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Pantone Colors Converted to Black Error

Community Expert ,
Oct 13, 2022 Oct 13, 2022

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This morning I opened a large group of files that have been seperated for multiple Pantone spot color and CMYK and recieved this error on each highliy refined image file: "This file has Pantone colors that have been removed and replaced with black due to changes in Pantone's licensing with Adobe.  To resolve, click "Learn More"   From there i Installed the Pantone Connect Extension and linked my purchased license for premium..... But the colors of the spot channels are still rendered as black.  Any swatches I create with the extension are rendered properly but Pantone Spot colors are not rendered correctly because the color information for those channels is not available to Adobe Photoshop.   

 

The work around for this issue is to double click the spot color channel in the channels pallet and click on thee color then enter the Lab values from the Pantone Connect Library.  Save the file and the channels will be rendered to the display properly.   

ICC programmer and developer, Photographer, artist and color management expert, Print standards and process expert.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Engaged , May 01, 2023 May 01, 2023

Amybeth, I see in your image it adds a channel named "9344" and not "Pantone 9344," which is what the swatch is named when added as a swatch in Illustrator and InDesign.

 

Does that create a conflict/duplicate swatch?

 

Also, what is the version number of this plug-in update?

(And does it still require Rosetta to run on an M-1 Mac? so many questions...)

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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@kevin stohlmeyer wrote:

The updates to Photoshop address this.  The newest updates honors any embedded PS spot color channels, showing them in color from previous builds and prevents the black channels from appearing.

I disagree with the analogy - it's not hiding the issue, it's resolving it simply.



Yes, the missing colour book appearance is honoured - until one edits the colour. Edit, to illustrate what the November 2022 release does with legacy files created with a spot colour .acb that is no longer installed:

 

RefBlue.png

 

All is good so far, unless one needs to edit the missing spot colour, which results in the following:

 

ANPA728-0.png

 

Yes, the simple answer is not to edit the colour! And yes, having an installed matching .acb file resolves this issue. 

 

Again, breaking the link from the installed .acb to instead use Lab picker values is a viable alternative.

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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It is but it also segments you from the industry standard practices. How do you resolve when you send to a printer for output?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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quote

It is but it also segments you from the industry standard practices. 


By @kevin stohlmeyer

 

The packaging industry has historically used Lab alternative colour values for brand spot colour names that don't exist in colour books. The colour could be specified in device dependent RGB/CMYK values in the picker, however, Lab values are obviously the best choice from the available picker options.

 

quote

How do you resolve when you send to a printer for output?

 

What is there to resolve? There is no need to invent issues where they don't exist. There is no problem with simply replacing the link from a .acb file with a Lab picker value. In fact, there are benefits to doing so!

 

The spot colour still has the required name to communicate the desired ink. The alternate colour value, whether tied to a .acb file or defined as independent picker values is mostly irrelevant.

 

Spots will still separate as spots to a platesetter.

 

InDesign or Illustrator will still recognise the spots as spots and use the alternate Lab values to represent the imported colour in the swatches panel. The alternate colour value is simply used for on-screen display.

 

Proofing RIPs and DFEs driving digital presses continue to use their own spot colour lookup tables for more accurate reproduction, ignoring the "preview" alternate colour in the file.

 

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Engaged ,
Jan 25, 2023 Jan 25, 2023

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@kevin stohlmeyer I just checked this with version 24.1.1 and it is not the case with updated color book files.

 

Retaining the color appearance in the file only occurs if the spot channels were chosen from the original color book files supplied by Adobe. 

 

Any spot channels referencing newer color books, e.g. V4, will still appear as black when opened.

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Engaged ,
Jan 25, 2023 Jan 25, 2023

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@Stephen_A_Marsh with regard to "downstream recipients of your files," anyone you're sending that job to is mixing the inks to the formula guide (from Pantone) for the number of the ink on the job ticket. They really don't care how it looks in your proof, let alone what Lab value you've assigned to it

 

(we're assuming the Prod Mrg & CSR wrote the numbers down correctly — ask me what happens when they don't)

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Community Expert ,
Jan 25, 2023 Jan 25, 2023

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quote

@Stephen_A_Marsh with regard to "downstream recipients of your files," anyone you're sending that job to is mixing the inks to the formula guide (from Pantone) for the number of the ink on the job ticket. They really don't care how it looks in your proof, let alone what Lab value you've assigned to it


By @David Cardillo, PRH

 

I agree and also disagree...

 

I did write:

 

"Indeed, the alternate colour value is just a representation used for onscreen viewing and composite print workflows that don't have a lookup table override, it indeed has no effect on separations."

