I am trying to edit a picture that is mostly black with values CMYK - 75 68 67 90 and near and Total Ink value of 300. I am looking to bring the CMYK values of this down to CMYK 40 20 0 100 as recommended by my printer. How do I do that?

  • 3
    Ask your printer for a color profile... covert the images to that profile.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:01
  • Can you show us the image? That will guide how to show you how to limit the ink.
    – TunaMaxx
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


Your printer is lazy. n_n

The CMYK values depend on the design.

Color photography

Leave thoose values alone. They are correct.

Black and white photography

If your image was intended to be black and white (grayscale) Ok. There is a chance it could work lowering the values, but to tell you the truth you could have a not neutralized black and white image. Thoose values will give you a slight cold black.

Edited some time after.

The CMYK total ink coverage depends on the color profile used. The 300% value you have is given by the CMYK profile Swop V2 for coated paper and it is correct.

If you need to print on an uncoated paper, yes it is too much and you should use the uncoated profile, which has lower total ink.

But the values, CMYK 40 20 0 100 are from an "old school", where printers where afraid of putting too much ink on a black and white page.

  • 1
    Your printer in not lazy. A lazy printer would have just accepted the file and provided a plugged up, soupy mess of a disaster and said "your file was bad."
    – TunaMaxx
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:30
  • Using the correct total ink coverage should not make a mess, using the correct color profile should not make a mess.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 23:08
  • Exactly! When given a 75/68/67/90 300% blacks CMYK file, the printer asked him to go away and come back with a 40/20/0/100 160% file they knew they could hold instead. So had they printed the 300% file they'd have resulted in a soupy mess. Remember, they were given CMYK, not RGB or greyscale. The file is in device color space and you get what you get in that case, unless you're willing to convert to RGB then back to CMYK with the actual device color space.
    – TunaMaxx
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 23:56
  • 300% is totally fine if the target was sheeted offset print.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 1:04
  • Yes, and we could cure 400% ink with a UV digital press. What is your point? The print shop specified a far lower total ink percentage recommendation, so it's their value that is important here, not some theoretical process that may or may not be in play.
    – TunaMaxx
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 17:55

In CMYK mode go to curves (image > adjustment > curves, or Ctrl+M/cmd+M) select desired channel and click on the line. Then manually set "input" value in both boxes. So for cyan 40, 20 for magenta. Then go to layers tab, select "yellow" channel and mark it with "rectangular marquee tool". Fill it with white. You can also duplicate the yellow channel, fill it with white and then delete the previous one.

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