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Newbie question: printing neutral grayscale in CMYK documents

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Newbie question: printing neutral grayscale in CMYK documents
on Oct 14, 2005 at 9:45:11 pm


I have a beginner's question that I hope someone can help with. I'm preparing some CMYK graphics for print, and the images contain black and white/grayscale areas. I want to print these with rich blacks (so I want there to be colour information in all channels), but I want to make sure they are neutral black and white, and don't look tinted.

What I'm doing is working on the images in RGB, to check that values are neutral, and then at the last minute, converting to CMYK. I have a sneaky suspicion that this is not the best workflow, but I'm not sure how else to get images which are neutral, yet rich.

Any suggestions or recommendations would be very gratefully received. And yes, I will get a proof printed before I commit to anything!


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Re: Newbie question: printing neutral grayscale in CMYK documents
on Oct 17, 2005 at 5:09:32 pm

If you print a CMYK image, it will look tinted because all the inks will be used when printing. I've heard of applying a solid layer of blue over the entire image and reducing the opacity to about 10% to make it "appear" more black and white, without looking tinted, but I haven't tested this out. You could also take note of what color tint is showing up in your print, and then balance out the colors in the final image before you send it to print (for example, if you are seeing a magenta tint, increase the green color channel). Again, I'm not sure how great this will work.

If you want your image to truly be black and white, you should convert it to grayscale and specify in your print setup to print from black ink only. If you feel that your prints are not rich enough, maybe you could play with the levels right before you prepare your image for print to compensate for the print output.

Hope this helps...let me know if any of this works for you

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