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    Create a Shortcut to Quickly Check Greyscale Values in Illustrator

    Maggie AppletonMaggie Appleton

    Being able to quickly check what your illustration looks like in greyscale is essential to keeping the contrast in your design balanced. Keeping your value structure strong will lead to a striking and beautifully colourful piece by the end.

    In this lesson we go over how to set up a quick keyboard shortcut that lets you preview what your illustration looks like in greyscale using the 'Proof Colours' menu options.



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    Instructor: What I have up here is an Egghead course illustration I'm working on. As you can see, this one has a lot of color in it. While I'm working on it, I'm constantly checking my grayscale values to make sure that I have enough contrast and focus going on.

    I'm doing this with a custom keyboard shortcut hooked up to the proof colors preview. Now, this doesn't come default to illustrator, and it takes a bit of setup. All you have to do is come up here to view, go proof setup, and by default, it's usually this one, working CMYK.

    Instead, come down here to customize. Now, under device to simulate, go to the dropdown menu. Yours is probably here on working CMYK, but if you scroll down, and you click .gain 10 percent...Actually, any of these other ones will work as well.

    That one works fine, .gain 10 percent, and click OK. Now, your color preview will be in grayscale. You're then going to have to go to edit, keyboard shortcuts, click menu commands, and then find proof colors.

    See, I have my shortcut set to command-Y, but you can set yours to anything you like. Hit OK, and now, I just have to hit command-Y. My entire art board flips between color and grayscale. It's really important to always be checking your grayscale values while you're working. That's really what gives us good color, is having good values.

    For example, I can see I don't have a ton of contrast in here. I'm going to duplicate this. While we're on grayscale, I can tell that this needs to be darker, and this needs to be lighter. This can be darker. The way that I'm quickly making these values darker and lighter is with a preprogrammed keyboard shortcut that I show how to set up in another lesson.

    Now, these values feel a lot better to me than they were before. When I flip back to color, I might need to adjust a few things, but mostly, this is looking better.