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Adobe InDesign CC – Advanced Training

Appearance Of Black & Proofing Colours

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 15 of 74

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Hey there, in this video we're going to look at Prepressing. Looking at why colors look like this in InDesign, but look like this when they print. Where did my colors go? I'll toggle it back and forth, so you can check them out. Good, bad… Let's go and check that out now in InDesign.

So what's happening, it's basically just the difference between how your computer screen or your laptop screen shows you colors. It uses something called RGB. And your printer uses a different set of colors. It uses CMYK. Unfortunately CMYK can't reach the same kind of richness as RGB. The big difference is that your screen has electricity running through all of that. It has like lightning forced out of it with electronics. So it can achieve some really kind of bright colors, and rich blacks, but CMYK, which is your printer that sits next to you on your desktop, or you send it off to a commercial printer, they use the same set of colors, it doesn't get to use any electricity. Gets to use just plain old white paper, so there's not the same colors in there. So there's nothing really you can do about it.

What you can do is you can prepare yourself to proof it before it goes out. To do it, it's very easy, you go to 'View' and just turn on 'Proof Colors', and watch, just kind of washes out. Some colors are affected more than others. You saw at the beginning there in the intro, I toggled it back and forth and you saw, it was really obvious when we toggled it, but often, like this thing here, it will print just fine. I wouldn't be too worried about any sort of big changes but it's handy to check if there are big changes because some documents do have it.

So I'm going to open up a file, you can do it too. Go 'File', 'Open', 'Exercise Files, and '01 Spring'. Go to the one that says 'Proofing Colors', open that up. So in here, I've got some colors that I know do badly. We're going to check out how badly they are, prepare yourselves. Let's go to 'View'. So go to 'Proof Colors', hold on. Unfortunately this is the way CMYK's going to display. It's not exactly the way your screen is. It's going to try and just replicate it as good as it can, but on, off. All of these colors have a really rich color. Depth, you've got to be prepared for losing when it goes out to CMYK.

There's kind of some things you can do to get around it using something called Pantone colors, but we're getting into higher costs, and some trickier setup, but that's something to look into potentially if you want to kind of keep a really strong, rich brand color. And another thing you can do is, we're just using under 'View', we're using the default. So Proof Colors turns this setup on and off. We're using just the generic document's CMYK. What you can do is, your printer can send you settings for their specific printer. They might be using some sort of Heidelberg 71243B, some sort of set up file they can send it to. What you can do is go to 'Custom', and you can load it into there. And when you pick it, go into 'Custom', pick the settings that they've sent you and when you turn 'Proof Colors' on it's going to match their machine a little bit better.

We talked about CMYK as being four colors but some printers use more than four colors. And you can use six, eight, and ten colors to get some closer representation of RGB. So maybe we can chart it in, say I can have the proof set ups that I could use for InDesign till we really kind of match it. One thing before we go, we'll just talk about Rich Blacks real quick. So what happens in InDesign is that-- I'm going to grab this guy here, and switch him to black. So that's what black looks like. If I switch it to 'Proof Setup', you're going to notice that-- we all know that when we draw something black and we try and print it, it does this. It goes just a little bit gray and washed out. A way to get around that is to create what's called Rich Black. Now Rich Black is just 100% Cyan. You add a few other colors just to kind of back it up.

So imagine grabbing, you've got four colors lying in front of you and you paint them, you've got 1/10 of Cyan, which is this fellow, 1/10 of magenta, 1/10 of yellow, and 1/10 of black. So those are the colors that a printer uses, but what you can do is you can actually mix a little bit of these together with the black and it still looks black, but gives that kind of a rich feeling, it's called Rich Black. Now there's no absolute 100% Rich Black formula. Some people-- let's say I'm going to mix a Rich Black. So I'm going to create a new swatch. I'm going to double click it. I'm going to call this one, instead of black, copy, I'm going to call this one Rich Black. Some people just add a little bit of Cyan. 20% Cyan, and if I click 'OK', you'll notice it got a bit darker there. Let's turn the preview on and off. Can you see, it's just a-- might be hard to see on the video, but it's just a little bit darker. Some people just use that as the Rich Black. I prefer—

I guess the big thing is there's no, like 100% complete definition of what it should be. I like to use 20, 20, 20. And that gives me, bit more ink on the page but also gives me a bit more of a Rich Black. You don't want to go too high. You don't want to put it at 100, 100, 100, 100. Why? Because then the inks all go on top of each other. They start bleeding around the edges and getting bigger, plus, often the pages start sticking together. Not sure if you've ever done it, you've printed a couple of photographs back to back or right after each other, and they start sticking because that has too strong a black mix. The best thing is to ask your printer.

Another thing you can do with Rich Black is, say you want a bit more of, kind of-- I'm going to go to 60, with the yellow. That will give kind of a warmer black. And if you do the opposite, and go with say 60 in here, you'll get a midnight kind of a black. So talk to your printer about what you're trying to do.

The other thing to consider for Rich Black, it should never be done with small type. So if I grab my Type tool, and draw out small Type, and I decide that instead of black, I'm going to use Rich Black. Select it all, Rich Black. The only trouble with this is that when it prints it's so small and so delicate that-- it's actually running through a printer. Imagine, with the paper running through, the ink goes on, so the black goes on, nice and sharp. Then they put some Cyan on it, and they try to line it up and it lines up pretty good. And they put it along the top, so it gets a bit darker and they try again with the yellow, and then the magenta. If there's any small movement in the printers, especially the big commercial ones, they vibrate all over the place. Your Type's going to look a bit blurry, so don't use Rich Black ever for Type. Just deal with solid black. Click on 'T', and click on 'Solid Black'. So Rich Black is bad for type but if your Type's getting large, and it's kind of Slab Serif, a bit chunky type, then you can, kind of above, like 18, you'll probably handle a Rich Black, but talk to your printer, they might just go "No way, our printer wiggles around too much for that." But big boxes like this, great. Big chunky bits of Type, you might be using for kind of like Hero Text, definitely, icons, that will work too, but small type, no good for Rich Blacks. Basically that's the reason everyone tells you not to use this registration. I wish you could delete it, you can't because what that does is, it goes, can you see, it goes really black, that's awesome, but if I use Registration Black, it will stick together. It will print, especially the Type. We talked about it a second ago, if I do that for registration, it's really going to be bad. It's going to be so much ink on the page, these little Type's going to bleed. So don't use Rich Black, you know, we can't delete it. Just needs to stay there.

So, before we finish, go 'View', turn 'Proof Colors' back on, and if you are just working digitally and you're going out by email, or website or publish online, or EPUB, it doesn't matter. You're going to be printing in RGB, and not actually printing it all. You're just going to be saving it as a PDF, so don't sweat that stuff but definitely give it a check before you send it to the printer to see if there's any kind of horrible changes, like we have in front of us here with those color bars.

All right, I hope you learnt something there. Let's get on to the next video.