Need Ideas for Converting Colors to CMYK

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  David Blatner 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #110840

    I am trying to comply with IngramSpark’s requirement of CMYK 240% for both my interior and exterior. I have created a graphic novel with a lot of bright colors, and find that when I convert it using the PDF/X option, as recommended, my colors get very flat. Every page is a png file so to actually change all the colors would require redoing the entire book. I figure the solution must be in the conversion process. I read an article saying that there are better conversion options than the presets. I need my bright colors, or at least, way closer than I have now as this is meant to be a brightly-colored children’s book. I would even take a recommendation for someone who I could pay to do this for me. It feels like a year and a half of work is about to be flushed down the toilet!

  • #110841

    David Blatner
    Keymaster

    Here’s an article I wrote about converting to 240%:

    Force Color Images to CMYK with a 240% Ink Limit

    • #110842

      David, thank you. Yes, this is the article I read. I’m not sure if I am just not enough of a techy to get it, but I don’t understand how this helps me. I downloaded your script, but then couldn’t find where to put it. Then saw how old the article was, and figured the instructions may be different InDesign CC 2017. If I understand correctly, this will show me what a conversion at CMYK 240% will look like, but doesn’t help me make it look better. I did do the Separations Preview as you outlined. My whole book is over the 240% mark. Just not sure what to do at this point.

  • #110843

    David Blatner
    Keymaster

    Well, unfortunately, there is simply no way to maintain the vibrance of rich, saturated colors of many RGB images when you convert to CMYK with a 240% ink limit. It’s like trying to maintain incredible dynamic range on an old beat up audio cassette. (Does anyone remember cassettes anymore?)

    This is one reason why many color books are printed on offset or digital presses that can handle 300 or even 320% ink. You can get bright colors from 240%, but only when they’re relatively simple. For example 100% cyan and 60% yellow is only 160%, but it’s a nice bright green.

    I wonder if much of the problem for your graphic novel is in the dark colors, like black. And I wonder if it might be better to convert the images to CMYK in Photoshop first. I usually don’t recommend converting in Photoshop first (I believe in placing RGB images into InDesign) but this might be a case where you’d want to. Hm.

  • #110845

    Thanks for your responsiveness, David. I don’t actually have Photoshop (using Pixelmater), but I could probably figure that one out. (Maybe purchase one month?) Are you suggesting I might want to convert each image separately to CMYK in Photoshop and then import into InDesign? Would there be a way to manipulate the colors from Photoshop to come up with some suitable compromises? I’m doing a lot of internet searches, but just not finding what I think my questions are. Am I correct in that there is not a way in InDesign to mass change a color – like my black?

  • #110853

    David Blatner
    Keymaster

    Dakota: No, if you made the pages with a photo/pixel-editing tool such as pixelmaster then InDesign can’t go in and change those colors (other than do do a global change from RGB to CMYK). InDesign is a tool for laying out pages (text and graphics), not editing photos.

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