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Color issues in Mountain Lion with Acrobat Pro

Sep 1, 2012 10:15 AM

I'm not sure I'm in the right forum, but here it goes.

 

Since upgrading my OS to Mountain Lion, I've noticed  when viewing PDFs output from InDesign 5.5 that once in Acrobat Pro the colors look muted and inaccurate.  I never saw this in Snow Leopard, hence my posting.  Color in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS5.5 seem just fine, it's only when a PDF is viewed in Acrobat that I see this muted color issue. 

 

What I'm concerned with is are these problems when viewing only, or is the PDF color range itself screwed up?  I do prepress work and am using an Eizo CG241 display, CS5.5 and Acrobat Pro 10.1.4.

 

Thanks!

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 2, 2012 5:51 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    Choose Acrobat > Preferences > Color Management. Do the settings say Synchronized? This means the color displays is sychronized from Adobe Bridge, and match the color settings in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

     
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    Oct 1, 2012 2:03 PM   in reply to twsphoto

    Hi,

    I have just run into the same problem with wrong colors in Acrobat Pro X. And in my opinion there is some bug on the Adobe side.

    I‘m on a Mac and I have upgraded to CS6 and Max OS X Mountain Lion. When I export a pdf file for offsetprinting from InDesign CS6 the colors shown in Acrobat Pro X are definitely not correct. Acrobat 9 shows the same colors as ID CS6 (given the same ColorManagement settings for ID CS6, Acrobat 9 and Acrobat X). The colors in Acrobat X are too dark and too saturated.

    I checked the settings via Bridge CS6 – and there is something wrong, too. Sometimes I can click „Apply“ (I‘m one a German system, so maybe there will be different labels) to synchronize and sometimes I can't. And Acrobat X sometimes says it‘s synchronized and sometimes it says it isn't. (By the way: Acrobat X crashes everytime I quit it, so maybe there is another bug, too).

    For now I will trust InDesign CS6 in conjunction with Acrobat 9 (as Acrobat 9 has been absolutely fine in softproofing the colors for offsetprinting for years).

    The clear conclusion is: There is something wrong with the colormanagement and/or the prepress tools in Acrobat X!

     

    Please help and fix it.

     

    Thanks

     

    Reinhard

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 25, 2012 2:56 PM   in reply to twsphoto

    Yup, it's an abomination. This is a perfect example of Adobe dropping the ball that drives me crazy. Even Lion was imperfect, as Acrobat did not sync with the rest of the Creative Suite. It had to be manually set to the correct color management settings. But at least it worked. So well, in fact, that it was more trustworthy for proofing than the originating app. Now it is unusable. This is not a small thing, which makes the failure, especially the fact that it continues, all the more stunning.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2012 6:41 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    I'm curious: has anyone reported this to Adobe, or heard from an Adobe staff member about this?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2012 7:36 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    The PDF/X-1a format is so bulletproof for print jobs that viewing it in Acrobat Pro after coming from InDesign or Illustrator was the final word before sending the job off. It still is, of course, for catching things like white set to overprint in Illustrator (another infuriating dropped ball), for making sure effects have ripped correctly, for viewing color separations (especially whether any spot colors have slipped through), and so on and so forth, except now color accuracy has to be disregarded. That's the supreme irony of the whole situation. After a couple of decades getting there, Adobe finally achieves preflight nirvana, then sabotages it. Users spin their wheels posting on user forums (hoping someone from Adobe will sit up and take notice) and filing bug reports that seem like pushing the Close Door button in an elevator, all the while scrambling to see if there's some way to trick the software into doing its job. I know Adobe has a lot of chaff to sort through to find any wheat, but it has always seemed like they should have a hotline for obvious, easy-to-fix screwups in their products. And that hotline would lead to a patch in the next update, which could be a pretty quick process in their new subscription approach to pushing software out the door. (Yeah, and pigs will fly soon, too. ;-)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 11:15 AM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    Hi,

    I am really frustrated now.I accidentally noticed that Acrobat Pro XI is out now. So I installed it and hoped that the colors were right again. No, they are not. The problem persists just as it was in Acrobat Pro X: Too dark and too saturated.

