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  1. #1
    xMattx is offline Junior Member
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    Default CMYK to Pantone converter

    Hello everyone,

    I stumbled upon your old forum when i searched for a CMYK to Pantone converter on google. I've read a bit about projects from people who made software to convert CMYK colours to Pantone colours. It got me really interested, but the forum is closed by now and the users have moved over to this one.. I can't find the topics anymore though, although there are a lot of other topics about the same subject over here. There are in fact so many different topics that i don't know where to look anymore. that's why i made this topic. (I hope that i'm posting it in the right section, and that it is not asked 100 times already.. =$)

    What i'm looking for is a way to convert the screen colours (CMYK) to print colours (Pantone). I'm totally new to this whole Pantone thing, so i don't know if this is the right thing and if it even excists.. I'm a starting graphic designer and i've designed a few things for websites. But there are customers who ask for printable designs. So i asked around and some people told me that i needed to buy a Pantone colour fan since the screen colours are different from the printed colours. But I can't really afford a fan like that, so i'm looking for software that does the same.

    I'd be very happy if anyone could help me with this. Is there any software that can help me with this?

    Thank you very much,
    Matt

  2. #2
    oxburger's Avatar
    oxburger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    Unless they specifically ask for spot colors, I'd make everything process (CMYK). Then it's a simple RGB to CMYK conversion. Make sure your images are of high enough resolution to print (I'd suggest 300 dpi or so), otherwise, the colors may be right, but your images will look like hell.

    As far as finding a cheap (or free) online resource, I'm aware that there used to be RGB to Pantone or CMYK to Pantone lookup tables online, but Pantone put the smack down on them and forced them to quit making them available.

    Your best bet may be to bite the bullet and get a Pantone book.

    http://www.pantone.com/pages/product...px?pid=14&ca=1

    Or, visit a local printer. Tell them you're just starting out (and could possible throw some printing their way) and want to know if they have any of their old color books laying around that you could have. They may not be as accurate or have all the colors as the newest books do, but at least it's free!
    By the time I walk out of here, I'm going to be a lean, mean, prepress machine...

  3. #3
    wrightr2 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    The PMS to CMYK conversion really depends on (nowadays) what the software library you are referencing uses. Most of the DTP apps (Illus, InDesign, Quark, etc) have built in libraries, and Adobe (as near as I can tell) does not even attempt to unify the conversion definitions within its own umbrella of applications.
    Proofing systems used to have their own CMYK equivalents, but the last generation or so seem to go to a LAB base and then convert (many with an expanded gamut) to a C, ltC, M, ltM, Y, K, ltK. Inkjets seem to have completely independent libraries, so I have either eyeballed a match (as near as is possible) using a Pantone Spot Swatch book and cross referencing it to a built gamut CMYK chart. If the color is not life-or-death critical, I will generally go with whatever app library I am using, and then go through ALL the files used in the job to make sure they ALL have the same CMYK values (Illus, PShop and Quark all have differential values, and unless you leave them all as Pantone and have your RIP convert all to the RIP defaults, you will have slightly different colors throughout.
    Now that there is the Pantone GOE book, I think we might all hang ourselves-as the number and complexity of the gamut is MUCH larger than the old Pantone standard.

  4. #4
    xMattx is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    @Kevin Delay: So you advise me to just use CMYK colours? I've heard from people that this methode gives all wrong colours to the printed work.. I want to be really professional with this so they need to be exact/very close..

    @ wrightr2: I think that i don't really get all of that. But are you advising me to just use the softwares library? I'm using illustrator to make my designs.

  5. #5
    SWTilden is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    The Pantone library contains colors you cannot make using CMYK colorants. For example, what might be called fire-engine red -- Pantone 185 -- cannot be duplicated in the CMYK world. The closest you can come is 100% magenta plus 100% yellow (which, by the way, is Pantone 485).

    There are many more such examples, so an "automated" colorspace transform -- especially one that honors limitations of SWOP, which most CMYK transforms do -- just isn't possible.

