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Separating colors for Illustrator document?

Anyone know the best way to separate colors in an Illustrator file? Also, which color book does Threadless use when choosing ink colors? Pantone+CMYK Coated? Pantone+Solid Coated?


Any insight would be much appreciated!

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melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

Hmmm… this makes me wonder how you're using Illustrator. Generally speaking the colours are always separated. Unless you're talking about gradients. Also, always work in RGB. If you get printed you can specify which pantone colours are closest to what you're thinking, but it's probably not entirely necessary unless you're using neon colours.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni
SteveOramA said:

click on an area/element/line/curve, select, same fill & stroke, group. repeat process for each color.

This could really muck things up if different colours are under other ones, because when you group things it brings them all to the front.

I re-iterate my apprehensions as to exactly how you're utilising the program. Everyone should aim for clean, uncluttered files, where the separation of colours is not something you have to "do", but is rather an emergent property of the file type.

Besides, when setting up for print, if you just make each colour a spot, you shouldn't have to group them, trap them, or separate them or whatever. If you get printed, the print guys can work everything out that they need to, as long as they get nice, clean files.

ThePaperCrane
ThePaperCrane profile pic Alumni

Agree with Mike. I group and use layers where possible, so that I can separate stuff out to speed my work flow, but it does not always work with the order of things from front to back. Just keep it as tidy and as grouped/layered as comfortably possible.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

If I'm doing an Illustrator piece that might be screen printed I try to make sure that it's not going to be a pain in the ass to print the separations. That means I build the file so that colors can be on their own layers so I don't leave objects behind others, I knock out everything underneath. I've found the easiest method for me is to make each color layer a single compound path and then make copies of those compound paths and subtract them from the layers underneath. Also always expand strokes.

If there's gradients it gets a little more complicated. Printers might request that you leave the gradients as they are and let them figure it out.

ThePaperCrane
ThePaperCrane profile pic Alumni

Yes what Morkki says is the ideal scenario but can be quite time consuming if very detailed. I find you cant really do this until the very end when you are happy with the placement of everything.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

And also, Illustrator has a very sophisticated colour separating capability in it's print dialogue. You just need to make sure your colours are spot colours.

But yeah, I generally do the same thing as Morkki. It's just a good habit.

Wheels03
Wheels03 profile pic Alumni
melmike said:

Hmmm… this makes me wonder how you're using Illustrator. Generally speaking the colours are always separated. Unless you're talking about gradients. Also, always work in RGB. If you get printed you can specify which pantone colours are closest to what you're thinking, but it's probably not entirely necessary unless you're using neon colours.

Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology, but I was more concerned if every color needs it's own layer before submitted the final artwork or if you can get away with grouping everything and letting Threadless deal with matching colors.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

Okay, so that really depends on how complicated the artwork is. I personally wouldn't send them anything that would take them too much effort to break down into colours. Just professional courtesy I suppose. I don't think it matters all that much to keep the colours on separate layers, indeed, this would only really be possible if you've knocked out everything (using pathfinder) to the point where there's no overlap between objects.

What you could also do is, as I said, simply ensure that all your colours are spot colours. That way it's a simple matter for them to separate them using the print dialogue. If you're unsure what I mean by any of this, just YouTube some of these terms, I'm certain you'll find a plethora of tutorials.

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