    I am apt to believe now the problem is on the Adobe side: I was playing a little bit around with the prepress tools in Acrobat XI and I found another bug: The "printing ink administration" (probably wrong translation, in German "Druckfarbenverwaltung"), where you can adjust the density of the printing inks has different settings for yellow (density 0.00)  compared to the correct settings in Acrobat Pro IX (density 0.160). And these incorrect settings in Acrobat X and XI cannot be adjusted – they always go back to 0.00 as soon as the setting is less than 0.5).

    So: When there is an obvious incorrect color setting in the density for Acrobat X and XI – there very obviously might be an incorrect setting for the color management and the preview/softproof for pdf-files.

    But still there is no solution, yet …

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 7:07 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    hi! first... excuse my english... but because this problem is so important for me i want to share my experience. it seems that it's not an acrobat issue. there are many indications it's more a mountain lion problem. especially with two monitors (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4170423?tstart=0) and wide garmut monitors. for me this tool is the solution: https://github.com/iccir/ColorFaker. it really works! i got back same behaviour as in lion. the side-effect, that colors in the dock icons and commands in the programs look strange, is not so important for me. but now i got back my cms... even in acrobt. give it a try.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 7:47 AM   in reply to aktivomat

    That's a thorough and clever solution, but I'm not sure it addresses the problem described in this topic, and it may introduce a new problem. I use a color managed workflow based on Adobe RGB. Files that I proof in Acrobat Pro X (10.x) have been converted to CMYK (and have the North American Prepress 2 profile). Acrobat appears to ignore the profile. Colors on screen appear relatively darker and muted than they actually are, which might indicate that Acrobat is displaying CMYK values as if they were Windows sRGB values (6500K color temp, 2.2 gamma). The same CMYK colors are displayed correctly within the originating application, such as Photoshop or InDesign. In short, the Acrobat problem has nothing to do with actual sRGB files or files missing a profile, other than apparently treating every file as Windows sRGB. The problem you describe is evident in Dock icons, which are relatively bright and oversaturated in Mountain Lion, just as one would expect when a monitor calibrated for prepress (5000K color temp, 1.8 gamma) is presented with an sRGB file that was generated for 6500K color temp and 2.2 gamma and has no color profile. It may be that Color Faker addresses that problem, but based on your description (any automatic "Convert to sRGB" or "Assign sRGB Profile" commands in applications will no longer work) it may also add a new problem by interfering with preparing profiled sRGB files for web use in Photoshop (Save for Web function). Unless Apple is somehow implicated, which may be the case, the problem in Acrobat is something that should be easy and quick for Adobe to fix. Except they haven't done it, and there is no indication they even acknowledge the problem.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 8:31 AM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    i think you are right, that color faker will address a new problem... but this really just concerns the icons and commands in the progamm and not the pictures and files in cs6. but i have to admit, i'm not so into this matter. actually for me it's really working. i'm working with a hardware calibratet quato monitor and i have a color managed workflow based on eci rgb. files that i proof in acrobat have been converted to eci isocoated v2 and acrobat takes this profile. even if i take a screenshot of the files in photoshop, indesign and acrobt and if i verify all screenshots in photoshop... all pics have exact same color-data. BUT... of course color faker is not a final   solution and i think it's really on the side of apple or adobe to give us a really solution. but i worry that they continue playing the game "it' adobe", "it's apple", "it' adobe", "it's apple". by the way... another interesting site about os x color space conversion: http://iccir.com/articles/osx-color-conversions/

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2012 12:07 PM   in reply to twsphoto

    The problem is wider. Acrobat XI not only shows wrong colours but in output preview it does show wrong CMYK values - different than Acrobat 9.0. If I preview separations in InDesign, values are different than in Acrobat XI. In Acrobat 9.0 all values are correct and the same as in InDesign.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 12:38 PM   in reply to Phorna

    I haven't checked CMYK values in InDesign CS6, as all colors I use in it are from Photoshop or Illustrator. The CMYK values reported in Acrobat X 10.1.4 Output Preview actually do match the CMYK values in Photoshop CS6 13.0. (The test: a CMYK image created in Photoshop is placed in Illustrator CS6 16.0, and a PDF/X-1a file is generated from there.) Acrobat simply displays colors incorrectly, but does not alter them. (My guess being that it treats all files as Windows sRGB, regardless of the embedded profile.) If an Adobe staffer is monitoring this topic, it sure would be nice if he or she could at least confirm that Adobe is aware of the problem.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2012 8:13 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    Hi, everybody,

    I gathered some new information that makes the whole picture even more complicated. Within the last few weeks I had some printed items come back from the print shop so I could check my whole color workflow after having upgraded to Mountain Lion and to CS6.

