[Scribus] Spot colors

Louis Desjardins louisdesjardins
Tue Dec 28 15:58:59 CET 2004

>At 06:25 28/12/2004, you wrote:
>>Its not about the code, its about the fee/royalties/large sums of cash that
>>need to be paid to use the systems.
>I don't know of how much money we are talking about, but what if 
>someone comes with a commercial plugin to support those features in 
>It could be a welcomed option for many Scribus potential users may be.


[I changed the subject line to reflect more the discussion.] ;-)

Spot color support is a feature we need. No questions on that.

Support for "Pantone" or for any other "color match system" raises 
the royalty/fee issue like Craig points out.

And we can't offer "Pantone" under GPL in Scribus, obviously, unless 
Pantone releases its own system under GPL.

Now, tell me if I am wrong, but "spot color support" does not implies 
Scribus needs, in an absolute manner, Pantone or the like color 
matching systems. At least not in all cases.

On top of the royalty issue, I see 3 other issues related with color 
matching systems like Pantone.
1. The color (plate) name that appears in the Postscript file and 
ultimately on the film or plate.
2. Onscreen rendering of the spot color
3. Printed rendering on digital printers of the spot color (not 
offset presses because it's up the pressmen to put the right ink... 
and then, there is no other issue at the software end than being able 
to output a plate for the extra color).

1. Scribus lets users put any color name in the color creation dialog.
2. Scribus lets users put any combination of cmyk inks to produce a 
color in the dialog box.
3. Most digital printers have their own rips and are all getting more 
and more "Pantone certified"...

Basically, the only fundamental issue here is Scribus not being able 
to output that spot color plate, so far. To my knowledge, the idea of 
"spot color" itself is not copyrighted, or is it?

As you know, I am not an expert at "under the hood" software 
mechanics but from what I've seen so far with various printers is 
they render Pantone colors in many ways due to the printing engine, 
the quality/type/number of the toners/inks they use in each 
particular printer AND to the algorithm for Pantone matching built 
into their rips - each vendor has its own solution based on the 
printer's gamut (and the paper used). Some printer vendors claim to 
be able to reproduce up to 85% of the Pantone palette on their 
machine. I never seen such a claim in any DTP app.

All this to say, and again you tell me if I'm wrong, what Scribus 
needs to send the printer is a color name it will recognize. The 
critical info which is asked from the source app is that color name. 
How this particular color is printed is up to the printer. Right?

When you want more control it must be done at the printer's rip, 
where you can tweak the values for any spot color you want until you 
get the desired result from your printer for that particular color 
(provided of course you have access to these settings, which is not 
the case for many if not all low-end printers/rips - you are then 
tied to your printer's capabilities).

 From what I know, the only control Quark has over Pantone rendering 
is screen related. The GUI offers an onscreen palette (the printed 
equivalent on paper can be bought in graphic art supplies stores). 
It's easier to work with a palette you can pick color from, I agree. 
At that point, I think the vast majority of Scribus users, even 
profesionnals, will be able to get along with a basic and usable 
"spot color support" that will allow them to enter a color name such 
as "Pantone 185 C" (or any other name), specify a decent screen 
rendering of that color, and output the plate.

The idea of having an extra "commercial" plug-in for anyone of us who 
absolutely need the Pantone palette for their work may be the 
preferred solution. Unless we come up with an open source solution of 
which I can't think of right now.

Coffee time!


P.S. The copyright aknowledgment about Pantone on the Quark splash 
screen clearly say that onscreen color might differ from the actual 
Pantone specs. Users are asked to refer to the printed material for 
accurate color reference...

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