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Understanding the color-managed workflow

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Understanding the color-managed workflow

In this movie we're going to take on color settings in Illustrator, a.k.a., color management. And while it's a gnarly topic conceptually, the one change I'm going to ask you to make is very simple. Now, I happen to be working inside of an RGB document, and I know that because if I go the File menu and choose Document Color mode, RGB Color is checked, and you have that option to Switch Color Modes when you create the document in the first place, or I could switch the Color mode on the fly. So typically you use CMYK Color for print documents and RGB Color for web documents, but you don't have to go that way if you don't want.

Understanding the color-managed workflow

In this movie we're going to take on color settings in Illustrator, a.k.a., color management. And while it's a gnarly topic conceptually, the one change I'm going to ask you to make is very simple. Now, I happen to be working inside of an RGB document, and I know that because if I go the File menu and choose Document Color mode, RGB Color is checked, and you have that option to Switch Color Modes when you create the document in the first place, or I could switch the Color mode on the fly. So typically you use CMYK Color for print documents and RGB Color for web documents, but you don't have to go that way if you don't want.

You can easily repurpose the same document in both directions. Anyway, what it means by virtue of the fact that I'm working in RGB is that all of my colors inside this document are defined in the RGB space, even if it appears otherwise. What I'll do is I'll click on this red text right here, which has been converted to path outlines as you can see, and then if I examine the Fill color inside the Color panel, I see CMYK sliders, but I see some very unusual values. And that's because I didn't really use the CMYK sliders to define this color.

And I can see what I actually used by clicking on the flyout menu icon in the upper right corner and choosing RGB, and there are my much more reasonable values there, which are actually in place. Let me show you something else. I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect that text, and then I'll press the M key to switch to the Rectangle tool and I'll draw a rectangle; that comes in filled with red, because that was the color of my last selected object. I'm going to dial in a different color though. Take the R value down to 200, I'll take the G value down to 0, and I'll crank up the Blue value to 255 so we get this screaming purple right here.

Now notice if I switch over to my CMYK values, that they're pertaining to keep up; but you can see that the color right there at the tip of each one of the sliders is a much dimmer purple, and if I change this value right here-- notice it says 81.45--if I change it to just 82%, which is a nominal difference, not something you'd normally perceive and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, my rectangle dims dramatically. And that's because now what Illustrator is doing is trying to find an RGB equivalent for these CMYK values, which is this muddier shade of purple here.

So by virtue of the fact that I'm working in the RGB space, I can take advantage of colors like this one, which we're now seeing because I pressed Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Now, what's great about this is Illustrator and Photoshop and the other Creative Suite applications not only allow you to create vivid RGB artwork along with your CMYK as well, but they also do so inside of a controlled workflow. So I want you to see something here. I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Color Settings command, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on the Mac, because it's yet another preference option; and I'll change the Settings as by the default to North American General Purpose 2--at least those are the default settings here in the States.

And notice that RGB is set to sRGB, which is a way of confirming the RGB space. So in other words, Illustrator isn't just sending the RGB values out to the screen and hoping for the best, it's actually quantifying this RGB space, which is great and that means you can get reliable results between different applications and between your applications and your printer as well. sRGB however--while it's great as a web output space--is not great for a day-to-day work, because what it is, is it's an old profile for one thing, and also it's based on your run-of-the-mill, sort of worst case scenario, PC monitor. And not even that--it's a CRT monitor, even though we all use flat screens these days.

So it's just a way of quantifying the worst case scenario and you don't really want to be working in the worst case scenario. I'm going to leave it set this way for now. I'll click OK just so that North American General Purpose 2 sticks, but I want you to see something else. We're unsynchronized, meaning that my various CS6 applications aren't in agreement with each other, and I'll show you what that looks like in a moment, but I'll click OK. I'm going to take this square right there and I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Copy command; and then I'll switch over to Photoshop, and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose its Color Settings command, which is very similar, borders on being identical.

Notice that it's set to a different space, one that I've created, and the RGB Workspace is Adobe RGB, which is a more robust workspace. And it means that you can take full advantage of this expensive graphics software that you have and the display features of your more sophisticated monitor. Notice once again that we're seeing the word Unsynchronized, because Illustrator and Photoshop are not in agreement with each other. All right, I'll go ahead and Cancel out and I'll go up to the File menu and I'll choose the New command, and Photoshop is going to automatically recognize the contents of the clipboard there, so all I need to do is click OK.

And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command. Photoshop is going to ask me how I want to paste this object. I'm just going to Paste it as Pixels and click OK, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to confirm that place. So I want you to see something. This is Photoshop, and this is Illustrator; that's the same color of purple right there, even though we're working in two different RGB spaces. Watch what happens if I were to go up to the Edit menu here in Illustrator again and choose Assign Profile; and I were to say, you know what, I want to be working in that same space I'm working in inside of Photoshop, so I'll go ahead and click on this menu, scroll up and choose Adobe RGB (1998 ) right there and click OK.

You're going to see your square shift; click OK, and watch it shift to a totally different color. Now I'll go ahead and copy it, this time just by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac. I'll switch back to Photoshop and I'll paste this guy in by pressing Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac. I'll leave Pixels selected, click OK, and notice we now have the pinker version of that purple square again. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to confirm the placement there. So this is the previous purple and this is the new purple, and what Photoshop is doing is it's converting this profiled rectangle on-the-fly.

Now, you don't really need to understand everything I've shown you there. What I want you to know is that you're working in a color-managed workflow, whether you like it or not--and you do like it--because back in the old days this thing could have turned blue on you inside of a different program. Anyway, I'll switch back to Illustrator. What we really want at the end of the day is for all of our Creative Suite applications to agree with each other. And we also want to take advantage of the widest array of colors that we can, and you do that by adjusting your color settings, and I'm going to show you exactly how in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14930 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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