Author Topic: problems with faded CMYK color  (Read 284 times)

flomman

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problems with faded CMYK color
« on: July 17, 2017, 09:31:50 pm »
Hi.  I am new to Scribus, but have used Indesign for many years.  I recently ditched Windows and am now running Linux Mint.  It's taken me a little bit to get used to Scribus, but I think I'm getting there :D  I am laying out a fairly complex calendar, and am working to a deadline.  I just got to the point where I am ready to print the first stage proofs, and when I exported to PDF, all the colors were washed out and faded.  I figured it was a color profile issue, downloaded the Adobe color profiles and installed them in the right folder.  Now I have set  the color profiles to US Web Coated (SWAP), which I think is what I was using in Indesign.  There is a marginal improvement, but the colors are still very faded and washed out.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  I never had to mess with this stuff in indesign, it just worked out of the box, so I don't have too much experience here.  When I export the pdf for screen/web, everything is fine, but as soon as I export for print, the results are as I have described.  With Color Management enabled, the colors are bad in Scribus too.  Can anyone give me any pointers?  Thanks so much!

mnawij

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 05:46:18 am »
Hi Flomman,

Just a quick question, what colorspace are the original pictures that are placed into the scribus doc?

mnawij

flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 11:23:40 am »
Thanks for the reply mnawij,

I have put both RGB and CMYK images in there.  The results are the same for both. Before I go to print, I will convert all to CMYK.  This is the 8th year I've produced this calendar, and working this way has always worked out fine.  But the scariest thing for me is the simple solid colors which I have applied as background colors to frames.  The solid colors are all CMYK and created by Scribus, and yet they are also faded.  I have added attachments to this post to give examples.  The colors as they appear when Color Management is not enabled are the colors which I have always used for the calendar.  And yet, once Color Management is enabled, it seems like it is impossible to set the colors I want e.g. in the last attachment.  Green is the most horribly changed I think.  Yellow doesn't seem to be too bad.  See what you think.

This is so horrible.  I was thrilled that I had found a workable alternative to the outrageously overpriced Indesign, but If this cannot be sorted out... :'(

Thanks again for the help.

mnawij

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 07:20:34 am »
Hey flomman, OK let us try taking this from the top.  My background first, I have operated my own print shop since 1998 and I do 75% of the design work that I print.  I produce over 100 printed products every month spot color --> full color --> Spot UV & foiling, etc... you get the picture.  First, if your monitor is not color calibrated, color calibration is almost impossible to achieve in the finished printed product.  Second, if your printer does not ask for or require a color profile then 90% of the time they toss it out in preflight (my experience, others may have different points of view).  Third, one reason you only need a color profile if your printer does not require it, is if you are trying to calibrate to multiple printers/presses say if your company is printing its brochure in different shops in multiple locales and you would like them to be as close to exact as possible.  I use profiles: fogra 39, 51 and 52 (if I am remembering correctly), and GRACoL2006.

Question? Are you printing your calendar on a web press? If not then you are definitely using the wrong profile due to the max ink coverage for web coated SWOP is 300% whereas the other sheetfed profiles range to 340-350%, this could account for the lighter color with less ink density being used for that profile when converted.  It is just a guess though... if I think of something else I will post it, but I have printed hundreds of files without color profiling i.e. MS Office files converted to PDF... and have not had many problems, there were a few but I would say 95%+ printed fine without a hitch.  I hope this might help you.

The pdf web/screen prints fine due to it being RGB color space, which is a wider color gamut and 99% of said desktop printers understand RGB conversion very well for desktop printing.  So if that is the case, it is the color profile messing things up.  What happens when you create a pdf with color profiles turned off?

Off topic: Adobe products do not share color profiles between them unless set up in Adobe Bridge (not sure if this is still true in version Creative Suite CC as I have not upgraded yet) FYI... In my ID settings I do not save the profile but keep the CMYK values as my option.

Regards,

mnawij

flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 03:54:56 pm »
Thanks mnawij for the benefit of your knowledge and experience!  I wrote to the guy I deal with at my printer and this is the reply I got:

Quote
I think what you are looking for will be the 'US Web Coated (SWOP 2)' setting we use to save our pdf files.

When going to actual print these are then re-run through a print software for separation and we don't have an actual name or settings for it.

If you produce pdf files to the US Web Coated profile it should run thereafter to print as our own pdf files do.

So you think I need to calibrate my screen?  I've never had to do it before, but I guess I should give anything a try!  I'll try and find some software to do that.  If you have any other thoughts I'd really appreciate it! 

Nermander

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 05:33:36 pm »
You cannot calibrate your screen with software only. You need a device that measures the color shown on the screen.

