colours, are visualised and the CMYK values are specified.

But one thing is clear: without precise information on the substrate, print density, inks used, etc., the information provided there has only limited validity. If, for example, one converts the LAB colour value of PANTONE 116 C into the SWOP Web coated commonly used in the USA, then one reaches a value of 20 in magenta instead of 14 as indicated in the PANTONE Bridge Fan.

Comparison of PANTONE LAB values with PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in PSOUncoatedV3 and PSOCoatedV3

If you compare the original PANTONE LAB values and the PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in European standards such as ISOCoatedV2 or PSOCoatedV3 for coated or PSOUncoated or PSOUncoatedV3 for uncoated paper, there are sometimes serious colour deviations. The PANTONE Cool Gray 2 is much too light in CMYK conversion, the PANTONE Cool Gray 11 is always much too dark. For the PANTONE 3278 C, the Bridge CMYK value for PSOCoatedV3 fits quite well, but the same comparison for Uncoated is noticeably worse. What is the reason for this?

Comparison of PANTONE C Solid Coated LAB values with PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in PSOCoatedV3 colour space
Comparison of PANTONE C Solid Coated LAB values with PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in PSOCoatedV3 colour space
Comparison of PANTONE U Solid Uncoated LAB values with PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in PSOUncoatedV3 colour space
Comparison of PANTONE U Solid Uncoated LAB values with PANTONE Bridge CMYK values in PSOUncoatedV3 colour space

The question was therefore specified once again:

  • How can PANTONE specify “official” CMYK values for a particular colour if it is not clear what paper white, print density, ink coverage, etc. the values refer to?
  • How does PANTONE arrive at the specified colour values?
  • Which ICC profiles are possibly the basis?
  • Are there errors if programs such as Photoshop or Affinity Publisher do not show the same values when converting a Pantone color as those specified by Pantone?

Thesis 1: Why should a spot colour manufacturer deliver perfect CMYK replacement values for his products? That would be detrimental to business.

One thing is clear: there are no system errors. PANTONE knows what they do. But it is surprising that the bridge values have apparently been fluctuating by several percentage points for many years. Perhaps one reason for this is that different base pigments have been used over the years and the values have therefore been adjusted. But it was not possible in any way to find out how the values are created, what profiles or logic could be behind the values. Some discussion participants thought of a deliberate system error: “Cui bono? Why should a spot colour manufacturer deliver perfect CMYK replacement values for his products? That would be detrimental to business.”

This is an exciting approach which, at second glance at the latest, does not lack a certain logic. If the head of the company has only seen bad CMYK conversions of his PANTONE spot colour for long enough, he will sigh and agree to any surcharge for a five-colour print, only to finally find his corporate colour correctly reproduced again.

But another thesis is also very plausible:

Thesis 2: The sales department defines the CMYK values

Let’s assume that a PANTONE “Green1” corresponds colorimetrically to a CMYK of 30/0/100/0. If two more saturated green tones (“Green2” and “Green3”) are displayed in the fan, which theoretically should be displayed with CMYK 35/0/110/0 and CMYK 40/0/120/0, what then?

To set all three green tones to CMYK 30/0/100/0, i.e. the next CMYK value that can be achieved absolutely colorimetrically? That would actually be the most obvious way, especially since it is very unlikely in practice that two adjacent PANTONE colours would ever be used in CMYK conversions. Because a company has either green1 or green2 as its corporate colour, but hardly both at the same time.

On the other hand, buyers of PANTONE Bridge fans would probably be very surprised if different PANTONE colours in the fan had the same CMYK value.

Therefore, a psychological-sales-department correction is obvious: In order to avoid identical CMYK values, we set the most saturated green tone to the not matching CMYK 30/0/100/0, and then the less saturated colors to 25/0/0/90/0 and 20/0/0/80/0, i.e. also not matching CMYK values. Now nothing fits anymore, but at least all colors have different CMYK values.

Practice shows: An adjusted conversion via ICC profiles often provides a better CMYK color value for the conversion of PANTONE colors like the CMYK value from the PANTONE Bridge.

We have converted the PANTONE colours used in the above mentioned graphics also via ICC profiles partly absolutely colorimetrically and relatively colorimetrically with depth compensation (marked with an “r” behind the CMYK colour value) into the two output colour spaces PSOCoatedV3 and PSOUncoatedV3 and have mapped the visually best match in each case.

