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Color management

Jun 15, 2012 2:38 AM

Tags: #cs5 #pdf #print

Hi!

I have some questions about color output from InDesign.

 

1. I got a magazine layout with pictures for several photographers, some include the correct icc profile for the printer and some dont. My document source space is US Web coated SWOP v2. When I check the links info, the ICC-profile says document cmyk on all the pictures, even though I thought I preserved the profiles when I placed the images. Is there any way to be sure that the icc profiles are still there or did I loose that information when I placed the image?

 

2. When I'm exporting to PDF(Print), should I convert to destination in the output dialog box and apply the icc profile I got from my printer? Will this mess up my pictures if the right icc profile is already applied to them? Or will it fix the missing profile if I didn't preserve it in the first place?

 

To round it up.. I got a Indesign document that's probably all over the place when it comes to color management and I got an ICC profile from my printer. My goal is to get the best possible output.

 

Sorry for my bad language. I find this topic a bit confusing.

 

Rune

 
Replies
  • Rob Day
    3,122 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
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    Jun 15, 2012 6:08 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    When I check the links info, the ICC-profile says document cmyk on all the pictures, even though I thought I preserved the profiles when I placed the images. Is there any way to be sure that the icc profiles are still there or did I loose that information when I placed the image?

     

    ID gives you the option to honor or ignore a placed CMYK image's embedded profile. If your images have embedded profiles that are different than the document's assigned profile (or the current Working Space if no profile is assigned) and the link info shows the image profile as document CMYK, that indicates that your document's Color Management CMYK policy is either set to Off or Preserve Numbers (ignore linked profiles).

     

    You'll need to choose the Preserve Embedded Profiles policy to honor incoming profiles. Note that the document's policy is set when it's created, so to change it check Profile Mismatches Ask When Opening in Color settings. When you open the document you'll get the option to change its policy if it is different than the current policy.

     

    When I'm exporting to PDF(Print), should I convert to destination in the output dialog box and apply the icc profile I got from my printer? Will this mess up my pictures if the right icc profile is already applied to them? Or will it fix the missing profile if I didn't preserve it in the first place?

     

    You can assign your printer's profile to the document and the CMYK values will remain unchanged and the preview will be updated—the preview change might not be noticeble if the new profile is similar to the old. Or, you can keep the current assignment and set the destination profile as your printer's on export. In that case all of the document CMYK values  will be converted to new CMYK values.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 6:09 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    Color management is one of the most complex subjects we try to deal with here. I'll tell you what I can, and I hope Rob Day will pop in and add his perspective.

     

    First, if the link info isn't showing the correct profiles, then it's pretty safe to bet that the color settings don't preserve profiles. Policy for the document is set at the time the document is created, so changing your settings in mid-stream is not likely to have any effect, certainly not on images already placed. You could, if you know the correct profiles, assign them on an image by image basis by selecting an image, then from the context menu choose Graphics> Image Color settings...

     

    In your position, I would create a color settings file (I do them in Photoshop so you can add a grayscale profile, which ID does not support) that uses your printer's recommended profile as the working space, and I'd synch all of my applications through Bridge. It's certainly possible to use a different woking space and convert during output, but I find working in the output space to be cleaner, at least in my head. The big thing you want to avoid is cmyk to cmyk conversions, if possible, and if you have to do them (the image is CMYK already and has a different profile) it's a lot better to do only one conversion directly from sapce A to space C instead of passing through space B on the way.

     

    So, if you are working ithe recommended output space, you can now set your policies to either Preserve Embeded Profiles, or Convert to Working Space, and the effect should be the same when you export the PDF to the target space that is the same as the working space. You're either converting to the correct target when you import the image, or you're doing it on output, but either way it's the same conversion. Preserve Numbers would be a poor choice for photographs, in my opinion, as it will result in some color shift with a profile mismatch.

     

    I feel differently about vector art, which is artificial, and may have single component blacks and grays that you want to preserve. Since you can't have separate policies for vector and raster objects, I work around this by generally not embedding profiles in vector art. If there is no profile, ID presumes the art to be in the working space, and the numbers will be preserved, but there may be some variation in appearance from device to device. I consider that less of a problem than converting 100% K to rich black.

     

    So, what is the profile recommended by the printer?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 6:10 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    Thanks, Rob. I see you finished typing befor me.

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,122 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
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    Jun 15, 2012 6:18 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    In your position, I would create a color settings file (I do them in Photoshop so you can add a grayscale profile, which ID does not support) that uses your printer's recommended profile as the working space, and I'd synch all of my applications through Bridge.

     

    Just to clearify synching works for future documents. Existing document's do not neccessarily respond to a Color Setting change—an existing ID document's assigned profile and cm policy don't change when you synch.

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    Jun 15, 2012 9:06 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    The icc profile I got from my printer is ISOCoated_v2_300_eci.icc. (Is this press/paper specific?)

     

    You can choose to assign a profile, which maintains the existing CMYK values and adjusts the preview for the new destination, or you can convert which changes the CMYK values AND assigns the new profile, which usual maintains the color's appearance. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

     

    ISOCoated_v2_300_eci and US Web coated SWOP v2 are  similar profiles and have the same total ink limit. In this case I would avoid any conversions and simply assign ISOCoated to your ID document and continue with the policy to ignore the image profiles and also preserve their CMYK numbers. I doubt you will see significant color shifts, but if you do you could adjust the ID colors or convert problem images as needed.

