Understanding the color-managed workflow

show more Understanding the color-managed workflow provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced show less
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Understanding the color-managed workflow

In this movie we're going to take on color settings in Illustrator, a.k.a., color management. And while it's a gnarly topic conceptually, the one change I'm going to ask you to make is very simple. Now, I happen to be working inside of an RGB document, and I know that because if I go the File menu and choose Document Color mode, RGB Color is checked, and you have that option to Switch Color Modes when you create the document in the first place, or I could switch the Color mode on the fly. So typically you use CMYK Color for print documents and RGB Color for web documents, but you don't have to go that way if you don't want.

You can easily repurpose the same document in both directions. Anyway, what it means by virtue of the fact that I'm working in RGB is that all of my colors inside this document are defined in the RGB space, even if it appears otherwise. What I'll do is I'll click on this red text right here, which has been converted to path outlines as you can see, and then if I examine the Fill color inside the Color panel, I see CMYK sliders, but I see some very unusual values. And that's because I didn't really use the CMYK sliders to define this color.

And I can see what I actually used by clicking on the flyout menu icon in the upper right corner and choosing RGB, and there are my much more reasonable values there, which are actually in place. Let me show you something else. I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect that text, and then I'll press the M key to switch to the Rectangle tool and I'll draw a rectangle; that comes in filled with red, because that was the color of my last selected object. I'm going to dial in a different color though. Take the R value down to 200, I'll take the G value down to 0, and I'll crank up the Blue value to 255 so we get this screaming purple right here.

Now notice if I switch over to my CMYK values, that they're pertaining to keep up; but you can see that the color right there at the tip of each one of the sliders is a much dimmer purple, and if I change this value right here-- notice it says 81.45--if I change it to just 82%, which is a nominal difference, not something you'd normally perceive and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, my rectangle dims dramatically. And that's because now what Illustrator is doing is trying to find an RGB equivalent for these CMYK values, which is this muddier shade of purple here.

So by virtue of the fact that I'm working in the RGB space, I can take advantage of colors like this one, which we're now seeing because I pressed Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Now, what's great about this is Illustrator and Photoshop and the other Creative Suite applications not only allow you to create vivid RGB artwork along with your CMYK as well, but they also do so inside of a controlled workflow. So I want you to see something here. I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Color Settings command, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+K, Command+Shift+K on the Mac, because it's yet another preference option; and I'll change the Settings as by the default to North American General Purpose 2--at least those are the default settings here in the States.

And notice that RGB is set to sRGB, which is a way of confirming the RGB space. So in other words, Illustrator isn't just sending the RGB values out to the screen and hoping for the best, it's actually quantifying this RGB space, which is great and that means you can get reliable results between different applications and between your applications and your printer as well. sRGB however--while it's great as a web output space--is not great for a day-to-day work, because what it is, is it's an old profile for one thing, and also it's based on your run-of-the-mill, sort of worst case scenario, PC monitor. And not even that--it's a CRT monitor, even though we all use flat screens these days.

So it's just a way of quantifying the worst case scenario and you don't really want to be working in the worst case scenario. I'm going to leave it set this way for now. I'll click OK just so that North American General Purpose 2 sticks, but I want you to see something else. We're unsynchronized, meaning that my various CS6 applications aren't in agreement with each other, and I'll show you what that looks like in a moment, but I'll click OK. I'm going to take this square right there and I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Copy command; and then I'll switch over to Photoshop, and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose its Color Settings command, which is very similar, borders on being identical.

Notice that it's set to a different space, one that I've created, and the RGB Workspace is Adobe RGB, which is a more robust workspace. And it means that you can take full advantage of this expensive graphics software that you have and the display features of your more sophisticated monitor. Notice once again that we're seeing the word Unsynchronized, because Illustrator and Photoshop are not in agreement with each other. All right, I'll go ahead and Cancel out and I'll go up to the File menu and I'll choose the New command, and Photoshop is going to automatically recognize the contents of the clipboard there, so all I need to do is click OK.

And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command. Photoshop is going to ask me how I want to paste this object. I'm just going to Paste it as Pixels and click OK, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to confirm that place. So I want you to see something. This is Photoshop, and this is Illustrator; that's the same color of purple right there, even though we're working in two different RGB spaces. Watch what happens if I were to go up to the Edit menu here in Illustrator again and choose Assign Profile; and I were to say, you know what, I want to be working in that same space I'm working in inside of Photoshop, so I'll go ahead and click on this menu, scroll up and choose Adobe RGB (1998 ) right there and click OK.

You're going to see your square shift; click OK, and watch it shift to a totally different color. Now I'll go ahead and copy it, this time just by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac. I'll switch back to Photoshop and I'll paste this guy in by pressing Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac. I'll leave Pixels selected, click OK, and notice we now have the pinker version of that purple square again. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to confirm the placement there. So this is the previous purple and this is the new purple, and what Photoshop is doing is it's converting this profiled rectangle on-the-fly.

Now, you don't really need to understand everything I've shown you there. What I want you to know is that you're working in a color-managed workflow, whether you like it or not--and you do like it--because back in the old days this thing could have turned blue on you inside of a different program. Anyway, I'll switch back to Illustrator. What we really want at the end of the day is for all of our Creative Suite applications to agree with each other. And we also want to take advantage of the widest array of colors that we can, and you do that by adjusting your color settings, and I'm going to show you exactly how in the next movie.

Understanding the color-managed workflow
Video duration: 6m 51s 11h 2m Advanced


Understanding the color-managed workflow provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

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