In most cases, this conversion adapted to the output color space delivers the significantly better results. See for yourself:

We support you in determining the optimal CMYK conversions for your PANTONE house colours

If you need the best possible conversion of one or more PANTONE colours to CMYK, we will be happy to support you with our know-how and our measuring and proofing technology. We determine and compare different imaging variants of a PANTONE colour in CMYK and show you the best determined conversions in CMYK with metrological evaluations in Delta-E00.

PANTONE and HKS colour deviations in proofing updated

PANTONE and HKS color deviations in proofing. All PANTONE color systems and HKS and HKS 3000+ for proofing standards without optical brighteners and standards with optical brighteners have been updated in the past months.
PANTONE and HKS colour deviations in proofing. All PANTONE colour systems and HKS and HKS 3000+ for proofing standards without optical brighteners and standards with optical brighteners have been updated in the past months. https://shop.proof.de/info/spot-color-tables.html

Current proofing systems can reproduce spot colours such as HKS or Pantone very well. With the Fiery XF 6.5.2 proofing software and the Epson SureColor-P9000V Spectro proof printer, we have evaluated the colour deviation in Delta-E00 with which the various PANTONE and HKS colours can be proofed. On shop.proof.de, the tables are now available for all important PANTONE and HKS colour systems, sorted by colour fans.

A distinction is made between the proofing substrates that we use, since the surface texture and the paper white also have an influence on the representability of the colours. The colour deviations were calculated by the proofing software on the basis of the measured colour space of the proof.de proofing system. Deviations are therefore possible in practice. However, it turns out that almost all spot colours can be simulated quite well in the large colour space of our proofing devices. The smaller the ∆E00 value, the smaller the colour distance from the spot colour reference to the proofed colour. Higher ∆E00 values show which colours can be reproduced more poorly in the digital proof.
As a rough guide: From ∆E00 > 1 a colour difference is visible to the human eye, below it it can only be measured, but not seen.

Proof. de offers proofs according to the latest tolerance criteria of ISO 12647-7:2016

The ISO 12647-7 proofing standard was revised in November 2016 and the test criteria for FograCert contract proof creation were adapted. We have now incorporated these changed criteria into our proofing system and are now working to the stricter tolerances of the latest ISO 12647-7:2016.

Why hardly anything changes for our Proof customers

The good news is: you won’t notice that our proofs are now precisely produced according to the latest standards. Why? Quite simply: Because our demands on our proofing system, our FIERY proofing software, our EFI proofing papers and the X-Rite measuring decvices are already so high that all components of our proofing system – and of course our proofs themselves – have been meeting the new criteria of the revised November 2016 standard for years.

The most important new features of the new Proof Norm in brief

1. colour accuracy

The new standard brings the classical formula for the colour distance Delta-E from the traditional definition of 1976 (CIELAB 1976) to the updated version of 2000 (CIEDE2000). Since the values cannot be converted directly, new tolerances for the test report are introduced, which are valid immediately. These new tolerances and new criteria are also the only difference that you will notice on our proof when you take a closer look at it.

Why this change: Fogra used measurements from the 116 Contract Proof Certifications from 2016 to show that the old and new tolerances of the old? These colors have so far had a? E-value that is too high in relation to the visual assessment. The new Delta-E values, on the other hand, are much more “equidistant”, i. e. with the human assessment of the colour distance, which Fogra has also demonstrated in tests.

The deviations of the gray axis and hue are now also determined more precisely, the evaluation of the hue spacing? You can also see this on the test report. The Fogra writes:”Since HC mainly depends on the hue angle, the evaluation of neutral grey or similar colours with sometimes very large differences in brightness and saturation did not yield meaningful results. The measure?Ch now describes the actual distance of a color pair in the CIEa*b* plane and is therefore no longer suitable only for the evaluation of the colorfulness difference of very rich colors.

2. durability of proofing papers

The ageing tests for proof papers were clarified more clearly with the introduction of the new standard. All certified proof papers undergo the following tests: (more…)

Colour deviations from PANTONE EXTENDED GAMUT Coated in the proof in Delta-E (∆E)

Current proofing systems can reproduce spot colours like HKS or Pantone very well. Using the Fiery XF 6.3 proofing software and the Epson SC-P9000V proof printer, we evaluated with which colour deviation in Delta-E the PANTONE Extended Gamut Coated colours can be proofed.

