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Color print question

Nov 18, 2012 3:51 AM

Tags: #color #pdf #indesign #print

http://www.tmedia.be/grondwitloof72dpi.pdf

 

A company printed this pdf for me today (advertising panel, forex material). I've created the pdf with Indesign CS5. The chicory image is a psd with a black background (C=15% M=0% Y=0% K=100%). The Indesign document has white text on a black background (also C=15% M=0% Y=0% K=100%). I've "placed" the chicory psd into the Indesign document, so the image lays on top of the black background in Indesign.

 

Now that the panel is printed, the black background of the image is darker then the black background of the Indesign document. Is this because i've placed "black on black" (image with black background on document with black background, so "2x times black")?

 

When i place the above pdf in a new blank Indesign document and inspect the colors with "Separations preview" i can see that there is only one kind of black color used in the pdf => C=15% M=0% Y=0% K=100%. I get those results when i hover over the black background of the image and also when i hover over the black background of the rest of the panel.

 

So, my question is: how is it possible that i have 2 kinds of black color on the printed panel while the pdf seems to have of only one kind of black (C=15% M=0% Y=0% K=100%)?

 
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 6:35 AM   in reply to °Tv°

    Preflighting your posted PDF in AcrobatX shows that the chicory image is transparent, so probably when the PDF was output and the image got flattened there was a color conversion to the image portion of the PDF.

     

    The solution would be to either flatten the image in Photoshop before you place it, or export a flattened PDF (PDF/X-1a).

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 6:53 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    I'm certainly not an expert at reading the Acrobat reports, but I don't see any sign of an emebedded profile that would cause a color conversion. I think it may actually be the old YDB problem of a dual-layer RIP treating the vector portion of the background differntly from the raster image: InDesignSecrets » Blog Archive » Eliminating YDB (Yucky Discolored Box) Syndrome

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 8:04 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    but I don't see any sign of an emebedded profile that would cause a color conversion.

     

    I can get a CMYK-to-CMYK conversion to the image portion of the PDF when printing separations out of Acrobat if I set a transparency blend space that conflicts with Acrobat's Working CMYK space when I print:

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 10.32.40 AM.png

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 10.44.06 AM.png

     

     

     

    But if I flatten the PDF to document CMYK (PDF/X-1a) before printing there's no conversion.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2012 8:43 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    I decided to try printing the PDF here (and I was surprised by how good the image prints at only 72 ppi). The page size is huge, so I just printed the center portion that fits the printable area on a letter-size sheet, which is basically the upper right corner of the image and a bit of the boirdering background -- perfect for our purposes.

     

    I did nothing particularly special other than, on the Phaser 7900 which is a postscript device, ask Acrobat to use the custom profile for output. On that print there is no visible difference to my eye between the image and the surrounding background.

     

    I also printed on my OKI C110 which is not postscript and required Acrobat to choose an RGB output profile. I have exactly what the OP is describing in that print. When I flatten first and print a second time to the OKI I get the same result, which leads me to think that it's more likely the dual-layer processing than a profile change, but I definitely don't rule that out with an RGB output device.

     

    Perhaps we could find out what was used to print this file? I'm guessing some sort of large-format inkjet plotter, but it might help to know which one and what sort of driver it has.

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 8:58 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    When I flatten first and print a second time to the OKI I get the same result, which leads me to think that it's more likely the dual-layer processing than a profile change, but I definitely don't rule that out with an RGB output device.

     

    How are you flattening? Try placing the PDF in ID and exporting to PDF/X-1a using the default Document CMYK.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 9:07 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    Flattened in Acrobat...

     

    Tried in ID and exported to PDf/X-1a as you suggested. Same result.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 9:10 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    And that Same result applies to both my printers. It still prints fine form the Xerox and with the faded background on the non-postscript OKI.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I tried a few things. One try was flattening in Acrobat but using the same color profile assignment as Rob's second screen shot, no color shift to my HP Colorjet (no Xerox here). Then I tried directly printing a scaled version. Color was fine. Another was exporting a TIFF from Acrobat, which is obviously flattened at that point and checked the color in PS, no color shift.

     

    Mike

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 10:02 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    It still prints fine form the Xerox and with the faded background on the non-postscript OKI.

     

    If the printer is a non-postscript "RGB" printer then there's not much point in spec'ing any of the color as CMYK.

     

    How does the OKI handle the PDF exported to RGB. Something like this:

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 12.54.58 PM.png

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 10:14 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    Rob Day wrote:

    How does the OKI handle the PDF exported to RGB. Something like this:

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 12.54.58 PM.png

    Still the same. Tried including and not including the destination profile inthe PDF and using both CMYK and RGB blend spaces, and not flattening.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 10:18 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    This might be less useful testing, though, than changing the parameters in the original file before exporting rather than trying to get ID to "fix" the existing PDF....

