24 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2009 4:03 PM by Printer_Rick

    How do colours work please?

    cvbotr

      Hi, I am actually asking on behalf of my wife because Iam a photoshop guy and do all photography to epson 3800.  All my colour and black and white are pretty close to screen and I do have a strict colour managed workflow.

       

      But, my wife's colours are not printing out correctly from illustrator and I do not understand why illiustrator will not behave its like my photoshop does. Some colours are unacceptable and some are simply wrong - especially when soft proofing.  Most of her graphics images are in gamut in the sense that the print dialogue box does not give that warning. some are out of gamut but not many to cause such changes in tone.

       

      I have searched and searched the web to try to understand what it is that illustrator does and how picking colours work, even Lynda.com, of which I am a member, is silent on this issue of printing to inkjet.  I am not an illustrator person, the programme annoys me to be honest, but blow me if I can not figure out what she might be doing wrong.  I have flattened transparency, checked vector and raster resolutions, checked that her creations are in Adobe rgb 1998 (well that is because I have the settings synchronised across creative suite), have checkedd that she is not using pantone just the colour picker - have no idea if that is really correct but logic says that it is since we are not going to outside printer.  She has a gallery in three weeks and we bought this printer so that we could use professional paper and we can not rely on outside printers in the area that we live.

       

      Can someone help to guide us on a solution please - I would be personally grateful.  Thanking you.

        • 1. Re: How do colours work please?
          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          cvbotr,

           

          Do you have a PostScript Printer driver for your printer? If you have, try using it.

           

          What happens if your wife saves as PDF and takes it from there? Before you try it, have a look at the Conversion Settings in the File>Print Setup>Acrobat (Distiller)>Properties>Adobe PDF Settings>Conversion Settings.

           

          Illy dislikes working with a non PostScript printer (driver).

          • 2. Re: How do colours work please?
            Printer_Rick Level 4

            Color management in Illustrator is not the easiest thing.

             

            Your printer accepts RGB input, so you need RGB output from the document. The question is, do you use Adobe Color Management, or the let the printer driver perform color management? In theory, either one should work, but oftentimes one of the workflows is broken while the other is successful.

             

            In Illy, Document Color Mode must be RGB. Also check Edit: Assign Profile to see if the document profile is Adobe RGB 98. (If you have already verified this, disregard)

             

            Also in Illustrator, View: Proof Setup: Customize. Device to Simulate, select the printer RGB profile. Preserve numbers disabled. Choose a rendering intent that corresponds with your color settings (relative colorimetric is common). Perhaps this will render the printer color space more accurately on-screen.

             

            Also verify that your monitor is properly calibrated and profiled.

             

            The logic is all Adobe RGB data must undergo the conversion to the printer's RGB color space. If printing from Illy is not producing good result, try opening the native AI file using Acrobat, if you have it. File: Open with Acrobat, or drag the document icon onto the Acrobat icon, or right click (PC) or control click (Mac 1 button mouse) on the document, Open with Acrobat.

             

            If printing from Acrobat doesn't work either, we'll have to dig deeper. Good luck, keep us posted.

             

            One other note: picking Pantones is acceptable in RGB Illustrator if in Swatches panel you go to Spot Colors, then select "Use Lab values specified by the book manufacturer"

            • 3. Re: How do colours work please?
              cvbotr Level 1

              Sorry gyys I have insurmountable problems.  Illustrator help is absolutley no consolation here and searching to understand concepts about pdf will take me weeks.  So please guide me.  I was trying to select in pdf convert to destination preserve numbers because the pdf warned me to do this.  Trouble is no matter what I did the darn thing stayed greyed out.  Ok, I can not make a pdf.  Secondly, I see no distiller and although I have heard about it have no clue whatsoever what it does.  Just for clarification folks, kind people, I have checked all the usual parameters as far as colour management is concerned, (I am a photographer and use photoshop everyday), I have made pdfs but only the basic ones for viewers to preview my work.  But adobe acrobat 8.0 (which I have) is a minefield of technical complexity that scared me off two years ago.  I am willing to learn, but I need guidance on this one - it's above my head.