The colour deviations were calculated by the proofing software on the basis of the measured colour space of the proofing system of proof.de. Therefore in practice there may be deviations. However, it has been shown that almost all PANTONE colours can be simulated quite well in the large colour space of the proofing device.

The smaller the ∆E value, the smaller the colour distance from the PANTONE reference to the proofed PANTONE colour. Higher ∆E values indicate which PANTONE colours can be reproduced in the proof with greater difficulty.

PANTONE
EXTENDED GAMUT Coated

Delta-E Colour Deviation
Proof

PANTONE
EXTENDED GAMUT Coated

Delta E
Colour Deviation Proof
PANTONE 100 XGC 0.24 ∆E PANTONE 355 XGC 0.84 ∆E
PANTONE 101 XGC 0.24 ∆E PANTONE 356 XGC 0.00 ∆E
PANTONE 102 XGC 0.49 ∆E PANTONE 357 XGC 0.64 ∆E
PANTONE 103 XGC 0.64 ∆E PANTONE 358 XGC 0.27 ∆E
PANTONE 104 XGC 0.93 ∆E PANTONE 359 XGC 0.27 ∆E
PANTONE 105 XGC 0.77 ∆E PANTONE 360 XGC 0.59 ∆E
PANTONE 106 XGC 0.24 ∆E PANTONE 361 XGC 0.65 ∆E
PANTONE 107 XGC 0.50 ∆E PANTONE 362 XGC 0.35 ∆E
PANTONE 108 XGC 0.25 ∆E PANTONE 363 XGC 0.38 ∆E
PANTONE 109 XGC 0.26 ∆E PANTONE 364 XGC 0.88 ∆E
PANTONE 110 XGC 0.57 ∆E PANTONE 365 XGC 0.26 ∆E
PANTONE 111 XGC 0.98 ∆E PANTONE 366 XGC 0.27 ∆E
PANTONE 112 XGC 0.36 ∆E PANTONE 367 XGC 0.55 ∆E
PANTONE 113 XGC 0.25 ∆E PANTONE 368 XGC 0.61 ∆E
PANTONE 114 XGC 0.50 ∆E PANTONE 369 XGC 1.04 ∆E
PANTONE 115 XGC 0.50 ∆E PANTONE 370 XGC 0.00 ∆E (more…)

PANTONE expands with 112 new colour shades in the Plus Series

PANTONE has done it again: Following the changes from 2010 to 2014, PANTONE is now expanding its Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated palette with 112 new colours. For users of the current Solid Plus Series, PANTONE is offering a fan with the new colours in Coated and Uncoated as an extension for 30 Euros. And of course PANTONE also offers updated Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated and Bridget fans … and of course an updated version of all associated libraries.

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The reason for the 112 new colours is not entirely clear. PANTONE writes vaguely, “112 industry-desired and inspiring spot colours to complement our existing collection” and “The 112 new spot colours are market-relevant, focusing on specific desired colour ranges that offer designers the most advanced and inspiring colour options for creative design application, expression, communication and specification.”

Let’s be honest: Positively phrased, this does not sound like a convincing colourimetric concept. So it is not surprising that on the American website there is a dazzling image film with designers who really wanted these colours. Due to a lack of relevance this film was probably not even offered in German …

Still, the new colours are here, and designers, graphic artists and printers are called upon to deal with them. The libraries in the PANTONE Color Manager are already updated, and the colours are also available online in PANTONE.

At the moment we do not have the colours available in LAB via FIERY in the system, but due to the published colour values we can proof the colours in sRGB or CMYK variants. We have already completed a first order – so the colours seem to be not completely irrelevant for the industry after all.

How accurate can PANTONE colours be reproduced in proofing?

Pantone colours can be simulated very well today. T be able in advance to see how well your Pantone colour can be reproduced, we have published tables of all Pantone inks where the colour differences of the Pantone colours can be looked up already before proofing.

Colour variations of Pantone colours in Delta-E

Colour variations of Pantone metallic colours in Delta-E

We have now even photographed some pictures that visually show how appropriate proofs on the latest Pantone subjects.