    --Scott Tilden

    Edited by: Scott W Tilden on Jul 15, 2008 9:30 AM

  6. #6
    oxburger's Avatar
    oxburger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    When you say "screen color (CMYK)" are you referring to what you see on the monitor/screen or the CMYK percentage values?

    If you are referring to how something looks on your monitor, the problem lies not in converting RGB (which is what your monitor displays, not CMYK) to Pantone, but the fact that all monitors are going to display the colors differently no matter what values you use. I would suggest having the client select whatever PMS color(s) they want for the printing part, then using the RGB values of that Pantone color for your web design. That way, at least all your printing elements will match each other. There is no way that every monitor is going to render the web pages accurately anyway. You may have your monitor dead on as far as matching the Pantone color, but I guarantee you, the computer right next to yours is going to display it differently.

    So, basically, what I'm trying to say is to work the other way around. Select your Pantone colors for the printed materials first, then try to match your web design to the printed piece.
    By the time I walk out of here, I'm going to be a lean, mean, prepress machine...

  7. #7
    rich apollo's Avatar
    rich apollo is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    > {quote:title=xMattx wrote:}{quote}
    > What i'm looking for is a way to convert the screen colours (CMYK) to print colours (Pantone).

    Do you have Photoshop? You can do that there.

  8. #8
    michaelejahn's Avatar
    michaelejahn is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    Hi Matt,


    To best answer your question, perhaps it might help us to know exactly what the design will be used for !

    You mention that you work with Adobe Illustrator - when you select a Pantone color, are you paying attention to which library ?

    Can I assume you know that you can work in either RGB or CMYK "mode" with a document ( Under the *File* menu, select *Document Color Mode*, then select CMYK)

    Also, what are the settings when you go under the *Edit* menu, then select *Color settings* ?

    All these are very important, and the reason there are settings (as opposed to having on single setting that can't hard wired) depends on how the design will be used finally ! for example - Will your project(s) be printed on Coated or Uncoated stock ?

    I imagine that the reason you are having a hard time finding any discussion about designers working with CMYK then switching to Pantone is that this neither logical or in any way very efficient - as I can only simulate about 42 or 48% of the Pantone library using CMYK builds (this depends on the libary)

    It seems odd to me that someone would actually 'want' something that would convert an object of type that was designed as a CMYK tint build and ask that that object be 'converted' into a spot color, since illustrator offers the Pantone Libray in the application and you can simply start buy seleecting pantone colors directly !

    Under the *Windows* menu item, select *Swatch Libraries*, then cascade select - *well, now here we go...*

    For example, if you are designing an ad that will be then placed into a national title (like people magazine of sports Illustrated) - as the final PDF file that needs to be CMYK (as the final output will be CMYK printing) and meet the requirements of PDF/X-1a, then perhaps it is best to avoid working with Pantone colors in the first place or at lease use Windows > Swatch Libraries > *Pantone Process Coated (or uncoated)* - or Pantone Solid to Process

    In another scenario, if you are working on a pacage design for Kellogg breakfast cereal and the design requires a Disney Character, you may be required to use actual Pantone SPOT colors, (-- Windows > Swatch Libraries > *Pantone Process Coated (or uncoated)* )as the final output will be spot color printing using Pantone inks (perhaps requiring PDF/X-3)

    Hope this helps !
    Michael Jahn - Slightly used PDF Evangelist
    Simi Valley California

  9. #9
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    If you can't afford $80 for arguably the most important color tool a graphic designer will ever need, then please do us all a favor and stick to web design. You'll spend far more than $80 in color adjustment fees from your printer on your first job.

    Get the Pantone Color Bridge or Solid to Process color imaging guide which shows the pantone swatch next to the CMYK equivalent. It's a real eye opener when you see the color shifts. You'll never design a piece using a CMYK orange again.

    If you think you can cut corners on an industry standard that exists solely for the purpose of maintaining color consistency on press, you're drinking the bong water.

    Just keepin' it real!

    Edited by: LoweringTheBar on Jul 15, 2008 1:58 PM

  10. #10
    Luke Jennings is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: CMYK to Pantone converter

    Art directors toolkit, will get you close.


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