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Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors

I often get two questions asked to me when we talk about the concepts of spot color inside of Illustrator. First of all, people wonder why sometimes a spot color looks one way inside of Photoshop, but looks completely different inside of Illustrator? Another question is sometimes when you look at a Pantone color inside of Illustrator and you look at the swatch and the way that it's defined, it's set up as something called a Book Color. And people want to know, what is a Book Color? Well in this move we'll talk about both, getting your colors to look consistent across both Photoshop and Illustrator and we'll also understand exactly what a Book Color is because really, all these things are interrelated.

Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors

I often get two questions asked to me when we talk about the concepts of spot color inside of Illustrator. First of all, people wonder why sometimes a spot color looks one way inside of Photoshop, but looks completely different inside of Illustrator? Another question is sometimes when you look at a Pantone color inside of Illustrator and you look at the swatch and the way that it's defined, it's set up as something called a Book Color. And people want to know, what is a Book Color? Well in this move we'll talk about both, getting your colors to look consistent across both Photoshop and Illustrator and we'll also understand exactly what a Book Color is because really, all these things are interrelated.

I will start it by just creating a regular print document, click OK. I'll go to my Swatches panel and I'll add a Pantone color here just because we need to be to work with. So I'll choose over here to load Color Books. I'll go to Solid Coated and let's say I'll add Pantone purple. That will be a good one to work with here and I'll close the panel here. I am just going to simply create a big rectangle on my artboard here and I'll fill it with that Pantone purple. We can just get rid of the stroke here, we don't need to have stroke in the object and I'll move it to the side, so we can see it just about right over here.

Now if I double-click on the swatch itself, I 'll see that right now for color mode, it's not set to CMYK or RGB. It is set to something called Book Color. Now a lot of times people might get spooked by this particular setting and they feel more comfortable going to CMYK, so they change this to CMYK. That's pretty much a bad move and I'll explain why in just a moment, but for now, I'm going to leave it set to Book Color. As we'll go further right through this video, we'll find out exactly what Book Color means. But I'm going to click OK right now. I'm not going to switch over to Photoshop. I actually have Photoshop's application frame turned off. So if I go to the Window menu here, you can see that application frame is not checked.

This will allow me to actually see both Photoshop and Illustrator opened on my screen at the same time. As you can see here, I'm inside of Photoshop but I could still see my document as it appears inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to create a brand new file inside of Photoshop here, I'm going to choose File > New. I'm going to create an RGB document here in a minute, we'll understand why. I'm actually going to set it to a Width of about I don't know. Let's say 400 Height, 400 -- I just want to get some kind of rectangle on my screen, click OK and now I'm going to choose the Pantone color, the same Pantone purple and display it here in this particular window. So I'm going to go over here to my foreground color, I'm going to choose Color Libraries.

I want my Pantone Solid Coated library. Let me scroll to the top over here where we have Pantone purple, I'll click OK. Now, I'll simply go ahead and hit my Option+Delete or Alt+Delete if you are on Windows to fill that entire area with the purple color, but take a look at this. The purple color that I'm seeing here inside of Photoshop looks completely different to the way that it appears inside of Illustrator. Why is that happening? Well, the reason why is because Photoshop determines the actual colors for Pantone colors by using their Lab values. Pantone, the company actually delivers a whole set of values to Adobe to include those particular libraries in their products. For each color, they specify Lab and also CMYK values.

Now Photoshop wants to be able to display the most closest possible color match to the actual Pantone color because Lab offers a much larger gamut or range of colors. What you see on your screen inside of Photoshop is much closer to the actual result that you will see on press. But I'm inside of RGB right now, so if I were to go choose Image and then convert my document to print or to convert it to CMYK, I might choose Mode > CMYK Color and in doing so, when I change the document, I can now see that the color that I'm seeing here does match exactly what I'm seeing here inside of Illustrator.