PANTONE Solid Coated Fan colors vs. Digital Proof (more…)

Colour deviation of Pantone metallics and Pantone Premium Metallics colours in proofing in Delta-E (∆E)

Current proofing systems can print spot colours like Pantone or HKS very accurate. With Fiery XF 5.2 Proof software and the Epson 7900/9900 proof printers we evaluated, with which colour deviation PANTONE Metallics Coated and PANTONE Premium Metallics Coated colours can be reproduced in proofing.

The colour deviations were calculated based on the measured colour space of the proof system of Proof GmbH by the proofing software. Deviations should therefore be quite similar in practice. Almost all PANTONE colours can be simulated quite well in the wide colour gamut of the proofer.

The smaller the Delta-E value, the lower is the colour distance of the PANTONE reference to the proofed PANTONE colour. Higher Delta-E values ​​show, which PANTONE colours can’t be simulated accurately in the proof.

Please note: Since the proof devices does not have colours with metallic pigments, the metallic shine in the proof can not be reproduced. Only through the satin finish of our proofing paper a somewhat shiny effect is produced, which replaces partly the metallic luster of true PANTONE colours. Although the colour is well rendered, the metallic effect in the proof does not exist. The proof can therefore always be used only as a guide, but not as binding simulation of the final result.

PANTONE Metallics
Coated
Delta-E Deviation
Proof
PANTONE
Premium Metallics Coated
Delta E
Deviation
Proof
PANTONE 871 C 0,71 ∆E PANTONE 10101 C 1,49 ∆E
PANTONE 872 C 0,72 ∆E PANTONE 10102 C 1,77 ∆E
PANTONE 873 C 1,03 ∆E PANTONE 10103 C 1,00 ∆E
PANTONE 874 C 1,26 ∆E PANTONE 10104 C 1,42 ∆E
PANTONE 875 C 0,97 ∆E PANTONE 10105 C 1,42 ∆E
PANTONE 876 C 0,86 ∆E PANTONE Silver C 1,65 ∆E
PANTONE 877 C 1,37 ∆E PANTONE 10106 C 1,09 ∆E
PANTONE 8001 C 1,52 ∆E PANTONE 10107 C 0,97 ∆E (more…)

PANTONE Premium Metallics or PANTONE Matching System Metallics?

Currently, PANTONE has two parallel Metallics colour fans:

  • PANTONE Metallics Coated: Contains the classic metallic shades available since the late 1980s.
    • Main basic colours: PANTONE 877, 876, 875 …
    • Typical colour names: PANTONE 8020, 8040, 8060, etc.
  • PANTONE Premium Metallics Coated: The new Metallics fan, which has been in existence since 2012, showing new, finer metallic shades.
    • Main basic colour: PANTONE Silver 10077 C
    • Typical colour names: PANTONE 10142, 10158, 10214, etc.

The main differences between the two fans lie in the composition of their respective basic colours: Firstly, there is the different Pantone Silver: PANTONE 877 or PANTONE Silver 10077 C. On the other hand, in the PANTONE Metallics Coated the silver is supplemented by further gold basic colours, while in the PANTONE Premium Metallics Coated the newly defined silver is the only metallic basic colour and is tinted by PANTONE Goe basic colours.

Pantone 877 und Pantone Silver 10077 C im Vergleich: Bild 2 (more…)

The names of the 84 new PANTONE Colours 2014

The following 84 PANTONE colours were added in February 2014 to the PANTONE Matching System and are included in the current Pantone Plus

