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How can I get rich black onto only black plate

Dec 11, 2013 11:24 AM

I do layout for an advertising magazine. Much of the content is received from others (the advertisers) and much of that is amatuer (created in Word, etc.).

 

I place the ads into an ID (using CC) and export to PDF. My printer has me using a PDF/X-1a:2001 standard and for color conversion has me using Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers) with Destination and PDF/X Out Intent both Document CMYK. These settings work well for getting the RGB images in these documents output to CMYK as we need.

 

The problem is that often there will be text, or other fine line graphics, etc. that are actually rich black, printing on all plates, and the printer wants only a black plate to avoid registration problems.

 

We are printing on newsprint on a newspaper press.

 

Is there anyway to export to PDF and get these rich blacks to print only on the black plate (the copy also contains color images; usually RGB which the profile converts to CMYK)?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:38 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    Well, if you're (perhaps unwittingly...?) converting RGB black to CMYK, you'll get output to all plates...and that isn't "rich black." So watch for that too.

     

    I could be wrong, but I believe there's no "unattended" way to make the conversion. You actually have to seek out black elements that are outputting to more than just the K plate and then reset their color value to 0 0 0 100. Then, of course, they'll output only to the K plate.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:39 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    1. Set the rich black swatch to type "Spot Color" and redirect that "Spot Color" to "[Black]" in the Color Manager of your Swatches Panel. Be aware that you have to set all objects filled with that kind of black to "overprint".

     

    MUCH BETTER:

     

    2. Delete your rich black swatch (Spot or Process does not matter)  and substitute with swatch "[Black]". It will overprint automatically, if the preferences say so.

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:45 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    Then we're in the realm of Acrobat Pro and/or a dedicated tool like "callas pdfToolbox" to get the conversions right…

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:47 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    It's difficult. Depends on a case to case basis…

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:49 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    This is the kind of situation that prompts people to open PDF's in Illustrator and attempt correction. Then, when that causes or presents other problems, they often come here and are told "Illustrator is not a general-purpose PDF editor."

     

    You(r employer) may want to look into Acrobat plugins that will facilitate corrections to the ill-constructed files, or backward-conversion to InDesign.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:58 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    Cyndee M wrote:

    If there is no solution with what we've got, we will have the printer do the conversions (we they can do, put charge us for) and we will pass the charges on to the advertisers.

    That's my #1 choice here, along with some instruction on how to make the PDF properly next time to avoid the charges. Never overlook the opportunity to educate an advertiser on how to prepare their ads properly.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 11:59 AM   in reply to Cyndee M

    Cyndee M wrote:

     

    I well know that IL is not a general purpose PDF editor, and wouldn't begin to attempt this there.

     

    Right...it was more a rhetorical statement than any preaching at you, or a suggestion that you'd do anything untoward.

     

    The silliest part of it is this: opening the PDF's in Illustrator to make them work is exactly what I would do in the absence of any other tool. But see, I've been at this for what feels like centuries, and I've done or seen everything possible to muck up a PDF by opening it in Illustrator; which gives me the confidence to know it's not that dangerous if you're aware of all the possible ramifications.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:01 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    What is your OS platform?

     

    Despite having access to CC, do you have Acrobat 9 Pro installed?
    The chances are better with that older version. There are some bugs in the Separation Preview Panel of Acrobat X or XI…

     

    And if the RGB black is not of RGB [0,0,0], but something else like RGB [18,15,21] (all three values are different!) I see no chance to do a convertion to CMYK [0,0,0,100] where that balck overprints as well…

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:04 PM   in reply to Laubender

    Illustrator could be a tool of last resort. Provided: all text is converted to outlines.
    Then you could open that PDF in Illustrator and go for a find/change for the color(s). Including setting the overprint of fill and stroke.

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:07 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    In that case only tools like "callas pdfToolbox" (there is a standalone version and/or an Acrobat Pro plug-in) or "PitStop Professional" (amongst others) could do it…

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:09 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    I thought Acrobat Pro was one of those where you can't keep more than 1 version installed?

