Process and solid colors are used in print production. Learn about why, when, and where they are used.
- [Instructor] As designers the largest range of achievable colors we have to work with is the RGB model and we refer to the achievable range as a gamut. What you're looking at here is a very rough approximation of the map of colors that human eyes could perceive. And of those colors, the generic RGB range is roughly about this much. And that's what we can achieve with our current technology and components.
Now you might remember from the previous movie that RGB is based on energy, and that CMYK is almost completely opposite as it's actually subtracting light from the paper as it's reflected to your eyes. So that gamut is even smaller than the RGB spectrum and when we're using those super bright colors in our projects they are maybe going to work just fine for the digital world, but in the CMYK process all of that nice bright red, super jazzy green, and several other colors of the RGB model can't be achieved using CMYK at all.
The image you're looking at now, the word and the bar at the bottom, are RGB. The top-most bar is an approximation of CMYK, and I say approximation because you're seeing it projected to your eyes as different wavelengths of energy. On paper this will be a bit darker, as you can see. So if we just switch that over you can see now that all of the colors here have shifted. The RGB bar is still at the bottom and we'll just go back to the super bright RGB version for a second and I just want you to think how much of that color would remain unchanged by conversion to CMYK.
Well, here you are. This is an illustration of that. It's not very much at all, is it? But we see what we want to see and it's relative, our perception. We kind of do some magic in our eyes to see the colors we want to see. So only when you see them compared to super bright things do you notice the difference. So sometimes the gamut needs to be extended or a color that exists completely outside of it needs to be used, and this is actually often the case with brands who aim for a distinct color.
When I was producing work for fast-moving consumer goods, which has been a considerable chunk of my career, part of the process was to visit the printers and color check to make sure under three different lighting conditions that the colors looked right because people notice that and you'd be surprised what people actually do pick up on. So to those ends, either extending a gamut or printing an out of gamut color we use specially mixed inks known as solids or specials. They're known as solids because unlike the CMYK inks, which are printed in a mosaic pattern of dots to create an optical illusion, the extra inks are normally laid over as solid blocks.
Pantone is one such library of colors and these specially made inks that you may well have heard of, 'cause they're inks use over a dozen different pigments and they've got a reputation for color consistency their justifiably very proud of. We can use inks from libraries like that to produce solid colors that may represent a brand. Or they could also be used to extend the range of CMYK by over printing with a translucent overlay of the special ink, and it's referred to as bumping or touch on a plate to extend the range of CMYK.
And I've attempted to simulate that here with the orange. This is an orange that would, more or less, print in CMYK, course you're watching it on a screen, but we could add an overlay to extend that range and make it really, really bright. Here it looks slightly redder than it would do, but I'm sure you get the idea. The only thing you need to keep in mind, is that these colors add a significant cost to any print job too. The inks are expensive and the process of getting them into the machine, which has to be completely cleaned, right, and used and then completely clean again afterwards.
Just check out with your stakeholders before you go specifying them. We don't want anybody getting any surprises with the print bill.
- The creative process
- Layout and composition
- Transforming images and assets in Photoshop
- Drawing logos in Illustrator
- Designing graphics and documents in InDesign