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Special Effects Beyond CMYK in Digital Printing

A number of today’s commercially available digital printing solutions have added units beyond four-color, either inline or offline, to enable special effects that enhance digital print. Unique imaging capabilities can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium. This article explores how special effects can enhance the value of print and create new growth opportunities for service providers.


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By Peter Crean on Aug 25, 2017


Great article. I like your taxonomy of the enhancement technologies - you put order into a what usually looks like a random technology sets.

I might push back on putting Lc, Lm and grey inks into gamut extension. The Gamut extension is very slight in C and M and less for grey ink. The benefit is in smoothness (noise rejection) and is quite dramatic in light colors for inkjet (stochastic) and toner (dot screen). Text/graphic tinted edges are also much improved. Today, I see a lot of digital vendors using a CMYK grey starting around 40% dot and becoming full around 15%, something that wide format has done for decades. That said, I wouldn't put them any where else. These exotic renderings are found in any extended gamut system.

Pete Crean


By Paul Stead on Aug 27, 2017

Hi Jim,
Great article and subject matter. Timing is fantastic too!
The main problem for print service providers is 'seeing how this works' and creating tools to help sell the outcome.
For clients in the UK help is at hand.
At this years Print Show (Oct 11th, 12th & 13th), we (Smart Print) will show people what these extended offerings look like and how easy it is to do.
We will be covering all of the job types you mentioned, plus metallic and extended colour gamut WITHOUT expensive fifth colour stations..
We are also arming PSPs with a sales tool kit that in turn will help them to get the message across to their own clients..
Seeing is believing
Happy to share more detail if required.
[email protected]


By Robert Godwin on Aug 28, 2017

The single most important paragraph is the Challenge of Selling. The press manufacturers need to step up and educate the marketing and design world. Adobe does this brilliantly. Manufacturers’ R&D guides them to add these features, but more needs to be done on their part to explain the value of these special effects. It is true the PSPs need to be educated, but if buyers aren't asking, it’s because marketing planners and designers aren’t seeing the need. Use Adobe's Photoshop World as a model and help drive awareness which will result in need, and sales.


By John Parker on Aug 31, 2017

Hi Jim, lots of discussion here in the UK regarding embellishment of digitally printed material. Your article makes little mention of equipment such as Scodix, MGI Jetpress and others where digital spot UV varnish and foiling are adding significantly to the value of printed work. Some to the output from these devices is very impressive.



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