How To Setup White Ink Spot Color in Adobe Photoshop

White Ink is setup just like any other spot color. What’s different is how you adjust the color between the design phase and final print output.

This tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop CC 2015; however, the process is the same in older versions.

Step 1 | Download a Template

First, select a template from our website. From there, select the product and colored stock you want your final design printed on.

Step 2 | Prepare Your Document for Design

Layers PanelMake sure you are designing your artwork on the layer labeled Place Your Artwork Here and not directly on the template layers. Our templates already have the paper color simulated in the background to make it easy for you to focus on just creating great art.

Keep in mind that transparency effects (like Multiply or Screen) with either the colored stock or the white inks will not print.

Since our inks are transparent, we also print white ink as a backer behind all of your colors. However, white ink is neither perfect white nor perfectly opaque. As a result, each colored stock will impact your artwork differently. To help, we’ve created hi-res scans of all our standard colored stocks for reference. These include the complete CMYK gamut along with White-to-Transparent gradients. We recommend referencing these before finalizing your artwork.

We will print White Ink behind all the colors in your document. You only need to add White Ink to the new Spot Channel for areas where you want only white to show.

Step 3 | Create New Spot Channel

Channels PanelIf you’ve never used Spot Channels before, they can look a little intimidating. But, don’t let that hold you back. They’re very simple, we promise.

WHAT THE HECK IS A SPOT CHANNEL? Photoshop thinks of almost everything as a grayscale images called Channels. These Channels are what you see in the Channels Panel (Window > Channels). An RGB image uses three Channels (Red, Green and Blue) plus a composite Channel — which is what you actually see and use while editing the document.

Spot Channels are used in printing to represent an additional color, like a Pantone Spot or White Ink. Spot Channels are not included in the composite Channel.

To edit your regular document, you’ll need to select the composite channel, named RGB or CMYK depending on the Code Mode of your file. To edit your Spot Channel, you’ll need to select it from the Channels panel.

White Ink - OriginalOnce you are done with your design:

  • Create a Mask Selection using any of your White Ink layers (Window > Layers) in your design.
    • You can Option-Click (Alt-Click on Windows) the Layer Thumbnail Image in the Layers Panel to speed things up.
    • You can combine multiple selections by Option-Shift Clicking (Alt-Shift Clicking on Windows) additional Layer Thumbnails.
  • Open the Channels Panel (Window > Channels).
  • Under the Channels’ top, right Flyout menu, select New Spot Channel…
  • Name: White Ink
  • Color: White (R 255 G255 B255 or C0 M0 Y0 K0)
  • Solidity: 100%
  • Click OK

Step 4 | Print-Ready Files

White Ink - File PrepDoes your artwork look correct? If not, now’s the best time to adjust your new Spot Channel. Once you’re set on the artwork, you’ll want to change the Color of your Spot Channel.

  • Double-click your new White Ink Channel in the Channels Panel.
  • Change your Color to something bright and bold, like 100% Magenta.
  • Click OK.

Does your artwork look terrible? Then it’s working. When we prepare your file for print, the faux colored background is removed. This will make your white ink channel clearly visible against the default white background.

While we work our keister’s off to give your consistent results from the screen to your final print, color matching cannot be guaranteed on our colored stocks. Even the paper hues shift slightly from batch to batch.

Step 5 | Save As…

Save your file as a PSD.

  • Select File > Save As…
  • Save As: Rename the template file.
  • Format: Photoshop
  • Spot Colors: Checked
  • Save

Step 6 | Place an Order

Now you’re all set!  Visit our website to place an order or call us at (1-877-246-3132)

If you come up with any effects you want to test out with white ink or have any questions about how to use it, feel free to contact us. We love talking ink so we’d be more than happy to help you create the unique effect you’re looking for.