26 Replies Latest reply on Jun 26, 2011 8:54 AM by robbysalz

    Spot channels in cs3

    sidrage Level 1

      Is there a way to get transparent, individual spot channels in cs3 like you could in cs2? Or are we stuck with the stupid n-channel?

        • 1. Re: Spot channels in cs3
          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

          Explain your self and please use terms so that we can all understand you instead of your own personalize versions of the terms.

          • 2. Re: Spot channels in cs3
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

            As Wade said: Communication requires the same language, even more so amongst "professionals". It's unclear what you are aiming at.

             

            Mylenium

            • 3. Re: Spot channels in cs3
              sidrage Level 1

              What part am I "personalizing"? transparent, cs2, cs3, spot channels and n-channel are all Adobe terms.

              Let me put it in a way that you'll hopefully understand. In cs2 when you open a psd file that has spot channels you can select each individual channel and apply different colors to it. Also the channels retain thier transparency so that you can overlay them on top of your vector images. In cs3 and 4 illustrator converts those channels into what adobe calls a n-channel. While this still retains the spot color info for separation it is no longer transparent and it is now a single object that has a white box around it eliminating the ability  to overlay your vector image. This is a procedure that we have been useing for at least 10 years and it has caused a major inconvenience since they changed it in cs3.

              • 4. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                Now you and I both know there are no channels in Illustrator  from 

                version 88 on so now once again I would think if you want some help 

                you will come back to the thread with less personalized language and 

                state exactly

                what you are not seeing in Illustrator. There is support for Device N 

                in Illustrator, there are layers there is support for spot colors but 

                there are no channels.

                 

                Would you like to use the camera device on the message tool bar and 

                attach a screen shot where you see these channels in Illustrator?

                 

                I don't think anyone can understand what you mean as long as you use 

                the nomenclature you are using.

                 

                Address it to features in Illustrator like layers, swatches, clipping 

                paths etc. Perhaps there is some kind of clipping taking place and it 

                is bringing in a white fill with it?

                 

                Perhaps there is a problem with RGB to CMYK but without Device N then 

                there is no real support for spot colors in gradients and colorizing 

                tiffs etc.

                 

                So talk to use without mixing terms from Photoshop with Terms in 

                Illustrator.

                 

                And I suggest you not get angry with us if we can't understand you.

                • 5. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                  sidrage Level 1

                  Not getting angry, but obviously you have never worked with spot channels in illustrator before which is too bad because there are a lot of things that you can do with them to make your illustrator designs really cool. Like I said this is a process that we have been doing for more than 10 years, I can't explain any more clearly than I have. I agree that if you don't know what i'm talking about then it doesn't make sense so here are a couple of screen shots to illustrate.

                  • 6. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                    Judy_Arndt Level 3

                    Copied from the AI CS4 manual, Using Adobe Illustrator CS4, page 263:

                     

                    ---------

                    Importing artwork from Photoshop

                    You can bring artwork from Photoshop (PSD) files into Illustrator using the Open command, the Place command, the Paste command, and the drag-and-drop feature.

                    Illustrator supports most Photoshop data, including layer comps, layers, editable text, and paths. This means that you can transfer files between Photoshop and Illustrator without losing the ability to edit the artwork. For easy transfer of files between the two applications, adjustment layers that have visibility turned off are imported (though inaccessible) into Illustrator and restored when exported back to Photoshop.

                    Spot colors (up to 31 spot channels per file) import as a single N-Channel raster image, which is placed over the process color image. The spot colors are added to the swatches panel as custom colors with the same name as in Photoshop. Imported spot colors separate correctly.

                    Duotone PSD files import as flat raster images with a 256-indexed colorspace and an N-Channel colorspace containing all of the duotone inks. Because Illustrator uses an N-Channel, blending mode interactions set in Photoshop may appear differently in Illustrator. Ink colors from old color libraries are set to gray.

                    In cases where Illustrator must convert the Photoshop data, a warning message appears. For example, when importing a 16-bit Photoshop file, Illustrator warns you that the image will be imported as an 8-bit, flat composite.

                    ---------

                     

                    I will hazard a guess that changes to AI's handling of transparency made the older methods of handling spot channels unworkable.

                    • 7. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                      sidrage Level 1

                      "I will hazard a guess that changes to AI's handling of transparency made the older methods of handling spot channels unworkable."