               

              I actually do not have this chain in my dialogue:"File>Print Setup>Acrobat (Distiller)>Properties>Adobe PDF Settings>Conversion Settings", nothing there.  Maybe somewhere in hidden in some preferences I need to activate it?  That's usually the case I think.  By the way I am using creative suite 3 on apple mac just for information.

               

              Sorry if I seem difficult, I guess a little panic and a lot of frustration.  But you are right I think, illustrator does not like inkjets. 

               

              Thankyou

              • 4. Re: How do colours work please?
                Printer_Rick Level 4

                If possible try to open the Illustrator file using Acrobat. There is normally a PDF already included with the Illustrator file. So no need to save a PDF from Illustrator, you already have one wrapped with the Illustrator file.

                • 5. Re: How do colours work please?
                  Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  cvbotr,

                   

                  I actually do not have this chain in my dialogue:"File>Print Setup>Acrobat (Distiller)>Properties>Adobe PDF Settings>Conversion Settings", nothing there.  Maybe somewhere in hidden in some preferences I need to activate it?  That's usually the case I think.  By the way I am using creative suite 3 on apple mac just for information

                   

                  What can you see in the Print Setup or whatever comes up as options for printing. Do you have any part of the chain?

                  • 6. Re: How do colours work please?
                    cvbotr Level 1

                    All i have is: File - print - and then the usual dialogue box to set colour options bleed options and whole load of options, but nothing remotely resembling acrobat or conversion settings.

                    • 7. Re: How do colours work please?
                      cvbotr Level 1

                      Rick, how do I open an illustrtor file in acrobat?  I see nothing.  By the way, I do know that by default when my wife has saved files she has never unchecked th eoption that says save also pdf verson, though I have seen this I never knew where it was anyway.

                      • 8. Re: How do colours work please?
                        Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        cvbotr,

                         

                        You should come across a choice of printer, and if you choose Acrobat (Distiller or not), there should be some options there.

                        • 9. Re: How do colours work please?
                          cvbotr Level 1

                          Yes I have done this but it changes nothing, and there is also a drop down box beneath it asking for PPD?.  But when I select acrobat 8 the print dialogue box stays the same.

                          • 10. Re: How do colours work please?
                            Printer_Rick Level 4

                            A few ways:

                             

                            1. File: Open with Acrobat, browse to file

                             

                            2. Drag AI file onto Acrobat icon

                             

                            3. Control Click on file, Open with: and select Acrobat

                            • 11. Re: How do colours work please?
                              Printer_Rick Level 4

                              Once you open the AI in Acrobat 8 and select File: Print, select your Epson printer at the top. Then click "Advanced", you get a dialog that looks like this:

                               

                              snap.jpg

                               

                              Notice Printer Postscript Color Management is selected. If that is what you use in Photoshop, give that a try.

                              • 12. Re: How do colours work please?
                                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                If you find your color settings in photoshop suit you you can sync them with Illustrator and the other adobe suite applications.

                                 

                                In the color settings dialog choose save and make a note of where you save it if the default location, which I recommend you will see it listed in the Bridge's color settings and you can select it and sync it there.

                                 

                                However here is the problem, some users have a dedicated need such as print, in which case the defacto is either Adobe RGB 1998 or Color Match RGB this makes for a good color conversion from RGB to CMYK where as RGBs do not quite make it. Now we begin to see the problem.

                                 

                                Since RGBs is really what you need for the web it the default as printing to CMYK is really done with a cmyk color mode for the document not rgb but as a photographer like yourself we rarely send the files in CMYK because we are usually requested to send as Adobe RGB 1998 the industry standard.

                                 

                                The reason for that is that a file may go to a publication that when converting to cmyk may use a japanese or european cmyk profile even if they are in the U.S. and Adobe made certain that the photos would easily convert well with their profile. Almost any professional output srvice or publisher or printer can see the intent of your color with Adobe RGB 1998 or Color Match but since they are calibrated for CMYK, RGBs does not do the trick since it is calibrated by the way browsers display the files.

                                 

                                It is probably out of date, RGBs and the browsers should be updated accordingly but since it is done that way for so long that would create a period of adjustment that might be to painful.

                                 

                                I find I have to often re sync the color settings depending on the project I am working on however you can get a close match with Photoshop Illustrator will print a tiny bit darker to most inkjets.