    The results: Maybe it‘s an accident and the print shop has just printed a bit too dark. But it seems that the color preview in Acrobat X and Acrobat XI is correct now (darker colors compared to Acrobat IX). But it also means that the Adobe CS6-Suite of applications previews the wrong colors!

    To make it short for Mountain Lion 10.8:

    a) InDesign CS6 + Photoshop CS6 + Acrobat IX = same print output preview: but too light compared to the printed brochures

    b) Acrobat X + Acrobat XI = correct print output preview: but no match with ID and PS CS6

     

    Does anybody have similar results?

    Can anybody here still figure out where the bugs are?

    For me it means that I cannot at all trust my color workflow any longer!

     

    Thanks for discussing and helping

     

    Reinhard

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2012 8:27 AM   in reply to twsphoto

    Hi,

    after hesitating a long time I tried Colorfaker, the tool that aktivomat wrote about on November 15 in this thread. For me it completely worked! I have the identical colors back in all my CS6 and CS5 applications. This is incredibly helpful! Thanks to the guy who wrote this app!

    I know there are some problems now with Colorfaker, too. But it can be switched back again so at least for now the process isn't irreversible and it does feel good to have a color management workflow again.

    But when the problem is identified now – why is there no final solution by Adobe or Apple now? Until then I have to think twice before recaibrating my display or changing anything else in my color management settings.

     

    Reinhard

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2012 1:07 PM   in reply to twsphoto

    Hi All,

     

    We are investigating this issue. Though, I couldn't reproduce it in my lab but I'm in touch with some users and I have seen this odd behavior on their machines.

     

    I'm sending you a private message to collect more information. Please 'Reply Me' so I can create similar test environment at my end. I will post the accumulated information on this thread.

     

    ~Sandeep V.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2012 1:17 PM   in reply to Sandeep V.

    Hi, Sandeep. Thank you for stepping up! My posts provide what I've determined about the problem, but I'll be happy to help anyway I can.

     

    It sounds like this problem does not occur for some or many users, which surprises me. It suggests a configuration problem or conflict.

     

    For you to reproduce it in your lab, you need to creating PDF files that do not use a Windows sRGB color profile. (For example, use Adobe RGB or SWOP CMYK profiles.) The problem is even more apparent if you are working at 5000K and a 1.8 gamma ("legacy" Mac, which is still the standard for print). If you can set your system to those values (and calibrate your display), that might be a good experimental base.

     

    Rick Meikle

    Meikle Communications LLC

    Tigard, Oregon

    Phone 503-430-8430

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 17, 2012 8:55 AM   in reply to Sandeep V.

    Hi Sandeep, We have just upgraded to CS6 and Mountain Lion and are experiencing the same issues with Acrobat 10 ignoring colour profiles we have syncronised. I can show you repeating problems on our Macs where I can produce a document in Illustrator CS6 then export it to PDF, which looks widely different in Acrobat 10.1.4.

     

    Like others have said the problem is more 'apparent' on some displays than others, especially if they have been calibrated. I have been using the Apple Digital Colour Meter to show the differences in Documents on the same screen.

     

    We really need this problem fixed soon, Acrobat colour management is crucial for our business. Please include me in your findings and results and contact me if I can help with testing.

     

    Ian Davidson

    IT Manager

    Tayburn

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 8:25 AM   in reply to Ian.C.Dav

    Thank you for providing me the information.

     

    After my findings so far, one thing I can confirm is that A9, X and XI shows same color output with the default Display profile of Mac. I used two brand new Mac machines (Mac Book Pro & iMac) but could not find any difference. But, if I calibrate my Mac and create a new color profile, it's there; I can see a color difference. I tried different color gamuets while calibrating and got different behavior. Could you let me know the color profile selected under Apple Preference-> Display-> Color?

