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Ink Used in Printing Materials

Various microscopy techniques using digital microscopes

post card_ob3.6×z1×_4×4
Printed surface


Colors used in printing materials are formed by C (cyan), M (magenta), Y (yellow), and K (black). The human eye identifies the light that reflects or absorbs specific wavelengths at each position as the color of the ink. In printing, the ink made of these four colors is overprinted, and the amount of each color and the overprint conditions are used to represent various colors. So "a certain color" seen in visual observation is actually a collection of multiple ink colors when it is zoomed in. The color visible to the eye can differ depending on how each person perceives it, but is greatly impacted by the amount, scatter, and overprint conditions of the ink as well as the relationship between ink and paper (penetration) from a quantitative point of view. Microscopic observation is useful for confirming such color differences.

The Olympus solution

Olympus' DSX110 digital microscope uses DSX-dedicated objective lenses that minimize aberration and uneven illumination at a high level. The optical zoom system realizes up to 30x magnified observation using 16x optical zoom plus digital zoom for each objective lens (1X, 3.6X, and 10X). This result is the ability to produce fine magnification adjustments and a wide total magnification range from 7x to 1000x. A broad area that cannot fit in one view, even at low magnification, can be imaged using the live stitching function, allowing the user to visualize the whole image of a printing material from a macro view. If a particular area of interest is desired, the user can seamlessly switch to microscopic observation to confirm in detail how ink penetrates paper, how deep the ink is, or how colors are overlaid. In addition, using the color highlight function enables color-display of the area of interest and makes the other area monotone. This allows the user to identify the area and percentage of color in the selected area.

Whole image

post card_ob3.6×z1×_4×4

Orange area

post card_ob3.6×z2×_contrast(orange)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x z Zoom: 2x
post card_ob3.6×z5×_contrast(orange)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 5x
post card_ob3.6×z11×_contrast(orange)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 11x


post card_ob3.6×z2×_contrast(blue)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x z Zoom: 2x
post card_ob3.6×z5×_contrast(blue)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 5x
post card_ob3.6×z11×_contrast(blue)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 11x


post card_ob3.6×z2×_contrast(red)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x z Zoom: 2x
post card_ob3.6×z5×_contrast(red)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 5x
post card_ob3.6×z11×_contrast(red)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 11x


post card_ob3.6×z2×_contrast(yellow)
Objective lens: 3.6X; zoom: 2x
post card_ob3.6×z5×_contrast(yellow)
Objective lens: 3.6X; zoom: 5x
post card_ob3.6×z11×_contrast(yellow)
Objective lens: 3.6X; zoom: 11x


post card_ob3.6×z2×_contrast(white)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 2x
post card_ob3.6×z5×_contrast(white)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 5x
post card_ob3.6×z11×_contrast(white)
Objective lens: 3.6X;x zZoom: 11x

Color highlight function

post card_ob3.6×_color highlite(red)
Red highlight
post card_ob3.6×_color highlite(yellow)
Yellow highlight
post card_ob3.6×_color highlite(blue)

Blue highlight


Olympus IMS

Products used for this application


Free-angle wide-zoom digital microscope
•16X wide zoom range for macro inspections
•Tiltable head offers multiangled observation
•Focused images for uneven surface samples
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