Analog/Digital – RGB Print

As recently mentioned in the entry about colours for digital and analog media there are two different color systems in use. While for digital applications the system is of additive nature (=the sum of colours will show a white display), the analog use of colours is of subtractive nature (=adding and mixing colours will end up in black colour).

Thus in print production it seemed impossible to represent the RGB color space that obviously contains a broader variety of colours than the CMYK, Pantone or any other subtractive colour system used for printing.

This fact has changed recently: referring to the article on Page magazine about Swiss screen printer Lorenz Boegli, there are special colours for screen print which are capable of representing the RGB colour space.

When Boegli used the Spectraval™ pearlescent pigments by Merck, he found out that the colours turn into a tertiary colour when overprinting them. Red on blue turned magenta, green on red turned yellow. His logic conclusion was that the sum of red, green and blue has to turn out white – and that’s just what happened.

However the revolutionary RGB-printing for now works only with screen printing and also only on black backgrounds. The reason for this is that the reflective power of the pigments only gets visible on black – on white paper the colours are more or less invisible.

Of course the RGB printing result is not exactly what would be emitted by screens – the pictures seem quite metallic and silverish. Additionally not only a lot of printing experience but also a suitable picture and the surface you print on has an effect on the result. But still it gets close and the system is the same, opening the addtive colour system to the analog world.

Full article:
More about Spectraval™ Colours: Merck Group