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Trapping gaps with rich blacks

From: Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

Video: Trapping gaps with rich blacks

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.

Trapping gaps with rich blacks

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

114 video lessons · 37032 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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