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Why spot colors are necessary

From: Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish

Video: Why spot colors are necessary

So why do we need spot colors? Well, we as humans can see a wide range of colors. Scientists claim we're capable of seeing 10 million shades. And if that sounds like a lot consider that some animals, such as tropical fish and birds, can see colors we can't. And in fact bees can even see into the ultraviolet. Of course, we're not trying to print the ultraviolet, we just like to print the colors that we want to see. But there's a limit to what we can print. Now, this sort of odd shaped rainbow that you see is supposed to represent the range of colors that we can see. Admittedly, you see a limit there that defines what we can see on a monitor, so clearly we're not seeing everything that we can see. But this is really just to give you an idea of what the capabilities are. The monitor gamut is reasonably big, the CMYK gamut is pretty much smaller, although you'll notice that there are some parts of the CMYK gamut that actually fall outside the monitor gamut.

Why spot colors are necessary

So why do we need spot colors? Well, we as humans can see a wide range of colors. Scientists claim we're capable of seeing 10 million shades. And if that sounds like a lot consider that some animals, such as tropical fish and birds, can see colors we can't. And in fact bees can even see into the ultraviolet. Of course, we're not trying to print the ultraviolet, we just like to print the colors that we want to see. But there's a limit to what we can print. Now, this sort of odd shaped rainbow that you see is supposed to represent the range of colors that we can see. Admittedly, you see a limit there that defines what we can see on a monitor, so clearly we're not seeing everything that we can see. But this is really just to give you an idea of what the capabilities are. The monitor gamut is reasonably big, the CMYK gamut is pretty much smaller, although you'll notice that there are some parts of the CMYK gamut that actually fall outside the monitor gamut.

colors like cyan you really can't render faithfully on a monitor, you can come close, but you can't quite hit it. And then of course, we have the PANTONE gamut which is wider than what we can see in either other reality. The CMYK or the monitor. And, I'm using PANTONE here but there are other spot color systems. But the concept is the same. These are specially mixed inks that let us accomplish stuff in print that we couldn't with a combination of CMYK. Now CMYK is adequate for photographic reproduction for the most part but there are a lot of colors that we really like that we can't print within that gamut. Now there are some colors that you could print equally well using spot colors or using CMYK.

For example, and I just pulled this at random. PMS 235, you can approximate very closely with CMYK. But then when you come across colors like bright oranges or navy blues, you're going to find that you really can't print those satisfactorily with combinations of the process inks. And we tend to like those bright colors, and if you want to image those bright colors, you're going to have to use a spot color. And navy blue, very common problem. Think how many logos you know of that use navy blue. That always goes kind of grey, a little bit purple.

You really can't do it with CMYK. If you want navy blue, you're going to have to use a spot color. And then, of course, if you want to print something like a metallic ink. Or fluorescents, or neons, you can't even come close in CMYK. So, that's why we need spot colors. We need to be able to create a special ink that accomplishes a color that we have our heart set on, that we cannot approximate with CMYK.

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This video is part of

Image for Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
 
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  1. 2m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      33s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 19m 15s
    1. Why spot colors are necessary
      2m 32s
    2. Examples of spot color impact
      1m 45s
    3. Spot or process: Making the decision
      5m 31s
    4. Choosing a spot color
      4m 11s
    5. About the new Pantone Plus color system
      5m 16s
  3. 13m 23s
    1. How spot color inks are created
      6m 8s
    2. Considerations when using certain spot colors
      2m 35s
    3. Effects of stock on color
      2m 6s
    4. Proofing spot and special-mix colors before printing
      1m 0s
    5. Spot colors and digital printing
      1m 34s
  4. 5m 5s
    1. How spot varnishes can enhance a project
      1m 10s
    2. How varnishes, inks, and substrate interact
      2m 30s
    3. Combining different types of varnish to add dimensions
      35s
    4. Aqueous flood coatings
      50s
  5. 28m 26s
    1. Creating a multitone image (duotone and tritone)
      10m 59s
    2. Creating a simple spot color channel
      6m 30s
    3. Creating a touch plate to enhance a color image
      7m 25s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      3m 32s
  6. 23m 14s
    1. Adding Pantone color swatches
      5m 18s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 58s
    3. 3D shading: Preview with overprint on
      2m 22s
    4. Converting spot colors to process
      3m 11s
    5. Creating a varnish
      5m 52s
    6. Creating spot gradients
      3m 33s
  7. 17m 44s
    1. Importing art containing spot color content and resolving issues with Ink Manager
      4m 28s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 30s
    3. Converting spot colors to process
      2m 29s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      5m 35s
    5. Creating and using mixed inks
      2m 42s
  8. 7m 10s
    1. Examining with Output Preview
      4m 11s
    2. Using preflight profiles
      2m 59s
  9. 1m 9s
    1. What I hope you've learned in this course
      51s
    2. Next steps
      18s

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