PANTONE 2337 | PANTONE 2338 | PANTONE 2339 | PANTONE 2340
PANTONE 2341 | PANTONE 2342 | PANTONE 2343 | PANTONE 2344
PANTONE 2345 | PANTONE 2346 | PANTONE 2347 | PANTONE 2348
PANTONE 2349 | PANTONE 2350 | PANTONE 2351 | PANTONE 2352
PANTONE 2353 | PANTONE 2354 | PANTONE 2355 | PANTONE 2356
PANTONE 2357 | PANTONE 2358 | PANTONE 2359 | PANTONE 2360
PANTONE 2361 | PANTONE 2362 | PANTONE 2363 | PANTONE 2364
PANTONE 2366 | PANTONE 2367 | PANTONE 2368 | PANTONE 2369
PANTONE 2370 | PANTONE 2371 | PANTONE 2372 | PANTONE 2373
PANTONE 2374 | PANTONE 2376 | PANTONE 2377 | PANTONE 2378
PANTONE 2379 | PANTONE 2380 | PANTONE 2381 | PANTONE 2382
PANTONE 2383 | PANTONE 2384 | PANTONE 2386 | PANTONE 2387
PANTONE 2388 | PANTONE 2389 | PANTONE 2390 | PANTONE 2391
PANTONE 2392 | PANTONE 2393 | PANTONE 2394 | PANTONE 2396
PANTONE 2397 | PANTONE 2398 | PANTONE 2399 | PANTONE 2400
PANTONE 2401 | PANTONE 2402 | PANTONE 2403 | PANTONE 2404
PANTONE 2406 | PANTONE 2407 | PANTONE 2408 | PANTONE 2409
PANTONE 2410 | PANTONE 2411 | PANTONE 2412 | PANTONE 2413
PANTONE 2414 | PANTONE 2416 | PANTONE 2417 | PANTONE 2418
PANTONE 2419 | PANTONE 2420 | PANTONE 2421 | PANTONE 2422
PANTONE 2423 | PANTONE 2424 | PANTONE 2426 | PANTONE 2427

The following six PANTONE colours are dispensed compared to PANTONE 50th Anniversary compartments of 2012:

PANTONE Medium Yellow | PANTONE Bright orange | Red PANTONE STRONG
PANTONE Medium Blue | PANTONE Bright Green | PANTONE Neutral Black

Pantone Colour Chaos 2014: 84 new Pantone Plus colours annoy Pantone users

Pantone has added a further 84 colours to ist Pantone Plus colour palette in March 2014. The the total amount of the Pantone Plus colour now extends to 1755 colours as Pantone writes on his website. The colours were – matching the Pantone colour of the year: Radiant Orchid – expanded in the Rouge and Pink range, based on the previous base colours.

Two other changes compared to the previous 50th Anniversary PANTONE guides are visible:

  • The cover sheets have been redesigned
  • The order of colour arrangement has now changed by going to chromatic criteria and now corresponds to the chromatically correct order. The colours from 2010 and 2012 have now been logically integrated into the new colour fans.

For the CMYK guides and the Premium Metallics and Neons & pastel colour guides only the cover pages have been updated. Graphic artists and the printing industry should forthwith upgrade its Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated guides to those of 2014 or newer.

Customers are annoyed by Pantone Product Policy

Since the year 2010, there has been chaos in the PANTONE Plus colour portfolio, which is not improved by the new colour guides generation. At present, there are four parallel Pantone Plus colour guides on the market, three of them with different number of colours included in the guide, although that is hardly communicated by Pantone.

The same is true for the Pantone product partners such as Adobe: Hardly any graphic designer knows what Pantone Plus colour are integrated into Adobe the specific Version since neither Pantone nor Adobe characterize their colour guide generation different. Pantone’s statement: “Compatible with today’s digital workflows – colours can be easily updated in leading design applications” translates rather: “What Pantone colours you see in your application, is pure cuincidence – depending on the update status and your manual intervention.”

(more…)

Colour differences of Pantone Solid Coated and Pantone Solid Uncoated colours in proofing in Delta-E (∆E)

Current proofing systems can print spot colours like Pantone or HKS very accurate. With Fiery XF 5.2 Proof software and the Epson 7900/9900 proof printers we evaluated, with which colour deviation PANTONE Solid Coated and PANTONE Solid Uncoated colours can be reproduced in proofing.

The colour deviations were calculated based on the measured colour space of the proof system of Proof GmbH by the proofing software. Deviations should therefore be quite similar in practice. Almost all PANTONE colours can be simulated quite well in the wide colour gamut of the proofer.

The smaller the Delta-E value, the lower is the colour distance of the PANTONE reference to the proofed PANTONE colour. Higher Delta-E values ​​show, which PANTONE colours can’t be simulated accurately in the proof.

