Illustrator item in PANTONE P Process Black U shows as composite black in InDesign

Explorer ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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Dear Community,

 

I set up a simple item in Illustrator, colour: PANTONE P Process Black U. File format is .ai. Placed in InDesign, Separations show it as C60, M69, Y71, K73. Any idea why, and how to have it appear as PANTONE P Process Black U? 

 

Thanks

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

Is the color in Illustrator set as a Spot Color?

 

Screen Shot 5.png

 

Screen Shot 7.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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Is the color in Illustrator set as a Spot Color?

 

Screen Shot 5.png

 

Screen Shot 7.png

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Explorer ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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Hello Rob, thanks so much for your reply. It was not. I took that swatch from Windows > Swatch Libraries > Colour Books > Pantone+ CMYK Uncoated. This opens, as you of course know, a separate window of swatches that can be added to document swatches by simply clicking it. Only upon double clicking the swatch already added, I get the Swatch Options displayed in your first screen shot. Default settings are Process and RGB. Changing them to the settings you propose solved my problem fully. Very happy. Thanks again!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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Hi @Lavitas Macutis  Are you really printing a Black Spot color—adding an extra Black plate on an offset press? If that’s the case you would use the PANTONE + Solid Uncoated book. Those colors are setup as Lab defined Spot Colors

 

Screen Shot 8.png

 

If your output is process CMYK there would be no need to use a Pantone Black, just use the default [Black] swatch with your AI doc Color Mode set as CMYK

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Explorer ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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Hello Rob, thanks for asking. I am preparing a silk screen print, the print shop explicitely demands all colours (only one in this case) be set up as Pantone colours. They didn’t specify what type of, and I initially went for Pantone+ solid uncoated, but according to the Swatch Options panel when set to Lab,

– Pantone P Process Black U is L17, a4, b8,

whereas the blackest blacks from the Pantone+ solid uncoated library seem to be

– Neutral Black U with L31 (!), a 1, b2, actually a darkish grey, and

– Pantone Black 6 U with an even lighter L33, a1, b-5. 

A bit surprising that the entire Pantone uncoated library shouldn’t contain any actual black, but so it seems. And since in fact I would love to employ an even darker black, ideally L0, a0, b0, some high pigment black, I went for the nearest thing I could find, being simply K with a different name. If I got anything wrong here, wich may very well be, I'd be grateful for corrections. And if anyone happens to know of a richer black in any of the Pantone libraries, for that hint too I’d thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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The reason Pantone blacks are not absolute black is because PANTONE + Solid ink colors are designed for offset printing where the inks are transparent. The paper will affect the transparency—uncoated and newsprint sheets will absorb the ink and make it appear even less black.

 

Screen printing inks are typically more opaque, and there is nothing stopping you from changing the spot color definition, which has no affect on the separation output, just edit the swatch Lab values to 0|0|0 in both apps before placing the AI file:

 

Screen Shot 12.png

Screen Shot 11.png

Also the blacks in the uncoated books will be less black, try choosing from the coated book.

 

InDesign’s color management displays the affect of CMYK process ink transparency via the document’s assigned CMYK profile. Here you can see that 100% Black displays differently when the assigned profile is for and uncoated sheet vs. a coated sheet:

 

Screen Shot 13.png

Screen Shot 14.png

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 15, 2021 Dec 15, 2021

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As mentioned by others, there is no need to ever use Pantone Black in a document instead of using the Black swatch that already exists, and certainly not in a project that is intended to print in process.

Regardless, unless you are actually using the colours for a spot colour job, you should NOT used any of the libraries with U at the end. Why? The different between a C (Coated) colour and a U (uncoated) colour is ONLY how it appears on screen. Pantone's swatch libraries are based on the measured LAB values of an actual swatch of Pantone Black ink PRINTED on either a coated sheet or an uncoated sheet. e.g. your Pantone Black printed on an uncoated sheet will be a bit more washed out/greyer than the how it would appear on a coated sheet. (Actual Pantone Inks do NOT have different versions for C or U: there's only one Pantone Black.).

If you, however, use the Solid "U" swatches in a process job, your Colour Management settings will convert the LAB value in the Black U swatch and convert it to cmyk (based on your Color Settings) to visually match the printed, slightly washed out/greyish chip, and it will uses a 4 cmyk inks to do it. Even if you use the coated "Black C" swatch, it's measured LAB values are still slightly lighter than a dark Black than you'd expect.

Converely, Pantone created the Color Bridge Libraries, where they have created a set of swatches what would be the best process match in a typical cmyk printing workflow. The swatches for those also have a Coated and Uncoated version, If you chose pantone Black out of either of those, you'll notice both specifiy 0C 0M 0Y 100K

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 16, 2021 Dec 16, 2021

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Hi Brad, In case you missed it, the output in this case is for screen printing, so @Lavitas Macutis does need a spot separation. The printer is requesting the separation color be Pantone and not process black.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 16, 2021 Dec 16, 2021

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Ah yes, I did miss that (so many threads!). Thx!

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