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DavidCoasby
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Greyscale PDF from CS5

Jun 15, 2011 4:30 PM

I’m running InDesign 5.5 and need to regularly produce a 12 page newsletter in colour for distribution as a PDF (no problem). But I also need to send a mono version PDF to a commercial printer to print black and white hard copies. Ideally I’d love to go to File/Print Booklet (so pages are correctly positioned) and somehow end up with a greyscale PDF but don’t think this can be done. Any ideas for a work-around?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 4:33 PM   in reply to DavidCoasby

    What OS?


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 4:39 PM   in reply to DavidCoasby

    PDF export (the much preferred and recommended method of PDF production by Adobe) does not provide for grayscale PDF output, but rather, can produce CMYK=(0,0,0,K) output if your content has no color. If you are trying to convert color to monochrome, the cheap way of doing that would be to use the Convert Colors feature of Acrobat Pro.

     

    Note that I mentioned cheap in terms of process. The fact is that generic conversion of color to monochrome often suffer either from not enough contrast or from too much contrast. This is due to the fact that when you have content in color, you not only have the contrast between gradations of a single colorant, but you also have contrast between the different colorants. The proper way to produce a high quality monochrome version of a color document would be to individually create monochrome versions of each of the non-monochrome digital assets, adjusting for each asset's color and contrast issues mapped to monochrome.

     

              - Dov

     
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  • John Hawkinson
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    Jun 25, 2009
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    Jun 15, 2011 4:39 PM   in reply to DavidCoasby

    You can open them in Acrobat Pro and use Preflight > Convert to Grayscale. This may not use the optimal curves and dot gain and soforth, but it will get you started.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 4:42 PM   in reply to DavidCoasby

    Also note that the process of making a booklet from your original content, a.k.a. imposition, is really a function that your commercial printer should be doing for you at no additional charge. In fact, they must do this anyway regardless of what imposition you provide in order to make best use of the plates and/or the media being passed through either the offset press or digital press. I also suspect that the printer could also easily do simple conversion to monochrome as part of their prepress work at a very minimum if any cost to you. Ask!

     

              - Dov

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 4:44 PM   in reply to DavidCoasby

    Take a look at InDesignSecrets » Blog Archive » Acrobat’s Adobe PDF Printer Replaced in Snow Leopard for discussion of printing to Postscript from Print Booklet and then distilling (sorry, Dov).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 6:41 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Note that this method yields flattened transparency which may be very problematic in your printer's workflow. Strongly NOT recommended! (sorry, Peter! )

     

              - Dov

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 1:25 AM   in reply to Dov Isaacs

    Why do monochrome documents get 4 colour crop marks?

     

    I understand the printers can ignore such crop marks, but sometimes I have books with thousands of pages, and hunderds of diagrams. And if all pages show up at the printers with CMYK on every page it's flagged by preflight.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 1:43 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    The wise guy answer that has quite a bit of truth to it is that there is officially no such beast as a monochrome document in InDesign (or even Illustrator). A monochrome docoument is what can be described as an InDesign document that makes use of only one colorant such that all colors are defined as CMYK=(0,0,0,K). In other words, a monochrome document is a matter of usage as opposed to an official InDesign concept. In terms of output, only PostScript output has the concept of grayscale output, and that was done more in terms of an optimization for older, slower PostScript devices.

     

    In terms of crop marks, quite frankly, those physical crop marks are really something that your print service provider should be providing duuring the prepress process, not the supplier of logical PDF pages. Exported PDF has the concept of crop box, bleed box, etc. that provide the logical tools for your print service provider to provide any physical crop marks, often automatically, during the prepress process. The various printer marks that are available for either PostScript output or PDF export are really designed for personal, informal use as opposed to being a requirement for professional print submission. Of course, reality sometimes varies wildly from intent.

     

    By the way, some preflight is intelligent enough to ignore all marks outside the crop or bleed box as appropriate to compensate for the situation you refer to.

     

              - Dov

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 2:06 AM   in reply to Dov Isaacs

    I appreciate that, Dov. That's a good answer. But it throws up some more questions.

     

    Unfortunately, a lot of printers around here won't accept a print job unless it has crop marks already. I always offset the crop marks equal to or more than the bleed, i.e., if the Bleed is 5mm I offset the crop marks 5mm or a tiny bit more, similarly if it's 3mm I offset the crop marks 3mm.

     

    But InDesign has a very low offset of crop marks and I still get things supplied to me with Crop Marks inside the Bleed area, whereas I think InDesign could be set to automatically adjust the Offset of the crop marks depending on the Bleed amount.

