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The color settings explained

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: The color settings explained

In the previous exercise I showed you have to load the Best Workflow Color Settings. In this exercise I am going walk you through how I created those settings, so that you have a sense of what's going on. Now this may seem like it's a bit over your head at this point in time, after all I haven't showed a thing about how Illustrator works at this point. However it's very important to have a sense of what's going on in the background, even if you don't fully understand it, because these color settings are at work inside of all of the Adobe applications. Once you come to terms with them, you'll understand a lot more about what you're doing.

The color settings explained

In the previous exercise I showed you have to load the Best Workflow Color Settings. In this exercise I am going walk you through how I created those settings, so that you have a sense of what's going on. Now this may seem like it's a bit over your head at this point in time, after all I haven't showed a thing about how Illustrator works at this point. However it's very important to have a sense of what's going on in the background, even if you don't fully understand it, because these color settings are at work inside of all of the Adobe applications. Once you come to terms with them, you'll understand a lot more about what you're doing.

So here inside Illustrator I'm going up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Color Settings command, again, Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on the Mac, and I am going to switch my settings back to their defaults, which is North America General Purpose 2, here in the States, and by the way, this will show you how I put these settings together, as well in case you were having any problems whatsoever loading Best Workflow CS5. Now notice these working spaces, CMYK, which is the color space of the pre-press world, meaning cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, black being K, the key color. Most of your illustrations are going to be CMYK illustrations, because Illustrator makes the assumption that you ultimately want to print your graphics, that may or may not be true, but that is the assumption Illustrator is making.

RGB would be red, green, blue, the color space of your screen, and that's the color space for Web graphics and so on as well. Also if you intend to print your artwork locally, meaning, to a printer that's hooked up your computer or somewhere in your home or office, it's a color composite printer, such as a color inkjet printer or a color laser printer or the like, then you typically want to work in RGB as well. More important at this point, because we are going to get into CMYK and RGB and all kinds of detail in later chapters.

More important for now is that you understand that these are fly-by-night spaces, meaning that they are device-dependent. A CMYK graphic that you output on one device might look altogether different from that same CMYK illustration that you print on another device, just as an RGB illustration that you view on one screen, is going to be look quite a bit different than that same RGB illustration viewed on a different screen. So every device outputs CMYK and displays RGB differently.

So what Illustrator and the other Creative Suite applications are trying to do, is they're trying to nail down that space, so it doesn't vary like crazy, and they do that by using profiles. So the profile tells the source of your colors, so at least what you know, even though they may vary from one device to another, at least the program that's at work on that device knows that the variety of RGB that it should be employing is, for example, sRGB. Well, that's where we run into our first problem, is that sRGB is designed to simulate your run-of-the-mill, old-style PC monitor, and you probably have a much better screen than that.

sRGB was designed, by the way, back in the days before modern LCD screens, back in the days when we had those big giant CRT tubes, and so it really is a worst-case scenario space, where you're working inside of a best-case scenario application. Illustrator is nothing if not exceedingly powerful, so you want to take advantage of that power by switching to Adobe RGB. Now some of you may be worried, okay, if I switch to Adobe RGB, and I'm creating Web graphics, which really ought to be output to RGB, so that they're ready to display on those worst-case scenario of your monitors, is that a good idea? And the answer is yes.

You should be creating your artwork in Adobe RGB, because that's going to give you the most flexibility in the richest array of colors. And then when you output your image for the Web and there is a specific command that allows you to do that, it will automatically convert your illustrations to sRGB. All right, so we'll come to that later, but for now, just go ahead and choose Adobe RGB there, or of course, if you've already loaded Best Workflow, you're just watching along with me to get a sense of what's going on. Next, we drop down to these options, and you leave of all of the check boxes off, so that you don't have Illustrator bugging you all the time, every time it runs into a profile mismatch, and that is, by the way, what happens when you open an illustration that's profiled one way inside of a workspace that's profiled another.

Now if that doesn't make any sense, don't worry about it, but I'm just telling you that Illustrator is capable of handling multiple color profiles at the same time, so it doesn't need to bug you all the time about them. However, dropping down to the CMYK option right there, I would go ahead and switch it from Preserve Numbers (Ignore Link-Profiles), to Preserve Embedded Profiles. That's the way I prefer to work, and you're going to get fewer error messages, these little alert messages that come up, when you load my sample artwork, if you switch CMYK to Preserve Embedded Profiles just like that.

However, you may go ahead and see alert messages when you open your old graphics. Doesn't matter if you see one of these weird CMYK Preserve Embedded Profiles error messages when you open up an illustration, just click OK. It can be irritating, but it's nothing to worry about. All right, anyway, I'm going to turn on the advanced mode check box and notice that forces a redraw of the dialog box, that's just the way it is. You want these options set the way they are, except for Intent. Now, here's the deal, if you're working with Illustrator and only Illustrator or a combination of Illustrator and InDesign and Flash, let's say that's your workflow.

Then Relative Colorimetric is your best bet, because that's going to keep your colors as close to possible, when you switch between radically different color environments, such as RGB and CMYK. So what Illustrator is going to do is it's going to try to find the closest color equivalent to every color inside your graphic, and switch over to that equivalent, which sounds like a great thing by the way, that's going to keep your colors as close as humanly possible to looking the way they looked in RGB say, when you switched over to CMYK, or the way they looked in CMYK when you switched over to RGB.

However, what you may find happens is your gradients exhibit a little bit of banding or stair stepping, and you may see similar problems inside your continuous tone photographs. If you tend to work with a lot of photographic images or Photoshop in general, then I recommend you switch away from relative colorimetric and switch to perceptual, which is generally your better bet for smooth color transitions. And that's what I've set up by the way inside of Best Workflow. So if you switch back up here to Best Workflow CS5, you will notice that you have RGB set to Adobe RGB, you have intent set to perceptual, and then finally, we still need to switch from Preserve Numbers (Ignore Link Profiles), to Preserve Embedded Profiles, and then we are done.

That is going to change your settings to Custom, don't worry about it, that's perfectly okay. Click OK in order to accept that modification, and Illustrator is now right ready to go.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28136 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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