 

And:

 

"The spot colour still has the required name to communicate the desired ink. The alternate colour value, whether tied to a .acb file or defined as independent picker values is mostly irrelevant."

 

The composite visual appearance of the spots in the native file in InDesign or Illustrator or the PDF file produced for output with separations is usually important, just not for making the separations. There is a good reason that Pantone changed from using device dependent CMYK values to define the composite alternative colour representation of colours and moved to device independent Lab definitions.

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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@schroef wrote:

@Stephen_A_Marsh 

Curious how that is possible, im working in 2018cc and i was just notified i cant get or seem to be able to adjsut the color of a spot channel by script. Wow, thats weird,
PS 2018cc shows error about not being supported by scriptPS 2018cc shows error about not being supported by script


 

I mostly develop in version 2021. I'll be posting the script once the rough edges have been smoothed.

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Advocate ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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@Stephen_A_Marsh 

Though wonder if the color in the spot channel really matters for a printer. As long as it is a black and white plate, they can use it for printing. its only harder to imagine for the viewer if he/she sees it in a different color than intended.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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@schroef wrote:

@Stephen_A_Marsh 

Though wonder if the color in the spot channel really matters for a printer. As long as it is a black and white plate, they can use it for printing. its only harder to imagine for the viewer if he/she sees it in a different color than intended.


 

Indeed, the alternate colour value is just a representation used for onscreen viewing and composite print workflows that don't have a lookup table override, it indeed has no effect on separations.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

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unnamed.pngThis is from support at Pantone today:

In terms of duotones or channels, we continue to work with Adobe on how Pantone Connect can support the different functions of Adobe programs but currently Pantone Connect does not have ability to add colors to Photoshop for use within Channels. We hope to have an update in near future that will impact this workflow in Adobe. 😞

Pantone Connect can add the color to the Swatches tool of Photoshop, using the extension.  When using Pantone Connect in Adobe, the ‘eyedropper’ tool will assign the color based on the settings of the Adobe document (RGB or CMYK) as it makes it the ‘active’ color however if you can add this color to your Swatches which will show as a Pantone Solid (spot) color.  To do this, you will want to right click on the color in Pantone Connect and ADD TO SWATCHES.  This will add the color into your Swatches tool as a spot color. 

This was the entire statement. Still useless

 

.

Amybeth M
ACI G7 Certified Expert

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

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Ugh. Thanks @Amybeth M. ACI G7 for the update. Not a great update, but at least its an acknowledgement from Pantone as to the issues.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

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I agree. at least it is an acknowledgement.

No solutions, unfortuanately for my current prepress workflow. You would think with all the reviews  on Exchange they would be reworking the thought process behind the functionalilty of the app.

Amybeth M
ACI G7 Certified Expert

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

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I really don't see a feasible end game for Pantone. They've backed themselves into a corner with no easy means to get out. The adoption rate is well below what was expected, which means less ROI for development. It's a self-defeating cycle - do you throw more money at this up front in the hopes that you can repair the damage already done? And even then, can you charge what you need to to recoup those costs for fix the issue you've made? I'm in the camp that the rift is too large now for Pantone to recover.

I also don't see them going back to Adobe "sorry our bad, take us back" without serious business impact.

Don't get me started on the lack of Enterprise solutions, support or the costs invovled with that ($189 per user!)

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Community Expert ,
Dec 21, 2022 Dec 21, 2022

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@kevin stohlmeyer

I am right there with you being an Enterprise and Individual subscriber. To say the least I feel it on both sides. 

Amybeth M
ACI G7 Certified Expert

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Community Expert ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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I'm in the camp that the rift is too large now for Pantone to recover. I feel the same way .... sigh 

Amybeth M
ACI G7 Certified Expert

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Engaged ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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I received a similar, yet even more disheartening reply.

 

I asked about functionality with the new Mac OS — "we're thinking about working on it." (It's only available as a legacy plug-in and doesn't even appear unless PS is launched in legacy Rosetta mode, which is not what you got a new Mac to run PS for.)

 

I asked specifically if they had any intention of creating a feature that would allow the creation of spot channels in PS, the way PS uses them — "that's something we might consider thinking about." i.e. the vast majority of people who spec Pantone colors aren't creating spot channels or plates for press, and we believe only a few service providers to, and they'll buy what they have to. (This is a perception that unfortunately Adobe shares — on a recent support call with them, their engineers were surprised to learn our 200+ design staff create their own spot channels in a CTP workflow.)

