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If you have spot color content in your Illustrator file and you've been experimenting with blending modes, let me give you a little warning. A lot of the blending modes don't really image the way you think they are going to image because of what you see onscreen. So I have two artboards here and they have the same sort of little items and the same sort of blending modes applied. On the left artboard everything is spot color. On the right artboard everything is process. Looks fine, but when it goes to the printer it's not going to image like this, but how can you find out the true story? You can turn on Overprint Preview.
Go up to View and it's near the top, might be easy to overlook, Overprint Preview. And you have to sort of look from left to right and compare the items--Normal, Dark--and that doesn't look quite the same, Multiply. Wow! Color Burn; we don't see any interaction at all. And as you go down Color Dodge and you thought it was going look like this, it really doesn't do anything special. So already we're seeing things sort of fall apart, but now these look okay. Difference and Exclusion; they look just fine, but there is something else going on there. If we go to Window and Separations Preview, if this job is supposed to print in just two spot colors, the orange and blue, we want to make sure that we don't have any process colors.
So if I turn off the orange and the blue, look I have some remnants behind. So what that tells you is that where those two spot colors overlap, Illustrator can't figure out any way based on the Blending Mode you've chosen to generate something made solely of spot colors. So it has to resort to process. Well, that's totally going to mess up my job. I don't want to print four-color process in addition to my two spot colors. So what can you do? It really looks like things are falling apart, doesn't it? They don't look at all like we thought they were going look, some of this isn't going at all, some of it is going to turn to process.
There really isn't any good news about this. There's no way to force these blending modes to do what you want and keep your spot color content. I'm afraid to say it's just one of those things. So in this case if I really have to have these visual effects, I'm not going to be able to do them with spot colors. So I don't want to discourage you from using effects, but I want to give you this tool so that you can find problems before you get disappointment at the press. So remember these two forensic tools. If you go up to View and choose Overprint Preview, it's going to give you a true preview of what's going to happen, and then if you want to make sure that something is spot and something is process, and make sure that you don't have some substitution there, always go to Window and Separations Preview.
And actually Separations Preview gives you both of the forensic tools in one spot. Separations Preview actually depends on Overprint Preview to even become active. So I recommend that you use Separations Preview. It lets you find spot content, process content, and also it forces that Overprint View that gives you a truer view of how this Illustrator file is going to print. So before you start getting carried away with those blending modes, because they are such fun, they are so easy to use, be sure to double check your work before you commit to press. Make sure that everything is going to appear the way you hope it's going to appear.
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