Pantone Farbe
Solid Coated
Farbabweichung im Proof in
Delta-E (∆E)
  Pantone Farbe
Solid Uncoated
Farbabweichung im Proof in
Delta-E (∆E)
PANTONE 100 C 0.89 ∆E PANTONE 100 U 1.69 ∆E
PANTONE 101 C 0.60 ∆E PANTONE 101 U 1.62 ∆E
PANTONE 102 C 1.23 ∆E PANTONE 102 U 1.40 ∆E
PANTONE 103 C 0.72 ∆E PANTONE 103 U 0.49 ∆E
PANTONE 104 C 0.48 ∆E PANTONE 104 U 0.92 ∆E
PANTONE 105 C 0.80 ∆E PANTONE 105 U 1.07 ∆E (more…)

Pantone Plus vs. Pantone: Farben, Fächer und Probleme.

Im Jahr 2010 stand eine der zentralen Neuerungen im Hause Pantone für Grafiker, Dienstleister und Druckereien an: Die Pantone Palette wurde um zahlreiche Farben erweitert und bekam einen neuen Namen: Pantone Plus

Die Erweiterung um 560 Farben erfolgte in zwei Schritten:

 2010: Plus 224 auf insgesamt 1341 Pantone Solid Farben

Im Jahr 2010 wurde die Pantone Palette um 224 Farben erweitert, die in der Pantone Nomenglatur die Farbnamen von 7548 bis 7771 tragen. Alle neuen Farben konnten weiter in der Druckerei mit bisherigen 14 Pantone Basisfarben angemischt werden.

  • PANTONE Yellow
  • PANTONE Yellow 012
  • PANTONE Orange 021
  • PANTONE Warm Red
  • PANTONE Red 032
  • PANTONE Rubine Red
  • PANTONE Rhodamine Red
  • PANTONE Purple
  • PANTONE Violet
  • PANTONE Blue 072
  • PANTONE Reflex Blue
  • PANTONE Process Blue
  • PANTONE Green
  • PANTONE Black

 2012: Plus weitere 336 auf insgesamt 1677 Pantone Solid Farben

Im Jahr 2012 wurde die Pantone Plus Palette um weitere 336 Farben erweitert, die in der Pantone Nomenglatur die Farbnamen von 2001 bis 2336 tragen. Damit diese Farben erzielt werden können, wurden die bisherigen 14 Pantone Basisfarben um 4 neue Farben auf insgesamt 18 Basisfarben erweitert. Die neuen, aus der Pantone GOE Palette entlehnten Farben sind:

  • PANTONE Bright Red
  • PANTONE Pink
  • PANTONE Medium Purple
  • PANTONE Dark Blue

Diese Änderungen wurden ungeschickterweise von Pantone nur sehr ungenügend kommuniziert. Ein typisches Beispiel zeigt ein Screenshot vom 08. November 2013: Auf der deutschen und der englischen Pantone Seite werden zwei völlig (more…)

Pantone Plus vs. Pantone: Colours, fans and problems.

In 2010, one of the central innovations at Pantone was the new system for graphic designers, service providers and printers: The Pantone palette was extended by numerous colours and was given a new name: Pantone Plus

The extension by 560 colours was done in two steps:

 2010: 224 added to a total of 1341 Pantone Solid colours

In 2010, the Pantone palette was extended by 224 colours, which are named from 7548 to 7771 in the Pantone classification. All new colours could continue to be mixed with the previous 14 Pantone basic colours in the print shop.

  • PANTONE Yellow
  • PANTONE Yellow 012
  • PANTONE Orange 021
  • PANTONE Warm Red
  • PANTONE Red 032
  • PANTONE Rubine Red
  • PANTONE Rhodamine Red
  • PANTONE Purple
  • PANTONE Violet
  • PANTONE Blue 072
  • PANTONE Reflex Blue
  • PANTONE Process Blue
  • PANTONE Green
  • PANTONE Black

 2012: Another 336 more to a total of 1677 Pantone Solid colours

In 2012, the Pantone Plus palette was expanded by additional 336 colours, which in the Pantone classification are named from 2001 to 2336. In order to achieve these colours, the previous 14 Pantone base colours were extended by 4 new colours to a total of 18 base colours. The new colours borrowed from the Pantone GOE palette are:

  • PANTONE Bright Red
  • PANTONE Pink
  • PANTONE Medium Purple
  • PANTONE Dark Blue

Unfortunately, Pantone did not communicate these changes very well. A typical example can be seen in a screenshot from November 8, 2013: On the German and English Pantone pages, there are two completely different numbers for new colours; only the total number of colours on the two Pantone country pages is the same.
(more…)

Easy conversion of Pantone – HKS – CMYK – RGB with Adobe Photoshop

Farbbücher Auswahl in Adobe Photoshop CC: HKS, Pantone, CMYK und vieles mehr

More often the question arises as to what kind of Pantone colour corresponds to the HKS 43 K. Or what CMYK value? And what kind of web color in RGB?

