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Printing Bright Red and other Color Images:  

If you do not have a red Ink, your profile will use Magenta, Yellow, and Orange if you have it in your printer.

Let’s look at what would not make a bright Red: A Blue Magenta, Greener Yellow, and a Yellow Orange.  This looks like Epson Ink to me.

Let’s look at what would make a Bright Red:

  1. Having a Bright Red Ink
  2. A combination of a warm Yellow with Magenta
  3. A combination of a vibrant warm Orange and Magenta
  4. A warm Magenta with a warm Orange or slightly warm Yellow

Any one of the above combinations can offer a good Red.

Lets Look at how the Brilliant Red Orange Leaves in the fall are reproduced. Here again we need a warm Orange and or a warm Yellow.  A Green Yellow and a Yellow Orange can’t produce it without some warm value added.


The area of a less warm Yellow, Yellow Orange and Blue Magenta ideally fits for pre-press. An area where Yellow Orange exists is in the new clothing line made from fluorescent Orange ink, and was very popular last year. The only non fluorescent ink that came close to matching it was Neon99 Dye Orange.  In nature  the importance of a warmer Orange fits for sunsets, fall leaves, and Orange fruit. Ideally it would be logical to have a Yellow Orange, Red, and a very Blue Magenta, so why didn’t Epson make that combo.

It is not just important to have a so called wide gamut ink, but a gamut of ink that suits your necessary printable colors. Consider there are billions of colors and CMYK even with Orange and Green only produce a mere fraction of those colors. Depending on the hue values of your CMYK + Or and Gr will determine the colors you can achieve.  

Another aspect to Pigment ink is the luminescence of the pigment. Pigments that exhibit greater luminosity are more expensive and are more difficult to manufacture. For instance; a Teal Green is less expensive than a pure Green. A pure Green is brighter.


Epson Yellow does not have the light fastness of the other colors, but is very bright and I would say it is ideal for pre-press. This yellow was introduced in their signage inks and the outdoor light fastness dropped from 3 to 5 years to 6 months to a year and a half. Light fast good Yellows are more expensive. If you look at most of the images in nature that are Yellow, most of them are on the warm side. Using a less warm Yellow creates the need for Light Magenta to create the warmth. While it can work to some degree, this is considered a contaminate to the Yellow. Adding Red would be a better choice and even a better choice would be using a warm Yellow. The result of using a Yellow that does not need as additive color is a brighter image from its purity. This was true from reproducing a sunflower and sunsets. One of our clients, Ed Loedding fine artist, commented to us after changing from Epson Yellow to UltraMaxII Yellow, “My flower images came alive.

If you look at UltraMaxII Pigment inks you will see various pallets of 4 color, 5 color, 6 color, and 7 color to suit the the various needs of our Giclée print studios.

UltraMaxII inks were created from the special pigment. We are not limited to existing inkjet colors, nor do have to rely on existing inkjet pigment dispersions made for inkjet manufacturers. We choose the best pigments for their brilliance, light fastness and have them refined for our ink manufacturing. This gives us the advantage of making whatever colors we think will be beneficial for improving Giclée Fine Art and Photographic. Our 5 Color pallet for 8 Color printers contains a very bright Lime Green as an added color and a warmer Yellow. Our standard ink sets are based on rich pigments and will produce a wide gamut, while our Ultra Sets fill in the gaps that suit Fine Art Reproductions. This combination opens up the color gamut bringing more life into the image.  Look on this Site for our other color combinations.  


Our company is not only concerned with ink, but with with Rip Software and Color Management as well. We have pushed the envelope in printing. We continue to test and experiment. In the beginning that is what Giclée was about, getting the highest quality.


When Giclée printing was born the emphasis was placed on producing the very best output possible. Whether in color or in Black and White everyone involved in Giclée printing spent a great deal of money on an Iris Printer (60 to 80 thousand dollars) and software. They made their own CMYK profiles and even ordered ink from different companies to improve the results. There was no “Plug and Play”  There were no Epson Inkjet Printers. Looking at today, October 2014, you have Epson Printers and Canon Printers that people are using to make Giclée prints. Many of the print houses and individuals who are producing Giclée Prints are printing through the Driver that comes with the printer, not with a Rip software. On You Tube there are people describing Giclée as using a Inkjet Printer, Archival Media, and Pigment Inks. This is a far cry from where it all started. That is like saying if I have the pigments, canvas, and brushes used by Van Gogh, I must be a great painter too.

If you go onto You Tube looking for Giclée Archival Inks, you will see Pigment inks from an Epson Printer or maybe a Canon printer. Even though people who print fine art with Epson Inks, looking at the hue value of Epson inks you will see that they greatly fit for pre-press more than any other field. You might think that Giclée inks were aimed at the Fine Art/ Photographic arena. Looking at the color hue value of Epson new inks 9880-4880-9900-9890, the Yellow is a slightly Greener value, the Magenta is less Red than even the 9800, the Orange is a yellow Orange, the Cyan is Blue Cyan, and the Green is a Teal Green(Blue Green). The rich warm color values are missing.

When Orange and Green were introduce over 12 years ago, it soon was dropped because the results of Orange did not produce a dynamic Red and Greens were made very well with Yellow and Cyan. This may actually be the reason that so many 7900 and 9900 printers get clogged Green channel in those printers. One of my clients said, he did not have to change the Green cartridge in a year and his nozzles were 30% clogged even with numerous cleanings. This only means that the images he made printed with Yellow and Cyan more than Green. We receive numerous clogging issues with the Green channel.

I feel Giclée and Fine Art Paintings have a common relationship image structure, which media, the quality of  pigments, and the software integration are paramount to Giclée. Both Artists and Print makers want to be able to make the images to be rich and vibrant, while having superior light fastness. An artist chooses from numerous pigments, some of which offer greater brightness and some offer greater depth. Artists would never think of using CMYK as their pallet. People who produce Giclée Prints, in general accept what the printer has to offer and work with it as though the only place to get inks is from the Printer Manufacturer. In the 15 years I have been in business printing and making custom inks, I have never come across a client telling me about his extended pallet of inks. There doesn’t seem to be a thirst for discussions on improving the quality, at least I do not see it. Think for a moment. If an artist could obtain his or her desire of color from CMYK, would you not think they would use it?   

Only by asking a print maker would you like to have richer more vibrant color especially in the Reds, do I get a response, yes.    


Giclée Archival Inks UltraMax II    What designates being a great Giclée Ink? Contact Us: American Inkjet Systems, Inc. 34 Chestnut Avenue	 Emerson, NJ 07630 Tel: 201 263-9177  9 Am to 7 PM 201 753-4600 10 AM to 7 PM