Last week I started a series of posts around spot colors and Fiery. We covered the basics and factors that influence spot color accuracy, so let’s take it another step further with how to use Fiery Spot-On to manage and fine tune spot colors.

Fiery Spot-On is a tool that allows you to manage and adjust all the factory installed spot color tables, including adding your own. You can access Spot-On from Command WorkStation5 [Device Center > Resources > Spot Colors]

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Things you can do with Spot-On:
• Manually fine-tune any spot color to ensure it prints exactly as needed.
• Create and maintain custom spot color groups that can be activated or deactivated as needed. These can contain tweaked spot colors that differ from the standard tables.
• Capture spot colors using an ES-1000 spectrophotometer.
• Create substitute colors that replace NON-spot colors by using RGB or CMYK values to identify them.

Fine tuning a spot color using Spot-On

If you have a particular spot color that is not being reproduced to your satisfaction, or you need to change a spot color for any reason, follow the steps below. You can use these steps as a basic procedure to fine tune any spot color or substitute color as mentioned in the subsequent sections of this blog.

First locate the spot color table where the original spot color is located. [Device Center > Resources > Spot Colors]. A popular spot color table is the PANTONE Coated or PANTONE Coated (2nd Edition) table, which is used by many applications and designers. Click on this table to expose the individual colors. If the PANTONE Coated (2nd Edition) table is not available on your Fiery it can be downloaded from http://www.efi.com/dm/pantone/. Instructions for installing are included with the download. The 2nd Edition table matches updated colors used by current versions of major applications.

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Since we will be printing search patterns to test our color we need to select the output profile that best suits the type of paper we are targeting for our newly changed spot color. Make sure to have this paper loaded on the engine. See previous screen shot.

Locate your spot color and double click to bring up the search pattern window. In this example I am selecting Red 032. Explore the information and tools you have in the window below. The caution! symbol above the L*a*b* values indicates that this color it out of gamut for the printer and output profile selected. This means that the true color cannot be reproduced. When this occurs you still have the option of tweaking the color to arrive at the best or most acceptable color the printing conditions will allow. The CMYK values on the left represent the current selection. The initial values have been determined as “best fit” by the system. The saturation/brightness buttons change the way in which the search pattern responds. The Fine/Coarse slider increases the spacing between the search patches.

Click Print and follow the instructions to print the search pattern on the paper you have selected. This is important, as different papers will generate a different color response.

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Using the printed output find the closest match to your desired color. The center/center square represents the current color and the center hexagon patch you see on screen. Once you have located the better match click on the hexagon patch that represents the position on the printed sheet.

If the color needs more fine tuning you can repeat these steps until the best match is achieved. Use the tools mentioned above to help you refine your search.

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Once completed click “OK” at the bottom of the search pattern window and your spot color will now use the new CMYK values associated to the last center square you chose, for the specific stock and profile you selected.

Stay tuned for my next blog post: Creating and using a new spot color groups