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Chapter 20. Output > Color separation tips

Color separation tips

What's On Your Plate?

In standard four-color process printing, a document is color separated onto four plates, one each for Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black. The many other potential combinations include printing a spot color and black on two separate plates or printing a spot color and the four process colors, bringing the total to five plates.

Hexachrome (high fidelity) colors color separate onto six process color plates, with the result being greater color fidelity due to the wider range of printable colors. An RGB picture can also be color separated using this method.

  • Don't choose colors based on how they appear on screen, because a computer screen can only simulate printed colors. Always use a matching system booklet to choose colors.

  • To apply a spot color tint—whether as a background color in an item or as type color—choose a shade percentage from the Colors palette or choose a Trumatch or Focoltone color that has the desired value in Edit menu > Colors (Shift-F12).

  • If your document contains bitmapped pictures, ask your service bureau or commercial printer in which file format (TIFF, EPS, etc.) and image mode (CMYK, RGB, etc.) those pictures should be saved. You can use Photoshop to easily change a picture's file format, resolution, or image mode.

  • Ask your output service whether to use Photoshop or QuarkXPress to convert any color pictures from RGB to CMYK for separations. A picture scanned into CMYK color mode doesn't need to be converted.

  • QuarkXPress will convert any RGB spot color from an imported Illustrator EPS file into a CMYK process color. To output an Illustrator RGB spot color on a separate plate, first convert it into a CMYK spot color in Illustrator.

  • If your document contains hand-drawn registration or crop marks, apply the Registration color to them to ensure that they appear on all the separation plates.

  • For color work, order a color proof—an IRIS or a 3M Rainbow—of the document so you can inspect it for color accuracy.



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