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Colour separation

Full-colour (usually four-colour) printing first requires separation of the four CMYK primary colours on to separate printing plates, one plate per process colour. On each plate, the pure colour value is reproduced as black, while tints of that colour are reproduced as gray.

In the illustration below, you can see how a variety of colours are separated. Note that the rich-red word “RED” vanishes into the gray background on the cyan plate. This is because the red and gray used have similar cyan percentages. On the magenta and yellow plates, the word is completely black because its colour is 100% magenta and 100% yellow. In contrast, because the red used for RED has no black in its colour definition, on the black plate the word is reversed out (appears as white, the absence of colour).

This definition is extracted (and expanded on) from the book Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences by Gerald Jackson and Marie Lenstrup. It was first referred to in the blog Getting Published in a post on pre-press processes at a printing works.

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Categories: Uncategorized
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  1. June 16, 2010 at 4:19 am

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