28 Replies Latest reply on Jul 17, 2012 5:01 PM by Bo LeBeau

    Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed

    hpg1

      I am new at InDesign (CS5) and having a problem.

       

      I have the output set to rich black etc and have a file with pages that have an RGB 0,0,0 black background.  When I put text on a page it seems to export to pdf with a jet black background.  However if I place a .jpg image on the page and then reexport the exact same page the background will turn to dark gray not black.  Remove the image and it exports as black again.  The picture can be quite small but yet the entire page packground goes dark gray.  What gives?  I can't figure it out.  Any help appreciated.

       

      TRhanks.

       

      Howard

        • 1. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          What is your Transparency Blend Mode (found under the Edit menu)—RGB or CMYK? Do you have overprint preview turned on (under the View menu)?

           

          Choose Window > Output > Flattener Preview? Turn on Highlight: Transparent Objects. Do you see anything in pink (transparent)?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
            hpg1 Level 1

            Transparency Blend Space is Document RGB.  Overprint Preview is off.

             

            Ah, I don't know what it means but when I do what you say with the Highlight TransparentOobjects all the pages that come out a bit gray when converting to pdf all have the same transparent object on them that is highlighted in pink.  Why does that small transparent object make the whole page background lighter than it should be?  Any ideas how to fix it?  You found the unifying cause!

             

            Howard

            • 3. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
              Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Well, I'm trying to work it all out from your description.

               

              Another question: What PDF export setting did you use when you created the PDF file? I'd guess you picked PDF/X-1a or PDF/X-3, right?

               

              If so (or if you used a PDF output with Acrobat compatibility set to Acrobat 4), your pages which contained transparency were flattened. Flattening will force all objects to the transparency blending space chosen causing color shifts.

               

              Try choosing a PDF preset setting which uses Acrobat 5 compatibility (High Quality Print, Press Quality, etc.) Flattening will not be necessary.

              • 4. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                hpg1 Level 1

                I am using a custom preset but it is set to Acrobnat 7 compatability. Maybe some setting within it?  I really appreciate your taking time to try to figure this one out!

                 

                Howard

                • 5. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Why does that small transparent object make the whole page background lighter than it should be?

                   

                  Is your PDF destined for print or screen? If it's for screen (you want to keep all of the objects as RGB) export to  PDF/X-4, which prevents flattening and color conversions.

                   

                  If it's for print set your Transparency Blend Space to CMYK and make the black background a CMYK rich black—something like 70|60|60|100. Also make sure Black Point Compensation is checked in Color Settings:

                   

                  Screen shot 2012-07-15 at 8.21.36 AM.png

                  • 6. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                    hpg1 Level 1

                    Thanks....when I export to PDF/X-4 all the pages have a slightly less than black background......at least they are consistent, but not the proper deep black.

                     

                    Maybe this will be a bit of a clue.  The small image that has a transparent background that makes the pages go less than deep black is actually a PSD file (it is an image of a small audio speaker to click on to hear audio that will be embedded.  When I turn the psd into a jpg on a black background and place it on the page, the pages are now dark black but the situation is less than optimal as I can see the edges of the black square the audio icon is in if I put it on the black background, plus I can't have it overlap an area of the page that is not black background since it is no longer transparent. 

                     

                    Perhaps it is the PSD file type?  Is there a way to have an image on a transparent background (like the audio icon) that is another file format that I might try.  (JPG can't be transparent, is that correct?).

                     

                    Thanks

                     

                    Howard

                    • 7. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                      hpg1 Level 1

                      Actually, with levels I can make the black on the jpg dark enough so I don't see the borders when I ppace it on the black page background.  But that doesn't help me if I want to place the audio icon over non black portions of the page.  It is a potential compromise that would work but I would still love to be able to place the icon on a transparent background over any page content and still have the page background be deep black if possible.

                       

                      Howard

                      • 8. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Thanks....when I export to PDF/X-4 all the pages have a slightly less than black background......at least they are consistent, but not the proper deep black.

