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Color > 199: Thou shall not allow rich black tints to exceed 300 percent ink co...

199: Thou shall not allow rich black tints to exceed 300 percent ink coverage

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Commentary Printing what is called “rich blacks”—the black printing with the three other inks (CMY)—can be troublesome when the percentage combination of all four colors adds up to more than 300 percent. All printers have a limit on their total area coverage (TAC), which refers to the maximum amount of ink allowed in the darkest areas of an image. The percentages vary from a maximum of around 300–340 percent for coated papers to 240–280 percent for uncoated papers. So to be on the safe side, I always check the values of any darker images (a night shot, for example) to ensure that the blacks of the sky and shadows don’t exceed 300 percent. Not doing this makes the printing difficult to control when on press because of the huge amount of ink being laid down. It’s also quite wasteful and too much ink will lead to “set-off” when drying, which means the image will be pressed onto the following sheet. A disastrous and very expensive issue to resolve and only fixed by going back and amending the guilty file, so check them first! PD

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