Giclee Printing and CMYK Information
In giclee printing, a common term used to describe the ink used is “CcMmYK”, which just appears to be a jumble of letters upon first glance. So what is CcMmYK? Let’s take a look. It is a six color printing process used in some inkjet printers optimized for photo printing. It extends the customary four color CMYK process, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black), by adding light cyan (lower case c) and light magenta (lower case m). The light cyan and light magenta inks are essentially a washed out version of the cyan and magenta inks. Individually light cyan is often abbreviated to “Lc” and Light magenta is represented as “Lm.”
The most noticeable result of using light cyan and light magenta inks is the removal of a distinct and harsh halftoning dot appearance that appears in prints that use light shades of cyan or magenta on the pure CMYK ink configuration. Usually when printing a dark color the printer will saturate the area with colored ink dots, but will use fewer ink dots to create the effect of a light color. The result is hard to notice with Yellow since it is already very light, but individual cyan and magenta ink dots will stand out in a sparse pattern due to their darker color against a white background; the result is undesirable when it is noticed.
By using light cyan or magenta, the printer can saturate areas that would typically use halftoning with these inks to remove the look of sparse magenta and cyan dots. The downside however is the printer needs approximately twice as much light cyan/magenta ink in areas to achieve the same saturation as pure cyan/magenta which can lead to excess ink usage. The end result however is significantly better for some photos.