The calibration will generate a color profile for your monitor, and there are many free softwares that can do this. But all of them need a "spider" to perform the measurement.


flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 06:38:35 pm »
Hey Nermander, thanks for your input.

Not having a "spider", am I pretty much reduced to just trudging on with the dull colors, or else revert to Windows/InDesign?

Nermander

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 07:38:06 pm »
When you are proofing CMYK colors the best way to check whether they are correct or not is easy: make a test print.

Color management was invented to help avoiding the need for test prints, but in lack och color management you can always fall back to test printing.

You have to realise that a monitor (using RGB pixels and additive color mixing) will not be very good at reproducing CMYK colors (with subtractive color mixing).

flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 09:14:18 pm »
Hey, thanks for the reply Nermander.  I understand the deficiencies of viewing color in RGB on a montior.  What I can't understand is that when using Windows/InDesign, what I produced on the screen was what I got in the pdf, which in turn was what I got from the printer.  Using Scribus it seems that it is impossible to take what is on the screen (without color management enabled) and have it export to pdf looking pretty much the same.  With Color Management enabled, I can't even chose the colors I want from the palette.   I'll send a copy to the printer tomorrow and see how it comes out.

mnawij

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 10:47:15 pm »
I agree with Nermander, I hard proof and have the customer sign it before I go to print on any order over $500.00 and I soft proof (email pdf) for the customer to sign off on any other order.

flomman, the software the printer puts it through is call a RIP (raster image processor) and unless they have that set up to accept web coated SWOP it will strip the color profile and read the actual CMYK values of the artwork.  Also web coated I believe is the default when the Adobe Suite is installed, but I am not 100% sure, if your printer has that, they might have never changed it from the default setting and do not have color management setup in there print shop.  I wish I could help you more on this, but I do not use color management with my Scribus files and they have printed just fine and I would say that I have printed over 200 of them.  I set up a church and another not for profit with Scribus to do their own artwork and did not setup color management and have had no problems printing for them.

mnawij

flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2017, 12:05:04 pm »
Hey, thanks mnawij.  I have sent the pdf to the printer this morning, so I'll see what I get and report back here.

I continued the conversation with the printer yesterday via email, and he told me all the same things that you've all been telling me about the RGB to CMYK conversion process etc.  Anyway, he said that I could submit the artwork in any profile I liked, but in their experience, the web coated SWOP produced the best results when their software separated the colors.  So anyway, the proof is being printed, and I'll let you all know what the result is.

As to Color Management, I'm only using it because I thought it was necessary.  If I don't need it, I won't use it.  Once I get the proofs back, I'll know where I stand.  If they come in all washed-out, then I have no option but to return to InDesign, as I am running out of time to get this calendar on the press.  If the color is acceptable on the proofs, then I don't know what the story is with Color Management, and profiles, but I will happily ignore the appearance of the produced PDF, and carry on!  Perhaps my printer would help me calibrate my screen?  I guess I'll ask.

Nermander

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2017, 10:05:24 am »
I tried to learn color management some years ago and my conclusion was that it is so compliacated they you should try to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

The hard part is not to turn it on and make it work, the hard part is to verify that it works as intended.

GarryP

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 03:02:54 pm »
I don't use colour management myself but I would say that unless your workspace is properly lit, and you have a very good monitor that can be properly characterised/calibrated (or whatever) by someone who knows what they're doing, then you should probably keep CM switched off.

Unless you're totally sure that the colour on your screen is the exact colour that you want then how do you know if it's going to be the right one when it's been printed? And a colour displayed on a screen will look different printed on different paper stock too, e.g. matt vs. gloss.

Also, most monitors have an issue in most normally lit rooms where you can see the same colour as different shades when you move your head around, so which of those shades is the correct one?

flomman, If I was you I would go along with the previous posters and just keep CM switched off unless it becomes a big problem.

mnawij

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2017, 05:52:28 am »
I do agree with the others, turning CM off would probably be best... One thing that helps me out a lot is the use of PantoneĀ® Color Swatch Books, especially the CMYK/RGB/Hex/Spot color bridges, both uncoated and coated paper, they are expensive but well worth the money!  See the following link:

http://www.pantone.com/color-bridge-coated-uncoated

mnawij

flomman

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Re: problems with faded CMYK color
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2017, 02:04:57 pm »
Hi guys, thanks so much for you input!  I got the printed proofs back, and it all looks fine!  So pleased.  The printed result is closer to what the screen shows without Color Management enabled than with it, which just confirms all your advice to leave CM switched off.  So it's a display issue, and that's it.  I don't have an expensive monitor, just a super middle of the road Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop, so do you think it's even worth trying to calibrate the color on it?

You're right about the Pantone color books being expensive!  Will have to think about that one before jumping in :)

 

palmate