For cards missing one or more colors, we will talk about:Albino: noun, plural albinos.
1. A person with pale skin, light hair, pinkish eyes, and visual abnormalities resulting from a hereditary inability to produce the pigment melanin.
2. An animal or plant with a marked deficiency in pigmentation.
3. Philately, an embossed stamp accidentally left without ink.
4. MTG card printed only in Black and White.
Cyanless (Cyan is bluish-green color)
Magentaless (Magenta is purplish-red color)
Yellowless (Color between green and orange)
CMYK color model
This first started with this topic from January 2014: Albino FOIL Mana Echoes Real? Sunbleach?
As it was offered again on 23 December, 2016, this time our member cataclysm80 (Tavis King) made a full expertise of the card to determine if it was a Foil Mana Echoes (Onslaught) Albino or a Foil Mana Echoes (Onslaught) Sunbleached.
cataclysm80 wrote:OK, I've had some time to look into the authenticity of this card.
I'll be explaining my findings here and in my replies to this comment so that everyone can follow along and understand.
If you want to know how to be able to tell any true albino apart from a sunfaded card, the following information will be very helpful.
1. Magic cards are printed using an offset printing press with a halftone CMYK method.
This means that Magic cards only use 4 colors of ink. Those colors are...
Key (for most things, including Magic cards, the Key color is Black)
All colors are created by using differing amounts of these 4 colors on the blank white cardstock. White is unprinted area.
Each of these 4 colors is printed separately, one after the other.
Each of these 4 colors is printed as a grid of dots.
These dots are equally spaced (grid), but they can be different sizes to make an area more dense with that color.
For example, a darker blue area will have larger Cyan dots, while a lighter blue area will have smaller Cyan dots with unprinted white space showing around them.
Here is an example.
Notice how all the Cyan dots align into a grid, regardless of whether they are big dots or little dots.
(yes, this is an Onslaught card if anyone was curious.)
The dots could be so big that they touch, making that area solid Cyan.
To make the color darker from there, you would add black dots.
cataclysm80 wrote: 2. With each color being printed on top of the previous colors, something needs done to prevent the top color from obscuring all the previous colors.
Two things are done.
First, printing ink is not opaque. This allows colors below to show through a little. (a Yellow dot printed on top of a Cyan dot will look like a green dot, not like a yellow dot.)
Second, the angle of each color grid is rotated to keep the dots from overlapping as much.
For example, one grid could be at 0 degrees (not rotated) so that it's rows of dots were horizontal (0 degrees) and vertical (90 degrees), while the next grid could be rotated to 45 degrees so that it's rows of dots ran in 45 degree straight lines and 135 degree straight lines.
A grid is a repetitive pattern.
Humans are Very good at pattern recognition. Patterns can distract us from the image we are supposed to be seeing. This is called Moire.
Any way that you overlap the 4 grids of dots will create a moire pattern.
Some moire patterns are more distracting (eye catching) than other moire patterns.
The angle of each color layer grid relative to each other color layer grid is what creates the moire pattern.
There are many different moire patterns, and some of them have names.
The rosette moire pattern is one of the least distracting moire patterns, so it is very commonly used, including being used on Magic cards.
Here is an example of some of the angles which are commonly used in offset printing.
cataclysm80 wrote: 3. The rosette pattern is created by overlapping each color layer grid at a different angle.
(to be more precise, each grid most be rotated a specific amount relative to the other grids in order to create a rosette pattern)
The point here is that the full rosette is only visible on a portion of the card which has all 4 colors.
If you have only 3 colors, it will be a partial rosette.
If you have only 2 colors, it will be a half rosette.
If you have only 1 color, it will be only a grid of dots.
How many colors are used in each part of the card just depends on the image being printed.
Have a close look at this Revised Sol Ring.
The yellow area appears as a grid of yellow dots.
The mostly red area has the red dots running at a different angle, with some yellow dots thrown in.
The colorless casting cost circle shows 3 colors of dots. They're small dots, but you can see the rosette pattern.
The brown card border uses large dots of all 4 colors, and the rosette pattern is very clear.
cataclysm80 wrote: 4. A true albino card is when only the black color grid is printed. The other 3 colors are not printed. This makes the card only black and white.
As explained above, if you have only 1 color (Black in this case), then you will see a grid of dots with no rosette pattern.
Here is a pic of a true albino 4th edition card back.
Notice that there are no rosettes. The lines of black dots run at a 45 degree angle (or 135 degree angle if you want to look at it that way. 45 + 90 = 135)
Here's another example of a true albino.
This is the front of a 4th edition card.
Same as above, Notice that there are no rosettes. The lines of black dots run at a 45 degree angle (or 135 degree angle if you want to look at it that way. 45 + 90 = 135)
cataclysm80 wrote: 5. A brief disclaimer about angles used.