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Advocate ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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@David Cardillo, PRH 

Did they actually state it?

 

They aren't using pantone to create spot channel for plate?!? 

 

What, why would she Meuse use Pantone to f they don't use it to create plates for press. That basically saying the Pantone system is not used for printing?!?

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Engaged ,
Jan 06, 2023 Jan 06, 2023

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@schroef to be clear, this is an observation and deduction on my part.

 

There's a reason the paint stores don't make you pay for the color swatches — they want you to buy the paint.

 

Adobe products (to my memory) always came with digital swatch guides, for Pantone and others (Toyo, etc.). The last time we had an update to those book files — the ones that came free with the application — was before Adobe switched to subscription licensing (Creative Cloud). I think it was CS4 when Pantone+ was introduced. That was the last included update.

 

Pantone has updated the contents of those books 4 times since. Yet Adobe never distributed the updates. Adobe insisted Pantone never gave them the updated color books. And it's exactly that — they never *gave* Adobe the books. You could get them, from Pantone, if you paid them, licensing the software. (It was $35 outright or you could use the serial # from a book you bought.)

 

Browse through any of these forums where people talk about the "336" colors from the first update, that everyone tried to use, but weren't included. And then note something: the number of users who are not creating spot ink channels. They're designing for the web, a lot of them, or they're complaining about how the CMYK representations of the solid inks aren't "accurate." Frankly, the inclusion of Pantone color swatches has been ubiquitous, so much so that a generation of designers have been taught to use them as color guides — whether they were actually using the inks or not.

 

Now you're Pantone, just bought by X-Rite, and you're seeing a decline in ink purchases (magazines have sharply dropped, many ceasing print) and you want to monetize your one product you know everyone is using, freely, but for which you're not seeing the revenue you used to.

 

And now we're here: with subscription licensing for a product that doesn't come close to the same functionality. And the functionality it does have is only appropriate for people who are not doing offset print output. On the one hand, Pantone gives you a (free!) color reference card to take pictures with your phone so you can use the app to derive Pantone colors from your image. (I'm impressed.) On the other hand, who would actually use this for print?

 

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Engaged ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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When you go to a bakery and see several nicely decorated cakes on display, but the inside isn't cake but inedible styrofoam, because what they're selling is the decoration and what's underneath is just a form.

 

That's what Adobe has done by honoring the on-screen swatch color of spot channels referenced in books that aren't installed. Just make it look nice in Photoshop. But you can't do anything with it. (And if you're not editing it, there's no reason to even open it in PS.)

 

To be fair, that's what InDesign and Illustrator do, honor the attributes of whatever swatches they were given, because all they're doing is designating what data is in what separation and leaving the ink mixing to the people blending the inks. In both of those applications, also, you're fine until you want to edit the values of that color.

 

I have a title on my desk right now as I write this that was originally printed with two custom inks. A legacy, backlist title where the printer created the separations, but we're now tasked with creating 4-color offset versions of.

 

So the designer went and tried merging spot channels, or otherwise converting spots to process. The results went much as you'd expect (not well).

 

So now we're getting drawdowns of the original (custom) ink blend from the original printer so we can measure them with a spectrophotometer to A) hopefully find a corresponding Pantone match, and B) pray to the print gods that there's a close CMYK approximation.

 

Because the values defined in the spot channel swatch are meaningless, because they don't correspond to how it actually printed.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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You and I sound like we are in the same boat, paddling against the current. I too work with 150+ designers.

Back list, legacy titles. bump plates, multi channel etc. Part of my "support role" includes files set up, recreating  those vibrant RGB files that you see, used for marketing, and now need to translate to print. How you ask? The skill of separations, being able to create masks and spot cbannels to simulate what you see on screen. As close as I can get to it for the designer(s). To translate to ink on paper. End to End.

 

Re: "we're thinking about working on it." !?! Not the answer we need to hear. 
So disheartening! After serving the print community and printers for as long as they have @pantone and @xrite should be ashamed of themselves. It amazes me they could be so non-chalant about the whole thing!
It does not even funcion properly as a legacy plugin ! 

¯\_()_/¯

Amybeth M
ACI G7 Certified Expert

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Engaged ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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this is the nonsense answer they gave me, verbatim:

 

Currently, M1 support is on our roadmap for 2022 (expected release in Q4). The legacy plug-in is controlled by Adobe, and we are working with Adobe to fix that issue. ["controlled by Adobe" meaning they wrote a plug-in using Adobe's older APIs, not newer ones, like every other plug-in developer.]

