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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'm going to give you a sense of how to dial in your own custom colors using CMYK sliders. Now I'm still working inside this Ton-Po Shapes.ai file, because we are just playing around at this point. I'm going to click on one of these rectangles. I actually don't want all them active, so I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+ Shift+A on the Mac to deselect them. I'm going to switch to the wide arrow tool here, and I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click on this rectangle to select it independently of the rest of the bunch. And then I'm going to Shift-click on this little fill icon up here in the Control palette, and we will see that we have CMYK all set to 0%. So they can vary from 0% to 100%, and they stand for the common process color ink Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, another industry standard, and these are the very inks you imply if you are preparing an illustration for commercial output. And by the way if you are going to commercial output, go to the file menu choose Document Color Mode, and make sure that you are set up for CMYK color RGB is for the Web, it's for presentation graphics, it can't be for inkjet output, and for film output as well, but if you are taking this job, you are giving it to a commercial printer, you are printing in a several hundreds or thousands of copies the CMYK color is the way you want to go, because other wise you wont see accurate colors inside of your illustration.
All right, so I'll just escape out of there a couple of times, and then let's Shift-click once again on that fill icon in the Control palette. All right, I want you to see what each one of the inks looks like on it's on. So I'm going to go ahead and assign full on Cyan to this rectangle, and then I'll assign full on Magenta to this guy and I'm going to work fairly quickly here, just so as not to bore you to tears, and finally I'll go ahead and assign black to the last one, and this is black by itself. By the way we will be discussing rich blacks, which are made up of many inks working together in a later exercise. All right, so there they are, the crew themselves, all of the process color inks. So we have Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, here is the idea. Cyan is designed to take white light, so you shine white light on the surface of the page, and you don't have to sit there and shine it, it just comes in from sunlight, or from incandescent lights, or from whatever light source is available inside your building.
It hits the page, and Cyan actually absorbs redness out of the light, so if you have ever heard about the RGB color model, Red, Green, Blue, Cyan is there to absorb Red, and reflect back green and blue, and so it looks Cyan. And Magenta is designed to absorb green, and reflect back red and blue, and so you get Magenta, you get this sort of hot pink color. And then yellow is designed to absorb blue light which is very dark by the way, and reflect back red and green which makes us to form yellow, as we will see in the next exercise. And then black is designed to take care of the fact that these three inks don't really function that wonderfully. Ultimately in inexact science, and in order to really absorb all of the light, you need to add black to the mix as well, otherwise you get this sort of muddy brownish colors, if you were to just go full on Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.
All right, so let's see how these colors mix. I'll just go ahead and switch to the black arrow tool, and click on the central circle, and I'll Shift-click once again on that icon. Now I'll go ahead and turn Cyan up all the way, notice that if we turn yellow up all the way along with it, then we get green, so not so surprising that Cyan and Yellow mix to form Green, given what we have seen so far. If I were to back off of the Cyan, we would get more of a chartreuse color. And then if were to back off of, the yellow will get more sort of a muted turquoise right there. If we were to add Magenta to the mix instead, so take yellow out, and throw in some Magenta, we end up with blue.
So just full on blue, if we make Cyan and Magenta together in 100% each, and then if we were to back off the Magenta value, you can get a sense actually right in there in the slider bar you can see what's going to happen given any slider. So notice we can't see all the colors right now. I can't see orange at all. Because I have too much Cyan mixed in right now. In order to mix in orange, I would have to back off of the Cyan. But anyway, we back off of Magenta, we are going to more for a sort of cobalt-y blue or a sapphire if you prefer.
If I were to back off Cyan just a little bit we will go to a violet color and then if I back up farther we get into our purples. I'll go ahead and take Cyan all the way down, so that we can talk about some of the warmers colors, for example, I have got Magenta all the way up, if I crank yellow all the way up as well, I get a hot red, almost a Scarlet right here. If you want to send it more toward orange, you would back off Magenta. And then of course if you want more of a rose color, something along those lines, you would back off yellow, and you can mix all these colors together if you want to in order to create other color variations like so.
Then if you want a darker color you go ahead and add in black, black is just going to shade whatever you have assigned so far. So it doesn't actually bring in its own additional color from it, it is just a darkening agent. All right, but something to consider, if you are really just trying to darken a color, like let's say you are kind of mix a brownish sort of color using these two sliders, or something along the lines of this orange right here works pretty nicely, and then you look at the black and looks like it's going to make it brownish, but one of the things about black is it also tends to muddy up the color.
If you want to add richness to a color as you darken it, then you want to add the opposing color, so in our case a really great recipe for rich chocolate brown is 100% Cyan, something along the lines of let's say let's go as high as 80% of Magenta here, and then you start bringing in your Cyan to the tune of let us say something like 60%, and you get that nice, rich, buttery brown color right there, and then only then if you want to darken it up you start adding that black. Another thing to bear in mind is when you are going dark with these colors, not to go too high with your total in-coverage, you totally don't want to see all of these values adding up to more than 280%. So in our case we are dangerously close. Notice that we have 90, if you have Cyan and Magenta you have 90, and then plus yellow gives you 190, and I'm just adding in the easiest order. And so 190+80 is 270 so we are just 10% away from an ink that is so dark that it would super saturate the page. That's very possible. It would smear when you print it. So you just have to be watchful of that.
All right, so that's how you make CMYK colors here inside of Illustrator. In the next exercise I'll show you how to work with the other device depended color model, RGB.
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