Spot Color Separations in Illustrator

spot color separations in Illustrator

Spot color separations in Illustrator is something akin to skinning a cat if you’re into metaphors. So why in the world would I make a tutorial on how to do them? Well, because my kitties are delicious!

And that has to do with how I prepare them! Okay, that was lame but I can attest to the methods I show here will allow you to prep your vectored files for screen-printing efficiently, day in and day out.

I talk a little bit about how I go about getting rid of strokes and clipping paths, making a base, set up all my colors and set everything to overprint while sepping in Illustrator.

I also touch a little bit on setting these steps up in actions in order to apply them to a hot key. The action can then run through sepping out vectored images like this one in the blink of an eye.

I may actually make a step by step tutorial on how to go about doing that but for now, here’s how I set up my spot color separations in Illustrator. Enjoy.

Spot Color Separations in Illustrator Tutorial
Watch this video on YouTube.

Spot Color Separations in Illustrator Quick Reference Guide

Please note these are simply steps spoken about in the Spot Color Separations in Illustrator video tutorial and are only here for quick reference. It is advised you watch the tutorial before trying to run through these.
  1. Select all and make sure nothing is set to overprint.
  2. With everything selected, expand transparency, trim in pathfinder, ungroup all and deselect.
  3. Select same fills and unite in pathfinder then hide.
  4. Once all colors are hidden, select all and get rid of any stragglers.
  5. Call out your PMS colors using the PANTONE solid coated color book.
  6. Make your base, make sure it’s all the way to the rear and choke it back a point.
  7. Set your colors on top of the base to overprint.

Hot Keys Used in This Tutorial

  1. Cmd+3 to hide selected object.
  2. Cmd+Option+3 to unhide.
  3. Cmd+2 to lock selected object.
  4. Cmd+Option+2 to unlock.
  5. Cmd+Shift+G to ungroup all.
  6. Cmd+B to paste behind.
  7. Cmd+ clicking unite in pathfinder

Download the File and Follow Along

spot color separations in illustrator download link



Let me know what you guys think of the tutorials so far. This is the forth one I’ve made and plan to do more but if you have suggestions or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Looking for how to do spot color separations in Photoshop? Try these two links.

Spot Color Separations in Photoshop – Part One
Spot Color Separations in Photoshop – Part Two

Comments 3

  1. Pingback: VIDEO TUTORIAL: Spot Color Seps in Illustrator - T-Shirt Forums

  2. Pingback: Color Separations - From Illustrator to Photoshop « Rising Sun Graphics Rising Sun Graphics

  3. Pingback: Screenprint Artist Toolbox - Pantone Color Books | Rising Sun GraphicsRising Sun Graphics

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