1 2 Previous Next 68 Replies Latest reply on Dec 27, 2012 5:00 PM by Peter Spier

    What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !

    ceencha Level 1

      My black background looks perfectly black on the screen:

       

      http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/screen.jpg

       

      But when I export to PDF, high quality, it looks TOTALLY GREY.  Why?

       

      http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/PRIVATE_SAMPLE_SPREAD.pdf

        • 1. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          You probably have your Appearnce of Black preference set to Display All Blacks as Rich Black.

           

          Black that is made from only 100% black ink isn't as dark as a "rich black" that also has C, M and Y inks included in the build. If you set the prefs to display blacks accurately you'll see the difference on screen in ID as well. Is you book going to be printed in color? If so, you can make that background a rich black -- ask the printer for a recommendation on the mix -- but leave your type and any linework at 100% K only.

          • 2. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
            MikeGondek Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            The PDF displays black in Acrobat and Preview on my screen. Here are my color management settings (sorry Acrobat 8 at work but should be similar)

             

            Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 9.19.58 AM.png

            This link should work (removed the space in SPREA D).

             

            http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/PRIVATE_SAMPLE_SPREAD.pdf

            • 3. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
              ceencha Level 1

              Since I used a black box (shape) on my master page, in order to make the page black, is there not a way I can simply "color" that box as a darker black?  This stuff is confusing me ...

              • 4. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Are there any full-color illustrations in this document so that it will be printed using CMYK? If yes, then you can change the fill on your box to a rich black like 60%C, 50%M, 50%Y, 100%K (but get a recommendation for the correct mix from the printer -- they all have rich black formulas that they prefer), but if everything is Black and White or grayscale the darkest you will ever get is 100% black, and that just isn't as dark as a rich black, EVER.

                • 5. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                  Bo LeBeau Level 4

                  Just checked your PDF. The dak colored text in the graphic is all Rich Black.

                  If this was ever printed to a Color printer or on a 4-color press, this Rich Black would cause registration problems.

                  • 6. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                    ceencha Level 1

                    If this was ever printed to a Color printer or on a 4-color press, this Rich Black would cause registration problems.

                    why? how?

                     

                    Our book will have 100+ color pages and 800+ black and white pages.

                    • 8. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                      ceencha Level 1

                      I need to think hard about what's been said here.

                       

                      I find it very hard to understand, and I always have.

                       

                      If anyone wants to try to CLARIFY for me, please do !

                       

                      Can I not solve all my problems by simply making the box a "rich black" ?

                      • 9. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        What sort of objects are those large illustrations? At the moment they look like they are supposed to be grayscale, but, as you can see in Bo's image, all of the type is actually a rich balck as I described above. It's odd that the other other parts are 100% K only, so my suspicion is that these were images brought into Illustrator as grayscale, and then the text was added using an RGB black, but I'm not quite sure how you would have accomplished that, so perhaps a rich black was selected for the type, if in fact I'm even correct about adding the text in Illustrator.

                         

                        In any case, if the backgrounds are going to be rich black it would be OK for the illustrations to be also, but anytime you have very small areas, like type, it's much better to use only black ink, and in general to set it to overprint. Printing CMYK requires that all four colors are laid down on the paper in a pattern of dots. If there is any shift in the position of the paper from where it is supposed to be as it picks up each color you start to get color ghosting along edges and some fuzziness (and probably slightly "off" colors in general). This tends to make small type unreadable. Paper tends to stretch a bit as it goes through a press, so some misregistration is pretty much inevitable. Overprinting black type rather than knocking out the background (leaving a type-shaped hole) prevents white edges from showing around the type if the print goes out of register, and at the same time makes it a little darker, essentially converting it to rich black wherever there is other color behind it.

                         

                        Black vs. rich black on these pages is also going to be a cost decision. For color you need four plates, and for plain black only one. There is no savings using grayscale illustrations on a press sheet that also has color illustrations, but to add a rich black to a sheet that has no color on it otherwise is going to add a lot of expense. In books with mixed color and black-only pages the most cost-efficient approach is to have all of the color pages in the same signatures (and on the same side of the sheet) rather than scattered randomly. The number of pages and their sizes will determine how many signatures and sheets will be used to print on any particular press. For digital prints the principle is similar, but there is more flexibility in locations because you generally print more sheets/sides. Two color pages side by side on one side of a sheet with two black and white pages on the reverse is less expensive than one color and one black and white on each side of the sheet.

