Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the color-managed workflow, part of Illustrator CC 2013 One-on-One: Advanced.
In this movie, we're going to take on color settings in Illustrator a.k.a color management. And while it's a pretty gnarly topic conceptually, the one change I'm going to ask you to make in the next movie is very simple. But in the mean time, I want you to understand the benefits of working in a color managed workflow. So I've got this document open. I've added these couple of colorful rectangles here. And I want you to see if I go up to the File menu and choose Document Color Mode, that this entire document is specced as an RGB file.
And you can determine whether it's RGB or CMYK when you create the document in the first place. Typically you create CMYK documents when you plan to commercially reproduce them. And you create RGB documents when you're going to the web or, and this is something that a lot of people don't know. You also create RGB documents if you plan on just printing them to a local printer that is an inkjet or laser printer in your home or office. RGB is the best solution in that case but you can always change your mind.
You can always switch the document back and forth and you can always take an RGB document and re-purpose it for just about anything because RGB is more flexible way to go. Anyway, we've got an RGB file and what I'm going to do is just escape out here. And I'll double-click on this text that's been converted to path outlines. And that's going to take me into the group isolation mode. And then I'll select this red text. And you can see my fill is active here inside the Color panel. And even though I'm working inside of an RGB file, I'm seeing CMYK sliders.
That's totally possible. You can define your colors anyway you like regardless of the mode you're working in. But, it's not like the CMYK values make a lot of sense. In other words, I would never dialled in 14.79 for the cyan value or 97.86 for the magenta value and so forth. Things are going to make more sense if I switch from CMYK to RGB here on the Flyout menu. And then low and behold, I have some very sensible values of 200 for red and 40 a piece for green and blue.
And so you can often times tell how the color was really created by switching between the different color modes here inside the Color panel. Anyway, I'm going to escape out. I just want you to see what's going on in the background, where colors are concerned. And I'm going to select this purple rectangle here. And you can see that it is a raging purple. I've got the R value set to 200, G is set to zero and B is set to 255. So it's about as highly saturated as possible and how do I know it's highly saturated? Well, by looking at it of course.
Also when your R, G and B values are very different. From each other. So for example the g value is as low as it goes. And the b value is as high as it goes. That tells you've got a lot of saturation. So contrast between your color primaries leads to high saturation in the final mixed color. Which means that this is the kind of color that can fall apart very easily. I'll go ahead and switch back to my CMYK sliders. And notice at the tops, look very carefully here at the C and M sliders in particular because both Y and K are set to zero.
Notice the colors that are appearing at the tips of the slider triangles. Those represent the color that you're working on, on the fly. So in other words, the sliders are always updating to show you what kind of colors you're going to get. They don't really bear any resemblance. The colors right there at the tip. Don't bare that's strong a resemblance to the actual bright fill color and also we've got this little in gamut color swatch which is telling me the nearest CMYK equivalent. And I can get to it just by dragging one of these sliders, I will just take magenta for example from 81.45 down to 80% that's the smallest little drag I could make.
And notice I end up with a very different purple and that's because that formerly extremely saturated purple is outside of the CMYK gamut. They cannot be reproduce using cyan, magenta, yellow and black on a white sheet of paper, it's just impossible. So that means we've got a fragile color indeed, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that change. And now I want you to see another thing that's going on in the background and I apologize I'm hitting you with a lot of facts at once.
But I really want you to appreciate what Illustrator and the other Adobe programs are doing to really preserve colors as much as they can. So I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Color Settings command. And we'll see a couple of things first of the all the settings read North American General Purpose 2 and that is the default color settings here in the states. We're also seeing the things are unsynchronized in my case, in your case it may be synchronized. But that's because I've changed Photoshop to a different setting and so the programs theoretically aren't getting along.
Finally, my RGB working space is set to sRGB. Now that's very, very good news in terms of, we do have some form of working space. If we had an unprofiled RGB space, nothing was going on, Illustrator was merely sending the RGB values to the monitor and that's it. We would have that phenomenon that you experience when you walk into an electronic store. And you see a football game let's say, on screen and every single one of the televisions side by side, look totally different from each other.
