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Colors are not applying properly

Nov 26, 2013 9:00 AM

Tags: #illustrator #problem #help #color

First off, let me say that I am definitely a novice.  I'm mostly self taught- I did take some courses through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh but I had to drop out to take care of my family so I'm by no means an expert.  So forgive me if I sound like an idiot.


Yesterday I was desiging images for my children and I was having difficulty with the colors- I would select a color from the color picker and a different shade/color would be applied to the text.  Hoping it was a RAM issue, I just restarted my computer and it resolved itself.  Easy enough.  I completed the designs and went about my day.


Today, I'm working on a project for someone else and it's doing it again.  I've restarted the computer and I've reset settings on Illustrator to the default but neither of these things resolved the problem.


In an attempt to make sure I wasn't going crazy, I took a screen shot of the text I'm attempting to color and the color picker box showing the color I was trying to choose.  The selected color was R 6 G 6 B 249.  I opened the image in paint and with the eyedropper tool selected the color that was actually applied and that color is R 61 G 93 B 171- so clearly not the same color at all.  I then opened it in Photoshop to determine if it was an Adobe problem or just an Illustrator problem.  With the eyedropper tool, I got the same results that I did in paint.  Illustrator is definitely not applying the colors correctly.


Being a novice, I have no idea what to do now and as I'm using CS5, the live chat rep sent me here to seek help.  I've been using these programs for years and have never encountered this problem so I'm baffled and I'd appreciate any help.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 9:47 AM   in reply to Edevoli



    It sounds as if your document is in CMYK Color Mode.


    If you want (consistent) RGB values, you should work in RGB Color Mode.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 10:29 AM   in reply to Edevoli

    Verify that the Color Settings for Illustrator Program and Photoshop Program are set the same. You can unify these settings across Adobe products with Bridge.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 10:32 AM   in reply to Edevoli

    You shouldn't expect the color values from RGB to match in a CMYK world. Understanding Gamut and Color Spaces for each color model is important if you want consistant color. If not perhaps take Jacob's advice and work in RGB mode.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 2:34 PM   in reply to Edevoli

    edit: in addition to colors not being CMYK


    The new color swatch in the Color Picker in Illustrator is not reliable for evaluating colors because it is not color managed. It is a poorly implemented feature. It works properly in Photoshop.

    This is a screen shot from illustrator CS5.  On the right side of the image is the color displayed in the document. The color space of the document is sRGB, the values of red color are R=255 G=0 B=0, and it appears correctly on my monitor represented with different values sent to the video card by the color management but in the new color swatch in the Color picker the values are not color corrected but sent the same to the video card or in other words using my monitor color space and not the sRGB color space.


    If you turn off the color management by choosing Emulate Adobe Illustrator 6.0 from the Settings menu in the Color settings, all colors will be displayed in your monitor color space without any color management simulations and thus they will always match but not simulating anything like a printer result or a standard color space that other devices can be set to reproduce.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 8:36 PM   in reply to Edevoli

    I don't know if I'm efficiently explaining the problem here.

    I think you can try explaining it better by giving some additional information.

    What is the color space of the document as reported on this menu at the bottom left of your document window?Untitled-1.jpg

    What is the name of the color space (profile) listed after Monitor RGB on the RGB menu in the Working Spaces section of the Color Settings?


    What are the color values of the color you have trouble with? Please provide the CMYK or RGB values depending on the color mode of the document.

    Please, provide a screen shot in png file format so the colors can be measured accurately without being altered by the jpg compression.

    Also please include in the screen shot the Color panel with a slider set to the color model of the document.

    Also to make sure that the color in the document is not altered by any other means, like blending modes, multiple fills appearance, masks, etc. create a new document with a simple box with the same color values and check if the colors match.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 28, 2013 7:24 AM   in reply to Edevoli

    If you're working in CMYK mode and you apply an RGB colour that is outside the range of your assigned CMYK space (as the vivid blue you're trying to use most likely is), then it will be converted to the nearest colour possible in your chosen CMYK working space. That's what's happening.


    If you want to use colours that aren't printable in CMYK, then set your document's colour mode to RGB, but don't expect to get the same blue in print. Your printer is unlikely to be capable of it. If you want to keep within a printable range of colours, specify them using CMYK values, not RGB.

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