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  1. #1
    Jiggy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    For a client I make illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. They switched to a new printer and I've been asked to take a maximum ink converage into acount of cmyk each color max 90% and all together max 230%. As far as I know, there isn't an option in Illustrator to do that? I can't select a colour and that Illustrator automatically downgrades it to below 230% ink coverages, can't I? And I can't save it to eps with max. ink coverage for e.g.

    How is this normally done? Isn't it so that this is done through importing in Indesign and saving it as a certified pdf with the printers job options? That any colours above a maximum percentage are automatically converted to allowed values through this cpdf job option file?

  2. #2
    phantasm is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > For a client I make illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. They switched to a new printer and I've been asked to take a maximum ink converage into acount of cmyk each color max 90% and all together max 230%. As far as I know, there isn't an option in Illustrator to do that? I can't select a colour and that Illustrator automatically downgrades it to below 230% ink coverages, can't I? And I can't save it to eps with max. ink coverage for e.g.
    >
    > How is this normally done? Isn't it so that this is done through importing in Indesign and saving it as a certified pdf with the printers job options? That any colours above a maximum percentage are automatically converted to allowed values through this cpdf job option file?

    Hi Jiggy,

    Illustrator will allow your to apply any level of ink for any vector object, so it is largely a manual task. However there are tools to help.

    Firstly, the color profile assigned to the document (Edit -> Assign Profile...) determines the maximum coverage when automatically converting from an RGB/CIE to CMYK color space. For example, a "Newsprint" or "Uncoated" profile will ensure a much lower maximum ink level for an image embedded in the document than, say, a "Coated" one. A quick way to find out the maximum coverage allowed would be to assign a profile then open the standard Adobe color picker and pick the bottom-right corner of the color square (maximum black); the CMYK values displayed can be totalled up to reveal the maximum level for that profile. For example, "Japan Color 2002 Newspaper" allows a maximum of 240% whilst "Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27" allows up to 350%.

    By using this system, so long as you pick colors in the color picker rather than using the CMYK sliders, you will always be certain of working within the profile's set limits.

    Issues you have to note are the use of transparencies (out-of-the-box, there's no way to discover the resultant ink coverage in Ai), overprinting (which can add ink levels to one or more channels, bumping up the total) and linked artwork (whose ink levels are controlled outside Ai).

    The next part is where I get really biased - so please don't read on if you don't think there's any place for self-promotion on forums, even if directly relevant... ;-)

    You could make do with our Illustrator plug-in, [Phantasm CS Studio|http://www.phantasmcs.com/]. This software provides you with not only an Ink Coverage preview tool (to user-defined levels), but also every color adjustment tool gives a "Safe CMYK" option which ensures that all colors do not exceed the limits dictated in the assigned document color profile. The caveats with this, however, remains:

    A) Transparencies and overprinted objects which would first need flattening before such an operation could be "automatic".
    B) Linked/placed artwork/images can only be controlled outside Ai, so it would be advisable to embed these first if you wish to control them directly within Ai and based on a single color profile.

    You can always re-check any changes with the Ink Coverage tool.

    Finally, you can view the separations with the quick and full artwork separation tools provided in the plugin.

    I hope that this has helped a little.

    Best wishes,

    Nick

  3. #3
    Lukas Engqvist's Avatar
    Lukas Engqvist is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    I agree with the above post (and have struggled myself with this) PhanasmCS has the tools you would expect to be in Illustrator… before I had seen phantasm I had posted on the feature request list those features (ans still think they should be integrated in AI)
    In coverage is actually even a problem in Photoshop, if you are working in CMYK… which also is strange considering how long Adobe have been in the game. (I really hope this is and are that will be attended to in CS4.)

    To limit ink you almost have to force to go to RGB/LAB and back (to a profile with an InkLimit as desired).
    There are ways to do this with PDF files, and don't forget an AI file can be viewed in Acrobat by dragging it to the app (or just changing the extension from AI to PDF). In Acrobat you can view the Total Ink Coverage in much the same way as the Gamut warning in Photoshop, Placing in InDesign works just as well. Acrobat 9 has the advantage of doing colur conversions and preserving black.
    Preserving black is going to be your biggest difficulty. I do know there are colour servers that automatically do device link ink reduction… but that would be for a printer to invest in not for the designer (I would think).

    The problem is editing. If you convert colours in the PDF using Acrobat you will loose the Illustrator editability.

    One more issue you will have to be especially carefull with and where ink limit sometimes has to be compromised is overprints. I would rather allow small black texts (less than 12 pt) and/or hairlines to exceed ink limit than have them knockout.
    Learning by teaching!

  4. #4
    Jiggy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    I've experimented a little with that. It's true that when switching to another colour profile the bottom right colour value varies. Normally the entire CS is set to Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27. Now I've drawn a square with colours: 95,95,95,95 and switched the colour profile to ISOnewspaper26v4. The illustration will be for a newspaper and isonewspaper supposedly has an ink limit of about 240? But when I select the square it still says 95,95,95,95. Why's that? I've also tried setting it to ISO Newspaper, importing this eps file in Indesign and exporting it as pdf also with a setting of isonewspaper. When I open this pdf in Illustrator it still says 95,95,95,95, which is way above ISOnewspaper. When I switch to rgb and back to cymk again it is converted to Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27 cause that is standard. And I would like it to be standard instead of adjusting the default preferences each time I've got another client. I just want to save it with a colour profile of ISOnewspaper26v4 and that all colours above the 240 ink limit are downgraded to acceptable limits. Can that be done? Or should I change to ISOnewspaper26v4 and then start new by selecting colours from the colour palette instead of numeric values?

