Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.

Disabling Color Profiles, trying to print PURE inkjet colors.

Skip to first unread message

Jun 29, 2007, 10:41:11 AM6/29/07
When I select 100% Yellow in my CMYK document I want my printer to use Yellow, 100% yellow and no other colours.

Every couple of months I mess around with color profiles in Illustrator and Photoshop to try to find a way for the colours to get from CMYK to my printer without being kidnapped by Adobe or Printer Profiles or Monitor Profiles or anything else in between.

When I choose "Color Management Off" it sets my CMYK space to "Web Coated (SWOP)" - which is almost correct colors (as long as you disable Absolute Colorimetric because it is EVIL). Trouble is when you click the Out of Gamut colors you get 6.67% Cyan added to your Yellow (if you use Absolute Colorimetic you get a white which is grey and 100% yellow is 9.41% Magenta and 94.51% Yellow - when would I EVER WANT LESS THAN FULL YELLOW BY DEFAULT WHEN I TURN OFF COLOR MANAGEMENT? Why would I ever want grey instead of white when I turn off color management?) .

I have no Printer Color Profile. (Epson Photo R210, 6 color ink)
I have no monitor Color Profile.

- So if I disable color management and I print, I get muddy yellows and a whole page of light grey (by default).
- If I switch from Absolute to Relative I get a normal looking yellow - NOT A PERFECT YELLOW, but almost good enough.
- If I choose Illustrator 6 Method My yellow works properly (I think), but this is NOT available in Photoshop.
- There is no CMYK space profile for MY printer, only RGB.
- There is no way in Photoshop to print a proper Yellow. CMYK Space for PS4 is wrong, CMYK space for PS5 is wrong, all the Ink settings for Coated/Uncoated/Dull etc are wrong.

What have I done wrong?

Seriously, I challenge anyone here to print a pure colur ink from their inkjet.

More factoids.
Using Color Management Off
- If I select Saturation, the color is less correct than Relative
- If I select Perceptual, it is less correct than Saturation
- If I select Absolute, it is the worst.
+ Adding Black Point Compensation makes them all a little less correct.

If I wanted to adjust my colours, I would do it myself - if I wanted to do a Proof I certainly would NOT trust anything to come out of my Inkjet. I don't know why the option is even there when I don't have a super awesome Proofing compliant printer.

All I want is to select 100% Cyan or Magenta or Yellow and print it. And I don't want to see working colors in print-preview mode either. I know that printed ink is not a backlit pixel.

I want my CMYK values to go straight to the printer - no interferance AT ALL. If I want to emulate ANYTHING - I will do it with color curves, contrast, saturation and all of the normal tools a normal person would use to do that.

Jun 29, 2007, 11:06:25 AM6/29/07

Unless your inkjet is a PostScript printer, then when you print a CMYK
document it is converted to RGB before being passed to the printer
driver (because non-postscript printer drivers cannot handle CMYK).

Once it arrives at the printer, the firmware converts the RGB file to
the C,M,Y,K or C,c,M,m,Y,K (or whatever the printer requires).

Consequently you have absolutely no control over what inks the printer
is using - it's nothing to do with the colour management settings.

Scott Falkner

Jun 29, 2007, 1:00:54 PM6/29/07

(because non-postscript printer drivers cannot handle CMYK)

I wonder about that, and if it's really true. Does Adobe have some patent on CMYK printing?

Jun 29, 2007, 1:35:49 PM6/29/07

Consequently you have absolutely no control over what inks the printer
is using - it's nothing to do with the colour management settings.

Changing the colour management settings causes different printing results on my printer. There is only one good setting to get proper gradients and saturation, so I think my point is valid.

Illustrator certainly is not sending the same RGB values each time - so Illustrator is the problem. I can get nice colours if I use "Emulate Illustrator 6" but all the other settings create junk except the "Photoshop 4 Default CMYK" which is probably the next best (though it looks darker and the gradients do not blend as good as AI 6 mode)

Satoski Komiyama

Jun 29, 2007, 5:10:46 PM6/29/07

Illustrator certainly is not sending the same RGB values each time

Your Color Settings affects color conversion of source CMYK document color space to destination RGB device color space. If you alter the color settings, it will change the RGB color values to be sent.

so Illustrator is the problem

Yes and No. Yes, it is a problem in Illustrator which is not sending CMYK color values to your CMYK inkjet printer. No, it is not a problem of Illustrator which is using standard API provided by Windows GDI which is not designed to handle CMYK color space.

PostScript printing is a special deal. Illustrator as well as other Adobe applications bypass Windows GDI and send CMYK imaging data directly to the device. Adobe and other PostScript savvy applications can do this because PostScript page description is device independent. Most modern applications can not offer such special deal for non-PostScript devices because there're so many different devices/drivers in the world and supporting only one device/driver requires non trivial amount of developement and testing cost.