The grass is green on one screen and it's yellowish on another and it's bluish on another and so forth. That's a function of unprofiled RGB, in our case we have our profile, sRGB. Which is great. The bad news is sRGB is not your best profile. sRGB is based on very old PC monitor. Like a CRT tube. Where as now we all have LCDs and so forth. It's kind of the run of the mill rinky-dink thing that you would buy at a thrift store these days, so not ideal.
We'll come to what is ideal in the next movie but for now I'm just going to cancel out. And I'm going to select these two shapes so click on the outer rectangle Shift click on the inner. And I want to show you what happens when I switch to Photoshop. So go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Copy or I could press Ctrl+C, Cmd+C on the Mac. And now switch to Photoshop and I want you to see, I'll go up to the Edit menu choose Color Settings and we've got a totally different RGB profile. We're still unsynchronized, but RGB is now set to the much better Adobe RGB 1998.
And even though that's way back in 1998, that's way better than sRGB which is even older than that. So, I'll go ahead and Cancel that. I just want you to see that. That means that Photoshop is assuming everything is going to be Adobe RGB, which is a different space. But now I'll go up to the File menu, choose the New command. Photoshop automatically knows the size of the object on the clipboard. Also, if you expand this little advanced area by clicking this double down arrow, notice the color profile is going to be sRGB. It knows it's getting sRGB content even though we're working in Photoshop in Adobe RGB, it knows the best thing to do.
So I'll click OK. I'll press Ctrl+V, Cmd+V on the Mac, I get this paste dialogue box, pixels is fine. So I'll go ahead and click OK and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept its size. And notice. It's the same. They look the same. Back and forth. Even though we've got these different spaces going on. I'll switch back to Illustrator. I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Assign Profile. That allows me to change the profile that's assigned to the entire document. And I'll change this profile this time from sRGB which is what it is, to if I scroll up the list here, I'll change it to let's say, ColorMatch RGB which is an old space but a good one.
And then I'll click OK and as soon as I click OK, we don't have a preview here but as soon as I click OK, you'll see the colors shift quite dramatically. I'll copy those shapes again. I'll switch back to Photoshop. I'll paste by pressing Ctrl+V, Cmd+V on the mac. Pixels is fine. Click OK. It knows the color difference. It knows that this is a ColorMatch RGB image. Press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept that change. Turn it off, turn it back on these are very different looking colors. But Photoshop is keeping up with everything Illustrator is up to.
And meanwhile I just want you to see I'll click off the shapes, click on that purple shape again. Don't be thinking the color values are changing at all. I'll go back to the RGB sliders. R is 200, G is zero, B is 255, just like before. Alright, I'll Shift click on this guy just to make my point, Shift click on this gradient here. Go up to Edit menu let's try a different profile, I'll switch to one that's pretty over the top. It's designed for very high end photography, ProPhoto RGB.
And click OK. That's going to brighten up those colors like crazy. Ctrl+C, Cmd+C on the Mac. Switch to Photoshop, Ctrl+V, Cmd+V on the mac. Pixels is fine. Click OK. We get the right colors again, we get a dead on match. Now, how's Photoshop doing this? It's converting the colors. If I press the" i" key to switch to the eyedropper And I click in this purple, notice that if I switch over RGB sliders, we get different values 249 for red versus 200. I'll turn it off this ProPhoto guy and reveal the color matching in the background, click in it, 218, 55, 242, totally different values, turn off that guy.
Click on the original sRGB layer, click on its purple with the eyedropper 199, 0, 255 so almost identical values and that's just because that's were we started. We started in sRGB, this is still in sRGB document Photoshop has had to change the color match and the ProPhoto RGB images in order to match this new space. So no matter what you're doing, even if you've got mismatches, even if the different programs aren't synchronized.
You've got a color manage work flow when you're working inside of the Adobe products, so things are all ready in very good shape. I'm going to show you how to make things even better in the next movie.
- 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.