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Chapter 24. Print > Color separation tips

Color separation tips

  • Always refer to a printed swatch book when choosing colors (e.g., a PANTONE swatch book). Computer screens only simulate printed colors, so you won't get reliable results by choosing colors based on how they appear onscreen.

    What's on your plate?

    In standard four-color process printing, a layout is color-separated onto four plates, one each for cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. Other potential combinations include printing a spot color and black on two separate plates or printing a spot color and the four process colors (a total of 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 be color-separated using this method.

  • Don't change the shade percentage for a process color via the Colors palette or Item > Modify. Instead, mix a color that has the desired shade percentage built into it. It's perfectly okay to change the shade percentage for a spot color (e.g., PANTONE), though.

    Printing a spot

    Be sure to check Spot Color in the Edit Color dialog box for any spot color that you want to color-separate onto a separate plate. To output a particular color, choose File > Print, check Separations in the Layout pane, and then, in the Output pane, choose Used Process & Spot from the Plates pop-up menu.

    Spot colors, if they're saved in an Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia FreeHand file in the EPS format, will append to the Colors dialog box in the QuarkXPress layout and will also display in the plate scroll window in File > Print > Output. Make sure the name that's assigned to any spot color being used in both QuarkXPress and Adobe Illustrator is exactly the same in each program; otherwise two plates will print instead of the desired single plate.

  • If your layout contains continuous-tone pictures, such as scanned photographs or artwork produced in an image-editing program, ask your output service provider or commercial printer in which file format (e.g., TIFF, EPS) and in which image mode (e.g., CMYK, RGB) those pictures should be saved. You can use an image-editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop, to change a picture's file format, resolution, or image mode.

  • Ask your output service provider whether to use QuarkXPress or an image-editing program to convert any color pictures from RGB to CMYK for separations. Pictures scanned into CMYK color mode don't require conversion.

  • RGB spot colors from imported Illustrator EPS files will remain as RGB spot colors, and will be listed as such in the Colors dialog box.

  • If your layout 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 of the layout (e.g., Iris, Xerox DocuColor, Matchprint, or a high-end inkjet proof) so it can be inspected for color accuracy.



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