Illustrator does not offer the special deal for your EPSON Photo R210 or any other non-PostScript devices. Once operating systems have a better imaging model and support 4 or more colorant process color space and separation color space, then you have a good chance to get what you expect. I don't think it would happen in next 5 years though.

If your printer manufacture provides a Soft-RIP for your printer, you may want to give it a try.

Jun 29, 2007, 9:47:23 PM6/29/07
It still does not explain why Adobe made "Color Management Off" that sends such ugly colors by default. And every other mode since AI 6 is not as good as the original method of doing nothing.

And Photoshop CS can't even do the AI 6 method. So when you import one you get junk again.

And your suggestion of using RIP is just more arguments against using Adobes color management system.

Jun 30, 2007, 6:29:46 AM6/30/07

You really need to learn about colour management. It would be well worth
spending 15 minutes or so over at: and

Although those tutorials are designed for Photoshop CS2, everything is
just as applicable to Illustrator CS2.

>>Changing the colour management settings causes different printing
results on my printer.<<

Of course it will affect the output because it affects the data being
sent to the printer driver, but what *INKS* the printer chooses to
represent the data that comes from the printer driver is beyond your
control, which is what your original question was asking.

Jul 26, 2007, 1:07:08 AM7/26/07

"And Photoshop CS can't even do the AI 6 method. So when you import one you get junk again."

Just wondering if you managed to find some settings in Photoshop that matched emulate illustrator 6? I am having the same issue. I'd like to know exactly what those colour settings were, so I can replicate them in photoshop because as you mentioned they seem to produce the most accurate printouts.

Jul 26, 2007, 1:08:07 AM7/26/07

Aug 18, 2007, 6:04:49 PM8/18/07
I created pages for a booklet in AI with all text in black. I added a fairly large green checkmark on each page. All worked well and printed fine on my inkjet printer until today after I changed some of the positions of the checkmark and lightened their color. Now some of the text prints green. I tried it on another inkjet printer and same thing even after making a completely new page with no checkmark and color- just the black text. What is!

Aug 28, 2007, 1:44:49 PM8/28/07

Aug 28, 2007, 1:42:05 PM8/28/07

I have spent WEEKS researching this very issue for my department, and I agree that it is a problem. I have been taking projects to press for more than thirty years and my impression is that you know plenty about color management.

The issue that I believe you and I are trying to resolve is that there should be *some* way to turn color management TRULY OFF.

As you say, if you want 100% yellow (and I am thinking yellow ink on a printing press or the yellow toner cartridge in a cmyk printer), you should be able to control that.

I feel as though Illustrator does so much thinking for its user that it has thought itself into a muddy gray hole. It's a BUG.

Brett Dalton

Aug 29, 2007, 6:32:52 AM8/29/07
That is exactly the problem. It's all relative...literally. What is the definition of pure Red? pure Yellow? What value of RGB does that equate to? There are inks which are yellow but any two from different manufacturers will be different as will the RGB values of yellow on any two different monitors, hence with no management it is luck rather than anything else if you even get close.

. If you want a pure yellow on a press use spot colours, that is exactly what they are for, a colour defined Independant of normal digital colour management systems. But even here spot colours vary depending on stock and finish etc.

Don't just blame adobe, don't forget after it passes through PS or Illy etc there is the print driver and then the printer itself all of which may or may not have it's own layer of management.


Aug 29, 2007, 3:08:03 PM8/29/07
I'm trying to understand why you want to turn color management off. Don't you want the printed image to match the screen display?

When I print CMY blocks from AI or PS using color management on my Epson 2200 the colors look great and are very close to the screen display. When I print gradients they look great, very smooth, and again a close match to the screen display.

To print a pure cyan, magenta or yellow you are definitely going to need a CMYK RIP and printer driver that allows you to turn color management off and does not do any color conversion. Then, in AI you just set it to let the printer handle color and you're done. At that point, AI will be doing exactly what you want - outputting pure color.

As long as you are using Epson's Windows printer driver you have no ability to print pure CMY. And that's an Epson limitation, not Adobe. They could have chosen to write a CMYK printer driver instead of RGB but they didn't, probably because it's more expensive (that's just a guess). So, for your specific need, you have to resort to a third-party solution which Adobe does not offer. But there are several RIPs out there to choose from.

You can't expect Adobe to write printer drivers, that's the responsibility of the printer manufacturers. AI will most definitely output the pure colors you are looking for - you just have to provide a printer driver that supports it.

Aug 29, 2007, 3:32:49 PM8/29/07

I'm trying to understand why you want to turn color management off.

Sid, don't try too hard.

At the risk of sounding a tad harsh, I've found those who want to "turn off color management" are those who are too mentally lazy to learn the workings and benefits of a modern profile-based color management workflow.