If you own Adobe Photoshop, you can do these conversions directly there. In Photoshop CC all well-known color books are stored with values.

Let’s assume we are looking for the Pantone equivalent and the matching CMYK color of HKS 43 K.

1: Open the color palette in Adobe Photoshop and select HKS K as the book and then the color HKS 43 K. All well-known colour books are directly stored in Photoshop.

Farbauswahl von HKS 43 K im Buch HKS K in Adobe Photoshop CCThe color corresponds to a Lab value of 26/29/-79 and a CMYK value is already stored here. Simply select the book HKS K Process: (more…)

Can spot colours be proofed?

Since many printed matter contains spot colours such as Pantone or HKS, the question often arises whether these colours can be proofed at all. The answer is “no”. Only an approximate simulation of these colors is possible.
The reason: Each special ink is a specially mixed, “real” ink and therefore cannot be mixed from the 4 printing inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).

Today, modern proofing machines have up to 12 different printing colours and, in addition to the classic primary colours, also have, for example, orange and green and violet as real colour pigments in the machine. Proof printers such as the Epson SureColor P9000V are therefore capable of displaying significantly larger color spaces than, for example, ISOCoatedV2. The spot color simulation in these devices is therefore sometimes very good when controlled via a Contone driver, which can access the entire color space of the proof printer. Epson himself points out, for example, that “98% of all Pantone colors” can be covered. This may be doubted, but a number of over 90% of all Pantone colors is realistic from our point of view.

In the past, Pantone and HKS colors were simply converted by the proofing systems to CMYK and then simulated in the standard color space, i.e. mostly ISOCoatedV2. The representation of the colors here is mostly completely insufficient. For the reproduction of Pantone and HKS colours in a proof it is therefore immensely important to have a modern proof printer with many colours and a high colour gamut and a modern proofing software which is also able to precisely control the printed gamut.

Differences in the quality of the simulation of spot colors can quickly be seen in the different printing systems: If the proofing service provider prints with an older 6-color or 8-color system (Cyan, Light Cyan, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow and Black or Light Black), spot colors are simulated worse than, for example, with a modern 11-color system with Cyan, Light Cyan, Orange, Yellow, Magenta, Light Magenta, Photo Black, Matte Black, Light Black, Light light Black and Green.

The higher simulation quality of the spot colors is generated by the fact that orange, for example, already exists as a separate color and does not have to be mixed from magenta and yellow before the spot color simulation.

Of course, it must be said that there are limits, especially in the area of metallic or fluorescent colours; these colours are currently not reproducible in proofing.

The spot-colour simulation of gradations is also critical

In most proofing systems, only the 100% values of a Pantone or HKS color are underlaid. If, for example, a font logo with 100% color application of a Pantone color is to be simulated, this is precise and is well represented in most proofing systems.

However, it becomes more difficult if the logo contains not only 100% areas but also a 30% Pantone colour area, since this is not defined in the proofing system, but is simulated by the proofing system. In some cases, considerable deviations from e.g. HKS colour fans can be observed.

It becomes even more difficult if, for example, a grayscale TIFF lies on a 100% HKS area and overprints. For the graphic professional it is immediately comprehensible that the HKS surface simply has to become correspondingly darker at this point due to an overprinting 30% black. However, the proofing software must recognize this effect correctly, calculate it correctly and then simulate it correctly with the 11 colors available from the proof printer. It is easy to understand that countless errors can occur. And the supreme discipline: 7-colour Pantone files with lots of overlaying and overprinting Pantone colours or HKS colours with overprinting CMYK elements can at best be calculated even by the most modern proofing systems, but can by no means be colour-accurately simulated.

The bad news is that a proof with spot colors is therefore never as color-binding according to the current state of the art and varies more depending on the proofing system.

But the good news is that spot colors, especially solid colors, can now be simulated well by modern proofing systems. A modern proofing system therefore also offers the possibility of getting a realistic impression of spot color prints at a fraction of the cost of a test print on a offset press.

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