I've never been great at print...I'm more of a video guy but I have been asked to do some separations in illustrator. I have converted the image with trace to vector and am using adobe pdf to print to as I have an inkjet and my mode will not change from composite. now I have it change to separations (host based). Anyways when I go to click on the swatch from four color process to spot nothing happens. I cannot change it. Again, new to this and I'm sure I'm doing something or many things wrong. Any help or tuts on this?
I'm not sure which version of Illy your are using (or which platform), but when I print the "output" section shows which inks are going to print. If there is a little icon next to an ink indicating it is four color (like Cyan), it is just letting you know that it is a color in the 4 color process. Not that it is printing in four color process. The little printer icon next to it is the important one. This indicates if that ink color will print or not. (Older versions have the icon disappear when you click on it, newer versions place a diagonal red stroke over the icon.)
I really like Indy for separations more than Illy. It has a specific panel (separations preview) which allows you to see individual inks or any combination with simple clicks. Also with this preview on, you can hover over an area of your composition and see what inks make up that area and at what percentages.
Sorry, should have stated that I'm using CS4. I don't have Indesign so I'm kind of stuck with illustrator to do this. My problem is that Its a four color job: Orange, Green, Blue and black. I'm not getting anything but the option for four color process. From what I read there should be a way to change the icons from process to the spot process icon. I do hear ya about Indesign. Heard the same thing that it makes it much easier to print seps.
Sounds like the inks you used in the project may not be spot colors. In your swatches palette, if the color swatch is a solid color it is process, but if it has a small black square in the bottom left then it is a spot. If your swatch is process, double click on it in the swatches palette. In the dialog box that appears, change "color type" to "Spot color". Click OK and repeat for all other swatches used.
ps - You may want to click the small disclosure triangle in the upper left of the swatches palette and click on "Select All Unused". Then you can click on the small trash can and delete all the unused swatches, making it much easier to see what you are really using in the document and making sure that you don't have duplicates or process colors.
I believe tat is exactly it! I did do the artwork in PS and brought it in to AI so I could use trace to get a vector image out of it. Again, I'm really kind of new to this...just had been flirting with it a bit. Trying to broaden myself from film!
Thanks for the help! I'm sure I will be asking many more questions!