 

The Spot Channel functionality is being looked into however currently there is no planned release on this. [emphasis added] In terms of Spectral data (CxF files) this is not part of Pantone Connect.  While the data/values are based on the Master Digital Data for Pantone (Spectral Data) this is not native in Adobe programs.  Adobe defines the ‘spot’ colors with a L*a*b* value which is what Pantone Connect contains and ‘adds’ to the Adobe Swatches tool, as a static value.  Depending on the use case, X-Rite (Pantone’s parent company) does have multiple solutions that involve PantoneLIVE which is our cloud based architecture containing the spectral data of Pantone color systems which is used within color formulation and quality control workflows (spectrophotometers and software).  Are you currently using formulation and/or QC software?

 

The CMYK values that are published within Pantone Connect are based on the printing of the physical guides, those that are done in CMYK printing process (Pantone Color Bridge guides and Pantone CMYK Color Guides).  When printing these guides we use the G7 calibration methodology used by most commercial printers today.  G7 calibration assures consistent gray balance, which is the foundation for accurate process printing.  Color Bridge Guides that are properly calibrated provide more reliable guidance on what results you can expect when reproducing Pantone colors with typical CMYK process printing.  These CMYK values are good starting points, specifically when your print process is aligned to the standard ISO print conditions outlined on page IV in the guide (attached document/printing notes).  However if printing using alternative conditions, particularly papers with different color or surface characteristics, we recommend using your own design software’s color management configuration to convert Pantone Solid Coated Libraries to CMYK for best results.

 

For Team (multi-seat) licensing, we do have this available.  We recommend each user has their own Pantone Connect account however this is licensed from a company level.  This allows the user to have ability to create, store and share palettes of colors between users as well as access Pantone Connect across all its platforms (web app, mobile app and Extension for Adobe CC).  Pricing for Multi-Seat licenses and the ability to purchase such license is found at: [redacted]

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Advocate ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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I resolved this issue, i was using wrong code to add a new spot channel. I accidently used cmyk for lab and didnt pay attention properly

var theColor = new SolidColor(); //new Spot();
    // alert(typeof(lab))
    // alert(lab)
    // alert(lab.split(",")[1])
    try{
        theColor.lab.l = lab[0]; //lab.split(",")[0];
        theColor.lab.a = lab[1]; //lab.split(",")[1];
        theColor.lab.b = lab[2]; //lab.split(",")[2];
        var theCh = myDoc.channels.add();
        theCh.kind = ChannelType.SPOTCOLOR;
        theCh.name = name;
        theCh.opacity = 20;
        theCh.color = theColor;

    } catch (e){
        alert(e +" "+name+" "+lab)
    }

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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2022 Dec 20, 2022

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Pantone does not own the formula. They only own the name Pantone. This was discussed heavily on other forums.

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Engaged ,
Dec 22, 2022 Dec 22, 2022

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quote

Pantone does not own the formula. They only own the name Pantone. This was discussed heavily on other forums.


By @kevin stohlmeyer

 

I'm assuming by "formula" you mean the Lab values Pantone has assigned them. This is different from the recipie in their Formula Guide which has the measurements of the base pigments to blend to match that color name. Because that Pantone does own.

 

I am not a lawyer, but: In theory one could purchase a color swatch guide from Pantone, do all of the measurements of all of the swatches oneself, and maybe even publish a chart of the measurements one took.

 

However, I expect you would face legal challenges from Pantone who has consistently asserted that they do own the publication of their proprietary color names, including and especially alongside corresponding Lab measurements. 

 

(One could make the argument that they were entitled to publish their own copies of the latest John Grisham novel, because they have a dictionary and already have all the words in it.)

 

Most licensing agreements also contain language about "reverse engineering." This would be like purchasing a font, printing out the glyphs, scanning and tracing them, then turning that into your own font that you turn around and publish*. You can expect a claim of copyright violation. (This happens quite a lot more than you may realize.)

(*"publishing" includes selling or making available for free)

 

Oh, and when it comes to inks, yes, you can use whatever formulas and pigments you wish to blend to create what measures to a specific Lab color, in the proper conditions, but not every characteristic of inks can be represented in CIE-L*a*b*. Those measurements are taken at the right angle and lighting condition of a solid swatch at nominal density. There is no accounting for halftones or metamerism. (Anyone who's had a "red" spot color turn "blue" when it halftoned can tell you this.)

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Engaged ,
Oct 17, 2022 Oct 17, 2022

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for what it's worth, most commerical printers still print with and support Hexachrom colors, if for no other reason just the volume of backlist reprints that still use them

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