15 Replies Latest reply on Mar 2, 2018 6:53 AM by rob day

    Color washed out in Illustrator CS6

    ChuckCordes Level 1

      Using Illustrator on Mac OS 10.7.4
      We've been using Illustrator for years and have come across a problem we never encountered before.
      PMS spot colors appear washed out on the screen and appear washed out when viewing them in a pdf.

      Customers are complaining about their proofs as well.

      What happened?

        • 1. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
          ryan.marchese Level 1

          Have you recently upgraded to CS6? I have noticed with Pantone updating to their PMS+, some of the screen-views and PDF views for the spots are no longer consistent with prior versions. If printed with the spot-ink, the final production should be the same, but if your are going the digital printing route (where everything is done as CMYK or RGB) then you may have to have your press operators give some more detail to make sure the colors are matching properly.


          Just to get more info: what color mode are your documents in? What settings are you using to write out your PDF's?

          • 2. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
            ChuckCordes Level 1

            Although I haven't run into the problem with CMYK jobs yet (I'm not looking forward to that) we have run into big problems with digital color output. Colors which printed consistently days before are now completely different. This has really turned into a very time consuming nightmare.
            It seems that the spot colors which used to have a CMYK profile are now LAB and I can't change it easily. Besides that, it seems to change intermittently from day to day. I have no choice but to delete all the preference repeatedly.
            Is there no other way to handle this? I can see others are having similar problems.

            • 3. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
              ChuckCordes Level 1

              And yes, we have recently upgraded to CS6.

              • 4. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                ChuckCordes Level 1

                What can be done other than replacing the entire color libraries back to the old versions?

                • 5. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                  John Danek Level 4

                  I am trying to get my hands around this new LAB representation and how they affect screen view.  It appears as though there has been a major setback in color communications.  It also demands a full explanation and correct workarounds from Pantone.

                  • 6. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                    ChuckCordes Level 1

                    I can see that the actual problem is with the new Pantone Plus Series libraries for CS6. I can't understand why they would effect digital color output, but they do. The whole thing is terrible and I've ditched the new color libraries for now and replaced them with the previous libraries which seems to have taken care of the problem for now.
                    Does anyone have any other solutions or explanations of why the new Pantone Plus Series is such a mess?

                    • 7. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                      Louis Dery Level 1

                      Hello Chuck,


                      Pantone Plus Series uses Lab color definition in order to make better simulation (on screen) and better CMYK conversions based on the Color Settings preferences in Adobe graphic applications.

                      When I say "better CMYK conversion", I mean CMYK separation based on the intended printing condition defined by the CMYK ICC working color space set in your preferences.

                      It is working.. I use it every day.


                      Worst issue:, if you do tests with Pantone Plus Color Bridge default CMYK values, you will be amazed to see the difference!

                      Just try Pantone 424 Coated (a gray), and check the CMYK values from Pantone Color Bridge Coated.... completely different! WHY? Because those CMYK values has been define by Pantone, using an "international" ISO printing condition!!??

                      I’ve tried to find out the ICC profile that could match those CMYK values but did not found it yet.


                      So, it is better to make your own CMYK match, using those new Pantone Plus color libraries (in Lab) than using a "generic" CMYK build that would create a nightmare on press if even it is not made for your printing condition.


                      Hop this help!

                      • 8. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                        ChuckCordes Level 1

                        Thanks Louis for your help.
                        We experienced an unexpected color shift for digital color output. Where we had consistency for our customers who are very concerned about color, now we are having issues due to the new color profiles. We unfortunately had to remove all of the Plus Series profiles and replace them with the old ones. Our customers were also complaining that the colors appear differently on their screens for the proofing process. (They don't care what explanation I give them as far as Adobe attempting to improve things.)
                        So far no one from Adobe has been able to tell me how to use the Plus Series profiles without changing color on output. Very frustrating.

                        • 9. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                          Louis Dery Level 1

                          Hello Chuck,


                          In order to get the best Pantone "solid" preview in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, you have to select "Overprint Preview" from the view menu. This, tells Illustrator and InDesign to display Pantone colors with their Lab reference. If "Overprint preview" in not enabled, this tells Illustrator and InDesign to use the CMYK conversion of the Pantone colors.

                          In Resumé, if no overprint preview selected, Illustrator will use the Lab value, pass it to the CMYK working space (profile selected in the color settings) and will use the default rendering intent of the color settings preferences. So what you are seeing on screen is not the real Pantone but the CMYK conversion of it.

                          So, when you want to see the best simulation of Pantone colors, use OVERPRINT PREVIEW. Be carfull that not all Pantone color can be simulated accurately on screen.


                          Let me know if this help!



                          • 10. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                            Daliah Level 1

                            I'm still using CS5, but received a PDF from a client. I am able to open in Illustrator and edit it. I am trying to change from process to spot and when I select overprint preview, eveything is gray and digital printing is gray. I've tried opening a new document and that has the same problem. I am not using Pantone Plus or CS6 Pantone colors. This file may well have been created in CS6, but that shouldn't affect my color palets.


                            I'm at a real loss as what to do. I need to proof out this job and hopefully not have to try to explain this to my boss. I need a work around or to figure this out.



                            • 11. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6



                              So is there an easy way to convert an old file to the new Pantone Plus Color libraries without having to manually change every colour.


                              PS Why is this so problem so difficult to find an answer to and not a headline issue. Not only does it appear different on screen and screen pdfs it also prints differently to certain printers so I imagine people are experiencing oddities all the time.

                              • 12. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                                Matty Studios

                                I would also like to know more about this as I a Designer am experiencing pms color that is not looking accurate when compared to on screen VS what I see in the PMS book.

                                Further more when I save a screen shot for a client to view the colors are even further out of wack.


                                ADOBE what is going on here?

                                How do we as designers work with this?

                                Is there a proper setup I am missing here?

                                • 13. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6

                                  I've found the same problem today, but I noticed that saving the print file as an X1a pdf (as I always have) causes the colours to look washed out - so I tried the newer X4 pdf, and the proof looks great! Client is happy, just going to double-check everything with the printer before they hit go.

                                  • 14. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    The X-1a specification is to convert to CMYK and then strip the icc profile. This is no problem as long as you convert to the CMYK profile that corresponds to actual press conditions. But if your working CMYK is a different one you'll see inconsistencies when reopening.


                                    X-4 embeds the profile.

                                    • 15. Re: Color washed out in Illustrator CS6
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      X-4 embeds the profile.

                                      But only for RGB objects and placed CMYK objects with a conflicting embedded profile. The Inclusion Policy for X-4 is Include All RGB and Tagged Source CMYK Profiles (not Include All Profiles). So from InDesign or Illustrator all document CMYK exports as DeviceCMYK with either X4 or X-1a. Spot colors would always export as a Separation color space and would have no profile.


                                      This is an old thread and how AcrobatPro soft proofs DeviceCMYK color and spot color separations has changed from version to version. The current DC version uses the PDF/X Output Intent as the default simulation profile, so even though PDF/X exports document CMYK as DeviceCMYK, the preview of document CMYK should now be the same between the original application and the PDF.


                                      If you are using spot colors there are a number of variables to watchout for. Is the swatch coming from the current Lab libraries or the legacy CMYK defined libraries? Do you really intend to run an extra ink separation or is the spot being converted to CMYK via Ink manager on export? What application is being used to view the PDF and is it capable of accurately soft proofing DeviceCMYK and Lab defined spot colors.