BLACK in Photoshop — Proper CMYK formula???

Posted By
May 21, 2004
I plan to use a black background for a package I’m designing. I notice the default black in Photoshop in the Foreground/Background boxes is a weird combo of CMYK, with only 90% K. However, when I do a fill with black from the drop down menu, the CMYK breakdown is 100% for each. Am I insane? I never thought BLACK would perplex me so. In the past I’ve been told to create a Rich Black with 20% Cyan / 20% Magenta / 100% Black. Today someone else told me to use 30% each of Cyan and Magenta along with the 100% Black.

Then for any BLACK TEXT in Photoshop that I create, what cmyk formula do I use?

And for any black objects other than the background?

May 21, 2004
Rich black is whatever you want it to be. If you want a cold black 100%K with 50%C a warm Black 100%K with 50%M. or you can do the 100K 20C 20M or 100K 30C 30M. you need to find out what the printer is using for rich black and what looks best on there presses.

type is only 100K pressmen hate rich back type. They will kill if they meet you in a back ally.
May 21, 2004
…. black alley.

If you don’t know the press, assume it’s web and use 100K, 60C, 40M, 40Y (or less) for backgrounds.

Black doesn’t have to be 100%; 95 will do (but that’s another story).
May 21, 2004
May 21, 2004
See?!? Mike’s ellipsis is 66% and GRACol isn’t sending the cops after him. (it’s an attention grabber)

Mike, depending on the quality of the plates used, having a bit of halftone on a flat color area, can help keep it uniform
(sort’of… like… "noise" in a gradation).
May 21, 2004
I like to use as little ink as possible. One of my favorites is 30 20 20 100. I like to achieve a neutral mix between the M and Y and then help them trap and define the temperature of the black (cold, hot) with the C. If you look at the color sliders you can see the undercoating behind the K to the left of the slider. If you are going into newsprint, the above mixture is good for backgrounds but if you have small type or logos don’t use rich black! Due to misregistration (which is extremely common in newsprint) you want small black items to be 0 0 0 100. That way one of the other plates won’t slip and you won’t need 3D glasses to look at the type or logo. There’s a million black mixtures for different scenarios…
May 24, 2004
If using a rich black for text in PS, is there any way to choke or overprint the cmy plates from within PS? I’ve always wondered if this is creating headaches for prepress.
May 24, 2004
You would do this separately in each channel — but you should only even be considering it for VERY large sans serif characters.

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