I have a grayscale image,I edit the part I don't want out with photoshop, then traced and expand it in illustrator to create an object. And in separation review, it is only shown in the black layer, which I needed because this is being printed on a shirt with a solid color ink. Anyway instead of printing in black can I convert this to another PMS color along with all the white percentage it has?

Thank you in advance,

Here's what I'm trying to figure out...


1 Answer 1


If all of your artwork is (and is being printed in) one spot color then sending a grayscale image to print is perfectly ok. You just need to tell the printer which color/ink you want.

You can change the color using Illustrator's Recolor Artwork though:

  1. Create a color group from only the spot color you want to use (Choose "New Color Group..." from the swatches panel dropdown menu with the spot color swatch selected).

  2. Select all your artwork and hit the Recolor Artwork button (or Edit → Edit Colors → Recolor Artwork...)

  3. Select the color group you created in the color groups list on the right.

  4. Change the colorization method to "Scale Tints". Either do this from the dropdown under the "New" column or in the "Color Reduction Options" next to the preset dropdown.

Recolor Artwork

Another option is to use your grayscale artwork as an opacity mask on a solid spot color base:

  1. Group all your artwork and duplicate the group.

  2. Set the bottom (as in layer order) group to a solid fill of your chosen spot color.

  3. With both groups selected hit the "Make Mask" button in the Transparency panel:

Transparency Panel Make Mask

  1. Invert your mask:

Transparency Panel Make Mask

  1. You can use the Flatten Transparency (Object → Flatten Transparency...) to "Apply" your mask.

Note that whatever method I use there is always some discrepancy in the tint values (sometimes only .1 or .2, sometimes 1 or 2 but there is always some change). If you're concerned with exact values it may be better to use these methods as a preview but send the pure grayscale version to print.

  • Thank you for the reply, I forgot to mention that the only purpose for this doing this is that I needed it to make the proof for the customer to approve the artwork. There are supposedly 4 solid colors printed on 1 artwork separately.
    – Jason Wept
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:36
  • As I'm speaking, I am tinkering with the Recolor tool, I manage to get the artwork to another Pantone color, it is a slow process, since there's a lot of percentage, but I think this solved my problem, thank you for the help!! I'm only a high school senior on part time so I'm still learning!
    – Jason Wept
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 20:50

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