                       

                      Judy

                      that's a very good guess, when they changed things in CS3 by making the n-channel it benefitted a lot of people but screwed a bunch of us.

                      • 8. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                        Judy_Arndt Level 3

                        Here's a workaround that may work for you.

                         

                        In Photoshop, change the Duotone image mode to Multichannel image mode. Then split channels and save each channel as a grayscale TIFF.

                         

                        Place the TIFF in the AI document and set opacity to multiply.

                        I realize that this is much less convenient than your current method.

                        • 9. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                          sidrage Level 1

                          Thanks, I've played with that on some of the simple stuff, but when I get a really complex painting it doesn't work so well. I didn't really expect anyone to answer this as I have tried about everything. I just thought someone might have a trick that I missed or some word on whether Adobe is going to change it back in the future. looks like I'll have to keep doing it in Illustrator CS2.

                          • 10. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                            Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                            You should know that using the camera icon is a better way of attaching screen shots instead of the attach files which will only queue the screenshot.

                             

                            As I wrote there is no channels at least you cannot access them as the article Judy posted they will be imported as raster images. So it is in a container of some sort.

                             

                            Again we might be able to help if you now look at you file and tell us about it. There may be a way but you will have to tell us about your ai file.

                             

                            But what you can do is to save the file as a psd and place that with all the spot channels and then drag the spot channels in the layers panel to another layer(s) they will maintain the transparency if you have an unwanted to background image you can then delete it.

                             

                            As such

                             

                            Picture 6.png

                             

                            Picture 7.png

                             

                            this is what it looked like when placed in Illustrator and i dded an new layer.

                             

                            Picture 8.png

                            • 11. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                              Judy_Arndt Level 3

                              Place the TIFF in the AI document and set opacity to multiply.

                               

                              I forgot to mention that you can assign a spot color or any other color to the TIFF image.

                              • 12. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                I don't think this is necessary to do at all.

                                 

                                A place psd file will work fine.

                                • 13. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                  sidrage Level 1

                                  it's only necessary because i have to do spot color separations for screen printing and this made the designs cooler.

                                  thanks for all of your input. i'll stick with the older version of illustrator to accomplish this for now.

                                  • 14. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                    Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                    You mean importing a photoshop fie does not work?

                                    You get all your channels and they are transparent.

                                     

                                    or perhaps you just came her to complain and not look for a better way 

                                    of doing things.

                                     

                                    let us know next time so we won't waste the time trying to help.

                                     

                                    However the answer t your query is t simply import the file as a .psd 

                                    and all the spot channels will com in as object, they will all be spot 

                                    colors and they will display and print as they were in Photoshop,

                                    they can be turned on and off and deleted if required.

                                     

                                    This is just in case someone else needs to know this and not trying to 

                                    convince you to learn a better way.

                                     

                                    That is what the forum is for to exchange ideas and technique and info.

                                    • 15. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                      sidrage Level 1

                                      Don't get all bent out of shape, even though we didn't communicate to each other very well you actually helped me. I tried it the way that you were outlining a couple of posts ago and it wasn't working, then I tried one where I left something in the photoshop layers (normally that is blank because we only paint in the channels what we need) and tried it again. That solved the transparency issue beautifully. I still don't like that it is all one object but it will work.

                                      I'm sorry if you thought I was just here complaining and wasteing your time. The whole reason I came on here was to get a different input on my problem.

                                      Thank you again for your help.

                                      • 16. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                        You're welcome.

                                         

                                        I am glad that it can work.

                                         

                                        One note sometimes when we give a possible solution it does not always 

                                        seem to work because of a different way the back and forth helps to 

                                        either figure out what was not working when it should or if the

                                        difference between systems are showing a bug or some other kind of 

                                        problem often times then someone else sees that issue and gives 

                                        insight as to how to avoid it or enhances the process with another 

                                        step or setting.

                                         

                                        Also you might have a feature request that might not be so difficult 

                                        to bring into play in a future version. In this case I see there might 

                                        be a possibility to make this work, for instance when importing these 

                                        files perhaps the spot channes should have their own panel.

                                         

                                        Have a great holiday.

                                        • 17. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                          Actually I must apologize as you can import the spot channels by placing the psd file they do not actually import as separate spot channels they import as one object.

                                           

                                          Which will do you little good and so this would be a feature request and you would seem to be correct your older method would work best perhaps.

                                           

                                          With the method of importing the psd file you would probably have to make a psd file for each channel.

