Metal FX technology

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What is Metal FX technology?

It’s the printing of multiple metallic colours using only one extra ink.

This technology has been used in Greece for the last three years by our company and is indeed really interesting. It’s a process through which millions of metallic colours can be printed, with the use of only one extra ink placed underneath the common four-colour inks. It’s based on the transparency of the CMYK colours, which can produce many metallic colours when mixed with the metallic basic colour (silver). They can also produce photographs with metallic elements, create optical effects and give an animation look on a printout.

You can see the video below to understand better:

Why should we use Metal FX?

  • It makes our printouts look more vivid by using the reflection of light on the metallic colours.
  • It can lower the production cost and time when more than two metallic colours are required to be printed.
  • Our projects can be protected from being copied.
  • Unconventional, innovative printouts that stand out in people’s eyes can be created.
  • The creation of a metallic colour swatch book can be achieved without spending a fortune on it.


How to use the Metal FX:

We use a spot colour and overprint on the areas we want to be printed with metallic colours.

In October 2008, when we bought the system, a colleague and I travelled to London, where we attended a seminar. I’ll mention some important points to keep in mind in case you want to use this technology.


Picture where the sky is metallic except for the spots where the little girl is blowing


Picture with no metallic colours


   •The metallic colours should not take up more than 60% of the picture so that they can stand out. (In the picture above only the sky is metallic)
   •None of the four-ink colours that will be mixed with the silver basis should be more than 85-90%. The lighter the four-ink colours, the more space the metallic effect can take up. (In the picture above the blue that was used for the sky is produced with 82C, 37M, 12Y, 23B)
   •We can also create beautiful effects through the absence of metallic basis. If we choose to paint the sky with metallic colours on a picture, we can remove various linear shapes irrelevant to the picture from the metallic basis which will make the sky look like it’s moving. (In the picture above, you can see the linear shapes created where the little girl is blowing)
   •Fire engine red cannot be metallic. If there’s red in our project, we should remove it from the metallic basis.
   •The silver of the metallic basis adds about 20% black in the colours, so we should remove some black from the pictures or the spots where we want to use the basis, so that the tints will be the desirable ones.

The possibilities created by this technology are multiple. All we need to have is imagination on how, where and why we want to use it. If we only want to use one metallic colour on our project, we don’t need to use this technology.


Is the Metal FX technology worth it?

It is when: 

  • we want to use many metallic colours on a printout.
  • we want to play with the colours of a picture (the common silver ink cannot be mixed with the CMYK inks).
  • the printout is seasonal or temporary (for instance, on fashion brochures we can use metallic colours for the models’ make-up or the surroundings and not on the clothes, or we can use metallic colours on Christmas cards etc).
  • when we need a metallic colour swatch book.

I would be glad to answer any further questions for this new technology. On some future post I can also upload videos where you can see media printed with metallic colours.



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