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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you the last of the Print dialog box settings, the ones that control Color Management and Flattener Settings, and flattening is what Illustrator has to do to certain complex objects in order to make them conform to be PostScript printing standard. I am going to go up to the File menu, choose the Print command once again, Ctrl+P, Command+P, are your keyboard shortcuts. Inside the big Printer dialog box, I'll go ahead and switch to the Color Management option right there. We can see that my Document Profile, this is a CMYK document, and the profile is U.S. Web Coated (SWOP)v2, and we specified that when we setup our color settings way, way back at the beginning of this series.
So that's to be expected. Now it's possible that your printer, your commercial printer uses a different profile and if they give you a different profile, and they tell you they want you to use it, then by all means, you should use it, they will tell you how load it as well, when we presume. Let's say that I know for whatever reason that U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated v2 was what I needed to use. Well, then I get this checkbox right here which is asking me, okay, what do you want to do? Do you want to go ahead and convert the CMYK colors so that they look right, so that you are maintaining the same visual appearance that you are seeing on your screen or that you are potentially proofing to a local device, or do you want to turn-off Preserve CMYK colors, and do you just want to stick with the CMYK colors you specified and hope for the best? That is entirely up to you, you are going to see different results, possibly better results one way or the other. I hate to be that vague about it but it's very likely that you decide a specific CMYK colors for a region. You may have been working with a color booklet, for example, and you may have been picking colors out of that booklet and use those colors and you want to stick with those CMYK values in which case, turn this checkbox off.
If you are unsure and you are thinking well, maybe I'll just let Illustrator do its thing and convert the colors, and hope that they will continue to look better, and you want to place your faith in Illustrator, why then turn this checkbox on? It's completely up to you right there. Now this Color Handling option, right now, we are letting Illustrator to determine the colors, if we are using a PostScript Printer, a real PostScript Printer, then it's possible, we could let PostScript to handle, the color conversions. But since I don't have an actual PostScript printer to work with, my only option is to let Illustrator determine the colors.
Now another situation you can run into when you are trying to output colors here is that you are working with a Color Composite printer, let's try something else other than this Adobe PDF. Let's say we work with this Upstairs LDC printer. Now, I don't even know what kind of printer it is. I actually do, but let's see we don't know what kind of printer it is, and I don't know whether it's a color printer or a black and white printer. When I choose it, I'll know because Printer Profile will give me a hint. It must be black and white because I'm seeing Dot Gain. I'm not seeing any of the color options. Notice these are all grayscale options that are available to me here.
So it's just telling me, well, do you think you are going to experience a Dot Gain of 10%, which is just a little bit dot gain, meaning things are just going to go a little bit darker on your printer, or is it more like a Dot Gain of 20%, what have you? This is the way it works. If your artwork is printing too dark, then you want to up the amount of dot gain and that's going to lighten up your artwork. If it's printing too light, then you want to reduce the amount of dot gain and that's going to darken your artwork. And that's what black and white printers, once again, not necessarily the best way to print a hyper saturated color document like this one. In fact, most grayscale printers are going to make all the reds virtually black, just something to bear in mind there.
Now what about the other printers here I have got this HP 1310 and I have this thing called Studio Printer. I'll choose Studio Printer and it must be a color printer because it's offering me a Print Profile of Adobe RGB. Now this may seem weird that a printer is offering me an RGB profile, but that's the way it works with Composite printers, or Inkjet printers, or your Laser printers, because their print drivers are setup to automatically convert from the RGB space, your screen space after all to whatever inks the printer uses, and they could be all over the map. They are not going to be necessarily CMYK, as we think of them traditionally, they could be any variations.
So you just need to specify what your RGB space is going to be, more likely to note, I would recommend SRGB, this guy right there with the mess of letters and numbers afterwards, because most printers are set up by default to work from the SRGB space. Then this Rendering Intent becomes very important by the way, not only do you let Illustrator determine the colors because again, I don't have any other option. Unless it's a PostScript Printer, I'm going to be able to do anything different. But the Rendering Intent becomes very important. You have four different rendering intents available to you, only two of which I recommend, Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual. Saturation is designed to create hyper-vivid graphics for business presentations.
So possibly you are going to PowerPoint with your illustration, in which case, maybe you do one Saturation. I have never had any use for it but we also have Absolute Colorimetric. Absolute Colorimetric is going to basically ignore the white point of the output device, the colors are going to be as good as they can but those that are exceeding the printer's capability is going to end up looking pretty bad. They could end up getting clipped, so lot of colors out there in the parameter end up becoming one. Relative Colorimetric is a better bet. If you are going to go to the colorimetric route and the idea here, by the way, after you choose one of these options, you can hover over it to see a description down in this area and the descriptions are quite good.
So what happens with Relative Colorimetric is that Illustrator tries to match the graphic to the white point of the printer and then any colors that still falls outside the gamut after that stunt, because some colors are moved around in the interior, any colors that are still falling outside of the gamut are then changed to the nearest equivalents. So more colors are changed then with Absolute Colorimetric but you also get better colors out there on the parameter. Now this is the best setting for any thing that's highly graphical art. I would recommend Relative Colorimetric inside Illustrator, pretty much 99 % of the time. The only exception is if you have got a lot of imported photographs inside of your image, or you have an off lot of gradients and you really want your gradients to be as smooth as possible. That's when you go with Perceptual right here.
And what perceptual is going to do is it's going to bring all of the out-of-gamut colors to their nearest equivalence, and then it's going to shift all of the colors in between in order to fill in the gaps. So basically, every single color in your graphic is going to shift to some extent or other, pretty much everything but black and white. But as a result, you are going to get better transitions inside of your graphics, so smoother gradients, smoother transitions inside your imported photographs. So that's Perceptual but for this graphic, I would say Relative Colorimetric.
Let's now switch to Advanced here and tell you what, just because we are running a little bit long after that long winded Color Management explanation, I want to tell you all about the Advanced Settings, which cover flattening, as I was saying, in the next exercise.
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