What's neutral gray???

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by HowardG, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. HowardG

    HowardG Guest

    A designer is working with one of my photographs, laying it out as a poster.
    His typeface below my image is supposed to be a pale neutral gray. However,
    what he's showing me in the proof is a reddish gray. He says it's composed
    equally of 6% cyan, 6% magenta and 6% yellow. When I do type here with those
    units of cyan, magenta and yellow it looks reddish on my calibrated monitor.

    In fact the spectrum in the Photoshop Color Picker just to the right of the
    grays is reddish with those units until the cyan is upped to 9%. At that
    point the colors to the right of the grays jumps to blues on the color
    picker. There is a dramatic shift in the spectrum just by going from 8% to
    9% cyan. That appears to be the crossover point. When I use 9% cyan, 6%
    magenta and 6% yellow the type looks decidedly more neutral.

    I have noticed that in the Color Picker if you check the box Web Only Colors
    the grays shown there always have more cyan than magenta or yellow and yet,
    they always look neutral.

    The designer says that he can see no difference in his japanese color
    swatches between 6C+6M+6Y and 9C+6M+6Y. Nor can he see much difference on
    screen. I sure can!!!! He says the difference is imperceptable and that
    adding 3% cyan is so tiny an amount that it's neglible. Excuse me but the
    difference between 6% and 9% appears to be 50%. That's not negligible. Who's
    wrong here?

    Why do neutral grays require more cyan? Or do they?

    How much difference would there be when I go to press using high quality
    offset? Isn't there still going to be a perceptable difference?

    I opted for light gray, by the way so my name under the image wouldn't
    distract from the image, itself. The lettering had been vibrant blue before
    I protested.
    HowardG, Aug 10, 2007
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  2. HowardG

    Fat Sam Guest

    Quick question.
    Is he showing you prints, or are you looking at electronic files on a
    If the final output is for print (which seeing as you're in CYMK profile, I
    assume it is), then you might ask him to provide a proof print.
    So long as it looks right in the final medium, then all's well, right?

    Failing that, if you're paying the bill and he's bickering with you, it
    might be time for you to gently remind him who's paying the piper and
    therefore who's calling the tune.
    Fat Sam, Aug 10, 2007
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  3. HowardG

    tacit Guest

    Yes, that is correct.

    In RGB, neutral gray has the same amount of red, green, and blue.
    However, in CMYK, neutral gray does *not* have equal amounts of C, M,
    and Y! As you've discovered, equal amounts of cyan, magenta, and yellow
    is warm and slightly reddish.

    Neutral gray has more cyan tan magenta or yellow. 8-10 C, 6 M, and 6 Y
    would probably be closer to what you want.
    tacit, Aug 10, 2007
  4. HowardG

    mirafiori Guest

    In theory you are right. In practical or visual, you are right too but he
    may not be wrong as all depend on the type of picture. In this case, you are
    right because the color is a familiar solid light grey tone. 3% is a lot. If
    it is on average pix like scenery with multicolor then 3% may be negligible.
    mirafiori, Aug 11, 2007
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