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fidel's picture
337 pencils

Colour the cheap way

Two tips that relate to the same problem.

Sometimes your client wants colour but he/she hesitates about the cost of a full colour print. The only option you have left is use a spot colour (Pantone). But it's limiting your creativity. Well sometimes InDesign helps you being creative by giving you some options.

First of all you create a spot coluor in your swatches. Click on the litle black triangle of the swatches pane and select 'New Colour swatch'. In the colour type option choose 'Spot Colour', in the colour mode choose a Pantone colour model you want (I selected 'solid coated). That's that. Your can recognice the spot colour because in the little square after your new colour there is a circle, there isn't one if you chose the process colour type.

Now place a B/W picture in your document. There are two ways of colourising the picture. In the example on the left I selected the frame and clicked on the spot colour I wanted. The spot colour is applied to the highlights of your picture (in fact the colour has been applied to your pictureframe. In the second example I selected the pictureframe but instead of clicking on my colour I clicked and dragged the colour and dropped it on the frame. This time the shadowparts of the picture are colourized.

Next problem is the use of the spot colour in different shades with the black swatch. Very difficult and impossible in Quark (I believe).

In InDesign you can create a whole new library of colours based on a spot colour, it is called 'mixed ink group'. Be sure you have already a spot colour in your swatch, then again go to the little black triangle and select the option 'New mixed ink group'.

You get the dialogue box above. Select the two colours you want to mix by clicking in front of them.

The options fo each colour become available. Play around with these options and at the bottom you can preview the result of the new mixed swatches.

Sometimes InDesign indicates that your settings aren't quite correct, when you get this message, click ok and InDesign will do the work for you.

When you're happy with the result click Ok and the result will be a whole bunch of mixed inks that you can play with in your layout. You also use these mixed inks with picture tip.

What would life be without colour?

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

otto's picture
2 pencils

This is something easily achieved in quark too: edit colours; new; model; multi-ink. Once there, it acts in pretty much the same way.

I've had trouble with separations on two occasions using coloured greyscale tiffs in ID. The printer recommended i make monotones or duotones in photoshop to avoid this. Has anyone else had any issues with this?

fidel's picture
337 pencils

Could you give me some more information about the problems you encountered? If problems occur it's good for me to know about the hickups that can happen. How did you applied the pantone, how did you deliver your document, what was the specific problem at the printers? Those kind of things.
I give a lot of trainings, so if a possibility (like the tip above) in InDesign doesn't give full satisfaction I can warn people about the use of those possibilies.


otto's picture
2 pencils

The first time it was a bunch of greyscale tiffs i'd coloured with one spot colour and left the backgrounds white. I sent a hi-res PDF exported from ID after i'd checked the separations carefully in both ID and acrobat. the pre-press guy called to say it was outputing as CMYK. It was that he did the imposition of my PDFs in quark and then these coloured tiffs were separating as CMYK. indeed it printed like that when i did the same thing here on our laser printer. What confused me was it was just these images and not the other spot colour elements on the page. But the pages were succesfully separated directly from acrobat in the end. I believe i need to do a test where i make the images monotone photoshop EPS in the spot colour and go through the same steps.
Second time, 2 colour job again: i made my greyscale image black foreground and the PMS colour background (everything white on the tiff). on my page in ID everything outside of this image box was also the same PMS colour background. But viewing separations, printing separations, making press PDFs, there was always a small % difference between the image box and the colour fill. my photoshop background was definitely completely white though. So i made my canvas large enough in photoshop so the one image box was the entire page. I could not determine what was causing this so i worked around it.
Also, recently, i got a proof of a booklet i did in quark where some little greyscale logos i had used black foreground and PMS colour background were in white boxes instead of the PMS red. this easily was fixed but i don't know why they output that way.
This particular use of spot colours with images, though, is very handy and this has nothing at all to do with the multi-ink technique. It is just a couple of situations that i have not gotten to the bottom of. I just try to be extra careful with 2 or 3 colour work and always check the separations very carefully. and i really love the separation preview in indesign.

fidel's picture
337 pencils

On your first problem I can be firm, that is not the Multi-ink feauture of InDesign that created the problem. Quark can not handle duotone images if they are not saved as DCS. So the problem was Quark, quite a workaround to do some imposition in Quark. If you deliver pdf's, the impostion should be made in Acrobat, what they finally did.
About you're second problem I can only presume that there was a conflict with your coloursettings or that you selected the same PMS colour from two different libraries (Solid coated and/or solid uncoated).
The third problem has again to do with the way Quark looks at spot colours and maybe transparency, and indeed it is very important to preview your separations when working with these colour features.

Thanks for your feedback

Eduardo Aigner's picture
1 pencil


Swaminathan N's picture
1 pencil

It is very useful tips.

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