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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
Now as I was saying, if you're going to be printing an illustration especially if you plan on outputting the document commercially, taking it to a commercial print house, then you want to be working with CMYK colors. However, if you're going to screen, if you're creating an image for the Web, or you're creating it for a screen presentation, or even if you're creating it for film output, then you want to go ahead and create the image as an RGB document and dial in your colors using RGB. I'm going to go ahead and click on this circle that I've been modifying here inside of the Ton-po shapes.ai file that's in the 05_Fill_strokes folder.
And now I'm going to Shift-click once again on this first icon here inside of the Control palette, and I'm going to switch over to RGB colors like so. So another way to dial in colors besides your CMYK primaries is to use RGB. RGB stands for red, green and blue and these are the color primaries of light. So any device that projects color like your monitor for example, or a TV set, or anything along those lines, uses RGB in order to convey colors, and in this world it's basically everything is the opposite. So red is the opposite of cyan, green is the opposite of magenta and blue is the opposite of yellow.
And if you crank up red you're obviously going to get more red. If you add green to the mix, you're going to get yellow. So lot of red plus a lot of green equals yellow and this time we're seeing our values, not as percentages, but as what are called luminance levels. And luminous levels go from 0 for black to 255 for the equivalent of 100% for full on color. So, and I should show you this is what red looks like by itself. So this is full on red, and then this right here is full on green, and then this right here is full on blue. Now you might notice something at this point. I'm going to switch to full on green for a moment so that we can see it. Notice how bright green is here inside of the spectrum bar, inside of this green slider bar, and then notice how dull this green is inside of the shape. What in the world gives? Why did we just dial in this brilliant green here and it looks this dull on screen? Well that's because we're working inside of a CMYK document. The other thing you need to do, if you're going to be creating this document for screen output, for the web, for presentation, and so on, then you want to go to the File menu and you want to go to Document Color Mode and you want to go to RGB Color. Now, you might expect that circle to brighten up immediately. It doesn't and the reason is, I'll go ahead and Shift-click on this icon again. The reason is. Illustrator went ahead and dialed in new values. It said, Oh I get what you're doing, your working inside RGB color now. Well I'll keep your green the way it was, cause I know that you want that, you want that muted green that you had on screen and I'll give you the real value. So these are the real RGB values for it. So note, if I take the R and B values out of the equation and I crank up the G, that's how vivid the color is now. Now it might lead you to believe that you can get more vivid, more highly saturated colors in the RGB space than you can in the CMYK, and you would be right.
They are ultimately different spectrums and there are some colors you can get inside CMYK that you can't get in RGB, but generally speaking RGB is the bigger, more vivid space. And you might say, Well gosh, it's a crying shame that I can't output colors this bright and vivid. Well, yes it is a crying shame, but that's life. That's the way it works. In CMYK you're not going to get this brilliant of a green. You'd have to go to some other color, you probably have to pull up a spot color like a color inside the Pantone color library to get something this vivid. Now we can get a sense of what's really going on with these sliders. So as I say you've got red and red looks like this now, so it's a more vivid red than what we were seeing before. You mix it with green and you've got yellow. If you take a little bit of green out of the equation, you've got orange, and so on and so on. You can fool around with these sliders in order to see all the different color permutations that you can achieve. When you're done however, I suggest you go back to the File menu, choose Document Color Mode and once again choose CMYK Colors. This specific illustration is going to print. At least that's where my document is going so I'm going to go ahead and choose CMYK Color in order to convert those colors for print output, and notice this time that does dim down my color and the reason is cause CMYK couldn't achieve such a vivid color anyway.
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