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What color mode to choose in Illustrator

 
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Old December 17th, 2010 Dec 17, 2010 8:52:02 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Hello all

Could someone tell me what colors mode to choose when designing under Illustrator. I’m not sure what kind of printing process I’ll use, between DTG / Screen. Should I work in CMYK / RGB?
Pantone when I’m sure that I’ll use screen printing?
Also if I’ll print in black and white /grey could I also work on a grayscale mode ?

Thank you

Patrick
 
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Old December 17th, 2010 Dec 17, 2010 9:37:50 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

DTG: Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most, if not all DTG printers use CMYK inks.

Screen print: If you're printing a 4-color process job they will use CMYK. Simulated and Index screen print would be specific spot colors mixed to create the overall design and your art could begin in RGB and then be converted to CMYK. If color match is important Pantone spot is necessary but may also be an additional charge, or you could select from their stock inks.

Black, white, grey: You can work in greyscale mode, just keep in mind whether you are using Black and White to create grey (which would print as Black and White halftones) or if you actually want to print spot color Black, White, and Grey.

Even if you don't know exactly what type of printing you'll do, if you at least know who you'll have do the printing it's a good idea to talk with them to be sure your artwork meets their specifications. Each shop is a little different.
 
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Old December 17th, 2010 Dec 17, 2010 9:42:57 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

CMYK for DTG, RGB + Pantones for spot color screen printing. You could also work in grayscale if you are only printing out the black. Be sure to choose colors from an actual pantone book when deciding on ink colors for your shirts, and assign the corresponding pantone color swatch. There is a significant difference between on screen pantone colors and printed pantone colors.
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Old December 20th, 2010 Dec 20, 2010 3:04:36 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

You should design in either CYMK or Pantone because RGB is the color of light projected by the screen and you can never actually achieve that. But CYMK and Pantone are easy to reproduce and reliable colors to work with.
If you serious about matching colors get a Pantone book. They are NOT CHEAP but it is the industry standard. Everyone that prints can relate. CYMK offers some vairables depending on the type of ink and substrait your working with.
I was trained to work with Pantone and have never had a problem with getting something printed.
Some colors are standard inks that every one can order off the shelf. Like PMS 186 Red or PMS 293 Royal Blue, PMS 347 Kelly Green, these are colors that schools and teams use regulary and are considered common. Some colors are used less often and are considered speciality mixes.
Regardless of what program your working with use CYMK or Pantone.
 
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Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 5:37:09 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfry
You should design in either CYMK or Pantone because RGB is the color of light projected by the screen and you can never actually achieve that.
CMYK looses too much in the mid tones. i find it best to design in RGB, do all your color correction ect... I recommend only converting to CMYK to wards the end if you know that it's being produced using CMYK (DTG and process printing), you may need some color adjustment after converting.
When doing simulated process and index, RGB is ideal because you get the full color gamut. If i work with a CMYK image, all the mid tones become muddy and many colors become muted, there's too much color loss in my opinion.
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Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 8:47:48 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfry
You should design in either CYMK or Pantone because RGB is the color of light projected by the screen and you can never actually achieve that. But CYMK and Pantone are easy to reproduce and reliable colors to work with.
If you serious about matching colors get a Pantone book. They are NOT CHEAP but it is the industry standard. Everyone that prints can relate. CYMK offers some vairables depending on the type of ink and substrait your working with.
I was trained to work with Pantone and have never had a problem with getting something printed.
Some colors are standard inks that every one can order off the shelf. Like PMS 186 Red or PMS 293 Royal Blue, PMS 347 Kelly Green, these are colors that schools and teams use regulary and are considered common. Some colors are used less often and are considered speciality mixes.
Regardless of what program your working with use CYMK or Pantone.
Yeah, I think I agree with all the above pretty much. I tend to design with separations and printing in mind, which means, I don't do anything which will make those things difficult during my designing process. In Illustrator, I might design in RGB because I want to visualize it better on screen, but I do so with the understanding that there will be a color shift when I go back to CMYK in order to output separations. In Photoshop, I switch back and forth between different modes "as needed". Different modes have different things to offer. Many filters are not available except in RGB, but Photoshop doesn't offer separations from RGB. That means I may flip back and forth between modes, or create duplicate documents and copy and paste elements to achieve certain effects. So it's not perfectly cut and dry which mode I work in. As a designer, I have reasons to be in RGB mode a lot. As a production artist, I'm absolutely, never in RGB.
 
Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 9:13:16 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

always start with CMYK mode.......
 
Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 10:18:34 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBee
always start with CMYK mode.......
why?
statements like that are no help, please elaborate why you are saying that.

There is so much color loss with CMYK, what would the benefit be to designing in CMYK if you're not using a CMYK method to reproduce the art?

i like this discussion and i'm trying to understand why people keep saying to work in CMYK when there' so much color loss. i do not see the benefit unless you are planning on reproducing using CMYK methods.

I deal heavily with licensed products and images, converting some of these images cause allot of issues. Example, Spiderman.. you convert an image of him and now your Reds are orange or too pink and the blues are either too purple or too cyan. All his midtone colors are now washed out as well. This maybe good for CMYK printing as that's how the color will reproduce (very hard to get a rich red and blue with CMYK) but we're able to capture even more color depth and tone with simulated process or index using RGB.

another good point for using RGB mode, as Stone mentioned, is that allot of tools/effects are not available in CMYK mode.


