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Using Overprints and Overprint Preview

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Using Overprints and Overprint Preview

In printing, there is a concept known as overprinting and that basically allows you to determine how colors mix when they print on press. I'll give you an example of how you could actually control this directly from inside of Illustrator. I'm going to create a new print document. Let's click OK and take the regular settings here that are the default. I am going to go to the Swatches panel and I'm actually going to load up a Pantone color. So I'm going to go over here to this little Swatch Libraries menu, choose Color Books. Let's choose Pantone Solid Coated and just for argument say I come out over here, it's simple one, let's take Pantone Red 032. Let's just drag this over to my document and let's close this panel.

Using Overprints and Overprint Preview

In printing, there is a concept known as overprinting and that basically allows you to determine how colors mix when they print on press. I'll give you an example of how you could actually control this directly from inside of Illustrator. I'm going to create a new print document. Let's click OK and take the regular settings here that are the default. I am going to go to the Swatches panel and I'm actually going to load up a Pantone color. So I'm going to go over here to this little Swatch Libraries menu, choose Color Books. Let's choose Pantone Solid Coated and just for argument say I come out over here, it's simple one, let's take Pantone Red 032. Let's just drag this over to my document and let's close this panel.

There may be times, for example, when you are working on a spot color job, maybe we're dealing with two colors. You want to work with black, plus the Pantone color. In this case, it will be Red 032. Now a lot of times when you are working with these different colors, if colors happen to overlap each other, how does that actually happen when that file gets printed? Let's take a look. I am going to create a rectangle here and then I'll create another rectangle right here. I'm going to select the top rectangle over here, which is actually beneath this particular rectangle right here, and let's go ahead and fill that one with Pantone red. I'm going to select this rectangle over here and fill that one with black and let's just get rid of those strokes all together on these objects.

So how will this actually print? If you think about it, I have a rectangle here which just kind of goes behind this black rectangle. If I would actually kind of run this through a printing press and I would actually run red ink on the paper first and then I'll put the black ink on top of it. If there is red ink that fills up the entire rectangle here, then in this area where these two shapes overlap on the paper itself, I'm going to get a mixture of the black and the red inks which will really turn this area of black to be even darker than it appears right now. Obviously when I look at this on a printed piece of paper, I'll see a darker area here than I will in the rest of the area of this rectangle. So because of that, the default setting inside of Illustrator and really in printing in general is that if an object is hidden from view, then the object in that particular area does not print at all.

In other words, this rectangle sits over here and this rectangle knocks out the area of the red rectangle behind it, which means another printing press when I actually create my plate, I have a red shape that looks like an inverted L shape right over here. Then I'd have this area here, which would be completely black, so there would be no red ink in the particular area at all. That's the default setting and that's what we refer to as a knockout. The objects in front knockout the objects beneath it so that way the ink itself is not mixed on the paper. However, there may be times when you do want the inks to actually mix on the paper itself. Think about it in this way, if I actually take this rectangle and instead of filling it with 100k, let's go ahead and fill it maybe with around 50% black.

Now if I were to actually go ahead and tell this particular object to not knockout the object beneath it, then there's a term that we use called overprint. In other words, print this ink over the ink that appears underneath it, so don't knock it out. Then what I would see here is a mixture of this 50% black and also the 100% red which would really give me a darker red. So what I'd be able to do is as a designer, I would be able to simulate different shades of colors. Right now I only have red and I have basically different shades of black, but this would allow me to using the ability to combine the inks on the paper itself to simulate darker shades of the red as well. So I really kind of end up having more color to work with.

The way that you would actually specify that as you would go to the Window menu and choose open up the Attributes panel here in Illustrator. With the object selected, I'm going to click on this option called Overprint Fill. Again, by default that's turned off, but now I have told Illustrator that when you print this don't knock out any objects beneath it, but overprint that particular fill so that the ink beneath it still stays. Traditionally, the problem has always been that while you can set these settings here inside of Illustrator, it's very difficult for you to preview what that's going to look like when it prints. In fact, even if you print it to your Inkjet printer or to your color laser printer, it does not show up on that output and that's because when you print to a composite proof, meaning what all the colors look like at once, the overprint commands are not applied. They only apply when you actually print separations out of your file.

