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Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch

From: Print Production Fundamentals

Video: Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch

Well, you know what happens, the client has changed their mind a little bit. They want a change in the gradient, they don't want it to go from purple to light purple; they want it to go from purple to black. Well that's easy to fix. I'll go in my Swatches panel, wake up my 2587 gradient and then I'm going to change this end from that little tint to black. I just choose Black and there we go. Now that looks kind of anemic, now it may lose some in video compression I realize that, but if you sort of squint, I think you're going to get what I'm talking about. It's that nice rich purple on the left and then that just kind of gets gray and then finally it's black on the right. It's really not attractive.

Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch

Well, you know what happens, the client has changed their mind a little bit. They want a change in the gradient, they don't want it to go from purple to light purple; they want it to go from purple to black. Well that's easy to fix. I'll go in my Swatches panel, wake up my 2587 gradient and then I'm going to change this end from that little tint to black. I just choose Black and there we go. Now that looks kind of anemic, now it may lose some in video compression I realize that, but if you sort of squint, I think you're going to get what I'm talking about. It's that nice rich purple on the left and then that just kind of gets gray and then finally it's black on the right. It's really not attractive.

I really want something more rich looking. What I really need is for the purple to go all the way across, and then to have it gradually fade into the black. A couple of different ways I could do this. I could make two shapes, have one with the purple and then have another shape with a black-and-white gradient, and set the black-and-white gradient to multiply. I like to do it all in one shape though and so I'm going to create a special kind of swatch and then create a gradient from that. And the special kind of swatch is called a Mixed Ink, because what I really want to have happen in the dark end of that gradient, is I want full strength purple plus full strength black.

When I choose New Mixed Ink Swatch, I can mix the purple and the black, so you can see that at all swatches are listed here, so I can mix any two, three, or four swatches together, but this will do what I want. I know it just looks like black here, but when I create that gradient, you are going to see a nice result, so I'll just call this 2587+K, the industry term for black. Now I'm going to go back and choose my 2587 gradient, and for the far right stop, I'm going to choose my nice new mixed ink and you might notice that mixed inks have this cute little icon that indicates that they are several inks mixed.

When I click OK, already you can see much richer result. If I undo, there's that sort of anemic transition. When I redo doesn't that look a lot better? So now we have full-strength purple all the way across and then the black gradient sort of finishes out. Here's a great way to get a better idea of what's going on. I'm going to go to Window > Output > Separations Preview. I'm going to turn on Separations Preview and then we are going to look at all the available colors. If I turn off the black, you can see that purple is solid all the way across, and I when I turn off the purple, you can see that the black gradient goes all the way across.

So that way you have constant color coverage and that's why you have a much richer result. I'm going to turn off Separations Preview and close my little panel here, and now that I've done this, well now my front panel looks kind of anemic doesn't it? The reason is because it's just black, and then we have this four-color image down there. It's ghosted back, but still that black coverage really looks anemic and this is how it's going to print. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to create what's called a rich black, and that's a combination of black with other colors. So in the Swatches panel again I'm going to choose New Color Swatch. I'm going to name this Rich Black.

The recipe for rich black can vary from printing plant to printing plant. Some printing plants like to use just cyan and black, some like to use just magenta and black, but I was raised on a four- color rich black. If you're going to create a project like this, consult your printer and see what they consider the appropriate values, but I'm going to choose 60, 40, 40, and 100. Why do I have a higher cyan value? Because to keep the balance, to make it neutral, cyan is a little weak if you want to think of it that way, so there has to be more of it to balance out the magenta and yellow.

All of this piled up is going to make a nice rich neutral black. If I just chose cyan and black, it would be sort of a cool black. Just magenta and black; it's going be a warm black. Some folks like that but this is what I prefer. Click OK. Now when I select this frame and I apply that rich black, doesn't that look a lot better, and it's going to print better. It's going to have a deeper feel. The color is going to be deeper, and especially that black panel next to this nice rich purple and black gradient, we'd see a contrast and that wouldn't be attractive. So now you know a couple of new tricks, because often people have to make these gradients from color to black and now you know the way to make yours look really good and you know how to make a mixed ink.

It's not something you're going to use all the time, but for the project here, it was really the answer to a problem. And don't forget about rich blacks. You'll find when you are going to an offset press and you're covering large areas with black, you may be asked to create a rich black. When you're going to digital presses, and this is sort of ironic, they actually don't want a rich black. So that's why I say in regard to rich black as with so many other things, always consult with your printer while you're creating your design.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Print Production Fundamentals
Print Production Fundamentals

68 video lessons · 22960 viewers

Claudia McCue
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 49s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 54s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 49s
  9. 13m 52s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 23s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 53s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 48s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 8s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 21s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
      58s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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