     

    ~Sandeep V.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 8:32 AM   in reply to Sandeep V.

    My Mac OS X 10.8.2 Display profile is sRGB IEC61966-2.1.  I have tested this on a Macmini with an old VGA monitor and an iMac 27".  On the iMac the difference is barely perceivable but it is there.  On the VGA monitor the difference in colour is very noticable.

    In order to remove subjectivity I am using the Apple Digital Color Meter Application in /Applications/Utilities and measuring numerically on screen the differences between my document in Illustrator CS 6.0.2 in Acrobat 10.1.4

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 9:54 AM   in reply to Sandeep V.

    I have revised the post I just made, deleting the original. In the original I was talking about color profiles along with color temperature and display gamma. All of those, along with a calibrated display, are essential to soft proofing print jobs. However, only the color profile is what matters in the current discussion. Only PDF files with an embedded sRGB profile will display correctly in the current versions of Acrobat and Reader. If a PDF file has a different profile such as Adobe RGB or US Web Coated (SWOP) v2, which is CMYK, it will NOT be displayed correctly by Acrobat or Reader. On my screen, the colors are darker, a bit drab, and shifted slightly toward blue. The color values are correct and will print correctly, but they are displayed incorrectly because Acrobat and Reader assume the profile is sRGB. They have lost the capability of looking for an embedded color profile and rendering colors according to that profile. (Even as I type those words, I can't believe such a basic and essential capability has been lost by any publishing program from Adobe, the champion of color management.) The solution should be straightforward: restore the capability of honoring and using embedded color profiles. It sounds like this arcane world of color management may be somewhat unfamiliar to you, so I strongly encourage you to seek input from the people at Adobe who know it cold. They are probably part of the Photoshop group. Chris Cox might be a good starting point. Thanks for chasing this down, Sandeep!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 10:12 AM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    As a follow up, the results of your experiments so far have been consistent with a failure to use embedded color profiles. Color temperature and display gamma should only make a difference if you take the file to another computer or display, or change your display settings. So for the purpose of experimentation, you can probably ignore color temp and gamma as long as you are staying on the same system without making changes to its display. If you just change the embedded color profile, sRGB files show look "right." Other profiles should deviate to some degree, but they shouldn't if Acrobat and Reader are displaying them correctly. In all cases the actual color values in the file will remain unchanged. Only how they are displayed will vary. Also please see the next post regarding how profiles are set.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 11:34 AM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    If you are using a calibrated display, the calibration software should set your Displays>Color profile for you. Mine is set to "PA271W 0610738UA 2012-11-14 14-57", which is the name of the profile created by the calibration software. This is where color temperature, gamma, and color corrections are stored (in my case for prepress work at 5000K and 1.8 gamma).

     

    Sorry about this long-winded posting, but I think the last few paragraphs may help make some progress, and I must first digress to get to them...

     

    Control of color profiles embedded in my PDF files is done in Adobe Creative Suite (verson 6 at this time). I use Bridge to synchronize the suite. North American Web/Internet is for files going to the web and I apply sRGB to those files when opening them (if they aren't already sRGB). North American Prepress 2 is for files going to a printing press, and I apply Adobe RGB to files when opening them (if they aren't already Adobe RGB).

     

    Files for the web are saved using Photoshop's "Save for Web..." command, which is set to sRGB and uses the Document Profile for a preview.

     

    Files for print are converted to CMYK and placed in InDesign or Illustrator, where they are saved as PDF/X-1a files, which are CMYK and those values are preserved (not color managed). I should note that before that point, during client proofs, the files are placed as Adobe RGB. They are replaced by CMYK images before making a PDF/X-1a file for the printing press. Either way, the files display correctly and identically (except for any color gamut differences) regardless of color mode or application. (This is color management working correctly.) Except for Acrobat and Reader.

     

    Until CS6, all PDF files would be displayed by Acrobat identically to how they appeared in the originating application (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). Now all PDF files are darker, more drab, and shifted slightly toward blue.

