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Trapping gaps with rich blacks

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Trapping gaps with rich blacks

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to trap gaps using Rich Blacks and it's a complicated problem to understand, but it's a really easy solution. So here is the idea. When you send an illustration out to a commercial printer to be rendered in process colors, they have got a different plate devoted to each one of the inks. So four plates for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, and these plates have to be exactly aligned with each other, and the paper has to run through these plates independently in order to render your job, and if anything goes out of alignment, if the paper slips, for example, at all, then any time where you have neighboring objects that use different inks, you may see gaps between those objects, just these really razor thin gaps, and you can get rid of those gaps using trapping. And the easiest trapping method out there is Rich Blacks, and the great thing about Illustrator is the kind of previews of these gaps, if you pay very close attention.

Trapping gaps with rich blacks

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to trap gaps using Rich Blacks and it's a complicated problem to understand, but it's a really easy solution. So here is the idea. When you send an illustration out to a commercial printer to be rendered in process colors, they have got a different plate devoted to each one of the inks. So four plates for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, and these plates have to be exactly aligned with each other, and the paper has to run through these plates independently in order to render your job, and if anything goes out of alignment, if the paper slips, for example, at all, then any time where you have neighboring objects that use different inks, you may see gaps between those objects, just these really razor thin gaps, and you can get rid of those gaps using trapping. And the easiest trapping method out there is Rich Blacks, and the great thing about Illustrator is the kind of previews of these gaps, if you pay very close attention.

So I'm working inside of this catch-up document. That is to say I have saved my progress as Clay swatches.ai, found inside the 06 fill_stroke folder, and I'm going to click on this front circle right there, and notice if we were to Shift-click on the Stroke icon, you can see that the stroke is 0 Cyan, 0 Magenta. It's 0 Yellow, so no CMY, just 100% Black and that's a plain black by the way. Now I'm going to go ahead and Shift- click on the Fill icon right there, and I'm going to change it to 50% Cyan, and 100% Magenta, no Yellow. We won't worry about Yellow. No Black. So in other words, these two neighboring colors, fill and stroke, do not share any inks, and therefore if there is any mis-registration, we might get gaps. And Illustrator is actually showing us the potential for gaps. Do you see it? If you are working along with me, you will see this very, very thin white line.

I'm going to zoom in, and if you look very closely, you are going to see that we have this orange path outline, and on either side of it is the black stroke, and then we have this very, very thin light edge before we come to the violet fill right there, and that is showing us that we have a potential for a gap at that location. Believe it or not, that extremely subtle display is a feature inside of Illustrator. All right, now I'm going to zoom back out and I want to show you something. I'm going to press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac, in order to bring up the Preferences dialog box, and then I'm going to switch to this last option, Appearance of Black, and I want to make sure that On Screen for you is set to Display All Blacks Accurately. That's what you want.

That way 100% black with no other ink is going to look like this; a fairly sort of darkish gray really, and then a rich black which involves Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and the Black inks all working together is going to look nice and dark, just like in the real world. It's very important you have things set up this way, and I mention it because it's not the default setting, which is very frustrating to me. Anyway, it is fine for me, so I'm going to cancel out of there. Watch the difference, watch what happens. If we go ahead and dial in a rich black for this stroke. So here is what I'm going to do, I'm going to click on the Stroke icon in order to bring the Swatches palette. I'm going to click on the little Page icon to create a New Swatch, and I'm going to call this one, Rich black like so. It's going to be a Process Color. Let's go ahead and make it global, and I'm going to change all the values except for K. K is already 100 %. That's fine. I'm going to change the other ones to 50 a piece.

Now this is a kind of no brain to Rich black, there is other ways to mix Rich blacks. The great thing about this one is that these values add up to 250 %, which will fall below the total ink maximum, for any press out there. So in other words, if there is too much ink on the page, then the paper can absorb all that ink, and ink is gong to smear, and that happens at some point, usually at 280 % or higher. We are just at 250 % here, so we are well under that maximum. So this is good, this is going to look like a really great Rich black.

Now click OK in order to accept that modification. Now notice, we can still see that little bit of white edge there next to the stroke and the fill, even though it's telling me that this stroke has been applied. I'm going to go ahead and click on Rich Black just to make doubly sure, and now we no longer have that gap, and I'm going to show you what I mean using my little zoom technique again. I am going to go ahead and zoom in there, pane the screen image so that we can see what I'm talking about. There is my path outline in orange, there is the stroke in black, there is the violet fill. There is no gap between the two. We have now trapped the gap with the Rich Black but we have only done it with this one circle. We need to do it with the rest of the objects inside of this illustration.

So zoom out, and I'm going to click on any other object inside of this illustration, like this circle right there, this outer circle, and can you now see on screen how this black is darker than the others? If you are working with me, you can definitely see it, but I'll select this outer circle, and then I'll go up to this Select Similar Options, an option up here in the Control palette. I'll click on it, and I'll choose Stroke Color. Here it's probably set to All, I'll go ahead and choose Stroke Color, and you will select everything else inside of the illustration, hopefully.

And now we are going to go ahead and change the color of these objects. I'm going to make my stroke active like so, I'll switch over to Swatches, and then I'll click on my New Swatch Rich black in order to assign that Rich black, and you could see it darken up ever so slightly there, assign that Rich Black to all of my strokes. Now just to make sure I'm going to click off in order to deselect all these objects, just to make sure I have got everybody because this is a global color, I'm going to go ahead and edit it and I should be able to see all of my objects change in kind.

So let's go ahead and get rid of Black here, and we will make some wacky sort of red color here, so that we can really see what's going on and I'll turn on Preview and oh, my goodness, look that, for some reason we left behind the nose and the mouth. I don't know what's going on with that darn nose. I can never get that selected. All right, anyway let's cancel, because we don't really want to change all the strokes to red right there. We need to go ahead and change these guys too manually. So I'll click on the nose, and it was definitely set to that weak black right there, and I'll switch the color, sure enough 0, 0, 0, and 100, so I don't know why it didn't get picked up. The lips on the other hand, I have a different color assigned to them bizarrely.

So anyway, let's just go ahead and select those guys manually, like so, then go back to the Swatches palette, click on Rich Black, thank you very much, sir, and we have now managed to create strokes that will automatically trap all colors around them. It's a wonderful thing, so definitely remember that trick. It's very easy to forget, and get sloppy, and not do it, when you are creating your own illustration here inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37883 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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