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- Why spot colors are necessary
- Making a decision between spot and process colors
- Choosing a spot color
- Understanding the effects of stock on color
- Printing spot colors digitally
- Using varnishes
- Creating a multi-tone image in Photoshop
- Adding Pantone color swatches to Illustrator
- Creating spot varnishes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
- Using preflight profiles in Acrobat
Skill Level Intermediate
This artwork is going to be used in a fashion ad, and the shirt that it's representing, looks magenta onscreen, but in reality it's going to be a fluorescent pink. An we're going to use a fluorescent pink when we print this, so that it's more representative of the real article. But we want to have some definition to it, we want to have a little shape, a little shading, so we don't want just a flat shape, shaped like, the shirt. So we're going to create what's called a touch plate, or bump plate, or kiss plate it's different terms for the same thing. And you'll see it used in fine art prints, often to accomplish a color that we can't get within the range of CMYK. It's a subtle change, but it's just enough to make a more realistic print. So, I already have some masks made, that are going to come in handy, I have one for the little squiggles on the pants.
One to isolate the shirt, and then one for the shirt and pants together just in case I need that. And then let's look at what we have in the process color channels at the moment. There's the cyan, and now that has some nice shading to it. And that could come in handy for giving some definition to the shirt. But the problem with that is, that if that cyan falls underneath the pink fluorescent that we're going to print, it's going to turn that a little bit blue, and we don't want that. But we're going to use this for something else. The magenta, I'm going to need to get rid of, because it's going to compete, it's going to shift that fluorescent and really undo what I'm trying to accomplish.
The yellow, there's nothing there. The black right now just carries the line drawing. But here's a little tip. I want the shading that I have right now in the cyan channel, but I don't want it to change the hue of that pink that I'm going to put on top of it. So, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to transplant this into the black channel. And that way, I have something that's not going to change the cast of it. It's not going to change the color of it. In other words, I'll have the shape and shading in black, but it's not going to interfere with the shade of the pink. So, that's my first task, is transplant this cyan content into the black channel. So, I'm going to load that shirt mask by dragging it down to the make a selection icon.
There are my marching ants. I'm going to Copy, and then I'm going to go into the black channel, and Paste. And I think that's going to work pretty well. Although I think I would like a little more contrast in it. I would like the dark parts to be a little bit darker. And I don't want this black tint all the way across the shirt, because that's going to sort of dull out the pink. So, in other words I don't want something that competes with the spot pink that I'm going to bring in. But I want something that kind of supports it. So, I'm going to go into Image > Adjustments and Levels.
Now if you're wondering why I'm not doing this with an Adjustment layer, it's because I'm working in an individual channel. And Adjustments layers are for adjusting layers, as you might expect, and here I just want to target this individual channel. So essentially, I want to increase the Contrast. So, I'm going to lighten up the light end, and I'm going to drag the black point slider. And you always end up sort of juggling, you know, one end against the other. And then, of courses, there's little mid point guy. So, I'm trying to clean out that sort of cast all over the shirt, but I want to accentuate the little shadows.
I think it's starting to take shape. So, there aren't any perfect numbers, you know what you do is going to depend on the nature of the piece you're working on. Now sometimes you'll find that the first pass of this doesn't do quite what you want, so I'm actually going to hit it again. I'm going to go to, back to Image > Adjustments and Levels, and you can see that the histogram has changed. See now I can make the dark parts darker, pull down on the top end there, that's good. Its going to look like a little natural sketch, and again the black is not going to change the cast of that pink color.
Well that's good, but now I need to go back into the cyan channel, and I need to get rid of the cyan, because its going to compete with the pink. So, I can just fill it with white, I can just say Edit > Fill and choose White or I could have used my Option or Alt+delete. I'm going to Deselect and let's see what's going on. If we look back at the CMYK, you can still see that there's Magenta there. So, that I need to clean out too, because that's going to sort of kill that fluorescent pink that I want on top. So, I can load the mask again.
I could have just kept it going, but I thought it was good to take a look at what we've accomplished so far. So, now I'm going to go into just the magenta, and I'm just going to empty that out. So, I'm just going to use my little keyboard shortcut, my foreground color is white, so I'm going to use my Option+delete or Alt+delete. So, its going to look a little anemic now when I go back in, it just looks like black and white. But now I'm ready to put in my pink, although I think I might want to get rid of some of these little squiggles down here. So, I just happen to have a little pants mask, and I want that to happen in all four colors, so I'm selecting what's called the composite channel, it's just the CMYK. And the same thing, I want to fill with white, so I'm just going to hit Option+delete.
There we go. Now there's a little remnant of them, I may end up coming back later and cleaning a little more out, but we'll see what the results are. So, now I'm ready to bring in the spot color. So, in the Channels panel, I'm just going to say New Spot Channel. And remember that if you're shopping around, you need to know your color first. And I think I'm going to go for the 807. It's a pretty brash color, but it's going to look really cool when this is printed. So, notice, I'm in the Pantone Plus, solid coded color library, and I'm picking the fluorescent color. So, that's part of the color library, when I click OK. And then click OK again, right now I just have, a completely empty channel. But I'm going to take my shirt mask, activate that, and for now I want to fill this with solid, so it's going to be a solid hit of this, but it's going to have that black, that's going to change the shape of it a little bit. So, I'm going to swap my colors, hit my Option+delete.
And there's my fluorescent pink, and let's see what this looks like so far, See? When that comes back on top of the black, it's not going to change the color, but it's going to give it some definition. So, now I have to decide what I want to do about the pants. I have a little bit of shape going on in the other colors, but I think I probably want to leave that there just to make them look a little bit different from the shirt. If I want to get rid of them later I always can. So, I'm going to turn off the visibility of the CMYK, just so you can tell what's going on. I'm in my Pantone 807 C channel, and I'm going to load the pants mask, and just do the same thing, I'm going to fill it with that solid pink. With my Option+delete, or Alt+delete, Deselect with a handy Cmd or Ctrl+D. And you'll notice that these aren't solid.
It may be a little hard to see, I'll zoom in. So, they're not entirely solid, but we've been told that they're not going to be quite as bright on the pants, because it's a knit fabric, so it's sort of stretchy. So, this is actually going to give us a more realistic result. Remember, you can always go back and tune these up. I could use my levels or curves in order to strengthen these little squiggles if I want. But let's see what we have so far. I think this looks pretty good. So just remember this, touch plate, bump plate, kiss plate, again different names in different circumstances, but it's the same concept, it's adding a spot color to an existing four color file. So, that you accentuate a color, or you manage to create a color that you couldn't otherwise render in CMYK.
And when you have all those colors in Pantone books, think of all the fun that you could have with them.