    Edited by: Jiggy on Aug 2, 2008 11:51 AM

  5. #5
    Jiggy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    But how is this normally done? I've seen newspaper sites for example saying that ink coverage should be below 240%. Like it is so easy to set and no explanation to how to set it. But I understand this is extremly difficult with Adobe. So do designers deliver their artwork just as it is hoping the printing companies won't complain? Or are there some more tricks to control it? In Illustrator I could of course pick each colour manually. Photo's in photoshop with a lot of dark spaces, how to set ink coverage then?

  6. #6
    phantasm is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > I've experimented a little with that. It's true that when switching to another colour profile the bottom right colour value varies. Normally the entire CS is set to Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27.

    I think that default depends on your location? But carrying on...

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > Now I've drawn a square with colours: 95,95,95,95 and switched the colour profile to ISOnewspaper26v4. The illustration will be for a newspaper and isonewspaper supposedly has an ink limit of about 240? But when I select the square it still says 95,95,95,95. Why's that?

    Changing the profile will not update the artwork already present. And as I previously mentioned, even if you specified a newsprint profile, you could still manually create an object filled with 400% ink coverage by specifying the color sliders manually.

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > I've also tried setting it to ISO Newspaper, importing this eps file in Indesign and exporting it as pdf also with a setting of isonewspaper. When I open this pdf in Illustrator it still says 95,95,95,95, which is way above ISOnewspaper.

    ID wouldn't tamper with the EPS contents as such. It's akin to Ai not being able to edit the contents of linked/placed artwork/images. It can only control embedded objects.

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > When I switch to rgb and back to cymk again it is converted to Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27 cause that is standard.

    A very blunt method would be to change the color mode from CMYK to RGB and then back to CMYK, but I really don't advise this. For example, any black-only text would re-appear across all plates. Potential print alignment disaster alert! (Phantasm CS allows you to ignore text or pure black, etc. and can be applied to a selection.)

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > And I would like it to be standard instead of adjusting the default preferences each time I've got another client.

    Then you would need to specify the color profile via the Edit -> Color Settings dialogue. It is advised that you use the same settings across your Adobe suite, but not essential. Also, the Advanced option in this window allows you to specify the conversion method, but I would leave this as standard.

    Alternatively, you could create a series of Ai templates; each with a different assigned color profile.

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > I just want to save it with a colour profile of ISOnewspaper26v4 and that all colours above the 240 ink limit are downgraded to acceptable limits. Can that be done?

    Not as you're hoping for. There is manual work involved.

    > {quote:title=Jiggy wrote:}{quote}
    > Or should I change to ISOnewspaper26v4 and then start new by selecting colours from the colour palette instead of numeric values?

    For new artwork for this specific client, this would be best. You can convert bits of your existing artwork by the methods I've previously outlined.

    All the best,

    Nick

  7. #7
    phantasm is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    Hi Lukas,

    > {quote:title=Lukas Engqvit wrote:}{quote}
    > One more issue you will have to be especially carefull with and where ink limit sometimes has to be compromised is overprints. I would rather allow small black texts (less than 12 pt) and/or hairlines to exceed ink limit than have them knockout.

    I'd definitely second that! Very small areas which are technically over-inked don't usually present a problem from personal experience.

    Nick

  8. #8
    Jiggy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    So basically, my best option is just to form a custom color pallette with colours that don't exceed the maximum ink coverage? If I don't want to tamper with the colour profile settings too much with the risk of ruining default preferences settings?

    How about photos for newspapers? How to they convert those to ink limit settings of newspapers e.g.?

  9. #9
    Lukas Engqvist's Avatar
    Lukas Engqvist is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    Yeah the custom palette may be the way to go. But unfortunately it will not help you if you want to use transparency or overprint, which really means shackling ur creative freedom .

    As to what you wrote about colour settings, Europe prepress defaults is (according to Adobe FOGRA 27, which is actually outdated and has been replaced by FOGRA 39, but still has a too high TIC value). In your colur settings file you set the working profile for CMYK and RGB working space. Converting from CMYK to CMYK doesn't affect the values. (I normally don't recommend people using Colour management on Illustrations as the problems/risks that may arise usually outweigh the benifits)

    If you enable colour management, use your Photos in RGB then when you RIP or export to PDFx1a you force the RGB images to colur manage, which they do correctly.

    I have not tried to use the Live Color for reducing TIC, it is great for reducing work to 2 or 3 spot colour, and should work to convert to a seperate palette.
    If you want to globally cut the ink in your illustrations then you can also choose to edit colurs, but I have no experience with that.
    Technically it should be possible to add a white square with 0.5% opacity to force the Art to be colour managed… but havent actually tried it… It would mean all work would have transparency, and then you may as well work in RGB and convert to CMYK for output (risking yellows to go green and everything else that comes with that)
    Learning by teaching!

  10. #10
    Jiggy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Ink Coverage in Illustrator

    I'm a graphic designer myself (make magazines). So I'm curious how advertisers deliver their add files to be printed by a newspaper (which mostly ask for ink limit levels of below 240). In Acrobat I can preflight for 'newspapers' which warns me for ink levels above 240. But what about a graphic artist who creates the add? Placing a photo with many dark black spots, or a vector logo with a dark area? He makes the add in indesign, importing all these images which contain areas of above 240 and exports the add as a certified pdf file. Encofus then gives an error saying 'ink limit above 240'. What then? If there is no option in Illustrator to globally downgrade all colours to below 240? And he can't examine every pixel in the photoshop image to check for that pixel which is above 240? What do you graphic designers do then?


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