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Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
Illustration by John Hersey

Converting spot colors to process


From:

Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish

with Claudia McCue

Video: Converting spot colors to process

When you're working on a project, it's best if you determine at the beginning of the project, whether you're going to print in spot colors or process, because you can get some disappointing results if you start by working in spot colors and then later on in the project you convert to CMYK. Now keep in mind sometimes you have no choice. So for example, if this job is now going to print on a digital press, we're probably not going to get quite as bright colors, because they can't print spot colors. But it's a good idea to find out what's going to happen early on, before we send this to the printer. So to get an idea, if you look at that bright green, it's quite vibrant. Over here in the swatches panel, if I double-click on that swatch and check preview, it would take me two steps to convert this to process. First, I have to change it from Color Mode Book Color, to Color Mode CMYK, and then it will allow me to change this to process.
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  1. 2m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      33s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 19m 15s
    1. Why spot colors are necessary
      2m 32s
    2. Examples of spot color impact
      1m 45s
    3. Spot or process: Making the decision
      5m 31s
    4. Choosing a spot color
      4m 11s
    5. About the new Pantone Plus color system
      5m 16s
  3. 13m 23s
    1. How spot color inks are created
      6m 8s
    2. Considerations when using certain spot colors
      2m 35s
    3. Effects of stock on color
      2m 6s
    4. Proofing spot and special-mix colors before printing
      1m 0s
    5. Spot colors and digital printing
      1m 34s
  4. 5m 5s
    1. How spot varnishes can enhance a project
      1m 10s
    2. How varnishes, inks, and substrate interact
      2m 30s
    3. Combining different types of varnish to add dimensions
      35s
    4. Aqueous flood coatings
      50s
  5. 28m 26s
    1. Creating a multitone image (duotone and tritone)
      10m 59s
    2. Creating a simple spot color channel
      6m 30s
    3. Creating a touch plate to enhance a color image
      7m 25s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      3m 32s
  6. 23m 14s
    1. Adding Pantone color swatches
      5m 18s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 58s
    3. 3D shading: Preview with overprint on
      2m 22s
    4. Converting spot colors to process
      3m 11s
    5. Creating a varnish
      5m 52s
    6. Creating spot gradients
      3m 33s
  7. 17m 44s
    1. Importing art containing spot color content and resolving issues with Ink Manager
      4m 28s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 30s
    3. Converting spot colors to process
      2m 29s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      5m 35s
    5. Creating and using mixed inks
      2m 42s
  8. 7m 10s
    1. Examining with Output Preview
      4m 11s
    2. Using preflight profiles
      2m 59s
  9. 1m 9s
    1. What I hope you've learned in this course
      51s
    2. Next steps
      18s

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Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
1h 58m Intermediate May 09, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

While most printing today is accomplished via a four-color process, there is a wide range of practical and creative options available when you add an additional color or varnish. This course teaches how these additional colors are made and shows some examples of finished projects that use these colors. Author Claudia McCue also dives directly into Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other creative apps and shows how to build documents correctly for printing.

Topics include:
  • Why spot colors are necessary
  • Making a decision between spot and process colors
  • Choosing a spot color
  • Understanding the effects of stock on color
  • Printing spot colors digitally
  • Using varnishes
  • Creating a multi-tone image in Photoshop
  • Adding Pantone color swatches to Illustrator
  • Creating spot varnishes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
  • Using preflight profiles in Acrobat
Subjects:
Design Print Production Design Skills
Software:
Acrobat Illustrator InDesign Photoshop
Author:
Claudia McCue

Converting spot colors to process

When you're working on a project, it's best if you determine at the beginning of the project, whether you're going to print in spot colors or process, because you can get some disappointing results if you start by working in spot colors and then later on in the project you convert to CMYK. Now keep in mind sometimes you have no choice. So for example, if this job is now going to print on a digital press, we're probably not going to get quite as bright colors, because they can't print spot colors. But it's a good idea to find out what's going to happen early on, before we send this to the printer. So to get an idea, if you look at that bright green, it's quite vibrant. Over here in the swatches panel, if I double-click on that swatch and check preview, it would take me two steps to convert this to process. First, I have to change it from Color Mode Book Color, to Color Mode CMYK, and then it will allow me to change this to process.

And if we look at before, and after, before it's a very bright fluorescent green, and afterwards, this is as close as we can come in CMYK. But of course this is why we have spot colors, in order to enable us to print those vibrant colors that we just can't accomplish with CMYK. So, that's one way that I could change it from spot to process. But here's another way. If I hit Cancel, and I select all this artwork, I can go to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to CMYK. And that does it immediately. The good news is that that fixes everything.

The sort of bad news is, that now I don't have swatches in my swatches panel that correspond to that orange and that green. And I still have the spot colors. So, to make my swatches panel content be consistent with my artwork, especially in case I want to create other objects using those colors, I need to add those colors to my swatches panel. And I think it'd be a good idea to get rid of the colors that I'm not using. So in the swatches panel, I'm going to choose Select All Unused. You can see that they're outlined. And when I hit the trash can, they're deleted. And now to add the orange and green, I'm going to go to the Swatches Panel menu again.

This time I'm going to choose Add Used Colors. And you can see there's my orange and my green. (SOUND). Now if you want to give them (SOUND) maybe more telling names instead of just the recipe here, you could name it, well, I don't know. Orange. And then, of course, you'd want to name the green. Now this is sort of interesting. Here are the actual values. In other words, that was the determination that Illustrator made. Well, this is as close as I can come to that green. And it tried to cut it fine as it could, but in the name it rounds it off. The name actually has nothing to do with the way it's going to look, it's this recipe over here that really counts. So it doesn't look as spiffy as it did before.

But at least now I have a better idea of how it's going to print. So I would say, in the interest of realism, when you know that at the end of the job it's going to print process. If you know that you're never going to print spot colors, I recommend that you actually specify your colors as CMYK to begin with. For one thing, it gives you a slightly more realistic view on screen of what's going to happen. It also ensures that your contents correct when it goes to the printing company. That way they know for sure that it's intended to print in process. So, the more you can do to make sure that your files in keeping the way it's going to finally going to print, I think the better off you are.

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