     

    Here's the weird thing. No matter what I do, even if I start with an sRGB file and save it as a Photoshop PDF using the Save for Web command, so it has been sRGB throughout the process, when the PDF file is viewed in Acrobat or Reader it is darker, more drab, and shifted slightly toward blue.

     

    My first hypothesis was that Acrobat and Reader were applying sRGB to everything. But that appears to be wrong. Now I'm thinking that it's my calibrated display profile that is being ignored. And since it is calibrated for 5000K and 1.8 gamma, that is what explains the big shift in darkness, vividness, and color. It may be that the display profile, not the embedded color profile, is all that matters!

     

    If so, a good experiment would be to calibrate one of your displays for 5000K and 1.8 gamma. If Acrobat and Reader are ignoring the display profile, you should see a very obvious difference in displayed PDF files compared to displays using 6500K and 2.2 gamma (which is just about everyone these days, except for publishing professionals who do exacting print work).

     

    Sheesh!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 11:47 AM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    One more thing...Mountain Lion has a defect that renders some things without regard to display profile. (This is documented in various forums online.) For example, the Dock icons are bright, vivid, almost garish on my screen. It's what web files I prepare look like when a 3rd party resaves them, which strips out the embedded color profile. (I always have to go back to them and tell them it's OK to rename the file, but not to resave it.) Those files look fine on a Windows machine (and also Macs) running sRGB at 6500K and 2.2 gamma, but without the profile they are bright, vivid, almost garish on a Mac at 5000K and 1.8 gamma. This is more or less the inverse of what is happening in Acrobat and Reader, which is why my first thought was that color profiles were being ignored. But per my last posting it may be that the display profile is being ignored. Anyway, Acrobat and Reader might be hitching a ride on Mountain Lion's defect. Or it may be unrelated, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 12:58 PM   in reply to twsphoto

    Yes it is a head banger. Color has become much more consistent out of the box since the early days, but it isn't good enough if you want your screen to show you what will come off the printing press with any real accuracy. My office has north facing windows, neutral walls, and 5000K lighting, plus my display sits on the east wall and has a hood, all in support of getting color right. The problem is that there are so many settings and variables in so many places that when something goes wrong it can be very difficult to isolate, especially when it involves an application that is out of your control. Ironically, as you note, people who should know better are more clueless than ever. With the web taking over from print, a lot of them don't even know that color management exists and why it matters, much less what to do about it. I have studied and applied it for many years, and I'm still banging my head at times. Like this one. The trend is painfully obvious, though. The world has become an sRGB, 6500K, 2.2 gamma place, which does not work very well for soft proofing in print, but meets the masses' needs without them having to deal with it. Or even be aware of it. For now I am optimistic that with Sandeep's help we might be able to forestall color management entropy, at least in Acrobat!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 1:11 PM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    I'm going to shut up now. (Really.) But I just looked back at all my lengthy posts this morning and realized that I should summarize by saying I think I was wrong initially, when I thought Acrobat was ignoring embedded color profiles. That may still need to be verified, but more experimentation on my part now suggests it is the display profile that is being ignored. Also, Mountain Lion has a defect that may underly the problem. My earliest posts amounted to red herrings.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 3:00 PM   in reply to Rick Meikle

    Hi Rick - In my post(#27) I meant what you later mentioned in your post(#33). Reason why I asked you to provide me the environmental details was to ensure that I test it in the same environment. Also, most profiling software automatically assigns the new profile as the default monitor profile and this is again somethings that I couldn't assume. I calibrated my monitor to gamma 1.8 and 5000k (to meet your calibration) and that's when I saw the difference. Thank you for providing me that extra piece of information.

     

    twsphoto - I agree that InDesign and other apps in print production do not show this behavior. I understand how critical it is and even when we know the fact that we see RGB and get it printed in CMYK. Acrobat has always been a reliable app in color proofing and we are committed to meet the expectations of our users. Even when there are so many dependencies and factors in digital world outside of our sphere of influence.

     

    This doesn't end here. I will log a bug with complete details to bring it into the notice of our product management team. I will keep you posted with the udpates.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 7:12 AM   in reply to Sandeep V.

    Nice job, Sandeep! I'm glad you (or someone at Adobe) saw this discussion and recognized it had some merit. And I'm grateful for your diligence in seeing it through!

     
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