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Before creating your first swatch inside of Illustrator, it's important to understand the different settings for color that you're able to change prior to getting started with the document or even after you have open up a document, how to modify those settings after the fact. In this movie I'll be walking you through Illustrator's Color Settings panel and how to navigate it and exactly what everything means. In order to open up Illustrator's Color Settings dialog box, you need to go up to the Edit menu and go down and choose Color Settings, or you can simply use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+K on the PC, Shift+Command+K on the Mac.
Once you open that up, you are going to see that the Color Settings dialog box has a lot of information in it. It tells you at the top, For more information on color settings you can search for "setting up color management" in the Help document. The Help documentation on color is actually really good in Illustrator, so I recommend reading through that if you have the opportunity. At the top you'll be able to pick the Settings. In most cases, North American General Purpose 2 will be okay, but you may want to switch this, especially if you are doing a lot of print work to North American Prepress.
North American Prepress always has the right settings when dealing with print. Let's break this down by section. Let's start off here by the Working Spaces. The Working Spaces options govern the display of RGB and CMYK colors, and they serve as the default color profile for new documents that are created. Underneath here you have Color Management Policies. The Color Management Policies govern how colors are treated when you open a file that lacks a color profile or when a file's profile conflicts with the currently chosen color settings.
So for instance, if I have a color setting set for RGB to be Adobe RGB (1998) and I have the CMYK setting set up to U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2, that means if I open up a file that conflicts with either one of these, these rules down here at the bottom will then help take care of that. So therefore, if I open up a document that has a different RGB profile embedded in it, this RGB rule says, Preserve the Embedded Profile. That means ignore Adobe RGB (1998) and go with the profile that's embedded in the file.
Same for CMYK, if I open up something that's a different CMYK profile, then the CMYK U.S. web Coated (SWOP) v2, go ahead and Preserve the Numbers, but Ignore the Linked Profiles. That means keep the CMYK values for all the colors, but ignore the profile and add it to the U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. For Profile Mismatches, you can have Illustrator ask you when opening what to do. That means if your profile doesn't match what you're currently set to, Illustrator will pop-up and say, hey, what would you like to do? Would you like to preserve it or would you like to convert it? You can also ask when pasting, so if you paste from one document to another you can have Illustrator pop-up and say, hey, this isn't exactly the right profile for the way I am setup, but would you like to preserve the profile that's here or switch to the profile that I am using? For Missing Profiles, you can also ask when opening as well.
You will notice when you hover over these you get a description down in the Description field at the bottom of the screen. This is going to be extremely helpful in you understanding exactly what all these options mean. So if I hover over this, it tells me that when enabled, you will be notified whenever the embedded color profile in a newly opened document doesn't match the current working space. Like I said, you open up a document in Bruce RGB versus Adobe RGB (1998). At any time you can come in here and change your general color settings for Illustrator. You can also load color settings that someone gives you, like a commercial printer for instance.
If they have their own specific color settings they need, they can send those to you and you can load them by clicking the Load option right here. You can also customize all of these settings and save them and send them out to other designers or other printers that you might be working with. At the bottom of this dialog box, you'll see an option called More Options. The More Options indicates the conversion options, like the Engine that's used and the Intent as well. If you're not very clear on what these options mean, my suggestion would be just to hide them for now.
You can figure that out as you go along. For now all you need are these options here and here, and remember, always use the hinting that's available to you in these dialog boxes. Hovering over these will temporally highlight them and show you a description at the bottom of the screen. In most cases, your printer, your client or someone will tell you the colors that you need to use. But if you're not sure, the North American Prepress or North American General Purpose are definitely a safe way to go. Once you have setup your color settings inside of Illustrator, hit OK and those rules are automatically applied. No need to restart.
So before you get started creating your own swatches and working with different color palettes inside of Illustrator, take the time to go through your color settings and set them up properly. You might also want to check out the different files that you've been working on previously to make sure there's no profile mismatches or any errors like that. Once you've got all of your color settings set the way you need them to be, you can take comfort in knowing that you won't have any conflicts or any trouble with what you're seeing on the screen matching what comes out of the printed finished product.
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