Color Shotgun

How the Color Shotgun works is it converts the selected color into a L*a*b color or Lch color then creates a range of colors and converts those to the output color.

The Color Shotgun is NOT a CMYK mixer. It creates a range of colours based on the perceived difference between the colors and does not just change the colour formula which would result in duplicated colors and a messy layout.

The colors are arranged by Hue, Lightness and Saturation (chroma) or by the grey balance. This results in a chart with a logical and predictable layout making it easy to pick the correct color.

Its main purpose is to create a printed color chart based on a starting color , so you can then match the printed colors by eye (or with a measurement tool) to a sample such as a Pantone color from a Pantone book or a customer supplied sample.

Since this is designed to be used when you do not have an exact match, a small error in the starting color is not a problem, as you will be printing dozens or 100's of swatches close to the starting color, one of these will usually be a match if the color is in Gamut.

CMYK Conversions
CMYK colors may not be converted to the same color percentage since the starting color is converted from CMYK to a L*a*b color then back to CMYK. This is because the black color value is not preserved, and since there are multiple ways to create a same in CMYK, the final color formula is determined by the ICC Color Profile used.

It's important to remember that when printing to a digital printer, the color in your file is not the color formula used to print to the media. If your artwork is CMYK 0,100,50,0% that formula simply tells the printer what color you want. That formula will past through multiple color profiles and correction curves, so the actual mixtures of ink used on the media will be different. It should not be a concern if your starting colour changes from CMYK 0,95,70,25% to something more random CMYK 18,100,81,9% as they both will print the same colour on a digital printer.

Grids
The colors are created in a logical grid using two methods. This logical ordering makes it much easier to find the right color. Always start with the center swatch on the middle block. You can choose how many steps in each grid and also the range (difference in color)

LCH Grid
This is used for most colors, where each block is a different hue (color) and in each block the colors are lighter on top and darker on the bottom, less saturated on the left and more saturated on the right.

  • If the swatchis the wrong 'color' such as too green or too red, Move to another block
  • If the swatch is too light compared to the sample move down.
  • If the swatch is not saturated enough (too grey) move right

Lab (Grey) Grid
For Greys and low saturated colors, each block is a different lightness, and in each block the color will vary, left is more green, right is more red, up is more yellow, down is more blue. This grid makes is easier to find neutral colors

Delta-E
Delta-E is a standard way of measuring color differences, Each preview swatch indicates the delta-E difference to the sample color so give a guide to the differences.

  • 0 Delta-E - This is an exact match
  • <1 Delta-E - Extremely close match, hard to tell the difference
  • <2 Delta-E - Close match, Considered a commercially acceptable match.
  • 2-5 Delta-E - Some noticeable difference
  • >5 Delta-E - You will notice the difference

Color Profile
Make sure the color settings match your desired output profile, you can see the output profile by expanding the output sectio

Some key points to note:

  1. Most digital printers produce colors which are better than the CMYK gamut, you will usually get a better color match by outputting the colors in RGB and using an RGB Document to print the file. (Remember to make sure that any output files, EPS, PDF etc do not covert the RGB colors to CMYK or you will loose the benefit of the bigger range of colors in RGB)
  2. If you can not find the right color, choose the closest printed swatch formula and use this as your new starting point and create another chart.

Release Notes

1.2.0

  • Added: Color Control Wedges to the title bar, So you can be sure the print is consistent.

1.1.0

  • Added: Option to show Lab Values in CMYK charted, Needed for accurate second round sampling

1.0.3

  • Requires PowerScripts 3.4.2
  • CC2018 Compatability Fixes