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Adjusting Ink Density | Using Transparency
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Adjusting Ink Density

Total Ink Density, or total area coverage as it is sometimes referred to, is the total amount of ink in one area of the page. For example, if the background of your piece is made up of 100C 80M 80Y 100K, the total ink density would be 360% for the background. Too much ink can cause appearance issues, such as muddy colors or ink puddling, and therefore total ink density needs to be capped at 290%. Source Interlink Media Prepress Department will reduce the ink density of any ads that are outside of our specification to 290%. Since color is subjective, it is important that the total ink density be adjusted prior to submitting your materials.

Best Results for Printing

Source Interlink Media has a total ink density requirement of 290%. Anything above this level will cause undesirable results in both reproduction and appearance. If large areas will use rich blacks it is recommended to keep your total ink density below 280%. Our recommended rich black is 60C 40M 40Y 100K.

There are a number of methods to adjust ink density. The best solution is to cap the ink density during conversion from RGB to CMYK using a color profile (such as the U.S. Web Uncoated v2 that comes with Photoshop); this will give you the greatest control over the color quality. If your images are already CMYK, you can use the following technique to adjust your ink density in Adobe Photoshop. It is also possible to convert your CMYK images back to RGB and then use a color profile to adjust the ink densities upon conversion back to CMYK, although this option may produce undesirable results.

AView Total Ink Density

The Photoshop Info Palette will show the total ink density under your cursor. In Adobe Photostop, on the Info Palette:
• Select the Eye Dropper Icon
• Select Total Ink

BUsing Selective Color

The easiest method for removing ink density is using the Selective Color tool in Photoshop. This tool allows you to remove percentages of each color from specific areas of the image and replace it with black. Because high ink density is generally in the dark shadow areas, it is best to manipulate the blacks in the image. Once you have your CMYK file open in Photoshop and you have located a high ink density area:
• Go to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color
In the Colors dropdown, select Blacks
• In Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, enter -7
• In Black, enter +3
• For Method, select Absolute
• Preview should be checked. You can toggle Preview on and off to see the effects of the Selective Color adjustment.


CView Adjusted Ink Density

Before clicking OK, you can mouse over the high ink density areas of your image and the Info Palette will display the before and after CMYK mixes as well as the new Total Ink Density. If the total ink density is not low enough, you can adjust the setting above to remove more ink from the cyan, magenta and yellow channels.
• Once the adjustment is satisfactory, click OK.





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