Creating spot gradients
Video: Creating spot gradientsI was hoping to add a little interest to this job by adding a gradient that goes from spot orange to black. But you can see how anemic it is. So it's a little bit disappointing. If we look at this in Separations Preview, you can get a better idea of what's going on. When I go to Window > Separations Preview, if I turn off the Orange, so that we can see the Black, it's going from solid black at the very right, and a little transition off to white on the left. And then if I turn off Black, you can see what's happening to the Orange. So you can see that they both start falling off pretty much immediately.
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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.
- 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
Creating spot gradients
I was hoping to add a little interest to this job by adding a gradient that goes from spot orange to black. But you can see how anemic it is. So it's a little bit disappointing. If we look at this in Separations Preview, you can get a better idea of what's going on. When I go to Window > Separations Preview, if I turn off the Orange, so that we can see the Black, it's going from solid black at the very right, and a little transition off to white on the left. And then if I turn off Black, you can see what's happening to the Orange. So you can see that they both start falling off pretty much immediately.
And so that mean that you don't have any real, strong combination of those colors here in the middle and that's why it looks a little bit weak. It looks a little bit gray. Now there is no way in Illustrator to create an ink that's a combination of two colors. So, I can't make a swatch that's a combination of Black and Pantone Orange, that's what I really like to do, but since I can't do that, I am going to cheat. So in the Layers panel, you can see there's my Gradient, so I'm going to select that object, and I'm going to duplicate it. And I can just drag it down to the new sublayer icon, and that'll do that.
So here's my game plan. I'm going to have two versions of the gradient. One is just going to be for the orange, and one is going to be for that transition from black to white. So I'm going to turn off the top one, select the bottom one, and this is really just going to be solid. It's just going to be that solid orange. And now I'm going to come back and turn on the other one. By the way, this is kind of a great little trick. If you want to select something sort of by remote control, that little circle there is a target for that object. If I click on the circle, that selects the object.
Sometimes in a really messy document, that's an easier way to get a hold of something. So for this, I'm going to go into my gradient panel, and where I now have orange on the left, I'm going to change that to just be white. Now, what's going on up to this point? Well, if I turn the original little shape on, we can't see it because the black doesn't overprint. So now, I'm going to select my black gradient, and I'm going to go to Window > Attributes, and set the Fill to Overprint. We don't see the results, because Illustrator is not showing me Overprint, but since I already have my Separations Preview open, I can just do it there.
When I click on Overprint Preview, now you can see, that looks much better. Although, now that I'm doing it this way, I think I might change the distribution of that black to white gradient. So with this shape still selected, I'm going to go into my gradient panel. And this little diamond up above the little ramp here, lets me determine the break point. If I move it all the way to the left, you can see that it stays solid black longer, and then there's a sudden transition to white. If I move it to the right, it stays white longer, and there's a sudden transition to black. So what I want to do is have that heavy end happen a little longer. So I want a little more weight over here.
So, I'm going to move it a little left of center. And I think that does what I want. I still see plenty of orange but I have enough weight over here that it looks more robust. So this is a little trick. It's a bit of a cheat, it's going to look a little weird unless you have overprint preview on. But anytime you have a gradient that goes from a spot color to black, remember this little trick in Illustrator. It's the only way you can get a good mix of the spot color and the black and not have that sort of anemic gray look that you saw initially. It takes two objects, and you have to remember to turn on Overprint Preview. And remember the way I induced Overprint in that shape was to go to Attributes And turn on Overprint Fill.
So, remember that little trick in the future and your Gradients will look a lot better.
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