In other words, the only real way to preview this would be to go down on Press and see as those sheets come out of the printing press. Therefore, Illustrator has a specific viewing mode and we can actually see or preview what your overprints are going to look like before you actually print your file. So turn that setting on, I'm just going to go over to the View menu here, I'm going to choose Overprint Preview. Overprint Preview is just a more sophisticated preview as it shows you what your artwork is going to look like when it gets printed on a printing press. Notice over here I see what this artwork is going to look like when the overprinting is applied and this is the area of the red that will actually print darker.

Now, many designers actually want to be able to use this effect in a creative manner. Meaning, even though I know that I only have two colors to work with, I may want to mix my ink to create a variety of swatches to use and therefore extent my options. For example, I'm going to delete this shape right here. I have this one rectangle. I will take this rectangle and I'll make a copy of it here, so now I have two rectangles. I'll now select both rectangles and I'll choose Edit > Copy and then I'll choose Edit > Paste in Front. So I now have a rectangle that kind of overlaps another rectangle. Let me press Undo. I could color these rectangles different shades of gray. For example, this one will be shaded 30% gray and then this one over here will be shaded around 10% gray. Now, I'll select both of these gray rectangles and I'll set them to Overprint. The result is basically going to be if I create now another rectangle up over here, this is my original red color but I have now created different varieties or different shades of red by simply overprinting different values of black on top of them.

The problem though is that there is no way to create a single swatch inside of Illustrator that contains multiple ink properties. However, let me show you a technique where you can actually simulate this very easily. I'll delete all of my shapes in my artboard. I'll hit Command+A or Ctrl+A to just simply hit at the Delete key. I'll create a brand new rectangle. This particular rectangle now has a fill of the Pantone Red 032, and instead of me actually creating a separate shape, I'm going to go to my Appearance panel, I'm going to choose to add now another fill. So now my artwork has two fills on one single object. I'm going to change the topmost fill to black and I'll actually specify maybe a tint value. So for example, let's do 30% gray.

Now you can easily see that my artwork now has changed to be darker that's because I know that I have a single object that has two fill attributes. I'm actually going to see over here at my Appearance panel that I have Overprint commands applied to both fills. Really, I should only have the Overprint applied to the top though, so I'm going to target the bottom-most fill right here and turn off the overprint for that object. Now, I simply have a single object with an appearance that has two fills, the topmost fill is set to overprint. Now well I can't save this as a swatch, I can save it as a graphic style. So what I'll do over here is simply go ahead, tab with my Graphic Styles panel or even better, I'll show you another little secret that Illustrator has.

I will go back to the Appearance panel. I know that I could always take my thumbnail for my Appearance panel and drag it into the Graphic Styles panel to define a style. But the problem though is that the Graphic Styles panel is hidden right now. Well Illustrator actually has spring loaded panels; a feature that was added now inside of CS4. So if I take my thumbnail and I drag it to the tab where it says Graphic Styles and I hold it there for a second, Illustrator actually brings graphic styles to the front. Now I could drop it in here and I have defined my style. Now that I have created a style, I can draw any new shape inside of Illustrator with one click of a button apply that particular appearance.

Now one final thing to note, it's important to know that right now I have my Overprint Preview turned on. I can see that here in the tab of my document where it says Overprint Preview but if I'm working in just a regular preview mode, I won't be able to see those overprints at all. In reality you can simply go to the View menu, turn your Overprint Preview on and always work inside of Overprint Preview mode. It's a far more accurate display than a regular preview mode. The downside, well, overprint preview requires a lot more processing and therefore redraw may be little bit slower than the regular preview mode. However, if you are working on Prepress, you might want to put up with that to make sure that what you see on your screen is exactly the way that it's going to look like when it prints.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29170 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  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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