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The color settings explained

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: The color settings explained

In the previous exercise I showed you how to load the Best Workflow color settings. In this exercise I am going to 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 how to load the Best Workflow color settings. In this exercise I am going to 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 of Illustrator, I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Color Settings command, again, Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on a 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 prepress 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 you artwork locally, meaning to a printer that's hooked up to your computer or somewhere in your home or office, it's a color composite printer, such as a color inkjet printer or 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 in RGB illustration that you view on one screen is going to 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 sRGB, 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 and the richest array of colors. And then when you output your image for the Web, and there is this 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 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 what's going on. Next we drop down to these options and you leave 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 Linked Profiles) to preserve embedded profiles. That's the way I prefer to work and you are going to get fewer error messages, these little alert messages that come up when you load up 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. It 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 a deal. If you're working with Illustrator and only Illustrator or a combination of Illustrator in 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 switch over to CMYK or the way they looked in CMYK when you switch over to RGB. However, what you may find happens is your gradients exhibit a little bit abandoning or stair stepping, and you may see similar problems inside your continuous tone photographs. If you tend to work with 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 Linked Profiles) to Preserve Embedded Profiles, and then we are done. Now if that changed 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.

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This video is part of

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

134 video lessons · 29029 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
      58s
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
      33s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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