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 10:21 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I just set up a custom flattener to rasterize everything, and lo and behold, that prints fine from the OKI...

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 10:43 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Right, I tried some conversions to RGB in Acrobat and was surprised to see the image convert differently, but changing the flattener setting did work.

     

    Probably the easiest solution for the OP is to make sure there's no transparency in the placed Photoshop file.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 11:33 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    Rob Day wrote:

    Probably the easiest solution for the OP is to make sure there's no transparency in the placed Photoshop file.

    Actu8ally I t hink that is NOT a solution, at least it doesn't work here. With no transparency flattening going on the raster image and the vector background are handled differently on the printer (if it uses dual-layer processing), and there's no way to adjust the output. With transparency you get to use the custom flattener to force the printer to treat all as rasters, not ideal, but not likely to be a problem on a panel that big.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2012 11:37 AM   in reply to °Tv°

    °Tv° wrote:

     

    I mean, who's "guilty" here? Did i go wrong (in my simple design)? Or should i have been warned that this could happen? My customer expects "one black color" as seen on the screen of course ... I'm not an expert in this matter ... I'm just asking for your humble opinion.

    I'm not sure you can assign blame here, but if I'm correct about the cause, and I think I am, then the printer should be aware of how his printers work and should be prepared to make adjustments on his end (if that's possible), or tell you waht you need to do to ensure that the output is correct.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 12:14 PM   in reply to °Tv°

    Well, I'm perturbed, to say the least.

     

    I was working before with the PDF in CS6, and managed to get it to flatten to all rasters, but when I use the original image file and either create a new .indd or use the original .indd the all raster flattener does not work, and I'm betting it's becasue of the changed behavior Dov describes here: http://forums.adobe.com/message/2897983#2897983

     

    I guess my workaround becomes export the PDF, then place that into a new file and export again using the all-raster flattener.

     

    Is anyone having any luck doing something else?

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 12:26 PM   in reply to °Tv°

    Here's another though I just had...

     

    That's a layered .psd file, and the black is all on layer 1. Just turn off the visibility of that layer so the vector backround is doing all the work and, and this is important, select the photo and go to Object > Clipping Path > Options... and select Alpha channel as the type and Transparency as the channel, and it looks like it works, more or less. The black is still a bit lighter than the raster black, but you can change the mix to something darker now if you like.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 12:31 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    By the way, I did my last test exporting with the High Quality Print preset and let the Acrobat flatten the file during the print....

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 1:48 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I'm not having an issue with the original PDF nor with the ID file. Exporting to PDFX-1a flattens the file, the color values are identical all around the PDF and it prints as expected to my HP. Which is a really cheap HP.

     

    In looking at the PSD, the ICC profile is set to the FOGRA39 profile. so I am using that as the PDF profile too via the Convert to profile in the output settings.

     

    I also tried with simply saving a PSD version out with a transparent background with the same as expected results.

     

    I am using CS5.5 btw.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 1:53 PM   in reply to MW Design

    Mike, is your HP using a postscript or PCL driver?

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:05 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Hi Peter--the one I have here at home is a cheap, HP all-in-one OfficeJet. No postscript. I did prints to both decent paper and to photo paper--which is when transparency issues can really show up. Both good prints.

     

    I did just try a print to my trusty HP 4MV PS (true PS). If there is a difference in the blacks, I cannot see it with or without a loop. I printed both direct from ID and the resultant PDF from my export tests. Used a bit of toner on that.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:16 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    When printing to an "RGB" printer the document CMYK values don't get output unchanged. It looks like the unusual 15|0|0|100 mix might be the problem.

     

    I can get different RGB values for the background and image background when making an RGB conversion in Acrobat. So here's a flattened version converted to RGB. My Color Management CMYK space is set to US SWOP with blackpoint compensation turned off and I converted to AdobeRGB—the backgrounds don't match:

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-18 at 4.36.24 PM.png

     

     

    If I change the CMYK  mix to a neutral rich black (70|60|60|100) or 0|0|0 RGB the backgrounds match. If you are printing to composite RGB a 0|0|0 RGB mix would make more sense.

     

    Try these one's rich black CMYK the other is RGB 0|0|0:

     

    http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/Grondwitloof72RichBlackdpi.pdf

     

    http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/Grondwitloof72dpiRGB.pdf

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:20 PM   in reply to Rob Day

    Rob, both of those print the same here -- black image background and lighter but brownish black background.

     

    I'm not sure I want to put a lot more toner in this...

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:20 PM   in reply to Rob Day

    @Rob, is there an issue with the PSD's ICC FOGRA39 profile being mismatched?

     

    @Peter, did you try saving a PSD version out with the background layer not viewable, as well as that top layer so the clipping path in the PSD leaves a transparent background> Then linking to that version and trying a print directly or to PDF then printing the resultant PDF?