There is no Pantone color mode but i do agree that a Pantone book is a must in my opinion, It's very handy to check what the color should print like.
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Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 1:59:01 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Well the origional poster specified that they would be printing whatever they are designing. So RGB being the color of light projected by the monitor can not be printed true to whats on screen.
CYMK is base tone inks and is in a way a bit limited.
Spot colors/Pantone will give you much richer colors that are exact matches. If your client calls for Pantone red 186 you can get that exact color. Even if it isn't an exact match on screen. That is part of the magic of screen printing.
DTG has its uses but so far i'm not all that impressed with what i've seen. But i do believe it will get a lot better. The process is still very new. Screen printing has been around for well over 100 years.
I print with that knowlage that i'm either designing for a screen print job or its going to be printed on my Ricoh on transfer paper.
Remember you will never print anything with RGB.
 
Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 2:52:34 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

i will just give you an example why i like starting CMYK mode....

in RGB mode, when you draw a box and fill it with black color..... the box will look black. ok what's the big deal on that???....(well, when you check the composition of the black color, it's actually a rich black... it's a combination of CMYK.....not 100% K only). ok, what's the big deal on that??? (well, in a printing shop view, it will be a problem in color separation for them..... and.... they may charge you more if you're a customer because they will be outputting 4 different films for just ONE COLOR for you.)

in CMYK mode, when you draw a box and fill it with black color... you will for sure know that that's actually true black (100% K).

(in case of using specific Pantone Colors in the start, it does not matter if RGB mode or CMYK mode.... both works... AS LONG AS you will be sticking with your specified Pantone Colors)

.....this is just one of the many instances why you need to check your color mode before working.
 
Old December 21st, 2010 Dec 21, 2010 4:05:07 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Please be very careful and never make the mistake of choosing RGB. You will regret it and will have a hard time with ANY conversion. It is almost like trying to change the DPI midstream. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, aka CMYK. Make sure you drill it in , tack it up on the wall when you are using color. Grayscale of course for Black and White but you can really do some great things with these two colors and a gradation of course.
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Old December 22nd, 2010 Dec 22, 2010 7:09:54 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

designing in RGB gives you the full color gamut, why limit yourself to CMYK if you're not printing CMYK inks? The Pantone color books have many colors that can not be created using CMYK yet you can with RGB.. work in RGB and match to Pantones.

If you know you will be printing in CMYK then yes, start in CMYK mode.. that makes perfect sense.
for screen printing separations, we can use RGB, in fact it's needed in order to do Index. RGB if fine for Spot color, Simulated process and Index seps, in fact it's better as you have more color range to work with and can match to Pantone colors. There is no 'Pantone mode' to work in.
Using RGB mode for doing Simulated Process (Index as well) you are able to capture vibrant bright colors and match them to Pantone colors so why not use RGB?
you can always convert from RGB to CMYK (can't get those lost colors back if you go from CMYK to RGB)

here's a good article about RGB and CMYK Iowa Web Design - TurnKey Creations
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Old December 22nd, 2010 Dec 22, 2010 7:19:46 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBee
i will just give you an example why i like starting CMYK mode....

in RGB mode, when you draw a box and fill it with black color..... the box will look black. ok what's the big deal on that???....(well, when you check the composition of the black color, it's actually a rich black... it's a combination of CMYK.....not 100% K only). ok, what's the big deal on that??? (well, in a printing shop view, it will be a problem in color separation for them..... and.... they may charge you more if you're a customer because they will be outputting 4 different films for just ONE COLOR for you.)
RGB black is not the same as CMYK black, especially if you're using SWOP color profile... that CMYK is designed for offset printing, minimizing ink deposit (many occasions for an offset press you want to add CMY into your K for a rich full black as K ink is not a deep rich opaque black). If you change your color profile you will notice your CMYK values also change for a specific color.

If you're doing a CMYK separation, work in CMYK... if you don't know what method of out put you are doing.. design in RGB.. it can always be converted to CMYK.
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Old December 22nd, 2010 Dec 22, 2010 7:24:23 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by indeed
Please be very careful and never make the mistake of choosing RGB. You will regret it and will have a hard time with ANY conversion. It is almost like trying to change the DPI midstream. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, aka CMYK.
please explain. i don't understand what you are referring to regarding 'conversion'? you can easily convert RGB to CMYK (yes there's allot of color loss do to CMYKs limited gamut, but that's what you'd get if you started in CMYK mode anyway) but you can't go the other way (you can add some color depth and bring back some color in the mid tones using several tools, but it won't be the same as the original RGB) and get good results.
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Old December 22nd, 2010 Dec 22, 2010 7:28:57 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: What color mode to choose in Illustrator

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeniceTShirt
Hello all

Could someone tell me what colors mode to choose when designing under Illustrator. Iím not sure what kind of printing process Iíll use, between DTG / Screen. Should I work in CMYK / RGB?
Pantone when Iím sure that Iíll use screen printing?
Also if Iíll print in black and white /grey could I also work on a grayscale mode ?

Thank you

Patrick
Sorry if i've highjacked your thread, i'm trying to understand why people state not to use RGB... i don't see the logic from what i've read here in the thread other then the following.

If you know you are reproducing the image using a CMYK method, design in CMYK so you know the limitations to the color gamut.

I'd suggest working in RGB mode when using illustrator and use Pantone spot color swatches to color your design. I think that's the most important thing when designing in illustrator.. try to use the Pantone swatches, then you're safe and can convert to CMYK if needed easily.
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