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- Defining color terms
- Using Kuler to create color palettes
- Understanding additive and subtractive color
- Understanding color management
- Using the Levels, Curves, Auto Tone, and Auto Contrast adjustments
- Color correction
- Selecting color—from the Magic Wand to Color Range
- Neutralizing blacks and whites with blend modes
- Matching colors
- Saturating and de-saturating colors
- Increasing saturation with Vibrance
- Designing with spot color
- Colorizing images
Skill Level Intermediate
I'm going to create this T- shirt design based upon this image. And this T-shirt design uses four inks. They are all PANTONE inks and they are all applied using spot color channels. You'll notice that my Color channels are turned off, my layers are turned off. This is a very different way of working in Photoshop. Photoshop is primarily a tool for designing with the colors of light, RGB, or the colors of ink, CMYK. But here we want to use premixed ink colors.
And we also need to make sure that the colors applied to the Sport Color channels do not overlap. They need to register, but they should not overlap. So let's see how we get on with this. So I've got this as my starting point and I want to make it a square. I'm going to use my Crop tool and I'm going to crop this to a 10-inch by 10-inch square. So I'm going to put those values. I'm going to crop this to 10-inch by 10-inch square at a Resolution of 300 pixels per inch.
So having put those values in to my Crop tool, I'll then draw my cropping rectangle, press Return to perform the crop. Now begins the process of deconstructing this image into the different areas of color and detail. We want one layer for the petals, one for the center of the flower, one for the stem, and one for the sky. Ultimately, these layers will become Spot Color channels. When we've adjusted the Spot Color channels, the original layers will be deleted as will the original color channels, and we will then need to save this document either as a Photoshop document or a Photoshop DCS 2.0.
So I'm going to start by making a selection. I'm going to make a color range selection of the sky. Having made that selection of the sky, I'm going to inverse it, so I now have a selection of the flower. I'm then going to refine the edge of that selection. And we can see that we've got quite a lot of fringing going on around the edges of the petals. So I'm going to increase my Radius value so that it's big enough to address this problem.
I'm going to turn on Show Radius and we can see how thick the radius that we're working with is. I'm going to go up to 5 pixels; I can now turn off Show Radius. I'm going to smooth that edge a little bit, and I'm going to increase the contrast along the edge, and I'm also going to shift the edge, bringing it inside the selection by moving to the left, and then I'm going to click OK.
I now need to copy that selection to a new layer, Command+J or Ctrl+J. I'll turn off my Background layer. I now want to separate from it the stem and the center of the flower. So I'm going to come to Color Range and select the green of the stem. As I do so, I am inevitably going to be selecting some of the yellow of the petals. That's okay. With what I have there, I'm now going to cut that selection to a new layer, Command+Shift+J or Ctrl+Shift+J. So we now have all of this on a separate layer.
Some of this I don't need, so I'm now going to choose my Eraser tool, increase the size of my Eraser, make sure that the edge of my Brush is Hard, and then I can just rub out these bits that I don't want. And if I now return to the petals layer, we can see that I've got some of that stem on the right-hand side that ultimately we're going to remove some trace elements of that, and I'm going to rub those out.
So there is a certain amount of cleanup that's going to need to happen. Now I'm going to come back to the Background layer where I'm going to make a selection of the center of the flower, again, using Color Range, and I'm quite happy with that, I'm going to click OK. I'm going to copy that to a new layer, Command+J or Ctrl+J, turn off the Background layer, use my Eraser tool to rub out the bits that I don't want.
Now if I turn back on the petals, we can see that I've got some of the flower center in the petals layer, and I don't want that there. So I'm going to load the selection from Layer 3, come to Layer 1, and delete those pixels. Okay, so what we see now is we have a stem, the petals with some detail in the center of the flower, and then other detail for the center of the flower and we've yet to address the issue of the background.
Ultimately, we want the background to be a flat blue. So what I'm going to do now is convert my layers into Spot Color channels. And this is going to be easier if I separate my Layers panel over here and then I'm going to start with the stem layer. I'll activate its selection by Command+ Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking on its layer thumbnail, come to my Channels panel, let's give myself a bit more room for that and choose New Spot Channel and choose the color that I'm after.
