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Is it possible to retain 100% k when printing to PDF

Mar 17, 2013 10:14 AM

Tags: #color #pdf #black #to #print #retain

I print to pdf with photoshop, illustrator and indesign. i do this to reduce file sizes, mostly to send a proof to a client. however, i also use the pdfs in indesign when preparing large documents that first go to a printer then to go online. depending on the technology the printer is using, i can get away with 'print to pdf' pdfs and their press does not print the black in four color process, but other printers with older technology requests all blacks to be 100% k. It's not a big deal, as i can 'export' to 'smallest file size' with similar outcomes of size for posting online, i was just curious....

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    Mar 17, 2013 4:01 PM   in reply to Lady Rocketeer

    It's not a matter of printers having older technology, it is about printers having to take the extra time to change your 4 color blacks to 100k in a program like Pitstop. Many printers will charge you because it does take time. Some printers may have a program like Pitstop automated to check their files more quickly. From InDesign you should be Exporting to PDF instead of printing to the pdf printer driver. This way you have more control from within InDesign. I have the CS color settings set to 'North American General Purpose 2' and when I export from ID, output section has Color Conversion set to 'Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers), Destination 'US Web Coated (SWOP) v2 and Don't Include Profiles. Using these settings the pdf will have 100k blacks as 100K in the pdf and the images should have the same values as read in Photoshop. If you have a black swatch that is RGB mode it will still be a 4c black when view in process. If you are printing to pdf you must make sure that you 'leave color unchanged' in the output settings and in the pdf print driver settings. You can ask you printer to give you a PDF Preset to load so you have their required marks and bleeds, etc. Always check you pdfs in Acrobat Pro output preview to make sure of your settings.



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    Mar 17, 2013 4:37 PM   in reply to Lady Rocketeer

    The short answer is yes, you can as long as the PDFs you are placing have the black set to k=100%. And printing/distilling can make your PDF smaller in KBs.


    But I would  recommend simply placing the Illy file in ID and Export from ID to PDF. And I would heartily recommend using Acrobat to check the color (and other issues) before sending off PDFs to anyone.


    The screen shot has the colored bits printed to postscript from Illy (and distilled) and placed in ID. Then I also printed to postscript from ID and distilled. The same results are obtained printing to the Adobe PDF driver from both applications. Quite a workflow hassle. But it does work.




    But again, I would place the AI file in ID and Export from ID to PDF.

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    Mar 18, 2013 3:40 AM   in reply to Lady Rocketeer

    From Illustrator you should never print a pdf. Save as PDF ist best.Vectors are created best in CMYK for printing process.

    If you need to place an Illustrator file in InDesign save it as AI and place the ai file in InDesign.

    From InDesign is exporting to PDF also better than printing. File size should not be an issue in the printing process.

    If you place images use PSD in RGB from Photoshop.


    I would recommend to avoid PostScript in most cases, no eps, no postscript printing, no Distiller. EPS might be good for very simple graphics like bar codes, but for the most cases I would not recommend it.

    If your printer requires single page pdfs (why he should) than extract pages in Acrobat Pro. It is a single command or choose a different printer, but please no eps.

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    Mar 18, 2013 6:24 AM   in reply to Lady Rocketeer

    1. You can use joboptions from Distiller also in the pdf export for print in InDesign.

    2. EPS does not support transparency and is limited with color management. If you use Illustrator save as ai with pdf compatibility (is on by default) and place the ai file. this reduces the double work in saving the original ai and a copy as eps. If you use Photoshop and you have files without text and vector forms use psd, if you have text and forms use pdf/pdp.

    All file types (ai, psd, pdf, pdp) have layers which you can select upon import in InDesign, Photoshop files have also layer comps, this possibility does not exist with eps.

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