Specular reflections - PANTONE Solid Coated

Earlier today I was working on a color match for a customer in a dark blue color and happened to notice that a lot of the dark blues seem to have an odd pinkish/purplish specular reflection. I’ve never noticed it before today.

This weirdly tinted specular reflection is very evident on the Reflex Blue and 072 swatches in the fan deck and as near as I can tell, colors making heavy use of Reflex Blue or 072 in their formulas seem to also show this to some extent or another.

I spent a little time perusing some of the other swatches in the fan deck looking for ‘off-color’ specular reflections and didn’t really see anything jump out at me. Anybody else ever seen this or noticed anything like it? Does anybody have a recent fan deck, and if so does yours also exhibit this oddity?

Also - anybody working in print production that’s actually seen the actual PANTONE inks 072 or Reflex Blue printed before - does this odd color specular show up there as well?

Just wondering - I’m mildly concerned that this will cause odd/bad measurements of these swatches with my specular-included instrument.

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I have some labels that have reflex blue used on them but I never noticed that phenomenon. I can take a look and maybe take some photos.

Some inks never dry. There are 14 pantone colours that always stay wet, reflex blue is one of them and any ink that is a mixture of reflex blue and I’d imagine 072 is one of them. This is due to the pigment Akalai Blue.

For the book to prevent smudging they probably use a drying agent or a uv coat or something, can’t remember off top of my head I’d have to look it up.

Most printers hate reflex blue.

I was gonna ask why you’d be putting a spec on Reflex blue? It’s impossible to hit in digital. Maybe an OGV inkset can do it, but I’ve never seen it.

Most savvy designers know enough to avoid that family of blues.
That’s probably why you’ve never noticed them.

Having not worked very much with any sort of traditional/conventional print, these are things I was not aware of, but it’s good to know. Thanks. The bit about some of the inks never really drying due to the pigment is interesting.

I half wondered if it wasn’t some kind of coating required specifically for those swatches using higher amounts of those inks since I didn’t see it on anything else.

We weren’t aiming for Reflex Blue in this case. I sort of automatically assume that most pantone colors a customer asks for are going to be out of gamut, but even then we do our best to accommodate/approximate as much as possible.

I just happened to notice the odd specular when looking through the fan deck for that swatch in the dark blues.

This was a case of PANTONE 654 C, which we did a passable job of - my eXact claimed a 5.5 dE00 but my little pocket d/0 SPI spectro claimed 0.95 dE00. My eyes, under our decent but not standardized/balanced lighting in the plant seemed to fall in between.

We figure about 80% of the regular Coated Pantones are achievable. More or less depending on the machine being used and how good the CC department is.

We have problems with paint in those deep blues not drying. Mostly pigment, no paint. Makes sense inks would be the same. I don’t do much conventional print either anymore. Just the occasional true glass porcelain job that works like plate printing sort of.

I wouldn’t know how to estimate the percentage of PANTONEs in gamut for our two main platforms. The RIP’s profiling engine measures a few when profiling but it’s far from an exhaustive list.

We have customers asking for stuff out of the newer books pretty regularly, but we do see the regular use of 185 and 485 red, which I hate. Our reds have never been all that satisfactory to me - more to the orange side of red than ‘coke’ red.

As far as I know Coke red is 484C

Pantones are specially mixed ink used mostly in lithographic print.
I know digital print can print pantone colours - but I assume they are bought cartridges and not mixed inks on site?

@PrintDriver how does that work actually???

Very very rare to see a digital press (at least in wide format) with a separate pot for a custom pantone ink mix. I don’t even know what something like that would cost to have mixed. I don’t use the smaller high-run presses. Their mileage may vary.

Most Pantones are done via profile, provided by machine and media manufacturers. A lot of times these are really close on most of the easy ones but some could be closer.
Some printers do their own custom profiles using a spectrophotometer and create their own lookup tables. Those are the printers I usually deal with. Their color tables are proprietary and the profiles are not made public. They are the ones that can hit a very large percentage of Pantone colors.

The inksets are usually combinations of CMYKcmyk with the occasional orange/green/violet option on a limited number of machines out there (these are what Pantone thinks the Extended Gamut books are for, but just ignore them please!)

The inksets for wide format have an extended gamut. They are much better at hitting pantones than a CMYK traditional press. And the ink droplets are much smaller than a line screen pattern, so your eye puts them together as almost continuous solid Pantone. Depends on how light the color is. The lighter the color, the more likely you can see the individual dots that make it up.

If doing an RGB con-tone like a lambda, the dots are so laser small, you can’t see them. Sadly those machines are dying out. And IMO there is nothing to replace them.

I’ve wondered about that too. I’ve assumed it wasn’t possible to recreate some of the Pantone colors in inkjet solutions since they’re based around dissolved pigments (dyes) instead of suspended solids in a liquid carrier medium.

I find that our PANTONE libraries in-RIP do not translate all that well to reality* for our color profiles.

I don’t know where their data comes from, but I assume the RIP software company and PANTONE’s parent company worked together on it in some fashion considering that there exists a completely separate library file for each of the different measurement conditions (M0, M1, M2, M3).

*I suppose that may be somewhat dependent on the delta standard we aim for internally - it’s pretty tight, much tighter than “industry standard” or so I’m told. Not to say we always achieve it but we get there more often than not.

It may also be due to gamut limitations - we don’t have super-fancy extended gamut inks, just CMYKcm in the best case.

Yep, they always cause problems on a Litho press. We usually added extra time to the estimate for more press time. One old time printer I knew would throw a tantrum if he was asked to print Reflex or 072. He had a special ink mix that looked the same to me and had none of the problems but it was expensive and the boss would try to stop him using it. He took that secret to the grave.

The purple sheen is well known to anyone who’s worked in a litho shop.

Yeah Tic Tac Gum used Reflex Blue, not my choice. That was how I learned about it.

I tried to look that up on the work I did with their assets but all I have is a Spot swatch placeholder with a CMYK inside. I’m sure I had it once upon a time…

Coca Cola has their very own special Pantone chip. I’ve seen it. It is not a Pantone book number. And with inkjet, it tends to shift a bit depending on the lighting and how it picks up the magenta inks.
They also have Brand Police… :slight_smile:

I used to mix the coke red ink back in the screen printing days. Funny I only remember that now. It wasn’t based off a pantone book either. It was about 25 years ago give me a break haha :joy: never heard of pantone back then. Oh my memory…

This is the kind of thing that makes me glad I signed up here. It would have forever been a
“huh that’s weird… hey boss, what do you make of this?”
“gee i dunno. never noticed before. don’t worry about it”
“ok then…”

The little bit of “coke red” we’ve printed digitally, we went to great lengths years back to “match”, and our custom library/spot color is the same. Just something like “coke red” for the name and cmyk values in the settings. I haven’t looked but I’m certain the RIP uses a set of Lab values we obtained and subsequently adjusted to get our best possible output.