Los Angeles InDesign User Group

Working with Color in InDesign

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Veterans Memorial Building, Garden Room, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230

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By Alvin Takamori


Our guest speaker for the May meeting, Teresa Jackson, came from San Diego to Culver City to talk to us about color management in InDesign and maintaining consistency across programs. She recently completed an Adobe Illustrator color course for Lynda.com. She also recommended David Blatner's color management lessons also on Lynda.com.


To begin, Teresa suggested looking at the default settings in Adobe Bridge to set your color profile across multiple Adobe programs. The default is North American General Purpose2. The working spaces for RGB is sRGB and for CMYK, it's U.S. Web Coated (SWOP). Other settings you might consider changing to is Adobe RGB 1998, which has a wider gamut than sRGB, and for CMYK many printers use GRACoL. But whatever settings you use, opening them in Bridge will synchronize them, so that any files without an embedded profile takes on the working color space profile you set. You'll also want to turn on the warning for any files that you open which have a different color workspace.


In Adobe InDesign, under the Edit Menu, you can check the Color Settings and Assign Profiles to files that don't have an embedded color space.


Teresa showed us some issues that can arise if your programs are not synchronized. An Illustrator file placed in InDesign can have different ink percentages for the same color, if the color spaces are different. Also, if InDesign doesn't have a defined color space, it takes on the color space of placed Illustrator or Photoshop files with embedded color profiles. That might not be a bad thing, but it's better if you control the color.


One thing to consider is asking your printer what color profiles they use and to set your files to match. However, keep in mind that most of the world operates in default mode. so anytime you change your color space settings, expect to receive a lot of warnings when you open other people's files.


One issue with matching colors across programs is that InDesign uses a different Color Picker from Photoshop and Illustrator. The InDesign Color Picker is based on HSB (Hue Saturation Brightness). The other programs use LAB (Lightness and 2 color ranges), which maps colors horizontally from unsaturated to saturated and vertically from light to dark. So Teresa avoids creating swatches using the Color Picker. She'll go to the Menu and select New Color Swatch and create a process or spot color. As a side note, in the swatches a black dot in the corner indicates a spot color and a white triangle indicates a global color. However there is still a problem with global color swatches in Illustrator not transferring to InDesign with placed files. If you place content that uses Pantone colors, those are embedded in the image and can't be thrown away. You can add color swatches from other InDesign files. Select New Color Swatch and one option is Other Libraries, where you can choose another file to import color from.


If you have color swatches and one version is RGB and the other is CMYK, you may want to drag one version to the trash. If the color from that swatch was used in the artwork, a message will pop up asking what to do with objects that used the color. You can tell it to replace the color with the remaining RGB or CMYK swatch.


In Ink Manager, you can convert all spot colors to process color. But you might want to consider leaving the conversion process to your printer. It's easier for them to change a spot color than to correct a bad CMYK mix.


In Photoshop, there is an extension called Adobe Color Themes. It links to the internet and allows you to find other people's color combinations and add them to your swatches. You can save them in your CC Library. Be aware that if you edit colors in the library it does not change the swatches in documents that used that color.


Another way to add color swatches is to use Adobe Capture. It converts images into a series of swatches. Using an eyedropper, you can click on an image and load a color. You can also introduce new color swatches by using Color Harmonies. Select a base color and select Color Harmonies which will create a set of swatches related to the base color.


Hopefully, Teresa's presentation introduced ideas, or ways to work with color, for you to consider and to explore further.


After her presentation, our group leader, Alan Bell, introduced us to the emerging field of color fonts. These fonts would, of course, eat up a lot more storage space on the computer than traditional font sets without color information. But they introduce interesting possibilities like multi-colored, shaded, textured and transparent type. At this point they work better in Illustrator and Photoshop, but it could be the next big thing in future graphic design.


As always a lot of raffle prizes were handed out, But in addition to the normal raffle prizes, a lot of books about color were given away. However, even if you didn't win, everyone received a big set of color pens as a bonus for attending, the meeting.



Special Raffle Prize Winners


Sharper Image Remote Controlled Turbo Drifter Action Vehicle—Sarah Ivey

SuperLotto Plus ticket—George Wilde



Farthest Attendee Prize Winner


Mighty Deals—Theresa Jackson



Raffle Prize Winners


WordsFlow Pro or DocsFlow Pro from Em Software—Russell Shinpo

GoProof from Oppolis Software. 3 month subscription for 2 users—Trish Hall

One item from Markzware. 12 month subscription—Mia Cramer

Expo Creative Asset Manager for Mac from Insider Software—Russell Shinpo

Suitcase Fusion 8 from Extensis. 12 month subscription—Angela De Leon

Font Agent Pro 8 from Insider Software—Cathy Romero

Fontself Maker Bundle—George Wilde

InMotion Hosting. Web hosting and free domain—De Shawn Burton

DTP Tools Cloud for InDesign. 6 month subscription—Jeff Marcus

Multi-Find/Change 3.0 from Automatication—Dave Snow

Adobe Stock. 15 image licenses—Karla Chouhan

InDesign Magazine. 6 month subscription—Tedis Safarian

LA Web Professionals Group meeting tickets—Mia Cramer, Sarah Ivey, Richard Krause, Bing Wong



Book Raffle Prize Winners


Process Color Manual by Michael and Pat Rogondino from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Rick Torres

Color Harmony by Bride M. Whelan from Rockport Publishers, Inc.—Laurel Paley

Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations by Leslie Cabarga from North Light Books—Marney Wilde

The Pastels Book Color Works 4 by Dale Russell from North Light Books—Marney Wilde

Photoshop in 4 Colors by Mattias Nyman from Peach Pit Press—Alvin Takamori

The Desktop Color Book by Michael Gosney and Linnea Dayton from MIS:Press—Allan Gluck

Designer’s Guide to Color by James Stockton from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Rick Torres

Designer’s Guide to Color 2 by James Stockton from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Marney Wilde

Designer’s Guide to Color 3 by James Stockton from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Jeff Marcus

Designer’s Guide to Color 4 by James Stockton from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Rick Torres

Designer’s Guide to Color 5 by James Stockton from Chronicle Books San Francisco—Angela De Leon


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