                         

                         

                        So the black shifts in Acrobat not ID? Are you viewing with Acrobat's Output Preview open? If so what's the Simulation profile set to?

                        • 9. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                          hpg1 Level 1

                          Not sure what you meabn by Acrobats Output Preview......oddly when I look at the pdf file on my ipad it all looks deep black but on two PCs the pages with the transparent psd file look lighter than the page backgrounds without it....odd

                           

                          Howard

                          • 10. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                            hpg1 Level 1

                            I hate to say it but I think I am just going to give up and use the icon with black and place it on black and forget the transparency.  Too much of a pain in the arse to deal with..

                            • 11. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Not sure what you meabn by Acrobats Output Preview

                               

                              AcrobatPro provides a number of soft proofing options that will show you how a document will print or how RGB objects will get converted into CMYK.

                               

                              If your  ID and PS black objects are really 0|0|0 RGB, your Transparency Blend Space is really RGB, and you don't have Overprint, Separation Preview, or Proof Colors turned on then 0|0|0 RGB will always display as absolute black in InDesign. Here's an ID black and a PS black with transparency:

                               

                              Screen shot 2012-07-15 at 6.23.46 PM.png

                               

                              If I turn on Proof Colors there are setups which would preview 0|0|0 RGB as something less than absolute black—something like this:

                               

                              Screen shot 2012-07-15 at 6.25.37 PM.png

                               

                              AcrobatPro also has soft proofing tools which could effect the preview of 0|0|0:

                               

                              Screen shot 2012-07-15 at 6.29.47 PM.png

                               

                              But in Acrobat Reader there's no soft proofing so I think 0|0|0 will always display as absolute black, so in your case you should use Reader because that's how the document will likely display online:

                               

                              Screen shot 2012-07-15 at 6.33.08 PM.png

                              • 12. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                hpg1 Level 1

                                Hmmm......I was all excited that the problem would be gone in Acrobat Reader since that is what most people reading the pdf would be using,  so I downloaded Reader X.  No such luck.....same problem.

                                 

                                Howard

                                • 13. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Can you post a sample page along with the image? I can't replicate your problem RGB black with or without transparency exports unchanged for me.

                                  • 14. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                    hpg1 Level 1

                                    Not sure how to post just a single page from the 60 page pdf......

                                     

                                    Howard

                                    • 15. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      The ID file would be more useful.

                                       

                                      Copy a problem page into a new doc, package it along with the image(s)—don't need to include fonts—and email it to the address in my profile.

                                      • 16. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                        hpg1 Level 1

                                        sent...thanks

                                        • 17. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          I can't see any problems with either the ID or PDF file. Acrobat shows the black as 0|0|0 with any RGB profile loaded.

                                           

                                          Here's your PDF as a page on my server and it looks ok viewed in a browser also.

                                           

                                          http://www.zenodesign.com/ftp/problem.pdf

                                           

                                          Screen shot 2012-07-17 at 6.30.41 AM.png

                                          • 18. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            One thing that is changing is the type weight which creates an illusion of the black changing. The flattener preset in your ID doc was set to Low, which is affecting the display of the transparent page 1 in Acrobat and some browser PDF plugins.

                                             

                                            Here's your doc saved as PDFX-4 with a high res flattener. In this case the text weight looks the same on both pages in both Acrobat and a browser:

                                             

                                            http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/problemx4hr.pdf

                                            • 19. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                              Bo LeBeau Level 4

                                              Hmm . . . Rivers of Steel, Carrie Furnace.

                                               

                                              hpg1,

                                              By any chance, are you Howard Grill?

                                              • 20. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                hpg1 Level 1

                                                Rob....now things are getting interesting!  I went to the 2 page InDesign file I sent you and found the flattener presets in InDesign.  I went ahead and set it to high and then reexported and it looked the same, which is to say one page deep black and the other light black.  So I went back and pulled down the preset menu and lo and behold it was no longer set to high res, but back to low res.  Tried again and when I set to high it seems to go back to low when I pulled it back down.  I set it to high and exported as a new preset and then loaded it as a new preset and when I went to choose it from the list it got saved as "Low Res Copy1" even though I had saved it with a file name "High Res".