                                 

                                Your inkjet may or may or may not print better from RGB if you are really having problems you can try this convert to CMYK and print to the inkjet that way. Or what sometimes works for me is to save as cmyk then reopen and convert to Adobe RGB 1998 or Color Match. I read somewhere that in doing so you discard things about the RGB make up of the file and that leaves a more syncable file and profile.

                                • 13. Re: How do colours work please?
                                  cvbotr Level 1

                                  Ok now I've got it thankyou.  But in that colour profile dialogue box i should set it to the icc profile that I use for the paper that it is going on, as i would in photoshop?

                                  • 14. Re: How do colours work please?
                                    Printer_Rick Level 4

                                    cvbotr

                                     

                                    If you were addressing Wade please disregard. If you refer to the Acrobat print dialog I posted, then yes, if you normally set the printer profile in Photoshop, in Acrobat change "Printer Post Script Color Management" to your printer profile. Hope that works for you.

                                    • 15. Re: How do colours work please?
                                      cvbotr Level 1

                                      Hi Rick, just busy about to print.  Am curious.  I have also just discovered preflight and how to preview - whole new ball game I will let you know results in about 30 minutes.

                                      • 16. Re: How do colours work please?
                                        cvbotr Level 1

                                        Rick, the colours are actually slightly more accurate, definately better.  Why?  can you tell me please.  However when preflighting the acrobat image on a particular image that I know is causing problems the preflight shows exactly the same thing as the soft proof in adobe illustrator.  So I now see that while printing from pdf improves matters somewhat (for example a shade of yellow is more accurate printing from pdf than printing from illustrator) I think we have a major issue with the way in which my wife colours or shades or whatever.

                                         

                                        An example:  white turns grey, grays turn darker and shadow increase in black and width. (Seagulls in this instance) all this is clearly seen in the soft proofing.  the documents are in adobe rgb1998 by the way, except for the seagulls which ended up in sRGB - don't ask me how that happened..  Also a problem with out of gamut colour choices on some other images. Have you any suggestions at this point?

                                         

                                        thanks

                                        • 17. Re: How do colours work please?
                                          Printer_Rick Level 4

                                          The problem image in Illustrator:

                                           

                                          1. Is is embedded or linked?

                                           

                                          2. If linked - can you open it in Photoshop and convert from sRGB to aRGB, save a copy and re-link?

                                          • 18. Re: How do colours work please?
                                            cvbotr Level 1

                                            Hi, neither, they are just traced drawings - no photographic image there.

                                            • 19. Re: How do colours work please?
                                              Printer_Rick Level 4

                                              cvbotr wrote:

                                               

                                              Rick, the colours are actually slightly more accurate, definately better.  Why?  can you tell me please.  However when preflighting the acrobat image on a particular image that I know is causing problems the preflight shows exactly the same thing as the soft proof in adobe illustrator.  So I now see that while printing from pdf improves matters somewhat (for example a shade of yellow is more accurate printing from pdf than printing from illustrator) I think we have a major issue with the way in which my wife colours or shades or whatever.

                                               

                                              An example:  white turns grey, grays turn darker and shadow increase in black and width. (Seagulls in this instance) all this is clearly seen in the soft proofing.  the documents are in adobe rgb1998 by the way, except for the seagulls which ended up in sRGB - don't ask me how that happened..  Also a problem with out of gamut colour choices on some other images. Have you any suggestions at this point?

                                               

                                              thanks

                                              Apparently Illy CM is hosed somehow.

                                               

                                              I just did a quick test - placed a ProPhoto image in aRGB Illustrator. Illy doesn't tell me anywhere that the image is ProPhoto. But if I open the AI in Acrobat, the image is in fact ProPhoto.

                                               

                                              In Acrobat if you enable Output Preview, the soft proof color changes depending on the simulation profile. With my ProPhoto image, I can change this to an RGB print profile to get a soft proof.

                                               

                                              You can do this in Illy too, using Proof Setup: Customize. But the fact that Illustrator does not tell me the profile of a linked image is troubling. Maybe if you print from Illustrator, it false profiles the image. To test, open the sRGB in Photoshop and re-assign Adobe RGB - maybe that is similar to the color shift you get printing from Illustrator.

