Toy Tech: Pantone Color Selection Adobe CC


Pantone colors are essential to toy design, specifying precise color selections for deco’s and molded plastics within the global manufacturing process. Photoshop and other digital applications have utilized this system of color identification giving us exhaustive choices with just one click of the mouse.

While some sectors of the toy industry have not stayed as up to date with computer skills as they could be, the flood waters of innovation continue to press in making this decision a very costly one to both the individual employee and the corporation.

I’ve been the mayor of Realville since my youth, when I decided early on success was the better course of action than failure, as both options require the same amount of determination. During the next few years, you’ll see some companies rise as others fall based on their level of insight and willingness to evolve—both options are based on personal choices and commitment to stay relevant.

With the forward momentum of Photoshop CS6 morphing into Cloud CC, Adobe has not only conquered the desktop, but is now transforming tablets and phones into the latest digital sketchbooks and presentation platforms. We are beginning to see flagship software programs migrate to these tech gadgets, along with new applications engineered specifically to take full advantage of the respective mobile technologies.

The desktop versions of Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC have different paths to opening their PMS color books. Once you get the hang of it, you will be using this tool for more than just selecting deco color callouts. I use it for ideation sketches, digital concept paintings and presentation art requiring licensor specified PMS colors.

In Photoshop, you’ll need to access the Pantone libraries by clicking on the Color Picker located in the lower left of your Photoshop desktop in the Tools palette. Once the dialog box pops up, you can make a manual selection or type in the CMYK percentages to get the specific color you need.

For PMS colors, click the Color Libraries button and use the pull down tab to choose the appropriate color system and library. Then, all you need to do is type in your Pantone number and the color chip appears alongside other choices within the color gamut.

You can create your own digital PMS chips within your document by filling rectangle selections with your color choice and simply typing the PMS number next to the swatch. For the digital concept painting featured in this post, I created a color palette organizing all the licensor approved PMS color chips so make the process would be faster and more precise.

Illustrator CC takes a bit more effort to open the color libraries—go to the top menu and select Windows/Swatch Libraries/Color Books and then your choice of library, in this case PANTONE+ Solid Coated. The pop-up Pantone box will allow you to type in your number next to the magnifying glass and the dishes are done.

The other available Adobe CC color libraries include ANPA Color, DIC Color Guide, FOCOLTONE, HKS, TOYO and TRUMATCH. In addition to the PANTONE Solid Coated are PANTONE+ options, such as CMYK, Color Bridge, Metallic, Pastels & Neon, and Premium Metallics—all of which are organized within coated and uncoated color spaces.

Remember to also refer to the printed version of your color library, such as the Pantone Color Bridge/Coated, because all computer monitors vary in color temperature and tonal value. Referring to the printed swatches will ensure your specific color choice is right on the money.

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