Let's go back to the live preview. I'm just going to press Undo. I'm now back to my RGB color mode. I'll go back here to Illustrator because I want to show you a very interesting setting inside of Illustrator called Overprint Preview. Now, we already know that Overprint Preview allows us to see our overprints on our screen. We don't have to wait to actually print preparation to view them. But in reality, Overprint Preview does a lot more than just preview overprints. You will notice that this object right now which is fill with that Pantone purple C, actually looks quite different when I actually turn Overprint Preview on. So I'll choose Overprint Preview and now you can see I get a brighter color. If I go back now to Photoshop for a second here, you can see that what I'm seeing inside of Illustrator when Overprint Preview is active matches up with the Lab values that I do see inside of Photoshop. So going back to Illustrator for a second here, what I'm really seeing here is that I'm working inside of a CMYK document but Illustrator is previewing that spot color for me using the Lab values of that color. So it's far more accurate on my screen.

If you really want to see, what your spot color is going to look like when it prints, turn on Overprint Preview when using Illustrator. So what this all has to do with Book Color? Well, let's take a closer look at exactly the Swatch right here. I'm going to double- click on the Swatch and I'm going to see something called Book Color. Book Color is basically the values that Pantone has sent to Adobe to include for their swatches, and that's important to know because there is a limitation inside of Illustrator. When I define a Swatch, I could choose CMYK values, or I could choose Lab values or RGB values but I can only choose one of them.

In other words, any Swatch that I create can either be Lab or can be CMYK or RGB, but a Book Color is a special swatch. A Book Color actually stores two values in a single swatch. It stores CMYK values, and it also stores the Lab values for that color. Depending on how I'm working inside of Illustrator, Illustrator has the ability to actually switch between those. When I'm working with regular preview mode inside of Illustrator, it's using the CMYK values for display. However, when I turn on Overprint Preview, Illustrator shows me those spot colors using the Lab value. So you might think of a Book Color swatch as a smart swatch. It actually contains two different values for the same exact color.

Now all this makes sense because a spot color is custom mixed on Press. As such what I see on my screen is really just for proofing purposes. So in order for me to see the best possible proof on my screen, Overprint Preview uses the Lab values to display that color. However, there may be times when a designer specifies a Pantone color but then we convert that to a process color sometime in the print workflow. For example, sometimes designers who may not be familiar with a print process may specify like ten different spot colors in a job and we know that's ridiculous. We wouldn't actually print ten spot colors in a job.

So in that case right before you go to print, we may convert all of our spot colors into process colors but when I make that conversion, I really want the CMYK values that are displayed in the book, the ones that Pantone provided to Adobe. As my swatch was defined as Lab from the get go, as soon as I convert to process, I'm going to get a Lab to process conversion. So that's why Book Color is so important. By storing both CMYK and Lab values in the same swatch, I can use the Lab values for proofing modes on my display and at the same time, whenever I convert the/to process, I know that I'm going to get the CMYK values that Pantone provided in their book. I'll click Cancel because I want to show you one of the settings inside of Illustrator that's important to know.

I'll actually go back to my View menu and then turn my Overprint Preview off. So again merely what I'm seeing here are CMYK values for my spot color. Now, if you really want to be able to see and work with these colors more efficiently inside of Illustrator. You can go to your Swatches panel and also click on the little panel menu here and choose something called Spot Colors. Here, you could choose a default setting for what Illustrator uses in their regular display mode. Now, as I mentioned before, a Book Color swatch contains both CMYK and also Lab values. By default in Regular Preview mode, Illustrator uses CMYK. By choosing this option, I could tell Illustrator to always use the Lab values even in my regular preview mode.

So now if I were to click OK and if I'd be inside of an RGB document, I would see the much brighter color displayed inside of my document. If you are a web designer, this could actually be a really good setting to use because you really know you're never actually going to go to print as a spot color, but you want to see the best possible spot colors in your document. So since you are going to be in RGB mode anyway, you may as well have your spot colors also being displayed with Lab color. However, if you are working in print, I wouldn't suggest that you actually use these Lab value settings because again, that means that anytime that you want to convert your particular spot color to process, the CMYK values that you are going to get are not going to be the ones specified by Pantone in their book. Instead, it will be a Lab to CMYK conversion.

So it definitely speaks to your printer before choosing any of these values. I'll click Cancel here and hopefully at this point here you really have a strong understanding of exactly what a Book Color is and more importantly, how to make Illustrator and Photoshop match each other when it comes to proofing colors.

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This video is part of

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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 28974 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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