I'm going to have it at a Solidity of 100%. If I'm also printing in black ink. Let's say or a grayscale image or CMYK image with additional Spot Color channels, I could reduce the Solidity so that we see some of the tonal values of the original image coming through. But in this case, I don't want to do that, so I'm going to have a Solidity of 100%, because we need to work with just a very limited color palette here of four inks, and there's no black.
Then I'm going to Command+Click or Ctrl+ Click on Layer 1, the petals, we'll turn off the visibility of that though, and I will come to my Channels panel, New Spot Channel, and now I'm going to choose PANTONE 131 for that. And finally, I'm going to activate the selection for the center of the flower by Command+Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking on its layer thumbnail, over to my Spot Color channels.
So that's what we have so far. I'm now going to create my background color. So for my background color, what I'm going to do is I am going to just go to New Spot Channel and this is going to be a bright blue, PANTONE 300. And then I'm going to make sure that in black, I fill that channel with black, Option+Delete or Alt+Backspace key. Now what I need to do is subtract from this channel the selections of the other three channels.
So Command+Click on the first, Command+Shift+Click on the second, Command+Shift+Click on the third, making sure that you're still on that PANTONE 300 channel, fill that with white. White is currently my background color, so I'm going to press Command and the Backspace/Delete key. So there is our design so far. The area of the flower in the center where we're seeing through to blue, I actually want to see through to negative space, I actually want to see the color of the fabric that we're printing on coming through.
So I'm going to need to adjust this channel further. I'm clicked on it; I'm going to make white my foreground color, choose my Brush tool, an appropriate brush size. I want to make sure I don't introduce any softening of edges, so I'm going to make sure that the Hardness of my brush is all the way down to 0, and then I'm just going to paint over that area. I may have gone a little bit too far on some of those edges, so if so, I can switch to black. I want to make sure that I don't paint over any of the areas occupied by the other three color channels.
So I'm going to Command+Shift+Click on each of those in turn, and then inverse that selection leaving me with a selection of the PANTONE 300 channel, and paint back the bits where I went a little bit too far. Keeping that selection of all the other channels active, but still working on the sky channel, the blue channel, I am going to hide my edges, Command+H, and I want to hide the extras, and then I'm going to paint around those areas where I see fringing.
Now I want to introduce some highlights on to the yellow channel and I'm going to do this by turning back on my layers, temporarily turning off my color channels. And I'm going to apply a Threshold command and then move my Threshold slider all the way over to the right, so that I still retain some detail, but most of it is actually falling away to solid black. Then I'm going to merge the adjustment and the Background layer into one layer, Command+Option+Shift+E. I'll turn off the Background layer and the Threshold layer, and then I will invert that.
So those values there that are in black are what I want to use as the highlight values. I am going to next delete the white pixels. Now I have changed my Transparency Preferences to have a Grid Size of None, so that we're seeing the transparent areas as white. But I'm going to change that for a moment, just so we can see the difference here. So now when I select a white pixel with my Magic Wand tool, I can then delete that and all the white pixels are deleted.
I'm using Tolerance of 32; it doesn't really matter in this case, too much. Anti-aliasing is off and Contiguous is also off. That leaves me with just the black pixels. I now need to activate that as a selection and giving myself a bit of a room on my Channels panel, I'm now going to turn off Layer 4, come to PANTONE 131, where I want to fill this layer with less than 100% black.
And then it will run as a tint of the PANTONE 131. So I'm going to come to my Swatches panel, choose a light gray, there I have 35% gray, make sure I'm on the right channel, Option or Alt and the Backspace/Delete key to fill that selection, and that's how it looks when we see that channel in isolation. That's how it now looks when we see the whole composition.
As a final step, making sure that I'm working on a copy of this document, I would delete the color channels which in turn deletes the layers and make sure I've got the right channels turned on, and then make sure I save it either as a Photoshop document or a Photoshop DCS 2.0. So a very different workflow there, one that involves in its initial setup, the use of layers, but ultimately those layers are discarded as are the color channels, and all we're left with are four Spot Color Channels.