They cannot get their heads around concepts like the difference between device-dependent and device-independent color... or the fact that their desktop inkjet printers are RGB devices (despite the use of CMYK-based inks).

They expect all monitors will display colors identically (regardless of control settings) and that cyan ink from inkjet manufacturer E is the same as cyan ink from inkjet manufacturer H, and that both are the same as the cyan ink used by all printing presses.

You and others here are generous in your attempts educate. However, I feel it is a thankless task. CM naysayers will only learn things the hard way, I'm afraid (e.g., an ad in a publication with a gigantic circulation or a huge printing run of expensive brochures comes out with funny colors).

Hey... there was a time I was ignorant about color management, too. I studied up on it, and, at some point, the lightbulb came on. We can hope for the same for others on the learning curve.

Teri Pettit

Aug 31, 2007, 1:32:09 PM8/31/07

You can turn color management off in Illustrator. As many people have said, what you can't do with most non-Postscript inkjet printers is send color specs to the printer in CMYK values, from any application. They only take RGB colors, and inside the printer, it decides what ink percentages to use.

I have a Canon 9900 eight-color inkjet printer myself, with CMYK plus green/red/light cyan/light magenta inks. There is no way for any application to tell that printer to print a block of yellow ink or a block of magenta ink. (Except if you request an ink test sheet from the driver.)

So, basically, your beef should be with your printer manufacturer, not with Adobe. It would be nice if more non-Postscript inkjet printers had a mode that allowed applications to send ink percentages instead of RGB color values, but they don't. The printer has CMYK inks, but it doesn't "speak" in CMYK.

Aug 31, 2007, 2:16:07 PM8/31/07
Wow Teri,

Thanks for taking the time to explain so clearly (and graciously) how color printers process color.

Unfortunately, most of the time, I am sending work to a four-color press, and not to a color printer. These are the times when C really ought to equal cyan, etc... unless there is something else I am missing.

I have successfully run large 4-color ads in major publications, as well as print quantities in six figures, for many years. In this case, it may be a disadvantage, as I still remember the days (showing my age) I could handwrite cmyk values with a non-repro pencil on my art board. This is the kind of control I would like returned to me, if there is any way to get it.


Aug 31, 2007, 4:46:50 PM8/31/07
If you create a CMYK document in AI and save it without a profile, you will get pure CMYK values if you specify them. I created a box in AI and filled it with cyan, saved it without a profile and read it into PS. The box reads 100% cyan. So, unless your print company's RIP is applying a profile or curb you should get 100% cyan on-press.

Teri Pettit

Sep 1, 2007, 10:06:28 AM9/1/07

Unfortunately, most of the time, I am sending work to a four-color press,
and not to a color printer. These are the times when C really ought to
equal cyan, etc... unless there is something else I am missing.

Sid is right about printing to press (or to any printer with a Postscript engine) from a CMYK document. Your specified ink percentages should be preserved. I have never seen them not be. (Well, except one version of Illustrator, I'm not sure which, maybe 10, if you set your PDF options to "optimize for Web" would output an RGB PDF instead of a CMKY PDF even from a CMYK document.)

But since the original poster (Terro) multiple times emphasized using an inkjet printer (specifically mentioning an Epson Photo R210, 6 color ink), and since you said that you had "spent weeks researching this very issue", I assumed you were referring to the issue of printing proofs to non-Postscript inkjet printers as well.

If your CMYK percentages are not being preserved when printing separations to press from a CMYK document, could you give more details about the steps you are using, what your PDF and Print options are, which version of Illustrator, etc.?

Sep 1, 2007, 11:48:14 AM9/1/07

In 10, you can save to PDF with the killer setting Screen Optimized which gives you an RGB warning, or you can print to Acrobat Distiller with the Adobe PDF Setting Screen which, unless you Edit Conversion Settings, will give you an RGB PDF.

I believe optimize for Web belongs to CS and/or later.

Teri Pettit

Sep 5, 2007, 1:18:27 PM9/5/07
Just a terminology difference. I should have said "screen" instead of "web". I didn't go back and check to see, and it's been a long time since I used 10 for anything except comparison purposes.

Oct 20, 2015, 3:32:31 PM10/20/15
I am working with an HP photosmart 6520; I have altered the ink inside the cartridges. This is a science project where I am not printing ink but rather a protein solution onto paper. I am trying to print designs from photoshop. I understand the color system on my mac is using RGB to make different colors, and the printer uses CMYK. However, I want the printer to stop using CMYK to make colors rather I want the printer to just use, C or M or Y, K.
I guess what I really want to know is how to create for on photoshop for different 'colors' that translate into the printer using either only M, C, Y, or K "ink" to print.

0 new messages