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Mark Oehlschlager

Problems with Spot Colors in Swatches Panel & in Color Separations

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As part of a test to learn about the behavior of spot colors in Publisher, I just tried to use the Gradient Map adjustment layer to recolor a Greyscale image in Publisher, and then to export a press-ready PDF. I uncovered a number of issues that need immediate attention:

  1. Pantone spot colors do not display accurately in a CMYK Publisher document. Appearance seems to be fine in either CIE Lab space or in RGB spaces.
  2. Working with the Swatches Panel is a very tedious and fiddly experience. The number of clicks required to add a spot color to one's document palette should be reduced.
  3. Although I applied Pantone 173 to my Greyscale image, Pantone 021 got added to my document palette.
  4. Spot colors added to the document palette are identified generically as "Global Colour x" rather than by their proper name.
  5. When one highlights the generically named spot color in the swatches palette and then selects the Pantone swatch book from which the color came, the color chip is not highlighted or identified in any way among the thousands of other Pantone color chips.
  6. The only indication of the spot colors actual name comes if/when one switches to the Colour Panel.
  7. There doesn't appear to be a Channels Panel or a Separation Preview Panel that would enable one to check color separations prior to exporting to a press-ready PDF.
  8. And FINALLY, I exported my test document (wherein I applied a spot color to a Gradient Map to recolor a greyscale image) as a press-ready PDF, opened the PDF in Adobe Acrobat, used Acrobat's tools to inspect the color separations and found that an empty frame filled with Pantone 021 separated onto a spot color plate for Pantone 021, but the spot color applied to the greyscale image using the Gradient Map adjustment got separated into the four process color plates, CMYK.

All of this needs immediate attention prior to the official release of Publisher.

  • Please rethink the behavior of the Swatches Panel in terms of efficient workflows, accurate spot color labels, highlighting selected document spot color swatches within corresponding spot color swatch book.
  • Correct the display of the spot colors on screen, regardless of the color space of the document.
  • Make sure that spot colors separate to a corresponding spot color color plate.
  • Give the designer the means to determine within the document swatch palette whether or not a used spot color should be preserved as a spot upon color separation or should be converted to 4-color process plates.
  • Please provide a set of print preview tools within a Print Preview Panel that would allow a designer to check things like color separations prior to sending press-ready PDFs to a professional offset printer.
  • Please ensure that spot colors applied to greyscale images using the Gradient Map adjustment separate properly onto the corresponding spot color plates.

Thank you.

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 3.27.32 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 3.27.42 PM.png

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Yeah, color handling is a bit of a mixed bag right now, particularly with spot colors and global colors.

Try creating a document palette and adding the same color to it twice as global colors, and set the palette in list mode: if you select an object on the page, and assign the one lower on the list, then select something else and switch back, the higher one on the list in the swatch palette is highlighted even though it is the other one that was assigned.

The correct one is actually being assigned, but the wrong one is highlighted on the palette - this becomes obvious if you assign both colors to a few different objects then redefine the color of one of them.

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