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It would literally be:

C: 100 M: 100 Y: 100 K: 100

For a total of 400% color


I know you're never supposed to go over 300... but

How would this affect:

  • The way it looks on my screen.

  • The way it gets printed.

(just for fun)

  • If I went down to the hardware store and told them I wanted that code made into a paint and then painted my walls with it, what would that be like (would it be an extremely black room - maybe get something close to Vantablack, or would it just look like a regular black wall etc.)
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    Your hardware store wouldn't be able to mix a paint from a CMYK color. The CMYK values can't be directly translated since they tell us about the raster screens for each ink. Totally different from mixing liquid colors. How would CMYK(100, 100, 100, 100) differ from CMYK(10, 10, 10, 10) anyway? – Wolff May 23 '17 at 8:41
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    Possibly this: youtube.com/watch?v=46kXH6GGtT0 ;) – mayersdesign May 23 '17 at 10:54
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    @Wolff i.stack.imgur.com/xKQgi.jpg – WELZ May 23 '17 at 11:59
  • @WELZ if you want 1 cup of paint, how much would you mix of each liquid CMYK color in order to achieve CMYK(100, 100, 100, 100)? 1/4 cup of each right? And how about CMYK(25, 25, 25, 25)? Also a 1/4 cup? There is a flaw in the math. That is because the CMYK system is invented for printing with ink on paper (and other stuff) using some kind of dot screening to enable tinting the inks. When the four inks are printed on top of each other, the illusion of a mixed color is created. When mixing liquid paints, the pigments mix on a molecular scale which is a totally different thing. – Wolff May 23 '17 at 18:40
  • @Wolff, I would do 1/16 of each and then 12/16 (3/4) white. – WELZ May 23 '17 at 18:42
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I can't really claim to know much of anything about mixing house paint.... It's my understanding though that the mixing system is more akin to a Pantone mix than a CMYK mix.


On screen, it would be just a black.
It would equate to 0R0G0B so.. black.

---> RGB -- > enter image description here


On press.. it'll get rejected by most prepress departments or at least get changed.

The reason there's an ink limit for printing is because stock can only soak up so much ink. Just as any paper will only hold so much liquid. Every stock gets to a certain point where it just won't take any more ink. Therefore drying times increase exponentially. Most printing presses have some drying capabilities. So, they are designed to combat basic drying needs, once you pass 300-310% ink, you've got wet puddles of ink sitting on top the stock that just won't dry without time. If a piece needs drying time that means the press may have to be run much slower than normal and even that pieces may need to be pulled off the press before the next piece slides on top of it and smears everything. It's really one of those things where the additional 90-100% of ink does not outweigh the problems it creates. There's not a great deal of benefit to a 100% rich black as opposed to a 100K/40C/20M/20Y rich black, for example.

If it could actually be printed, yes it would be a very deep rich black. Not sure it would border Vantablack.. but definitely dark.

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  • Dont forget a lot of short run stuff is done with a toner-based systems, so soak and dry-time is not an issue, however the thick build-up may lead to other issues such as cracking or peeling. – Digital Lightcraft May 23 '17 at 7:40
  • Agree - set normal black and talk to your printer. Dependent on the stock they know best. I have had then 'double black' before (their term) which I assume means some form of second run / overprint to increase the depth of the black. Also on any significant job, proof on stock before you print - then you KNOW exactly what black you will get. – Applefanboy May 26 '17 at 12:26
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Looks like everyone pretty much summed up the puddling issues from using too much ink, but I wanted to note on the paint issue.

The first thing that you'll realize is that cmyk pigmented paints are going to be hard to find in latex, particularly the translucent ones that make cmyk printing possible.

I love traditional art media, particularly acrylic paints, and though oil, latex, acrylic, etc are all different in practice, they're all just a clear liquid that hardens in the open air mixed with pigment. (I'm not actually sure if latex base is clear.) The pigments are available and you could mix it yourself. Wal-Mart actually sells the cmyk acrylics for like 3.50 each in most places, so experimentation isn't expensive.

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