Quadricomy, also called gamut, is the method of reproducing images using CMYK colors. These are the acronyms of: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow (Yellow) and Key (or key color, Black).
It is the most widely used reproduction method worldwide, due to its economy in the use of inks and its precision. Based on the material and type of printing, around 15,000 different colors can be reproduced.
It is mainly applied in screen printing where its use is more widespread at a private and industrial level. It is the perfect technique to stamp your flannels, t-shirts, bags, papers, etc.
How is quadricomy achieved?
As already mentioned, quadricomy is the use of four colors to produce the rest. Did you know that using only these four, more than 70% of the colors that your eye can see are reproduced?
Mixing the CMYK colors generates the remaining color gamut by something called subtractive synthesis. That is, the object reflects the part of the light that it does not absorb, that is what your eyes see.
The entire range of colors produced as a result of a mixture of others is called gamut. The mixture of colors is not like what a painter does on his canvas, it is more than that.
So how do they mix?
The mixing takes place by printing thousands of dots of a single color (monochrome) and they are all together. All this multitude of dots of a single color, one next to the other, is called a frame.
This is how the printers we know work, they do not mix the colors, but print thousands of different dots. They are of various sizes and frequencies; our eye and our brain, when ordering them, see the resulting colors.
Why four colors and no more?
Simple, a matter of economy. Since, with the CMYK quartet, we were able to print in almost all colors by mixing only four. There are machines that mix in six colors and up to eight, to achieve a more impressive shine as a result.
Companies like Pantone® work with specific or spot inks, designated with a code and that are not achieved with four-color. They must be ordered separately and are more expensive, then, the four-color is better, simple and cheaper.
The CMYK scheme and the RGB scheme
Depending on the work to be done, designers, clients and beginners face this dilemma that we will clarify. The four-color scheme is based on a four-color scheme, the famous CMYK.
The RGB scheme is made up of only three: Red (red), Blue (blue) and Green (green), used for screens and monitors. Of the entire visible spectrum of light, our eye only sees a large part of all those colors.
The number of colors resulting from CMYK are not the same as RGB, this is higher. Thus, the colors that shine on a screen cannot be brought to paper and vice versa.
Likewise, it is not yet technically possible to achieve the full range of colors possible in nature on one screen. In the future there will be techniques that can make this advance possible.
Regarding printing, variables such as the paper used, the quality of the inks, etc. must be taken into account. But solutions are being tested that will allow for better print quality.
The four-color in silkscreen
Screen printing is the most widespread design printing technique in the world used by people and companies. It uses plates through which the ink that is going to dye the material passes.
The materials range from different types of fabrics and fabrics to products in wood, ceramics, paper, etc. It is a manual procedure where, once the technique has been fine-tuned, the design is made as accurate as possible.
The material to be dyed is placed on a base and on it a frame with ink, which we will apply with a spatula. Up to four shades can be applied, one per layer, once the ink dries the process continues.
Steps for its realization
These are the steps that must be followed in order to achieve this:
• The image is chosen and four copies are printed, because there are four types of ink.
• Using Photoshop, you separate each image into its ink tone and save them.
• Water-based inks must be applied, this allows working on different surfaces.
• Although there is no written rule, of the four colors to be used, Y (yellow) is not applied first and the last one to apply is K (black).
• Between the application of each ink, let it dry so that the finish is excellent.
The magic of colors
As you may have noticed, the universe of millions of colors that enter through our eyes is born from only four. Well combined and using the precise technique we will obtain a wonderful palette to give life to our best designs.
It is the way to reproduce images by applying the four CMYK colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is the most used technique worldwide due to its lower cost and the precision of the finish.
Its use is extended mainly to screen printing, the method with which flannels, bags, T-shirts, etc. are printed. The four-color process in silkscreen is applied like this:
• Four copies of the selected image are made in Photoshop, separated by color, and saved.
• The fabric to be printed is attached to a base and with a frame where the image is fixed and a spatula is applied a layer with the corresponding ink on the fabric.
• Water based ink is used to be able to work on various surfaces.
• Yellow (Y) is never applied first, and Black (K) is applied last.
• Between each application let dry.