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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
In this exercise we're going to go ahead and convert all of the strokes inside of the document from plain black to rich black. And just so you have a sense of what I'm talking about, I'm going to go ahead and select this circle that I've been goofing around with over the span of the last several exercises, and I'm working inside of a catch up document incidentally, called Clay swatches.ai, that's inside the 05_Fill stroke folder in case you're just joining us. So notice that it has a medium clay fill, that's great. That's one of our swatches that we created in the previous exercise. I'm going to go ahead and click on the stroke and noticed the CMY settings, they're all 0, and black is set to 100%. Now you might think, Okay well that's sufficient. You know there's nothing darker them black ink.
So these are as dark as the strokes are going to get. Not true, this is what's known as plain black because it's black ink without any of the support inks, and a couple of problems with plain black. One is it can end up looking lighter than other colors inside of an illustration, if you're not careful, because you actually darken up the color as you add other inks to black. And then secondly, black ink can result in trapping problems. You can end up with the gaps between your strokes and your fills if the colors are printed to different plates. Now let me go ahead and show you what I'm talking about.
With this big circle selected, I'm going to bring up my Pantone solid color swatches palette here, which I went ahead and saved off as a palette in a previous exercise. And notice that I've got a swatch right about here that's called Pantone 2415. I'm going to go ahead and assign it to my fill by switching over to the fill and clicking on that swatch, and I've now got this purple color inside of my black strokes. If you're working along with me and you look very closely at your screen, you're going to see a tiny thin white gap between the purple or violet fill and the black outline.
And if you're looking at my video though, you're not going to see it very well. So let me show you what I'm talking about. I'm going to switch over to Photoshop where I have a couple of variations of this image saved off. I've actually done a screen shot, then I've blown it up so that we can see the pixels nice and close, cause it's not going to do me any good to zoom in on this drawing inside of Illustrator, because Illustrator always shows these trapping problems as very faint gaps. All right, so here's what you see when you're working with a plain black stroke set against a strong fill color, like what we have right now. You can see these tiny little gaps. See those light colors that are going on right next to the stroke there.
That's Illustrator's way, believe it or not that's a feature, a very subtle feature, but that's Illustrator's way of saying, Hey, hey, you might or might not have a trapping problem here. Don't want to bug you with it but it could happen. Versus if you go ahead and stroke your lines with a rich black, check it out, your gaps go away, because your trapping problems go away as well. SO you're not going to get any gaps between your strokes and your fills that way. So that's why you do rich blacks. All right so I'm going to go back to Illustrator here. I'm going to hide that Pantone palette and I'm going to undo the modification to the fill that I just made. I still want that fill to be medium clay. What I do want to change however, are my strokes. So I'm going to go ahead and click off the shape in order to deselect it.
I'm going to click on my stroke icon up here in the Control palette, and I'm going to create a new Swatch, and notice that it comes up with a plain black. I'm going to change that to Rich black, and I'm going to go ahead and dial in a rich black color as well. Now when you're dialing in rich black, you don't want the colors to add up to more than I would say about 260, 280% something in that neighborhood, because if you go higher than 300%, that's sort of one of those magic numbers, if you go higher than 300%, in other words the sum of your CMYK values is more than 300%, then the paper will no longer absorb the ink and you end up smearing the ink on the page, which is obviously a very bad thing. So we're well under. At this point we're at 250%, with 50% each for C, M and Y and then 100% K. All right so that's just an everyday average rich black. I'm going to turn on the Global checkbox now, so that anything that we assign this rich black to, so that any objects to which we assign this rich black, will be changeable just by changing the rich black definition.
Now click OK. Now at this point we need to change out our strokes, and I'm going to do that by clicking on any one of these objects, doesn't matter which one at this point. So I'll click on this circle right there. And then I'm going to go up to this little menu right here, this Select Similar Options pop-up menu, here in the Control palette, and I'm going to choose Stroke Color, and that should grab all of the objects that are stroked with the plain black. And now I'm going to go ahead and stroke all of these objects with my rich black, but notice what's missing up here in the Control palette. My stroking option is no longer there.
So what I need to do is I need to go ahead and click on the stroke inside the Color palette, and then I'm going to bring up my Swatches palette, my actual real independent Swatches palette, which happens to be available for me right here, but that's because I changed around my workspace. For you, you'll probably want to go up to the Window menu and choose the Swatches command. So having brought up my Swatches palette, I'm now going to click on my Rich black and that goes ahead and changes out all those strokes from plain black to rich black. Now I'm going to press Control+ Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac.
And I need to check to make sure that I got all of my items stroked throughout the entire calendar. I just need to do a quick check here and I'm going to do that by double-clicking. First of all deselecting everything inside the illustration by pressing Control+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on the Mac. Then I'm going to double-click on my swatch, my global swatch thankfully here. And I'm going to change it to a ridiculous color, like so something like bright let's say red, and then I'll turn on Preview so I can see what objects change to red inside the illustration. Everything but the nose. Darn that nose.
So somehow that nose is stroked with some other color, and I need to change it over to rich black as well. So I'm going to cancel out. I just need to take a mental inventory here. You can see it's just the nose, that's it. Now I'll click Cancel, very important that you cancel out because you don't want to change your rich blacks to strange red. All right now I'll zoom in on the nose. I'll go ahead and give it a click and make sure strokes is still on, it appears to be plain black. I don't know why it didn't go over with the others but we're going to go ahead and switch it out now to rich black and it's all better. Now we have rich blacks inside of our illustration all the way around. They're actually going to look a little darker on screen as well, assuming that you followed my instructions back in Chapter 2, when I told you what Preference settings I wanted you to use, and just in case, let me review that very briefly. I'm going to press Control+K, Command+K on the Mac, in order bring up the Preferences, then I'm going to switch over to Appearance of Black. This guy right here and what I told you to do was make sure that On Screen is set to Display All Blacks Accurately.
So you can see the difference on screen between your plain blacks and your rich blacks. Something you definitely want to be able to see inside of Illustrator and the default setting is set otherwise. It's set to Always Display Rich Blacks. It just a thing that they do for folks who've been using the software a long time so that they didn't get any disruption in their day-to-day working environment. So that's the way you want things set. Click OK to accept that if you're just changing it now. From now on you be able to see the differences between your plain and rich blacks and you'll be able see that you have nice rich blacks on screen that are going to look their darkest when they go to press and you're going to have less problems with tiny little gaps between your strokes and your fills.
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