    That's maybe true for Windows OS. On a Mac you can run all three Acrobat Pros (9, X and XI) side-by-side.

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:22 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    If you fix your amateur's files for free they have no incentive to do things right and you'll be repairing their files for all eternity. If they have to pay, they'll either learn quickly how to do it right themselves, or how inexpensive it is to hire a pro.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 12:23 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Usually a prepress department of a printing company makes use of something like that:

     

    http://www.callassoftware.com/callas/doku.php/en:products:pdftoolbox

     

    Uwe

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 2:19 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    There will always be poorly submitted pdf ads...always...charging a repeat customer for the errors of those people paying for ads is not going to earn good will. (The quote for your duties should include knowledge that you are going to clean up ads. Include it as part of what you are going to perform...you could conceivably discount your charges if you didn't have to...)

     

    This would be a poor man's Fixup within Acrobat Profesional. (Enfocus PitStop would probably be a better tool.)

     

    With Acrobat's Preflight

    There are three options within Preflight, the third icon (circled) notes Fixups.

     

    From the Preflight Panel, Options > Create New Preflight Fixup

    In the dialog, (I) search(ed) for Spot Color to find the Base Fixup shown.

    I arbitrarily input the color values, 50, 50, 50, 50 and the threshold. (You might research what Word exports as Black)

     

    Upon usage, I found this would ignore all type in rgb and created another with source color rgb. You could convert a file to cmyk and this (as shown) would work.

     

    Save the Fixup, mark it as a favorite, run as needed.

    I'm not fluent on all the ramifications of modifying a rgb file to cmyk without intents and profiles, but any ad created in Word or Publisher is not going to be questioned with regard to such, imho.

     

    Capture.JPG

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 2:23 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    I need to update - the screen shown appears to converts all objects, I have another for type...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 2:38 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    I tested my Fixup shown (it appears it would convert all objects but does not), it converts text which would be the normal request.

     

    Are you saying you want to convert an entire document to Gray? Are you saying you do not want rich black objects? Some objects certainly require c,m,y

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 2:51 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    I take that to infer that they do not want "rich black" type of any sort...no printer does and that they do not want rich black objects. That makes sense given the nature of newsprint.

     

    My Fixup shown works for type, I have tested it (repeatedly over the last ten minutes) and leaves vector objects alone (which is contradictory to what it appears to involve)

     

    For vector objects, perhaps...

     

    the TouchUp Object tool will open a vector object in Illy where you would edit the color.

    Tools > Advanced Editing > TouchUp Object Tool

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,123 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 3:56 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    The problem is that often there will be text, or other fine line graphics, etc. that are actually rich black, printing on all plates, and the printer wants only a black plate to avoid registration problems.

     

    The text in the PDFs you are placing could be 4-color rich blacks, but it could also be black only and you are getting a CMYK-to-CMYK conversion on output (4-color blacks) because of conflicting profiles.

     

    I don't think you've mentioned what your document's Color Mangement policy is, but to avoid profile conflicts when you place PDFs with CMYK color, the CMYK policy has to be either Off or Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles). Note that for existing layouts the policy is set on creation.

     

    Also, the export dialog's Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers) can be misleading, that setting preserves the documents native colors, but not the colors of placed images and PDFs. If a placed PDF's profile conflicts with the ID document's profile, black will get converted—it's the opposite of the Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles) CM policy.

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,123 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 4:01 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    You can test whether you have a policy problem by setting the Color Setting's CMYK policy to Preserve Number(Ignore Linked Profiles), create a new document, place one of the problem ads, export to PDF/X-1a, and check the numbers.

     
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  • Rob Day
    3,123 posts
    Oct 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 5:25 PM   in reply to Cyndee M

    The policy is saved with the document when it is created, and could be different than the current Color Settings policy—that's why I suggested the new document test.

     

    It might not be the problem—your clients could also be inadvertently making CMYK-to-CMYK conversions when they make their PDFs or they could be using RGB blacks.

     
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