                                           

                                          This is definitely a need for this even I o not use spot colors as much as I use to.

                                          • 18. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                            robbysalz Level 1

                                            The problem with .PSD spot channels automatically importing into Illustrator as a single N-Channel is the lack of control over the separate channel images.

                                             

                                            Imagine having to go back to Photoshop, saving and reopening each and every time you wanted to change the color of an object (spot channel) or position it differently. It's hard to play around as a screenprinter with each different spot channel when everything is mixed into a single N-channel. I can't even delete/turn off visibility of individual spot colors!

                                             

                                            Here is an example of an effect that can be created in Illustrator in 10 seconds, but would take a couple minutes to position and color in Photoshop.

                                             

                                            Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 11.47.11 PM.pngScreen shot 2011-06-24 at 11.48.10 PM.png

                                            • 19. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                              Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                                              What we call spot channels in Photoshop are called spot colours/colors in Illiespeak.

                                              Each spot colour produces its own printing plate. But they are not selectable channels like in Photoshop.

                                               

                                              I still don't understand what you are on about though. Are you placing Photoshop images into Illie?

                                              If so, you can make them transparent if you want to using the transparency palette. I'm on CS3 and there's no problem there; do it all the time.

                                              You talk of "n-channels". What are they and where do they come from? Not Illie I think.

                                              • 20. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                robbysalz Level 1

                                                "Each spot colour produces its own printing plate. But they are not selectable channels like in Photoshop."

                                                 

                                                I agree with you 100%, Illustrator does not have selectable channels like in Photoshop.

                                                 

                                                "If so, you can make them transparent if you want to using the transparency palette. I'm on CS3 and there's no problem there; do it all the time."

                                                When you open a Photoshop file with spot channels in CS2, each of the spot channels is automatically turned into an opacity mask for a simple colored rectangle that matches its original spot color definition from Photoshop. This is awesome for when you have 5+ color designs (like for screenprinting), as it's faster to see results and change colors with Illustrator than it it is with Photoshop. Plus, having the "conversion" automatically happen saves me the trouble of having to copy/paste/create opacity masks for each spot color in Illustrator.

                                                 

                                                The "problem" with CS3+ is that imported Photsohop files w/ spot channels don't automatically turn into opacity masks - instead every single spot channel from the Photoshop file is lumped into a single "n-channel". You have zero access to each individual spot object, and you can't change the color definitions either with editing the original Photoshop file and importing them again (what a loss of productivity).

                                                 

                                                You might ask, "Why not just print your spot channel separations directly out of Photoshop?" Because Photoshop is slower at printing than Illustrator in my experience, and that would put a damper on the good ol' workflow. And once again, I'm all about quickly changing colors or playing with the spot channels, and the original Illustrator method worked so well I'm disappointed in its absence. Photoshop won't even let you drag and drop spot channels into the trash icon, for example.

                                                 

                                                Do you have iChat or any similiar IM client? Let's get share our work processes and have a good ol' one-to-one, nothing beats seeing some examples in action. Send me a shout at robbysalz@mac.com and I can show you what I'm on about

                                                • 21. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                  sidrage Level 1

                                                  Ok here's how you do it. After checking out what was actually happening in cs2 we found out that all it was doing was creating an opacity mask of each spot channel when you opened your .psd file. In cs3 and later this was changed so that it created it as an "n" channel which still contains all of your spot channel info, but is a single nontransparent object. What you need to do is manually create what cs2 used to do for you automatically. First make a square that is the size of your spot channel and assign it your spot color. Second go to your psd file and select the channel that you want, copy it and paste on top of the square in illustrator. There are different options for doing this, one of my guys likes to split his psd file into multi channels and save each one as its own grayscale file. Then he places each one into illustrator. Which ever way you do it just make sure that it is a grayscale image. Now that your channel is sitting on top of the square that you created simply create an opacity mask. Do this for each channel and you end up with the same result that cs2 used to do for you automatically.

                                                  • 22. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                    sidrage Level 1

                                                    BTW, most of you probably wonder why this really matters and why we just don't output from photoshop. I am a screen printer and we use a spot channel/vector hybrid for most of our high end separations. If all that I was printing were spot channels then it would be a moot issue, but we like to take them into illustrator and add all of our text and other vector elements to finish it off. Or use them as effects in our vector designs.

