Settings for Print in Color



Hello everyone, today we are going to take a look on how to adjust the preferences and settings for printing artworks and designs in color, using Clip Studio Paint version 1.10.2. Including topics such as crop marks, canvas size, image resolution, color profile, cmyk colors, and export files. So, feel free to open Clip Studio Paint and let's begin.

Before Beginning

The first thing you need to do is to contact the printing provider or company where you are going to send the artwork or design to print. Call them by phone, send an email or visit the place in person. You can ask to them any doubt that you may have about the printing process, printing system (offset, digital), paper materials, color guides, color profile, canvas size, crop marks, image resolution or dpi, inks for print, format files for delivery, templates, amount of copies, and so on.

▼ You can check these articles that cover some on these points.

Setting Crop Marks

If you need to visualize or add Crop Marks. You can add them when creating a New Document selecting [Use of work] Comic or Show All Comic Settings. Make sure to change the Basic Expression to Color. Define the Bleed need it for the document (usually around 5mm) and Press OK. ▼

You can modify the default Colors and Opacity from [File > Preferences > Ruler Unit] ▼

You can also hide the guides from [View > Crop Marks / Default Borders] or modify the settings selecting the option below. If you delete the marks you can bring them back from the view menu. ▼

Setting Canvas & Image Resolution

[1] Unit of Length.
If you are going to use the Ruler in Clip Studio Paint you should change the Unit of Length when creating a New Document to millimeter, centimeter or inch.

If you still see the ruler in pixels change the Unit from [File > Preferences] Unit and select mm.

[2] Display Resolution.
Now for any print work I strongly recommend you to adjust the Display resolution before start making the design or illustration. Get a ruler of wood or plastic and from [File > Preferences] select [Canvas] and click on Display Resolution [Settings] match the ruler with the one on the screen and press OK.

Then you can go to [View > Print Size] to check the document in the size that is going to be printing. This can help you to avoid spending time in details that are not going to be visible or notorious in the final size.

[3] Setting Image Resolution.
The resolution will depend of the quality of the paper. You can choose the paper or cardboard base on the suggestions of your printing provider or the work you are going to do.

For example, if you choose good quality papers such the ones used in magazines, book covers, brochures, postcards, etc. You will need to create documents with at least 300 dpi. And for lower quality paper like those used in newspaper you can use 150 dpi.

So, remember you should always ask to the printing provider about the required dpi. But in case you are not sure about the quality you can use 350 dpi or more and scale down the image later. ▼

■ NOTE: Avoid to scale up from a lower resolution, with the exception of vectors or pixel-art.

[4] Change Image Resolution.
Now, before changing the resolution I would recommend you to [Save a Duplicate] and flatten the image or Merge the visible layers.

Then, to scale down-up the image go to [Edit > Change Image Resolution]. If you are using Crop Marks these will be deleted but you can add them later from the View Menu.

Make sure Fit Pixel is not selected. Choose the interpolation method according to your needs, I tend to use bilinear and high accuracy, most of the time. Then enter the new number in the dpi field or choose one from the drop menu.

▼ For more information on interpolation you can check the point 6 here:

Setting Colors

[1] CMYK or RGB.
Most of the time printing providers can ask you the files in CMYK for large print runs in offset. But for low quantity digital printing that use ink-jets or laser printers, they could ask RGB files instead. I have seen this situation in some print on demand websites (for t-shirts, phone cases, etc.). Although, they strongly recommend you to design in CMYK first and export as RGB later.

You can see more about how to use CMYK colors with the Color Slider in the coming points.

[2] Color Conversion.
If you printing provider recommends you to work with a specific CMYK profile you can change it in [File > Preferences > Color conversion]. You can convert the RGB colors to CMYK later when exporting for print with Embed ICC profile.

[3] Preview Color Profile.
Colors in CMYK are a bit limited in comparison to RGB, specially electric blues, greens and bright yellows. ▼

So, if you want to check how the colors might look once printed. You can go to [View > Color Profile> Preview Settings] and select the CMYK profile you are going to use. If you are in windows you can select the Microsoft ICM library. For Rendering intent you can select one of the four options Perceptual, Saturation, Relative Colorimetric and Absolute Colorimetric.

