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Generating swatches around a specific color
May 15, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way to generate a series of swatches around a specific spot color in either Illustrator, InDesign, or CorelDraw?

This happens a lot when I'm trying to match an existing color exactly, and even the most expensive Pantone book doesn't have every color at 1% - 99% screens (or maybe they do but my Pantone budget is under a billion dollars). I'm pretty tired of doing this by hand, and I'd love a way to generate swatches by increments automatically.

I came across this tutorial, but I don't want a thousand swatches going from 0/0/0/0 to 100/100/100/100; I'm looking for maybe 40 colors that are a variation of, say, PMS 301C.

Any ideas?
posted by Optimus Chyme to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow. I hope there is a way to do this. It'd be very helpful. I've made my own tint swatch libraries in the past and used them, with 5 and 10% tints and shades (by adding black with the mixed ink tool) of PMS colors, but you're right, it's a pain.
posted by luriete at 10:23 AM on May 15, 2007


Don't know if this helps, but I LOVE this tool:

http://www.colorjack.com/sphere/

It has lots of settings to play with and you can export the swatches to various formats.
posted by JimBobNoPants at 10:40 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just tried this in Illustrater CS2 and it worked.

Define a color, any color as a swatch. Then draw an object, color it the swatch color and then adjust the tint of it. You can do this in whatever variations of that you need, be in tints in 10% increments or 1 through 99. Whatever.

Then when want to try out different colors, double click on the original in the swatch palette and change the color there. If the preview button is checked, you'll see the changes instantly
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on May 15, 2007


You could do this in CS3 with the new Live Color tool. Limit to your spots and then use the live color tool to restrict it to that set.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2007


Perhaps not exactly what you want, but I've been liking the Adobe kuler website.
posted by omnidrew at 10:51 AM on May 15, 2007


I use this tool sparingly but I seem to recall it allowing you to view a gradiation based on K value steps from a single color, could be wrong though.
posted by prostyle at 11:51 AM on May 15, 2007


I like http://colorblender.com/. It gives you 7 variations on the color you enter, and a palette based on that color. Enjoy!
posted by nadise at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2007


If I'm understanding you correctly, you can get something close using the blend tool. Blend between two rectangles, the first colored with your starting swatch the second with your ending color (a 0% tint of the first color, for instance). Expand the blend and each box will be a slightly different color.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that's in Illustrator.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2007


If I'm understanding you correctly, you can get something close using the blend tool. Blend between two rectangles, the first colored with your starting swatch the second with your ending color (a 0% tint of the first color, for instance). Expand the blend and each box will be a slightly different color.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:55 AM on May 15


Oh ho ho, that might work. Lots of really cool answers, gadgets, and sites in this thread, guys. Nicely done. I'll see if I can get a definite series of steps for variations on a theme going and update ASAP.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:20 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


wemayfreeze has the right answer.
And, yes, you can define the number of steps between your extremes. I've done this trick lots of times.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:59 PM on May 15, 2007


I was going to suggest a huge workaround involving Photoshop, LiveTrace and a dozen other tools, but wemayfreeze has your answer.

One thing to consider, though, is that LiveTrace will generate swatches for each color in a traced artwork if you tell it to. I don't think it will restrict itself to Pantone colors though.
posted by lekvar at 1:40 PM on May 15, 2007


Wemayfreeze has it. This test took me about three minutes and it's a really elegant and simple solution that I'm bummed I didn't think of.


posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:13 PM on May 15, 2007


Oh, can we not post images anymore? Not even in AskMe? That's kind of crazy, Matt.

Well, here's a link to an example.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:21 PM on May 15, 2007


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