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CS6, Pantone Plus Color Books, and Color Shifts

Discussion in 'Adobe' started by SightLine, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    This was a odd one for me that had me pulling my hair out for a bit. I had 2 files both using Pantone 110C. One of the files had been created in an earlier version of Illustrator while a new file had just been created in CS6. What I was running into was the new Pantone 110C file appeared much darker, if a copy pasted from the old file to the new file the old files elements changed to the darker version, and vice versa dragging elements from the new file to the old file. This was all done in CS6. Attached are screen shots showing both as well as the 110C spefications Illustrator was giving me. Turns out prior versions internally specified Pantone colors as CMYK (yucky limited gamut) while CS6 with the new Pantone Plus color libraries internally specify the Pantones using LAB values.

    I did a quick search once I figured out what was making them different and Adobe has a page describing it as well as workarounds if you prefer or need the old versions.

    http://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/pantone-plus.html

    I did also determine and verified at least with FlexiSign Pro 8.6v2 that Flexi does not care either way, it sees both versions of the 110C that same way. So really for us anyway this just makes it look a bit different (actually closer to the real color) on screen. I have not yet however determined if this would affect a Pantone spot in Illustrator being rasterized prior to coming into Flexi though. For example rasterizing an entire Illy file in PS and printing the flattened Adobe RGB tiff which we very frequently do on many things....

    Anyhow I thought I'd post on this since it threw us off for a bit till I figured out why they were looking so different on screen.
     

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  2. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Oct 29, 2009
    If you rasterize it in Illy to aRGB tiff it will use Adobe's pantone to RGB engine, and then when you print the aRGB colors will be mapped to the printer space by the RIP (so two conversion steps, more generation loss), whereas if you send it as vector spots to a RIP the RIP will use it's own internal spot to process (or 12-color or whatever) engine/table (one conversion step, calibrated specifically for PMs and your RIP/Printer).

    Depending on the particular PMS and whether it fell completely into aRGB in the rasterized example you may or may not see significant differences between the approaches. You can minimize the difference further by creating an ICC profile for your specific printer and converting to it instead of aRGB if you need to pre-rasterize & flatten (so that you're converting into the maximum gamut of your printer anyway, minimizing conversion loss vs using RIP spot engine). If you're going that far though you might as well look into a G7 workflow.
     
  3. mattybrownuk

    mattybrownuk New Member

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    Jun 4, 2012
    Hi SightLine,

    If you look under "Spot Color Options" in Illustrator CS5, you can set Illustrator to use L*A*B or CMYK values (See attached screenshot). By default in CS5, Illustrator uses CMYK. Not sure why that is, as L*A*B is far more scientific and accurate than CMYK. Of course, these values are insignificant if you're putting your file through a decent RIP like Onyx, which swaps your named spot colours for whatever colour make-up most closely matches the Pantone colour you were aiming for.

    Interesting point about rasterising your file in Illustrator though - no doubt the resultant rasterised files would look different in either CS5 or CS6. Neither one would necessarily print the correct colours though, as only a good RIP could possibly know which mix of CMYK(cm) would give you the closest match to the colour you were aiming for. Best to avoid rasterising outside of your RIP, if you can avoid it.

    Btw, what do you think of Flexi as a RIP? I've never used it as a RIP, but we use it as a design application on several of our workstations. It's a priceless tool for working with vector artwork, from what I've seen.
     

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  4. mattybrownuk

    mattybrownuk New Member

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    You can take an ICC profile from your RIP and apply it to an Illustrator file? How do you do that?

    Many thanks,

    Matty Brown
     
  5. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    I am aware of the spot color option in Flexi where you specify whether it should use LAB or CMYK. However the values there are also different between the new Pantone Plus in CS6 versus the older Pantone charts in CS5 and lower. As far as calibration goes, we do use all of our own profiles made using an Eye One and everything is optimized for files coming into the RIP with Adobe RGB color profiles. That has given us the best color range (possibly since the internal RIP engine in Flexi is Adobe's own CPSI). Generally if we rasterize a vector file in PS and save the tiff in with the Adobe RGB profile it's pretty darn close to the original spot colors.

    As far as Flexi as a RIP. Love it ourselves but like any you will find plenty who hate it but that can be said for any RIP. Flexi's print/cut workflow beats all others in my opinion. As far as color capability, I think other RIP's might have some better "canned" profiles but again, we make our own anyways as canned profiles can never account for your specific average enviorment (things like average humidity and temperature) in your shop which do play a significant role in how things print. Flexi Pro does have a full color profiler built into it, you just need a supported measurment device like an Eye One.
     
  6. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Oct 29, 2009
    What you do is create an ICC profile for your specific printer with a spectrophotometer and profiling software package like x-rite i1Publish Pro 2. Once you've done that you know the actual gamut of your printer (on particular stock) and can use the ICC to proof preview throughout adobe in order to check for gamut violations or even as the active space.
     
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