by infinite_resolution


March 19, 2009

Live Color–Production Tasks

Contributed by Ian Giblin, Illustrator Torch Bearer

In Terry’s post yesterday he hinted at some of the hidden potential of Live Color. Naturally, creative tasks spring to mind when people hear of the feature’s basic concept, but since the feature can find and display all the colors in your art, it is extremely useful for many production tasks. Let’s run through a common example problem and how to use Live Color to solve it.

As you know, there can be many ways to create a color that looks black. Some, like rich black (a), below, may be deliberately used to create a darker tone in the printing process or to avoid trapping issues for type. Others, like (b), may be accidentally introduced when a black object from an RGB document is pasted into a CMYK document.


How do you find all the places these are used within a document and what if you want to change them?STEP 1I have a package that has various pieces of art painted with different blacks. Let’s change them to rich black. (By the way, the formulation of rich black varies depending on conditions like paper, ink and press. I am using C:50, M:50, Y:50, K:100 only as an example.)live_color_2.jpgSTEP 2Click on the Recolor Artwork button in Illustrator’s Control panel at the top of your document. The Recolor button does not perform any color reduction, leaving your art as it is. This is important because I only want to change the blacks.live_color_3.jpgSTEP 2 (continued)The dialog appears displayed in the Assign tab. All the colors in my art are available to assign new colors to. If I scroll down to the bottom of the dialog I can see all my blacks are together in a “bucket” (in yellow highlight) near the bottom row of the Current Colors list.live_color_4.jpgSTEP 3In the New Colors column, click in the white area in the row where your “bucket” of black colors are. A dialog will appear, “Do you want to add a New Color to the current harmony?Choose Yes. You are now going to recolor your blacks which Illustrator was preserving.live_color_5.jpgSTEP 4This is the really important step.Select the color row you just added and change it to rich black (or 100% K or whatever you want all your blacks to be.) To the right of the newly added color for that row there is a small pop up that “Specifies Colorization Method”, click on that popup and change it from “Preserve Tints” to “Exact.”Click OK.live_color_6.jpgNow all the different versions of black are re-colored with rich black.live_color_7.jpgMy example mostly depicts type. I could have limited the scope of this re-coloring by locking layers or limiting my selection. This is just one example of where Live Color can be used as a powerful tool, not just for creativity, but also for other productivity tasks related to color.By the way, Live Color’s default behavior is to “Preserve Black.” You can change this setting in the Color Reduction Options in the Live Color dialog. Check it out.


  • By Jean-Claude Tremblay - 5:49 AM on March 20, 2009  

    Hi Ian, this is what I can a “real” down to earth example of use of Live Color. Keep them coming… 😉 Hi Jean-Claude,Good to see you here!Thanks. We’ll try to post some things you may not typically find and keep it practical. :-)Ian

  • By Scott - 6:10 AM on March 20, 2009  

    Is C: 50 Y:50 M:50 K:100 the illustrator teams recommendation for Rich Black? Hi Scott,Thanks for asking this. No, this is not the Illustrator team’s recommendation for Rich Black as it can vary given printing conditions like inks, press and paper.Ian

  • By giydirme oyunlar - 9:06 AM on March 20, 2009  

    i have a problem this tool

  • By Leha Carpenter - 10:41 PM on April 3, 2009  

    Thank you so much. Now I understand what the merge and separate rows functionality does. So, if you want to distill several colors down to one, you merge, and if you want to break them out (for example, where Illustrator might have lumped them together), you can use separate. Cool. (Please let me know if I’m missing any finer points.)The angels are in the details.

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