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Illustrator Black Prints Brown...

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Cara MaibIllustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 4:16:57 pm

I have an Illustrator document that is all zebra stripes in pure black, but no matter how I try to trick the program, it prints in a dark brown instead. These are the colors as they stand:

H: 344 S: 11 B: 0

R: 0 G: 0 B: 0

#000000

C: 75 M: 68 Y: 67 K: 90

I have tried the following, to end up with the same brown color printed:

C: 100 M: 100 Y: 100 K: 100

and

C: 0 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 100

and

C: 40 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 100

I am printing with an HP Designjet Z2100 Photo printer, 24inch.

Does anyone have an answer to this? I'm getting desperate, customers really don't like brown zebra stripes!


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Vincent RosatiRe: Illustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:02:19 pm

Can you ensure that your Illustrator / File / Document Color Mode is set to CMYK. Then make sure you're viewing CMYK in the Color palette.
The C: 75 M: 68 Y: 67 K: 90 color is pretty rich, but might not produce the color that you want.
C: 40 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 100 seems like a very dark blue.
H: 344 S: 11 B: 0 seems like a muddy red, possibly a dark brown.

Are you using a new medium, have you used it before?
Are you trying new inks?
Does the printer have any test patterns or any other tests that you can print for diagnostic purposes.

Once in a CMYK color space, would it be possible to try some pantone colors, from Swatches palette / Open Swatch Library / Color Books / then maybe Pantone Solid Coated.

Vince

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Cara MaibRe: Illustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 7:05:59 pm

I have tried getting the printer to recalibrate color, and it is able to print a real black. The really strange thing of it is, once we have saved these illustrator files as jpegs (with a black #00000 number), when we open them in Gimp the black has changed. Yet if we put black type on there, the black type will print black, but the black background will not.

We're not testing anything new or unusual with the printer or ink, we've been using it all along. I think there's something getting changed mid-program-change, but I can't figure where it's happening. The reason I tried that cyan coloring was because of a suggestion online, and it was the only one that 'changed' to the new program with a #000000 coloring, yet still printed in dark brown.


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Vincent RosatiRe: Illustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:00:41 pm

Are you mixing RGB & CMYK in the workflow?
Starting with a CMYK Illustrator file, then importing into Gimp?
Typically CMYK to RGB is fine, it's usually RGB to CMYK conversions that cause problems.
However, if Gimp doesn't natively handle CMYK it would be impossible for me to say how it will actually handle a CMYK file.

I'm not too familiar with Gimp, but I just did a search for 'Gimp CMYK' and found this:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/CMYK_support_in_The_GIMP

Could have to do with an Gimp import issue, presuming the original file is CMYK.
Looks like you'd either have to go with a purely RGB workflow, or get a CMYK plugin for Gimp.??

Are you also using some other rip software for the printer, or are you printing directly from Gimp?
Does Gimp have a color picker so you can check the all blacks once you are in that app?

Also, I'd probably use the TIFF format (with LZW compression, if Gimp supports it) instead of JPEG. It's lossless and I think Gimp can import it.

Vince

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adolf witzelingRe: Illustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:21:59 pm

Just my 2 cents worth of input. Vincent is right, don't mix RGB and CMYK together.
Also: check preferences...Appearance of Black and make sure it's set to output all blacks accurately (100% Black will stay 100%Black)and NOT rich black.

Illustrator color mode needs to be cmyk.

Since you have probably heavy areas of black (zebra stripes) I would recommend to use these values. c:20, m:20, y: 20, Black: 100, this would help the printer to build up more density on the black. Stay away from 100% in all 4 colors; coverage shouldn't be more than around 340% if you add al the cmyk values up).

Turn color management off in Illustrator, because if not, Ilustrator tries to color mange the file and the printer will do the same. Let only the printer "manage the colors" and not both.

Before you print create a pdf (color setting during the creation of the pdf should be: "leave as is...don't color manage".

Once created check the black in acrobat. If it's different than what you set it to in Illustrator, it's probably the earlier mentioned "Appearance of Black" in the preferences.

One more thing: Don't print to uncoated paper stock, because the fibers suck up the ink and spread creating a muddy mess. Use coated or semi coated paper (aka: silk, -doesn't need to be glossy)because the ink never hits the paper but sits on top of the coating and looks nice and crunchy.
Hope that helps,
Cheers,
Adolf



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Cara MaibRe: Illustrator Black Prints Brown...
by on Feb 9, 2012 at 3:55:42 pm

Until now I didn't know what people meant by "don't use both cmyk and color". I wasn't purposefully doing that, I was just reading what was on the board when I double clicked the color square (which shows all readings).

Unfortunately I've been asked to stop printing test strips until we get more roller, so as soon as we do. I'll let ya'all know whether it worked or not. Thanks for the input!


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