     

    Well, back to buring this year's pruinings.

     

    Mike

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:24 PM   in reply to MW Design

    I made my changes on the .psd only in ID. It didn't seem to me that it matters where you turn off the background layer.

     

    It's worth noting that I did try just turning off the background layer and leaving it transparent in ID. That did not work (more reinforcement for YDB), which is why I added the clipping path.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:28 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    It might be sufficient to just add the clipping path, for that matter. What all that is doing is removing the black from the image in the print. The ID background still is printing lighter, but it's a small thing to change the rich black mix in ID if you need something darker. It might not be a problem that it's a little lighter as long as there's nothing darker around the endive (at least that's what it looks like to me, not what I knew as chickory as a youngster) for comparison.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:52 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    It's worth noting that I did try just turning off the background layer and leaving it transparent in ID. That did not work (more reinforcement for YDB), which is why I added the clipping path.

     

    The PSD already has a clipping mask and turning off the background in the PSD leaves a transparent background. Not that it should matter I suppose.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 18, 2012 2:56 PM   in reply to MW Design

    @Rob, is there an issue with the PSD's ICC FOGRA39 profile being mismatched?

     

    Maybe if Peter is placing it back into ID and printing there. Doesn't seem like 0|0|0 RGB objects should ever convert or print differently. Here's the RGB version flattened with no profile

     

    http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/Grondwitloof72dpiRGBflat.pdf

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 3:13 PM   in reply to Rob Day

    Rob Day wrote:

     

    @Rob, is there an issue with the PSD's ICC FOGRA39 profile being mismatched?

     

    Maybe if Peter is placing it back into ID and printing there. Doesn't seem like 0|0|0 RGB objects should ever convert or print differently. Here's the RGB version flattened with no profile

     

    http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/Grondwitloof72dpiRGBflat.pdf

    I assigned Fogra 39 to my tests....

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 3:17 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    and I also made a rich black rectangle in Photoshop using my default GRAcol profile and placed it on the same GRAcol rich black filling a rectangle in ID in a new doc with a GRAcol working space. Behavior was exaclty the same in all cases.

     

    I'm really convinced this is NOT a color management issue -- Tim's file seems correctly setup -- and is strictly a problem with the printer.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 3:44 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I don't know if this helps to "see" what I see on the prints or not. The screen shot is of my PDF using the transparent background PSD version I linked to. The PDF is loaded into Photoline and four color markers placed. The marker #s 1&2 are within the bounds of the transparent PSD, the marker #s 3&4 are outside the image's boundries.

     

    This is a non-flattened PDF--with the exception of the PSD, the background is vector, the text is text.

     

    Take care, Mike

    color_markers.jpg

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 3:50 PM   in reply to MW Design

    That's what all my PDFs look like too. As far as I can tell there's not a thing wrong with the color values inthe PDF, it shifts exactly where the division occurs between vector and raster content, which says to me that the problem is how the printer itself processes vector and raster data.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 5:35 PM   in reply to MW Design

    MikeWenzloff wrote:

    The PSD already has a clipping mask and turning off the background in the PSD leaves a transparent background.

    I think what you are calling a clipping mask is what I'm calling a layer mask (what Photoshop calls it), and that's what I turned on as the clipping path in ID by choosing the transparency alpha channel. There's a shape layer, too, but it's outside the canvas area.

     

    As I said above, I tried using just layer mask to create the transparency by turning off the background layer in the image, but that faile in the same way as the original because it doesn't actually clip the image to the transparency and the printer process the bounding box. Activating the channel as a clipping path limited the rasterization to the actual vegetables.

     
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    Nov 18, 2012 6:17 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Yeah, I live in AI too much and mainly use PL instead of PS. It is good to get the terminology right, so thanks.

     

    I had the same/similar thing happen on a book a while back that had backgrounds behind the chapter heading text, which had drop shadows. I couldn't see it on my prints and the bluelines were great. The job changed to digital printing (Xerox machines) at the same shop and the yucky effect was present. Tweaking things for the PDF elminated 90+% of the yucky effect. In the end, they had to flatten the PDF and for them, that cured the issue.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 19, 2012 4:20 AM   in reply to °Tv°

    I've pinged Dov Isaacs on this, but I don't know if we'll hear from him.

     

    In the meantime, have you tried adding the clipping path as I described above?

     
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  • Rob Day
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    Nov 19, 2012 5:02 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    If this is strictly a raster-vector thing then do rasters and vectors print differently out of PhotoShop? Does a 0|0|0 RGB vector layer print differently than a 0|0|0 pixel layer when you print from PS?

     
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    Nov 19, 2012 6:02 AM   in reply to Rob Day

    Interseting question. Let me try...

     
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