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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Until now the colors that we were using inside of Illustrator are defined as process colors. That means that when they print, they're actually split up on to different printing plates. For example, if you were to go ahead and choose a blue color, for example, like these items that I have right over here. The name of this file is called spot_colors, which you will find in the Chapter 10 of the exercise files. If I were to print this out now on a printing press, not on a color printer that I have in my office. That's what we call a composite proof. When I actually print this on a printing press, this gets separated into four different plates. That's what we call standard process color printing. There are four plates, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Those are the primary colors used in process color printing.
A combination of those colors altogether can represent many viewable colors. For example, if the artwork in my document uses many different colors, I couldn't actually have all those colors existing inside of a printing press. Rather, all those colors get broken down into these four colors. Cyan, which is just kind of light blue. Magenta, which is kind of pink or red kind of color, and then Yellow, and then Black, and in theory combining different mixtures, or percentages of those colors together can help me represent other colors as well. However, there maybe times when you want a very specific color, or there are certain times when the color that you are trying to achieve cannot be created using the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black combinations. It's those times that you create will be called a Spot Color. A Spot Color is when a printer actually goes ahead and mixes a custom ink, and actually loads that particular ink on to the printing press.
Spot Colors are used in a wide variety of workflows, and more over they are not -- designers will specify Spot Colors for company logos, or other corporate identity pieces, to ensure that the company's color is consistent throughout all the printing processes. To give you a better idea of really how Spot Colors work, we will use the new feature inside of Illustrator CS4 called Separations Preview. Go to the Window menu here, and I'll choose over here Separations Preview. I'll bring it up over here, and you can see that the artwork that I have created inside of this particular file, the wet suits that appear across the top here, use regular processed color swatch, which would separate into the primary colors.
The ones on the bottom though, I have actually call it using a Spot Color swatch called Pantone Reflex Blue. We will talk more about Pantone and Color Libraries in the next movie. But let me give you a better idea of what I mean when I say that this color separate on to separate plates. I'm going to go ahead over here in the Separation Preview panel, and click on the Overprint Preview button. That turns on the Separation Preview feature. Now you will notice that over here I have Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, and if I expand this just a little bit more, you will also see that I have the Pantone Reflex Blue color. If I go ahead now, and I turn this off, I'm now previewing the Spot Color plate that will print, called Pantone Reflex Blue, which is this artwork down here.
If I go ahead here, and I turn on the CYMK composite, when I turn it to Reflex Blue, these are the colors that will print as process. But what I could also do is, show you how they breakdown per plate. For example, we know over here if I go to the SWATCHES, and I go ahead and double-click on this particular Swatch, this Swatch is made of 90% Cyan, 50% Magenta, and 25% Black. I'll go ahead and I'll click Cancel here, and let's go ahead and show only the Cyan channel. So now I see that on the printing press, when this runs through the printing press itself, this is the Cyan plate that's going to print. I'm going to go ahead and turn on the Magenta plate. This is the Magenta plate it's going to print. I'll go ahead and turn on the Yellow plate. There is no yellow in this color right now, so the Yellow plate is actually blank and then I also have the Black plate itself. This Separation Preview panel does allow me to ensure that my color separations are going to be correct when I print my file.
But for now, let's just go and take a look at how we create Spot Colors here inside of Illustrator. I close the Separation Preview panel. I'll go here to this particular color swatch, and I'll double-click on it. And I'll see that over here where it says Color Type, I can choose between Process Color or Spot Color. If I choose a Spot Color, what will happen is that, when I create color separations out of Illustrator, any objects that using that color will get separated on to it's own plate. I'll click Cancel here, you can see that this Pantone color if I double-click on it, it's specified as a Spot Color. In fact, that you simply call the Book Color, which is -- because I have loaded this color directly from the Pantone color library. Let me click Cancel here, you will see over here that the icon itself has a real dot inside of that white triangle, which identifies this color is being a spot color swatch.
So now we understand that there are several types of swatches inside of Illustrator. Regular Color Swatches, Global Color Swatches, and now Spot Color Swatches. By the way, if you are unsure about whether to use Process or Spot Color Swatches in your artwork, it's best to speak directly to your printer, who will be happy to help you.
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