I am trying to do an assignment and I need to do off registration. I cannot figure out how to get into the channels so I can move the colors to be off register. I can only figure out how to get into the separations, but it is not helping me. How can I make something off register? Thank you so much in advance! There aren't a lot of clear answers on Google.


Illustrator has no direct feature to alter channel data. Any intentional mis-registration has to manually be created.

There are raster plug in for raster applications to auto-move channels and create a mis-registered appearance, but for vector, you have to do it yourself.

You can easily add additional fills to live text and then merely shift the fills slightly, setting the additional fills to overprint. You must turn on overprint preview in the View menu to see it work. enter image description here

It's just 100% black text with a Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow additional fill applied via the Appearance Panel. Then Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform is applied to each of the additional fills to move each slightly.

The problem with this method can be Total Ink Coverage. Any area where all 4 colors overlap equates to a 400% coverage if you use 100% of each color. That's generally way too much coverage for any print provider. So, ideally you would adjust the color fills to be less than 100% in an effort to ensure nowhere is there more than 290-310% total ink coverage. That could mean something as simple as using 90% black, then 70% of the other 3 colors (as a basic example).

Of course, if you are creating this for on-screen use only... there's no need to be concerned about total ink coverage. However, save for web does not recognize Overprint Preview well. - Often removing all transparency with it is turned on. So.. for screen-only, set each of the color fills to the Multiply blending mode and then turn off Overprint Preview.... saving for web will work.

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Doing a misregistration effect is not hard. Do a transparency flattener, then duplicate your artwork to 4 layers. Move each layer separately and kill all the the color channels except one on each layer. Then set the individual channels to multiply.

A bit depending on art complexity this takes from few minutes to an half an hour to do by hand.

misregistration in illustrator

Image 1: Simple misregistration done in Illustrator.

This could be something to do for somebody interested in scripting. As this would be relatively easy to implement. So somebody who allready knows JavaScript could take this as a first step into illustrator scripting.

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