Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Establishing the optimal color settings, part of Illustrator CC 2013 One-on-One: Advanced.
In this movie, I'll show you how to adjust the Color settings, both inside Illustrator and across the Adobe applications to achieve the best results. Now, for starters I've gone ahead and reverted this document to its original saved appearance. I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Assigned Profile command. And what this allows you to do is assign a profile to this document and this document only. Right now the profile is set to the working RGB profile, the one that's at work across the entire application, which by default is SRGB, but I can change it to something else.
For example, let's say I go ahead and scroll up the list and switch to Adobe RGB, which is my preferred workspace, and then I click OK. You will see a shift in your document, because you are telling Illustrator to display the colors differently according to this new profile. Compare that to assigning a new working profile, which you do by going up to the Edit menu, once again and choosing the Color Settings command. Which you can also get by pressing Ctrl+Shift+K or Cmd+Shift+K on a Mac because ultimately it's another preference setting.
Then what you want to do, is change the RGB working space from SRGB to the much better Adobe RGB, which is designed to take full advantage of the best monitors out there. Whereas with SRGB you could have a $2000 monitor and you're not making the most out of it. With Adobe RGB you are. You're going to see all of the colors that your monitor can generate, and so will anybody else who's looking at your artwork.
So, go ahead and switch to Adobe RGB. You might also want to change the CMYK setting, however, to do that correctly you need to talk to your commercial printer. They may have a different profile they like you to use, or they may tell you to stick with the default. But that's really their jurisdiction. I can't tell you the one and only solution because every commercial printer is different. Now notice that things are still unsynchronized between the various Adobe application.
To fix that, you want to save at a setting, which you do by clicking on the Save button. Now, I've already saved my settings as bestworkflow.csf. But I did so out of Photoshop, and you're not going to see my settings because they are only here on this computer. If you want to save your settings to your computer, then go ahead and name yours something like Best workflow if you like. I am going to call mine Best workflow AI. Since I'm saving these particular settings out of Adobe Illustrator, and then I'll click Save.
Now click the OK button in order to accept the change. Now in order to synchronize these settings across all of the Adobe Apps, you need another program, and that program goes by the name Bridge. If you're a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the Bridge any time you like by launching the Creative Cloud, which you do on Windows. By clicking on this little Up Arrow icon on the far right side of the task bar, then I'll go ahead click on the little Creative Cloud icon.
On the Mac, you can locate Creative Cloud as an application in your Applications folder. And then, amongst the many applications you can download, is this guy right there, Bridge. Go ahead and do so, if you haven't done so already. And then once the program is installed, you can launch it from Illustrator by going up to the File menu and choosing Browse and Bridge or you can press Ctrl+Alt+O or Cmd+Option+O on the Mac. Then you want to go to the Edit menu, just as you did inside of Illustrator and choose the Color Settings command.
Notice it even has the same keyboard short cut of Ctrl+Shift+K or Cmd+Shift+K on the Mac. Now I had already assigned best work flow here inside Bridge. But this time, I'm going to assign the one I just made, bestworkflow.AI. Bridge is telling me that things are not synchronized, and that's because I haven't clicked on the Apply button. So soon as I click Apply, we're not going to see any changes on screen, by the way, because Bridge respects whatever profile is assigned to a document on a document by document basis.
However, if I go back to the Edit menu and once again choose the command, Color Settings, then I will see that things are now indeed synchronized and all of the Adobe applications are set to get along with each other. Now one more thing I want to show you, I'll click on this little Boomerang icon, which is going to take me back to the last Adobe application I used, which of course is Illustrator. And I'm going to switch to this document here. And often times I'll be asked by web folks, whether Adobe RGB is really the way to go.
Because after all if you're creating a web document you really want it to be profiled for SRGB, because SRGB describes the worst case scenario monitor. Which is what most people out there are using. So in other words, you want to dumb down your colors as much as possible for the web. Well, let me show you what's going on. Even though this particular document is specified not just for Adobe RGB, which is the working RGB profile but this document's CMYK.
So it's not RGB at all. I'll go up to File menu and choose Save for Web or you can press Mash your Fist+S of course. And now I'm going to increase the size of my document here to 400 pixels wide and a moment later that'll go ahead and resize things as you see. Now if I click on two up, I'm exporting to PNG 24, by the way, so we're not adding any compression, we're not reducing the number of colors or any of that stuff. However, if you click on this little Flyout Menu icon you will see that we are converting the document to SRGB so that is happening on the fly.
That's something Save For Web does no matter what, which is a very good thing, that's what you want. But if you take a close look at these two skate boards, the original over here on the left and the optimized version, the Web document over here on the right, the colors aren't exactly the same. Now, if you're having problems telling them apart, the better way to work is to click on Original, so there are the original colors. And now click on Optimized, I want you to look at the skateboard and watch those colors change on a fly. So, it's just a slight change but it's big enough, our colors are changing.
Well, that's because here inside the Save For Web dialog box, things are un-profiled, so Save For Web is not paying attention to the profiles. In other words, it knows that to go from the original image to the SRGB color space, in order to maintain the colors, it has to elevate them. It has to make them more saturated, among other things but it's not actually applying the profile on the fly inside the dialog box. Well, what that means is that things will look just fine once you leave the dialog box, and so what you would do, of course, is click on the Save button.
I've already saved this file in advance as SRGB skateboard.png, so I'll go ahead and cancel out. And I'm going to click on the Preview button in order to preview this PNG file inside of my default web browser, which happens to be Chrome. And then I will return to Illustrator, and I'll cancel out of this dialog box, so I am going to bring back Chrome. And I want you to notice if I expand this window and I zoom in here by pressing Ctrl+ or Cmd+ a few times.
That if you compare these colors together, that is the profiled Adobe RGB version of the CMYK document here inside of Illustrator. To this SRGB file, which is profiled, but it's very likely that Chrome isn't even paying attention to the profile, but that's just fine we are getting the same colors. So that's the way it works. Just by virtue of the fact that you convert the file to SRGB when you create that web graphic, things are going to work out exactly the way they should.
And that friends, is how you adjust the color settings inside Illustrator, as well as synchronize the various Adobe applications inside Bridge.
- Installing dekeKeys, Deke's free custom keyboard shortcuts
- Understanding the color-managed workflow
- Creating a multicolor blend
- Establishing a clipping mask
- Blending different levels of opacity
- Combining a letterform with a path outline
- Warping logo type around a circle
- Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
- Mixing and matching color harmonies
- Recoloring artwork
- Working with the Calligraphic, Scatter, and Art Brushes
- Creating translucency
- Editing attributes in the Appearance panel
- Adjusting and updating dynamic effects
Skill Level Advanced
Q: This course was updated on 09/26/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated 7 movies to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Illustrator CC. The movies cover Illustrator preferences, updates to blends, and more. Make sure to watch the revised movies (marked "UPDATED") to stay up to date.