                                                 

                                                So how do you get the high res flattener to apply itself to the file  so I can see if I can duplicate the "fix" to the problem????

                                                 

                                                Thanks for persisting with me.

                                                 

                                                Howard

                                                • 21. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                  hpg1 Level 1

                                                  Hi Bo,

                                                   

                                                  Yup that would be me.  Have we met or corresponded before?? Trying to place your name!

                                                   

                                                  Howard

                                                  • 22. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    Looking at this more closely there is a shift in black when you export your doc flattened, which includes an interactive PDF.

                                                     

                                                    If you export a PDF/X-4 the transparency is not flattened and the black stays at 0|0|0. Your PDF is not X-4, I assume because you need to export an interactive PDF.

                                                     

                                                    It looks like a bug to me—I didn't bother screen capturing and measuring the black at first because Acrobat shows it as 0|0|0, but it is displaying as 8|9|8. It seems like a bug because it only appears to happen when the  transparency on the page is from a placed image.

                                                     

                                                    There does seem to be a work around—try including a completely transparent InDesign object somewhere on the page—that worked for me.

                                                    • 23. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                      hpg1 Level 1

                                                      I made a 10 pixel by 10 pixel transparent image with nothing in it but the transparent background layer and placed it in a frame on the page and exported.  Still the same with slightly lighter page than the one with no transparent image on it.  I assume that is what you meant by including a completely transparent InDesign object on the page, is that correct?

                                                       

                                                      Glad to know that I am not going crazy though with what I was seeing.  I am really starting to think that it would be nice to not have this happen but that simply dealing with no transparent objects would be much much simpler!

                                                       

                                                      Howard

                                                      • 24. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                        made a 10 pixel by 10 pixel transparent image with nothing in it but the transparent background layer and placed it in a frame on the page and exported.

                                                         

                                                        No not an image. Draw out a rectangle on the page (can be any size), fill it with a color and set the rectangle's transparency (not color percentage) to 0. It has to be an InDesign native object not another image.

                                                        • 25. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                          Here's a screen capture of an interactive PDF where the ID page included a red filled rectangle set to 20%. You can see the RGB readout of the capture in PS is 0|0|0

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          PhotoshopScreenSnapz003.png

                                                           

                                                          Here's an interactive PDF of the page without any native transparent objects and your one transparent PSD—the readout is 8|9|8:

                                                           

                                                          PhotoshopScreenSnapz002.png

                                                           

                                                          Message was edited by: Rob Day

                                                          • 26. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                            hpg1 Level 1

                                                            YESS..........

                                                             

                                                            Unbelievable, I thought I must have been doing something wrong but doing just as you said.....placing a small rectangle on the master page and filling it with color and setting transparency to 0 totally fixes the problem on all the pages with transparent psd files!

                                                             

                                                            Thanks very much for taking the time to help me out.

                                                             

                                                            Is it simply a bug in InDesign? Why should that fix it and what ever gave you the idea to try that as a solution...I mean is there a chain of logic as to why that should work??? I am using CS5 and wonder if it was fixed in CS6.

                                                             

                                                            Howard

                                                            • 27. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              I did my testing in CS6 so no it has not been fixed—it probably has never been reported, it's hard to see.

                                                               

                                                              I think it is a bug, I can't think of any reason why 0|0|0 black would convert to something other than 0|0|0 when making RGB-to-RGB conversions, so its not likely an expected color management thing. 

                                                               

                                                              I realized it was a place image problem when I tried eliminating your .psd from the mix and testing my own transparency.

                                                              • 28. Re: Black Becomes Gray Only When Image Placed
                                                                Bo LeBeau Level 4

                                                                Howard,

                                                                 

                                                                Bo LeBeau is just a login name nothing more.

                                                                 

                                                                Like yourself  I like taking photographs at the Carrie Furnace.

                                                                 

                                                                I may have commented on your blog in the past.

                                                                 

                                                                take care,
                                                                Bo