CMYK in ArcGIS
Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:36 AM
I teach a cartography class online for a GIS certificate program and always have a good mix of really experienced students from various fields, but mostly GIS-related fields so they almost exclusively use ArcGIS to design their maps.
We've been talking a bit about color in ArcView, and from what I understand ESRI uses a different CMYK to RGB conversion algorithm (compared to Illustrator and such) which makes CMYK colors look poor on screen. I've had a couple people confirm this that work with a specific CMYK color palette.
My question is then, would it be better to work in RGB to pick colors while designing their maps (for print) in ArcGIS? Then they could choose CMYK as the destination colorspace when exporting the map as a PDF or to AI?
Thanks for any thoughts,
Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:43 AM
Designing on screen for print is a bit of a crapshoot. Experince with your software, hardware, printer and proofs help you determine the relaibility of your on screen representation but who prints the final file and what hardware they use will ulitmatly determine the results.
Having your students design with what may look poor on screen may be a good lesson in "what you see, is NOT always what you get" when printing.
GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.
Posted 13 October 2009 - 02:00 PM
Thanks for the quick response.
Posted 13 October 2009 - 03:07 PM
And as far as I’m concerned, if you make maps professionally you ARE a cartographer (or at least practicing cartography). Even more reason for GIS professionals to gain as much cartographic specific knowledge as possible up front.
I apologize for monopolizing the discussion so far (hopefully others will chime in soon), but your questions hit right at the heart of a topic I feel very strongly about and that is that many GIS students are not being given an adequate cartographic education (if at all).
GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.
Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:42 AM
When I design maps for press I always export my files in RGB and convert to CMYK using Adobe's products. FWIW - I have found it much more reliable working from screen-->print to creatively work with colors on a Macintosh.
Oregon Metro - Portland, OR
Posted 14 October 2009 - 02:20 PM
My question might almost be more for ESRI, and what they would advise for creating print maps. But I asked my question here because I knew I would get thoughtful responses, but also b/c I am interested in how people practice. It is clear that the software doesn't consider color space an important aspect of making maps. Once symbolization has begun, the only way to work in CMYK is to go into each symbolized feature and make it CMYK (in about 4 clicks for each feature or set of symbols), unless ahead of time you have created a style of colors and symbols you regularly use, which is what I have mentioned as a possibility to students. Or am I mistaken? You can't make CMYK default, nor convert everything to CMYK at once?
Overall, I am trying to figure out how adamant I should be while not sacrificing practicality, and checking to see if there are things I may not realize about the software.
Thanks for your response as well Matthew. It is interesting to hear how you work, and that you consider ArcGIS to have issues regarding colorspace.
Posted 16 October 2009 - 03:16 AM
"Once symbolization has begun, the only way to work in CMYK is to go into each symbolized feature and make it CMYK (in about 4 clicks for each feature or set of symbols), unless ahead of time you have created a style of colors and symbols you regularly use..."
Great question. I hope that I can explain.
You are correct. Best solution is to create a palette of CMYK colors. Do this once and save in a .style file. Use this .style in all of your maps. Give to your students to use in their maps.
-When you choose a color in ArcMap from the little color palette, you are actually choosing from the set of colors stored in .style files which are referenced from your .mxd.
-Colors defined in .styles KEEP the color space as part of their definition. So, RGB colors "stay" RGB, and CMYK colors "stay" CMYK.
-(aside) Yes, "underneath the hood", ESRI software "does something" with non-RGB colors to be able to draw graphics on the screen. Adobe software does this too, and they don't do it the same.
-The ESRI.style is used by default, and all the colors here are defined in RGB.
ColorPalette_ESRI.png 29.84KB 106 downloads
-Some .styles have been designed for cartography. PLTS_Sample.style is one example. You might find other examples on the http://mappingcenter.esri.com/
http://mappingcentre.esri.com/ (hey, we do millimeters too!)
ColorPalette_PLTS_Sample.png 28.38KB 79 downloads
-Use the ArcMap Style Manager to define new colors in CMYK. One workflow:
a - copy paste all the RGB colors from ESRI.style to a new .style
b - 2x click on each color. you get something called the Color Selector
StyleManager_ESRI_RGB.png 31.21KB 74 downloads
c - in Color Selector change definition to CMYK
StyleManager_Personal_CMYK.png 27.44KB 69 downloads
d - press OK
-Again, after you do this once, you can reuse this palette in your maps, share it with your students, etc.
-Finally, you can always change to CYMK space "as you work" inside ArcMap in the Color Palette, but if a color is defined in the .style as RGB, the CP will always revert back to RGB the next time you open it...
... so, again, the solution: define CMYK colors once in a .style.
Best regards and good luck,
Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:59 AM
Our goal was to improve the ArcMap editing environment, in this case for cartography.
1 -We started by looking at some usability basics such as:
- reducing necessary mouse clicks (getting away from deeply-nested menus for example, in favor of "one click" buttons)
- putting similar functions "close to each other" in the GUI
- maximizing screen space for the map
toolpalette.PNG 10.48KB 69 downloads
The palette has both standard ArcMap tool (for example the Representation tools) and custom tools (for example special tools to deal with bezier curves, Destroy & Rebuild, etc.), and it is customizable by the end user.
2 - The operator also needs to take care of "side tasks" to be able to do their "real work". This is true in any similar system, ArcMap isn't special here:
- changing layer visibility
- changing layer selectability
- specifying the target for drawing new features
- controlling snapping
LayersList.png 5.21KB 59 downloads
This replaces the standard ArcMap Table of Contents. You gain screen space, and the list does what you expect: allowing you to sort, filter, and make changes en masse to both visibility and selectability.
Behind the scenes tools can automatically handle things like the target layer and snapping.
... so, there you go, definitely a long answer to short question! We are very keen to hear feedback, including ideas, questions, and criticism.
Posted 20 October 2009 - 05:44 PM
The layers list is something I have wanted in ArcMap for as long as I've been using it. Talked to our developer but he didn't think it was possible to have the multiple check boxes due to not being implemented in MS components or something.
Selectability, visibility and snapability are all too difficult to access for a user who is not editing thousands of one type of feature at a time.
All I know is I want it so hopefully Redlands will take note of what you've done there!
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