                                                    • 23. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                      Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                                      BTW in CS5 they remain seperate transparent objects if using more than one spot color cjeck it out

                                                      • 24. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                        robbysalz Level 1

                                                        You know what sidrage, that's probably the single most important point. It's far easier to add/tweak vector elements like text/knockout distress effects at the very end in Illustrator, then to have to take that into account at the very beginning of the process - and then what if it doesn't separate right?

                                                         

                                                        At my work, we use a program called QuikSeps which generates 16 spot channel colors and it's our job as production artists to delete, refine and mix the channels into a workable (under 8 screen) solution. Having to go through all that work each time the client wants to change a date or add a name to the artwork adds more work than there should be.

                                                         

                                                        The CS2 team knew what was up.

                                                        • 25. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                          robbysalz Level 1

                                                          "Ok here's how you do it. After checking out what was actually happening in cs2 we found out that all it was doing was creating an opacity mask of each spot channel when you opened your .psd file. In cs3 and later this was changed so that it created it as an "n" channel which still contains all of your spot channel info, but is a single nontransparent object. What you need to do is manually create what cs2 used to do for you automatically. First make a square that is the size of your spot channel and assign it your spot color. Second go to your psd file and select the channel that you want, copy it and paste on top of the square in illustrator. There are different options for doing this, one of my guys likes to split his psd file into multi channels and save each one as its own grayscale file. Then he places each one into illustrator. Which ever way you do it just make sure that it is a grayscale image. Now that your channel is sitting on top of the square that you created simply create an opacity mask. Do this for each channel and you end up with the same result that cs2 used to do for you automatically."

                                                           

                                                          Oh good Lord, look at the size of the paragraph previous to your final sentence. That's a lot of work!

                                                           

                                                          And yes Sid, that has been my exact workflow. I remember as I was working it out, my face twisted into more horror with every extra step I realized there was going to be  just to have editable spot channel objects in Illustrator.

                                                           

                                                          I realize that perhaps this new method of importing spot objects adheres to some obscure technical definition in a programmers guideline book somewhere, but there was a reason the people behind CS2 made it an exception. They realized that working with the n-channels didn't give the professionals the flexibility they needed. Even programmers can think outside of the box, and it's odd that the new guys are so eager to shove their thinking back in.

                                                          • 26. Re: Spot channels in cs3
                                                            robbysalz Level 1

                                                            Wade that is awesome! It's definitely a step in the right direction! I can independently move each object to it's own position/rotation/ and individually delete any colors/objects that end up not being necessary!

                                                             

                                                            BUT.

                                                             

                                                            There is still no editing for color.

                                                             

                                                            Here's an example file. There's a Red Spot channel object, a Blue Spot channel object, and a "composite" separation which doesn't actually have any content.

                                                            This is great, because I can move each channel around if needed; it's a flexible way to work.

                                                            Threeobjects.gif

                                                             

                                                            But delving deeper, there are problems. Just what are these objects? They're certainly not the regular ol' opacity masks we're familiar with.

                                                             

                                                            Screen shot 2011-06-26 at 9.54.31 AM.png

                                                             

                                                            Because they're simply embedded graphic object objects, Illustrator can't assign a swatch color to them. The color swatch imports just fine to my Swatches palette, but the actual object doesn't reveal that information in the Tools palette.

                                                            Screen shot 2011-06-26 at 9.54.40 AM.png

                                                             

                                                            As a professional man with professional plans, this is one of the most disturbing things to run into while working. I don't like question marks in my workflow. Would you not agree that being able to quickly and easily identify an objects color is fairly important, Wade?

                                                            Screen shot 2011-06-26 at 9.55.29 AM.png

                                                             

                                                            Here is a final screenshot which I hope wholly illustrates the problem which needs to be addressed. Look at the Tools palette, the Swatches palette, and the object itself. Now repeat, Wade: The blue object is red. The blue object is red. The blue object is red.

                                                            Screen shot 2011-06-26 at 9.55.15 AM.png

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            The final blow is that I can't take the Red Spot or Blue Spot image and create my own opacity mask without going back into Illustrator and copying each individual channel one at a time - which for two colors, means switching back and forth between two programs four times (twice for each channel). That's an abhorrent amount of work and time for something that would happen seamlessly and automatically in previous programs.

                                                             

                                                            I'm more than happy to continue helping define these problems. It just needs to be known that there was a reason CS2 imported spot objects the way it did, and it's cool to see CS5 is beginning to take steps to address this matter.