     

    10 years ago the files were supplied, there wasn't a PDF workflow. I got Quark files in the post and then added the crop marks manually. But nowadays, with PDF workflows, I have not met a print provider that will accept a PDF without crop marks. And as you say:

    those physical crop marks are really something that your print service provider should be providing duuring the prepress process, not the supplier of logical PDF pages. 

     

    That's very true, but the PDFs I get supplied the user always has crop marks inside the bleed, without fail. If the I use the Bleed Trim then the crop marks remain in the print area, and if the I decide to use the Crop Trim area then they I'm losing some of the Bleed.

     

    So I'm always going back to the provider of the PDF to request a file with the crop marks offset = to the bleed.

    some preflight is intelligent enough to ignore all marks outside the crop or bleed box as appropriate

     

    But unfortunately, some prepress techs aren't intelligent enough to do this. I fear a lot have become jockeys using the software and prebuilt preflights without knowing what each one is for, they just know something gets flagged, send it back.

     

     

    I've always wondered why Crop Marks always come with CMYK, even with a 2 colour job. The crop marks always have CMYK.

     

    I even tried with using Registration and putting my own crop marks on the outside of the page, but again the CMYK values come in. And I would have thought that only the colours used within the document would be used in the Registration colour, but seemingly the CMYK is applied as default.

     

    The only other way is to make crop marks from those two spot colours manually.

     

     

    Basically:

     

    • Printers around here always request Crop Marks, prior to PDF workflows the source files were usually provided for printing allowing the prepress to add the crop marks.
    • Most people don't offset their Crop Marks to be outside the bleed area (which I think something Indesign should do automatically)
    • The Crop Marks are always built with CMYK, regardless of the colours used in the document

     

     

    I think those are valid points in regards to how InDesign handles Crop/Registration Marks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 2:15 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    *quark files and adding crop marks manually = I meant at prepress plating stage

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 4:51 AM   in reply to Dov Isaacs

    Dov Isaacs wrote:

     

    Note that this method yields flattened transparency which may be very problematic in your printer's workflow. Strongly NOT recommended! (sorry, Peter! )

     

              - Dov

    No argument here, but the reality is that it's the ONLY way you can get a grayscale conversion PDF directly out of ID, and the OP want's to impose, to boot.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 4:58 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    I have to agree with Eugene about crops. In my presets I've changed the offsets to push them outside the standard bleeds, and for jobs that print on digital equipment and contain monochrome pages I made a copy of the AddCropMarks script that that uses Black instead of Registration (you don't really need more than black for digital printing anyway since you don't get to adjust the registration) and use that instead of adding marks during export.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
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    Jun 16, 2011 5:55 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I assume you can't fix this with PMD/mrk files? Looking at indesignsecrets documentation (http://www.indesignsecrets.com/downloads/mrk.pdf) it would seem like the CMYKValues and CMYKStrokeValue paramters are not supported for FourCropMarks.

     

    It's a shame you can't just shove raw postscript in that file -- I mean raw PDF -- err, I mean -- I don't know what I mean. The world has marched too far forward?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2011 6:24 AM   in reply to John Hawkinson

    Have you actually tried working with the mrk file? I did, once, and either the directions were incomplete, or I completely blew it. Let's just say a lot of time was spent for no good result, and I don't recall exactly what I was trying to achieve any longer, so I don't know if K-only crops would be doable. Even for a skilled user, it's far simple to adjust the offset in the interface than to try to change that through a special file.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
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    Jun 25, 2009
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    Jun 16, 2011 6:27 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Yeah, we use them to print page information (date/time!) inside the

    live area on our tabloid proofs, it makes it much easier to tell which

    printout is the latest when there are whole pile floating around.

    Works absolutely great once you set it up.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
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    Jun 25, 2009
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    Jun 16, 2011 9:43 PM   in reply to John Hawkinson
    I assume you can't fix this with PMD/mrk files? Looking at indesignsecrets documentation (http://www.indesignsecrets.com/downloads/mrk.pdf) it would seem like the CMYKValues and CMYKStrokeValue paramters are not supported for FourCropMarks.

    Answering my own question, no CMYKValues and CMYKStrokeValue do not appear to work with FourCropMarks.

     

    Glancing at the definitions embedded inside AdobeAGM, we do see that there are some additional keywords in there that aren't in the Real World documentation, like AltMarkDefinition < Type NoMark >. Also that apparently AdobeAGM ships with styles (InDesignDefault), (Quark), (Illustrator), (Illustrator) [again?], (InDesignJ2), (InDesignJ1), and (Error). Curious that only "Default" shows up for me in InDesign, but I guess AdobeAGM ships with Illustrator and Photoshop and Bridge and Acrobat, too.

     
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