Having an impossible time trying to print pure grey CMYK

vigilante

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Somebody please help, or shoot me, one of the two.

I have a simple graphic made up of mostly solid colors. A very important color used is pure greys, three variations 35%, 50% and 60% grey. Also my font colors are set to pure 100% black toner as is pretty typical for CMKY type.

I cannot seem to get our printer to use pure back toner except from Photoshop. Any other program, any other file format, will print using the color toners. In fact, if I export a TIF from PS and then stick that TIF back into a new PS document, the 35% pure grey turns into ZERO PERCENT grey and only uses color toners!

I've tried exporting to TIF, PDF, JPG with no luck. I've placed the PSD directly into an Illustrator document and it still won't print pure grey. In fact, when I place the PSD into Illustrator and use the eye dropper, the grey color has changed, but if I embed the PSD, the grey goes back to the pure grey. However, it still changes the color when I print. I cannot print a pure grey from Illustrator directly no matter what I try!

I have been reading endlessly about color workflows and embedded profiles etc etc, nothing works. I've saved the PSDs with and without embedded profile but it makes no difference to Illustrator, because Illustrator never prints a pure grey anyway.

So why is it that no program on my entire freaking computer can print a pure black toner grey color except Photoshop?
The boss won't accept this, because only I have PS, they want TIFs or PDFs so that anybody can print these templates who needs them, but if they don't print pure grey, it looks like crap!

In my print settings in PS, I have it set for PS to manage colors, and the printer profile set to SWOP v2. When I print from Illustrator, there is the option for Illustrator to manage colors, however SWOP is not one of the options for the printer profile. In fact, when looking through the printer profile list, ALL of them are RGB variants! The document itself is CMYK SWOP v2 but in the print dialog box, there is no CMYK or SWOP option for the printer profile. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.
The bigger issue is that I can't print from a TIF or a PDF or any format except directly from Photoshop to get my pure greys and it's driving me nuts!

Preferably, I'd like to export my PSDs to PDF and make sure the PDFs print correctly no matter whose computer prints it.

Any ideas?

(PS, I know that the printer has a lot to do with it, I'm using a Sharp MX-3110N. This is a pro printer that is >$16k)
 

vintagesnaps

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Shoot you with a camera? (I had to....)

I've had photos done as TIFF but can't think offhand if I've printed or reprinted them, but I've printed PDFs I'm pretty sure in just black.

My scanner tends to add color so in Photoshop I check to see if it shows RGB and if it does I'll change it to grayscale or Remove Color. Not sure what else might be worth checking or trying... take the color ink out and put all black ink cartridges in??
 

Ysarex

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In my print settings in PS, I have it set for PS to manage colors, and the printer profile set to SWOP v2. When I print from Illustrator, there is the option for Illustrator to manage colors, however SWOP is not one of the options for the printer profile. In fact, when looking through the printer profile list, ALL of them are RGB variants! The document itself is CMYK SWOP v2 but in the print dialog box, there is no CMYK or SWOP option for the printer profile. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.

That has everything to do with it. You're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You have a CMYK document, but your printer was designed to receive an RGB document. As such your CMYK document is being converted for you by the printer driver.

The bigger issue is that I can't print from a TIF or a PDF or any format except directly from Photoshop to get my pure greys and it's driving me nuts!

Preferably, I'd like to export my PSDs to PDF and make sure the PDFs print correctly no matter whose computer prints it.

The default for a PDF is to contain RGB data. It is possible to create a PDF with CMYK data from Illustrator or Photoshop when you export the PDF. In Photoshop select Output, then in the Color box Color Conversion: select Convert to Destination and then for Destination: select the profile for your printer. And that's where you hit the wall. There won't be a CMYK profile for your printer. It's an RGB device.

Any ideas?

Send your RGB printer an RGB document.
Joe

(PS, I know that the printer has a lot to do with it, I'm using a Sharp MX-3110N. This is a pro printer that is >$16k)
 
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vigilante

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That has everything to do with it. You're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You have a CMYK document, but your printer was designed to receive an RGB document. As such your CMYK document is being converted for you by the printer driver.

