7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 10, 2009 1:02 PM by Jacob Bugge

    Help converting to 2 spot colors

    Print Dad

      Hello All,

      I am ashamed to say I am a teacher in a vocational high school that doesn't know much about

      computer programs.  I am an old camera/stripper person. I have been teaching 24 years and am well

      versed in PageMaker, In=Design and Photoshop.


      What I am trying to do is the following.

      I am trying to convert a vector image into 2 spot colors.


      For example:  I have a wreath and bow    I would like to print the wreath in a

      PMS 348 and the bow in 185 Red.


      I can of course do this with process colors, but often the job does not warrant

      using process so I would like to be able to print using solid PMS colors.


      I think that is it in a nutshell.  I have tried to work in Photoshop but have had no luck.


      My questions are:

      1. - I am using a Vector image from an artbook CD. - Is this good?

      2. - Can I convert a picture downloaded from the internet?

      3. - How can i learn to do this? - I have looked for online help and the school will not pay

      for me to take a course.


      Lastly, I understand layers well but have little to no knowledge of Channels


      I sure would like to be able to show the students how to do this.  Does anyone know how to do this

      or where I can view  tutorial on this matter.


      I sure would appreciate any help.   Thanks   Print Dad

        • 1. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
          philip peterson

          You don’t say what version of Illustrator, but regardless if you already have vector art I’d stay away from converting a rasterized image to vector.  There are relatively easy ways of doing what you want with a vector image with the merge swatch feature, but that depends on what sort of vector image you have.  Presumably the vector wreath you are working with is made up of a number of rgb or cmyk values.

          1         OK, so you are starting with a vector image, that’s a good start.  Are you positive it is vector?  In Illustrator can you see all the points when you select the object, and not just one big square?


          2         You could convert a picture from the internet, but that would not work nearly as well.

          3  See below:


          Delete all the swatches from you pallet.  Drag a 185 & 348 swatch from the pantone pallet to your swatch pallet.

          Set the Magic Wand to a useful value (double click on the wand to bring up the dialog box).  The lower the value the more work you’ll have to do, but you’ll wind up with more shades of red and green).


          Click on the most saturated area of red with the Magic Wand Tool.  Click on your 185 red swatch.  Hide the newly minted resulting 185 red (Ctrl-3).


          Click on the next most saturated area of red with the Magic Want Tool.  Click on your 185 red swatch.  On your color pallet, reduce the pantone 185 red to less than 100% to taste.  Hide the result with the Ctrl-3 command again. 


          Keep going until there is no red remaining visible, and then do the same with the green.


          When you can see no more remaining parts of the wreath, you should be almost there.  Just to be sure, do Ctrl-A and make sure nothing gets selected (for instance white objects) when you do so.  If nothing gets selected, you should have only the items you have colored.  Use the command Ctrl-Alt-3 to reveal all the items you have hid.  (The hide and unhide are under the OBJECT menu, but the shortcuts are a bit quicker).  If you do have white objects, you can still use the pantone red/green and set the color percentage to 0%.

          Select the print command and print to a postscript device.  (A .pdf output will work if you are not hooked up to a postscript printer).  In the resulting print dialog box click on the “Output” command in the upper left corner.  Under the Mode select “Separations” Hopefully if all went well, under the Document Ink Colors only 185 Red and 348 Green will have a little printer icon next to them.


          No need to concern yourself with channels.


          • 2. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
            Kathlene Ruhan Level 3

            With vector artwork, you ought to just be able to select the areas you want to make red and the areas you want to make green. If the areas are too complex, then you can select one piece and then select the same fill, stroke, or fill and stroke colors to select every thing and then change the color. If they are not all the same, I'd select the area with the smallest amount of color edit there is and lock it, select all and then change the color, unlock the locked and then change that.


            Can you stuff the file and attach it to review? Maybe seeing the complexity would be more helpful too.

            • 3. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
              Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional



              1. It may be; there are differences out there.

              2. If you mean a raster image (made of single pixels as in a photograph), generally the best way to create vector artwork is to redraw/trace the image with the Pen Tool which is the main tool in Illy; you may use the Live Trace (and regret it when having to lean up).

              3. You may post an image, and get suggestions.


              With regard to the colours, you should be able to do as follows:


              a) Window>Swatch Libraries>Pantone solid coated (or uncoated) will give you the Pantone library;

              b) You can then select each coloured part to be recoloured and click the Pantone colour in question, and you are done; you may insert the colour number in the Find box, or scroll and see by mouseover if you want to consider certain ranges of colours; you can also change to large thumbnails or just try different colours on your artwork.


              Edit: Hi Philip. Are you really back?

              • 4. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
                philip peterson Level 1

                Hi Jacob.


                Now that the Lounge is dead, I thought I'd pop back in here as my time wasting activity way of increasing my Adobe knowledge base.

                • 5. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
                  Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional



                  Shall we see Bert here soon, too?

                  • 6. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
                    Print Dad Level 1

                    Hello All, First may I apologize for the delay in respomding.

                    I have been pretty sick and very busy.

                    I use a Mustang Forum and know what it is like when you offer help

                    and get no response.


                    I think I am getting somewhat close. I am trying to figure this out.


                    Here is a vector Image that I have taken from an "Art Explosion " book.


                    It says it is a vector image.


                    Before I forget ...we are using Mac  running X.58 and the

                    Illustrator is Creative Suite 3.  They are all licensed products.


                    The picture is a soldier  that I wuld typically like to priint

                    as a 2 color job using spot colors.


                    We do print 4/c process but many jobs don't warrant the time

                    and supplies.  Often 1500 flyers, I would normally as 2/c

                    spot using PMS inks.


                    In this case I am trying to use  185 red and reflex blue.


                    I would like to make the black lines out of a combination of the

                    2 spot colors if possible.


                    Attached is the picture


                    I am real sorry for the delay in responding and appreciate the effort offered by many.


                    Can't say thanks enough........  Print Dad

                    • 7. Re: Help converting to 2 spot colors
                      Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional



                      To replace all instances of a specific colour, you may  Select>Same>Fill Color, and change.


                      For paler colours, you may reduce the percentages of the converted colour..


                      For simple conversions to single Pantone colours, you may:


                      1) Window>Swatch Libraries>Pantone Solid Coated (or whatever);


                      Pick the Direct Selection Tool and:


                      1) Click the trousers,

                      2) Select>Same>Fill Color

                      3) Click the Reflex Blue, or insert 100% C (Cyan, see below)


                      This will change all the same blues to that.


                      Do the same to other colours you wish to be blue, and similarly with the full reds (using 185 Red or Magenta, see below).


                      I am not sure about options for combining two Pantone colours in newer versions of Illy (I am still with 10), but for conversions involving more Pantone printed on top of one another without duplicating the paths, you may substitute C (Cyan) for Reflex Blue and M (Magenta) for 185 Red and instruct the printer to use the Pantone colours instead. Obviously, you can use the substitutions for the single colour conversions as well.