Adobe Illustrator CS5 : Setting Graphics Options, Previewing Color Separations, Setting Output Options

9/18/2012 1:06:47 AM

Setting Graphics Options

The Graphics category in the Print dialog box allows you to set printing options for paths, fonts, PostScript files, gradients, meshes, and blends. The Flatness option (under Paths) controls how well objects in your document print on a PostScript printer. The Automatic setting is recommended. If a document has problems printing, adjust the Flatness level. When you include type in your document, the printer that you use in your document need to be downloaded to your printer.

Set Graphics Print Options

Click the File menu, and then click Print.

Click the Graphics category.

Select from the various Graphics options:

  • Flatness (Paths). Select the Automatic check box to use a setting supplied by Illustrator.

    If you have problems printing a document, adjust the Flatness level, and then reprint it.

  • Download (Fonts). Select a download option: None, Subset (only characters, or glyphs, used), or Complete (all fonts used).

  • PostScript (Options). Choose from Language Level 2 or Language Level 3. Level 3 delivers the best speed and quality if you are printing to a PostScript 3 device.

  • Data Format (Options). Choose ASCII or Binary to determine how the data is sent to the printer.

  • Compatible Gradient and Gradient Mesh Printing. Select only if you’re having problems printing gradients or gradient meshes.

When you’re finished, click Done.

Previewing Color Separations

Color separations divides artwork into four plates by color, known as process colors. Each plate represents a CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) color. The Separations Preview panel allows you to preview color separations on your screen. You can preview spot color objects and check for rich black areas and overprinting. Rich black is process black ink mixed with color inks for increased opacity and richer color instead of a normal black, while overprinting prevents the knockout of overlapping areas and makes those areas transparent. This is used to avoid the need for trapping and avoid gaps between touching colors. Use it when your artwork doesn’t share common ink color. In the Separations Preview panel, you can use the Visibility column to show and hide different separation color inks to preview your artwork on the artboard.

Preview Color Separations with the Separations Preview Panel

Open a document that contains the artwork that you want to preview.

Select the Separations Preview panel.

Select the Overprint Preview check box.

Do any of the following:

  • Hide Separation Ink. Click the eye icon for each ink you want to hide. Click the eye icon again to make the effects of the ink visible.

  • Hide All Separation Inks Except One. Alt+click (Win) or Option+click (Mac) the eye icon to show just one ink color. Click the eye icon again to make all the inks visible.

  • View All Inks. Click the CMYK eye icon.

Deselect the Overprint Preview check box to return to normal view.

Setting Output Options

The Output category in the Print dialog box allows you to create and print color separations. When you choose to create color separations, you also have the option of selecting which color plates that you want to print. Since options vary from job to job, check with your commercial printer for help with specific values for your print job. Some of the options include Mode (composite or separation), Emulsion, Image, and Resolution.

Set Output Print Options

Click the File menu, and then click Print.

Click the Output category.

Check with your commercial printer for help with specific values for your print job.

Select from the various Output options:

  • Mode. Select an output mode: Composite, Separations (Host-Based), or In-RIP Separations.

    Use Composite to print a general print job (not separations); use Separations (Host-Based) to have Illustrator create the separations; or use In-RIP Separations to have Illustrator create a PostScript file that creates the separations.

  • Emulsion. Select an option: Up (Right Reading) or Down (Right Reading).

  • Image. Select an option: Positive or Negative.

  • Resolution. Select a printer resolution. The first number represents the halftone screen ruling (LPI) and the second number represents the device resolution (DPI).

    Check with your commercial printer for these settings.

If you selected a Separation option from the Mode menu, select from the various Document Ink options:

  • Document Inks. For each process or spot color that you don’t want to print, click the printer icon.

  • Convert All Spot Colors to Process. Select to convert all spot colors in the artwork to process colors.

  • Overprint Black. Select to allow black fills and strokes to overprint color underneath.

When you’re finished, click Done.
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