How do I convert a photoshop doc to spot color (3 of them)

Posted on 2006-05-07
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I am submitting a file for a CD face design.  The printer wants three colors.  I understand I need to give them a layered document, with each layer representing one of the three colors.  I want to avoid overlapping gradients and my design is simple enough to do so.  But when I look at my channels, I see that even the black in my document is presently a mixture of different colors.  For example, when I toggle on/off the "yellow" layer, the black in my document changes, as though there were yellow in it.  

Help!!! How do I do this?

Question by:alisman
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    Accepted Solution

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    Assisted Solution

    Unfortunately, Adobe is not great at handling spot colours. It is an oft-seen mistake for designers to do what you appear to be doing, ie putting a CMYK/RGB split on a layer and labelling it as a Spot Colour, so you're not alone. The correct way - as far as I am concerned - is to change the image mode to multichannel, and create a channel for each colour. Set the channel option to Spot Colour and choose the required colour by clicking on the swatch - you can use the Colour Libraries to choose a Pantone Colour so the printer can match on press. In this mode, when viewing individual channels, solid black represents the solid of the Spot Colour specified, 50% black is 50% of the Spot and so on.
    Unfortunately, Photoshop ignores layers when Spot Channels are involved, so if you have any layer work which knocks out lower layers you will need to rework the lower layers.
    Also, the method Photoshop uses to preview multichannel leaves much to be desired, but the channels can often be re-ordered to show a relatively decent approximation of the final job.
    In short, if you can't do it in Illustrator it will need a lot of work to get it right but sometimes, if the required colours are suitable, you can use your existing layers to create a suitable greyscale to paste into a spot channel. If you have a red layer, for example, the magenta channel of the red layer can be used for the red channel.
    I hope this has helped rather than confused.

    -- Nick

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