▼ Check this article to learn more about Rendering intent:

[4] Color Slider.
Now before to create any color for print. Make sure to change the [Color Slider] to CMYK to create colors based on the four inks for printing, cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). Also, this will prevent you to create saturated or bright colors that will not be reproduce later neither with digital or offset printing. This will be more noticeable with blues, greens and yellows. ▼

Using CMYK Colors

▼ For basic understanding of RGB and CMYK you can check:

■ Now, please be aware that for CMYK printing the best option is to have a printed color guide.

[1] Color Guides.
You can ask to printing companies to show you or if is possible to give you a color guide for print. These printing samples of colors will show the amount of each ink expressed in percentage. These guides may be different depending of the quality of the paper, gloss, printer machine, etc. But all of them may have an expiration date of few years for the color fidelity.

Creating CMYK colors with the Slider

To create CMYK colors you can mix the four inks in the Color Slider palette. For good results try to use numbers ending in five or ten. Or use a color printed guide to add the exact amount for each ink.

▼ For example to get this red orange I am going to add 80 % of Magenta and 100 % of Yellow (the sample for newspaper is the closest color printed in the guide).

▼ Now for this blue I am going to add 100 percent of cyan and bring the magenta down to 50% (the sample for newspaper is the closest color printed in the guide).

▼ You can add the colors to a new [Color Set] with the drop+ icon. You can also right click over the color and [Change color name].

▼ To know more about how to create a color set please check:

■ NOTE: You may notice that some registered colors could change their values in the Color Slider but visually they will look the same. So, you can consider to create your own color guide with the exact numbers or name each color with the values (C100, M0, Y0, K0).

Remember that the colors may look different depending of the printing system, gloss or matte surfaces and paper quality. And sometimes you will need to adjust and change the amount of inks to get closer to the original color.

■ Black in CMYK
Now, in CMYK the black ink to 100% it may not look as dark as it should. You can ask to printing companies for the correct combination of inks to get a darker black. Usually is about 100 percent black and sixty to eighty percent of the other inks. Here we can see just black at 100% and black with 100% along with cyan, magenta and yellow at 80% producing a more deeper and real black. ▼

NOTE: Please notice that this combination should only be use with large areas of black and you should avoid to add other colors to black or gray small lines or small text.

Exporting for Print

Whether the printing provider ask you the file in the standard CMYK for offset or digital RGB. Clip Studio Paint allows you to choose between different colors profiles and file formats.

▼ To export for printing you need to go to [File > Export (Single Layer)] and select the type of format required for the printing company.

▼ For CMYK printing make sure [Embed ICC profile] is selected and Expression color is on CMYK color. Also, you can select Crop Marks and borders if you need them.

▲ For better results keep the output size in 100%. If you need to change the resolution or size, check the step for Setting Canvas and image resolution. In [Process when scaling] select [For Illustration] and click OK.

▼ These are the more commons file formats used by printers.

■ PNG and JPG
These options can be used with digital or ink-jet printing. They will possibly change from RGB to CMYK during the physical printing process. But if you selected the colors in CMYK with a printed color guide, you can expect to get similar colors in the final result.

For better results if you export in JPG keep the Quality in 100%. You can also export JPG in cmyk but I would recommend you to use other formats for that type of profile.

This is the best option for CMYK offset printing. But the size of the file may be very large depending of the image. Remember to Save a Duplicate and flatten the image before exporting.

■ PSD or PSB
The two of them are Photoshop formats and can be used with both CMYK and RGB profiles. If you want to delivery an editable document with layers, these are the best options but you need to save the file as a duplicate and not as a single layer.

So, unless they indicated otherwise. For local printing providers I would always try to send CMYK and RGB files in different formats separated in different folders.


Finally, remember to always ask to your provider about the printing process and any doubt you may have about file formats, colors, printing system, dpi, canvas size, etc.

If you visit the printing company you can talk with the design department and correct the colors if necessary. You can also make a prepress proofing before start printing all the copies. Remember that the colors will be not an exact reproduction of the ones you see on the screen monitor or even they may change depending of the paper material and surface.

So, in summary always try to have a printed color guide. If you cannot get one from a printing provider, create one by yourself and print it in different ink-jet and laser printers. Here you can see the colors for a comic looking page. ▼

▼And here you can see the colors for a promotional postcard. Yellow in "Month" is at 100%

So, I hope you found something useful. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for check the tutorial! This is Ed saying "Until the next time".

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