                                               

                                              I'm not sure about your reference to Acrobat Preflight. Do you mean Output Preview? If you Preflight the AI in Acrobat, be careful. You don't want to actually change the file in Acrobat, you just want to print it.

                                               

                                              As far as out of gamut colors, I'm not sure how to best address that. You are always limited by the gamut of the printer. You do, however, have different rendering intents to choose from.

                                               

                                              Hope this helps.

                                              • 20. Re: How do colours work please?
                                                cvbotr Level 1

                                                Hi Rick, how are you doing?  Well it seems that the sRGB image that my wife created (by accident) when proofed of course is terrible.  So i did what you said, I took it into photoshop and assigned the adobe rgb1998 profile and it proofed almost spot on, indicating obviously that the sRGB gamut was too small for the lustre paper and the process needed to clip colours or something.  Point is the wider gamut did not turn the greys black or the whites grey.  Unfortunately what I do not understand is this.  These whitish areas were 130 130 130 in Photoshop when I looked at them - that is hardly out of gamut  now is it, on the other hand when I also used the colour eyedropper to look at the same whitish colour - no rgb values just a sort of greyscale bar that said 10% and the other 14.5%.  I am still certain that there is something wrong with the way that she picks her shades and what not - Mmm, guess I will have to read about this - but I have searched the web and still can not find about colour in illustrator.  Lynda.com is also a bit vague to.  The trouble is I have no idea what the question is - hope you understand that comment - I need to ask the correct question in order to get the shortest and accurate answer.

                                                 

                                                kind regards

                                                chris....ps where are you living, if I may ask - me? South west Ireland.?

                                                • 21. Re: How do colours work please?
                                                  Printer_Rick Level 4

                                                  cvbotr wrote:

                                                   

                                                  Hi Rick, how are you doing?  Well it seems that the sRGB image that my wife created (by accident) when proofed of course is terrible.  So i did what you said, I took it into photoshop and assigned the adobe rgb1998 profile and it proofed almost spot on, indicating obviously that the sRGB gamut was too small for the lustre paper and the process needed to clip colours or something.

                                                  What you are describing here – re-assignment – is preserving numbers, changing appearance. Some color management experts refer to it as false profiling. Often it is viewed as a heinous crime. "Random color." You're essentially dropping the image data into a new color pool, and the difference can be quite dramatic.

                                                   

                                                  This is the case when you reassign sRGB to aRGB. Or vice versa for that matter.

                                                   

                                                  The thing is, if you get the result you want there's really nothing wrong with it. Just as long as it's your image, you've got the artistic license to do what you want. Re-assignment is just a means to an end.

                                                   

                                                  Another possibility is the image started out aRGB, then got re-assigned to sRGB. Very easy to do accidently, when profiles get discarded. In such case re-assigning aRGB restores the original color.

                                                   

                                                  As you can tell by the way I spell color I am on the other side of the pond, but here in the forums I call everywhere home. (Ain't instant global communication grand?)

                                                  • 22. Re: How do colours work please?
                                                    cvbotr Level 1

                                                    actually come to think of it this is probably what happened.  I know that you actually can not convert from a smaller colour gamut and make it larger.  But then I thought since illustrator defies rational logic anyway maybe somewhere in its vector based brain this rule did not apply.

                                                     

                                                    Thanks for helping Rick.  kindest regards

                                                     

                                                    chris

                                                    • 23. Re: How do colours work please?
                                                      Printer_Rick Level 4

                                                      cvbotr wrote:

                                                       

                                                      I know that you actually can not convert from a smaller colour gamut and make it larger.

                                                       

                                                      Actually that's what re-assignment is, in a sense. You can take a small gamut image and expand its color.

                                                       

                                                      Try it sometime. For example start with a CMYK image. Convert to sRGB. Now assign aRGB. Better yet ProPhoto. You've expanded the color.

                                                       

                                                      Sometimes doing this, saturation gets out of hand. But a lot of times if you have a lifeless sRGB, then assign aRGB, it may improve the color. It's not a precise color correction, but if you want pleasing color sometimes it works.

                                                      • 24. Re: How do colours work please?
                                                        cvbotr Level 1

                                                        ok.  Thanks for your help here.  Now it's midnight here and  I am gone.  Goodnight.