     

    In general multiple conversions are not a good idea, so picking and RGB editing space like AdobeRGB and not converting to CMYK in PS can be a good workflow when you don't know the press destination. The conversion to CMYK on export is virtually identical to the one you'll get out of PS.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 9:05 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    RuneEilertsen wrote:

     

    The icc profile I got from my printer is ISOCoated_v2_300_eci.icc. (Is this press/paper specific?)

     

    So if I understand this correctly... The next time i'm starting a project for this spesific printer I would use this icc profile as my working space and preserve any profiles that are included in images I place in the document? Then everything is good to go when I export to PDF down the road?

    This is a "standard" for certain press conditions. And if that's the standard that this printer is using, then yes, that's the profile I would be using in documents expected to go to that printer. You don't have to set that as the default  working space, you can use something else and simply Edit > Assign Profiles... (not Convert to Profile) to put the document into the correct working space when you start out. It is important, though, to have the profile policly set correctly to preserve the profiles no matter waht the working space.

     

    What will be the case if I dont know where my documents will be printed when I create my indesign file? Is there any profiles included with indesign  that are "better" as all-round profiles. I know this is dependent on country/region (I live in Norway)

     

     

    Without knowing much about asbout printing in Norway I would make a guess that one of the Europe settings files is approriate. I personally would choose one of the "prepress" settings files over the "general purpose" files as they use the larger Adobe RGB space instead of sRGB, but it wouldn't be critical. Europe Prepress (or Gen Purpose) 2 uses the Fogra 27 CMYK space, # 3 uses Fogra 39. I don't know the differences between these two, nor how different either one is from the ISOCoated _ v2_300_eci (and I suspect that one or the other is identical to it). One is probably for sheetfed presses, and the other for web presses. Perhaps Rob, or one of our European regulras can shed more light.

     

    Another issue.

    Should I convert all my images to cmyk in photoshop before I place them in indesign, or keep everything adobe rgb and let indesign handle the color conversion on export? In my previous question I gave the photographer the icc profile above and got the pics back in cmyk with the profile embedded. I probably messed it up when I didn't preserved the profiles on import.

     

     

    It's fine to leave images in the RGB space (with embedded profiles) and convert to the correct CMYK on output. This will give you the same results as if you just do the conversion to CMYK in photoshop first anddon't make any other changes to the image, and it always gives the best possible conversion for any unknown space. As I mentioned earlier, you don't want to convert to the wrong CMYK space, then to the correct one, as you may already have lost colors that you could have reproduced on a direct RGB>CMYK conversion. Once you lose color by converting, you don't get it back.

     

    That said, if you like to tweak your images in photoshop and adjust them after the conversion, then yes, convert to CMYK before placing in ID (or wait until you know the correct output profile and then convert and replace the RGB images you've put in the doc for design purposes), but be sure you know the destination before you do it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 9:11 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    Rob and I seem to have a similar schedule today.

     

    I think you can see that we share some opinions, and differ in other ways in our approaches to color management. This is a reflection of the complexity of the subject, and the number of different ways to approach the workflow. You should evaluate what we both have to say in light of your own comfort and work style, and maybe try various ideas. I also recommend you find a copy of Real World Color Management, which is a great book for non-scientists. It explains the theory of color mangement in laymans terms, and sets out some recommended workflows based onthe authors' real world experiences.

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,122 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2012 5:31 AM   in reply to RuneEilertsen

    One other note on converting vs. assigning. In the RGB/Photography world the advice will be always to convert—if you want to get all of your RGB images into AdobeRGB do it via a conversion so that the original color intent remains unchanged. There's no downside to RGB conversions unless you convert the same image many times.

     

    In the CMYK world there can be practical problems with conversions, the obvious one being you don't want 100% black converting into a 4-color black. But even with images converting between two similar coated profiles like ISOCoated, US SWOP, or FOGRA 28 can cause more harm than good, particularly on the edges of the gamut. Take 100% cyan or 50% yellow and convert from US SWOP to ISOCoated with Perceptual as the Intent and you'll get 93|3|2|2 for cyan and 5|1|52|0 for yellow.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2012 5:59 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    I agree in principle with Rob on this, but I consider conversions that change pure C, M, or Y to be less of a problem than those that convert pure blacks. In my work, at least, I seldom see pure primarties other than K. If you are already running CMYK, having additional components isn't likely to be a really big deal, though you may encounter registration issues with small objects, but a conversion of 100% black type, which is usually set to overprint, to rich black is almost always a problem, either because your design is not intended to run other colors, or because your type now needs to register on four plates.

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Oct 16, 2007
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    Jun 16, 2012 6:44 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    having additional components isn't likely to be a really big deal,

     

    adding 5% cyan relative to 50% yellow could be a big deal.

     

    I'm not advocating always assigning—only when the profiles are similar. If the source is something like US Sheetfed and the destination is uncoated or newsprint, you would have to at least convert the images for both total ink and appearance problems.

     

    The profile of a press would be changing during the pressrun, so a shop might aim at ISOCoated and not get there in practice. You could argue in the real world the appearance difference between ISOCoated and US SWOP isn't a big deal.

     
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