The angles used for each color layer are chosen when the design team sends their finished work to be color separated and halftoned in preparation for printing.
NOT EVERY SET USES THE SAME ANGLES.
If you're comparing these angles, make sure that you're comparing cards from the same set (unless your intention is to compare the angles of different sets).
Some sets use the same angles for each color as other sets.
Some sets use the same angles, but for different colors.
Some sets use some of the same angles, and different angles for the rest.
Some sets use 3 angles the same with only one being different.
Don't assume anything. Look and verify if you're going to be working with this in the future.
Also, Alternate 4th Edition does not have halftone dots. Instead, that set was printed using a Stochastic method. These do not have a rosette pattern.
I've heard that the fake cards commonly known as "Dark Beta" also do not have a rosette pattern, but haven't had a chance to view a high resolution scan yet.
dragsamou wrote:One question regarding angles: When a set is produced in 2 different WotC (or affiliated to WotC) printing facilities. Are, what you mentioned following the same pattern, as we know print variations exist from Made in Belgium vs Made in the U. S. ? (to be answered after the conclusion of your great expertise)
cataclysm80 wrote:An excellent question!
Unfortunately, I do not know the answer.
I have not yet seen an example of two cards from the same set using different color angles, but there are many sets that I haven't yet looked at the color angles.
Most of the sets I've looked at color angles for are 4th edition and before. Most of those early sets were made in Belgium with a single print run.
I'm under the impression that we saw more changes in the early years, and less changes later, so I'd be a little surprised to find two cards from the same set with different color angles.
It IS possible though. Maybe a preconstructed deck (different sheet layout than booster packs) could have used different angles. I just haven't actually seen it happen yet.
cataclysm80 wrote: 6. Now let's take a look at what angles are used for each color in the Onslaught set.
Cyan 75 degrees
Magenta 15 degrees
Black 45 degrees
As shown in this picture. I've marked a straight line for each color to help you see it.
(note: magenta ink is more pink than red. If you see red on a card, it's magenta and yellow overlapping.)
Because the yellow color is so obscurred by the other colors on that blue Onslaught card, here is a different Onslaught card to see the angle of the yellow color grid.
Yello 0 degrees
Again, I've marked a straight line to help you see it.
cataclysm80 wrote: 7. Sun Fading
Cards left in the sunlight will fade. This is caused by UV rays.
Each of the 4 colored inks used has a different color fastness.
Color Fastness is the resistance to fading.
Colors fade in the same order as you see colors in the rainbow.
This is also the same order that colors disappear the further you go down into the ocean.
That's just the way that the light spectrum works.
Magic cards don't have inks in all of those colors, so for us, the order is...
Magenta disappears the fastest, while blue takes forever (if it goes away at all).
Sunfaded cards will typically be blue and black colored.
(some cards don't contain much blue to begin with)
There's more that could be said about sunfading, but this brief overview is sufficient for today's purposes.
Note: The ink printed onto the cards is covered by a clear wear coat. This wear coat will eventually yellow if subjected to enough heat and or UV rays. Some people attribute this to age, but it's actually caused by heat and UV rays. I know that the older cards will yellow, but the formula for the wear coat may have changed over the years, which could result in different amounts of yellowing, depending on what wear coat formula was used on that set.
Another Note: Alternate 4th Edition used a UV resistant wear coat. These cards will not fade in the sunlight, and this also causes them to not glow under a black light. Alternate 4th edition was printed by a different company. The UV resistant coating is used by them on many non-Magic products.
cataclysm80 wrote: 8. Now that you have a decent understanding of what to look for, and how to interpret it, let's take a look at the Mana Echoes.
Zack very kindly provided us with this scan earlier, and it can be used to authenticate whether this is a true albino or a sunfaded card.
All we have to do is determine whether the dots we see are black dots, or other colors in addition to black dots.
If the dots we see are all the same color (black), then...
They will run in straight lines and all at the same angle
There will not be a visible rosette pattern
Here is the picture for you to look at.
(My conclusion will follow)
cataclysm80 wrote:On this scan, I see that the dots on the left side are in a nice grid pattern that runs in straight lines.
I also see that the dots in the darker middle section and on the right run in straight lines, but at a different angle than the grid of dots on the left.
Measuring the angles, I see that the dots on the left are at 75 degrees, while the dots at the middle & right are at 45 degrees.
Comparing these angle measurements to other Onslaught cards (above) reveals that the 75 degree dots should be Cyan, and the 45 degree dots are black.
I've marked this with straight lines of the appropriate color in this image to make it easier for you to see.
Additionally, the darker middle section of this scan which contains dots running at both angles, resembles a rosette pattern in places.
cataclysm80 wrote:CONCLUSION: In my opinion, this card is without a doubt, Sun Faded.