How to Convert Rgb to Pantone in Photoshop

By Payton Pritchard

Color management can be an interesting and challenging process when you want to maintain the same color no matter what application you're working with. In this instance, we want to convert an RGB to a Pantone in Photoshop. This is an easy task that will require only a few steps. Generally, any printed work should use Pantones, especially if the job will be performed by a commercial printer. RGB should be used for Web publishing.

Things You'll Need

  • Photoshop CS3

Step 1

Select the color you want to convert using the eyedropper tool located in the tool palette docked on the left. When you sample the color to be converted, it will appear in the "foreground color" square in the tool palette just below the eyedropper tool.

Step 2

Double-click the square with the same color. That should open a new window in Photoshop called Color Picker (foreground color). In this window, you should see several color mode values related to the sample color, such as RGB and CMYK percentages used to create the sample color.

Step 3

To view the Pantone number of the sample color, select "color libraries." This allows you to see the Pantone number you need. For example, RGB values R-10, G-50, B-75 have a Pantone of P2965C.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although this article is about RGB to Pantone conversion, the Pantone of the RGB you selected usually is followed by a letter such as "C," "U," or "M." There are other Pantones like this. The letters relate to the kind of paper the pantone will be printed on. If the paper is a cover weight or glossy, then you want "C" for coated. If the paper is matte, then you select the Pantone with "M" for matte and so on.
  • For example, our Pantone number above is P2965C. If you want a Pantone solid color matte, just repeat the steps and at step 3 when you open the color libraries, go to "book" and select the down arrow. There you will see a list a various Pantones and other color selections. Select Pantone solid matte. That will give you the Pantone matte of P2965C. The matte is 539 M for matte paper.
  • Selecting the correct quality of paper is just as important as selecting the correct Pantone. If you're not certain of the Pantone, always check with the printer or client about the kind of paper to be used. Using an uncoated Pantone on a coated paper will most definitely impact the final product with a color you didn't intend.