Doesn't seem to be a problem for Photoshop, just every other graphic format possible.

Send your RGB printer an RGB document.
How am I supposed to use 30% grey in RGB? Which print drivers will work the best for conversion? How can I get this result in a TIF or PDF?

All printers we use ask for CMYK documents, so I'm used to designing in that mode. Are you saying I should be designing everything in RGB and hope for the best? Not sure what you're saying is the solution here.
 

Ysarex

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That has everything to do with it. You're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You have a CMYK document, but your printer was designed to receive an RGB document. As such your CMYK document is being converted for you by the printer driver.

Doesn't seem to be a problem for Photoshop, just every other graphic format possible.

Photoshop is doing a decent job of the conversion for you up front.

Send your RGB printer an RGB document.
How am I supposed to use 30% grey in RGB? Which print drivers will work the best for conversion? How can I get this result in a TIF or PDF?

All printers we use ask for CMYK documents, so I'm used to designing in that mode.

That's because they have either CMYK printers and/or RIPs that handle CMYK input.

Are you saying I should be designing everything in RGB and hope for the best? Not sure what you're saying is the solution here.

No good solution. Any way you pound a square peg into a round hole is going to be ugly. That printer is an RGB device and if you don't send it RGB data it's driver will convert the data for you. So either 1. you convert the data to RGB (example Photoshop) or 2. you live with what the printer does as a conversion.

Here's a quoted paragraph from the book Real World Adobe Photoshop It is correct:

The way Photoshop prints to a desktop printer depends on the color mode in which it expects to receive data. Photographic printers are true RGB devices—they expose photosensitive paper using red, green, and blue lasers or LEDs—so the CMYK color mode simply doesn't apply. Inkjet printers use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks (plus additional inks to extend gamut and detail), which in theory at least makes them CMYK devices. But in practice, unless you're printing through a PostScript raster image processor (RIP), desktop inkjet printer drivers are built to receive only RGB data. This is because traditionally, operating system-level graphics languages have not been able to send CMYK to printers. Photoshop itself can send CMYK to these printers, but the printer driver will immediately convert it to RGB before doing anything else with it.

Joe
 

KmH

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30% grey in RGB is R - 178, G - 178, B - 178.

Any true RGB shade of grey is equal amounts of RGB.
 
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I may be a little dense but..... are you saying I should just never use CMYK modes at all? I thought one of the reasons for using it is because too much of the RGB gamut is outside what a laser printer can print.
Sure I can switch to RGB mode, but I still want to make sure I'm working within the color space available to the printer right? CMYK is closest to that I thought.

Nevertheless, I'll try to recreate the project in RGB mode and see how the printer handles that.
 

Ysarex

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I may be a little dense but..... are you saying I should just never use CMYK modes at all?

Use CMYK to prepare a document for output to a CMYK printer, typically an offset press. If you don't have that printer and your document isn't being prepped for such a printer then anything you do in CMYK will have to be converted to RGB to be printed on an RGB printer. If your document is being force converted to RGB it does beg the question why did you use CMYK.

I thought one of the reasons for using it is because too much of the RGB gamut is outside what a laser printer can print.
Sure I can switch to RGB mode, but I still want to make sure I'm working within the color space available to the printer right?

The solution in that case is to profile the printer and use that profile to manage the printer and to soft-proof your document. Which is not an option in your situation -- no good solution. What you're describing is a situation in which printing will be accomplished from various non-color managed software programs and from various computers. In that case your best bet is to create and test an RGB document that is not color managed and that gives you reasonable output directly from the printer driver.

CMYK is closest to that I thought.

Nevertheless, I'll try to recreate the project in RGB mode and see how the printer handles that.
 

The_Traveler

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Why are you worrying so much about color space, just try JPEGs in rgb and srgb to see about the blacks first?
 

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