                        • 10. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                          MikeGondek Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          The only problem you have at this point is viewing your PDFs shows the blacks as grey (though I am not sure how bad this is looking on your screen).

                           

                          Talk to your printer, as sometimes they run an entire job on a 4 color press and would allow you to have rich blacks at a minimal plate cost addition. Most printers can get a dark black on the 1-color line work artwork you are showing, as they run black heavy, but not too heavy so you get dot gain in your fine white sepckled areas.

                           

                          You don't have tints of black, so they should be able to get you a good enough black running 1-color only, but again talk to them as paper choice can be a factor in this.

                           

                          But clean up your blacks as Bo suggested, and you can find the problem areas quick;y using  InDesign >> window >> output >> seperations preview, which is the equivalent of what he showed you in acrobat.

                          • 11. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            If anyone wants to try to CLARIFY for me, please do !

                             

                            The preview of CMYK color, including black mixes like 0|0|0|100 or 65|50|50|100, is managed by your document's CMYK profile. The current generation of CMYK profiles correctly previews those two colors differently because that's what happens on press. The difference is more pronounced on an uncoated sheet than a coated sheet, and the correct profile will show that difference. You can check your document's profile via Edit>Assign Profiles... Below are examples of black only on a rich black field

                             

                            US Newsprint (SNAP):

                             

                            Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 1.43.46 PM.png

                             

                            US Sheetfed Uncoated:

                             

                            Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 1.33.55 PM.png

                             

                             

                            US Sheetfed Coated:

                             

                            Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 1.34.10 PM.png

                             

                            First generation profiles like Photoshop 5 Default do not show the difference:

                             

                            Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 1.34.31 PM.png

                             

                            When an image like your's is alone on the sheet the effect of black vs. rich black is not as noticeable. Because of the details you don't have much choice but to run black only.

                            • 13. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                              ceencha Level 1

                              I am going to carefully study all these helpful hints.

                               

                              I notice there is a color swatch called "BLACK" and a color swatch called "REGISTRATION" — any difference?

                              • 14. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Registration is 100|100|100|100, [Black] is 0|0|0|100

                                • 15. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                  Bo LeBeau Level 4

                                  Registration is only used for "registration marks" like Crop marks, etc.

                                   

                                  It should never be used for any elements that you place/create in InDesign.

                                   

                                  For the above mentioned reasons, never use Registration for Black text.

                                   

                                  Even elements like a large black box should never be colored Registration.

                                  400% ink coverage is to much ink for the paper to handle!

                                   

                                  You could make a large box with a Rich Black, but don't use Registration.

                                  • 16. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                    ceencha Level 1

                                    These are my current settings, just FYI.  I just now discovered them.

                                     

                                    705.jpg

                                    • 17. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      The Appearance of Black setting lets you override the CMYK profile effect on black that I'm showing in post 11. It has no effect on printing separations for press or exporting to CMYK.

                                       

                                      Typically you would use the setting you are showing if you are designing for screen display or output to a composite color printer. In those cases you may not want the  offset press preview (accurate blacks), which previews the difference between black and black +CMY.

                                       

                                      If you want to preview black as absolute black in Acrobat use the Photoshop 5 profile I'm showing in #12 as your Simulation profile

                                      • 18. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                        ceencha Level 1

                                        OK, first of all, your kind responses have been VERY helpful to me.

                                         

                                        I cannot thank you enough.

                                         

                                        Now, here's the deal — those black and white images were created in Illustrator using "live trace" — and you were right, the black ink used was some kind of "rich black" mix.

                                         

                                        Those 40 pages will be printed BLACK AND WHITE by Sheridan.

                                         

                                        So, I have no idea what will happen ... obviously, the "rich black" background will not print CMYK, since it will be printed B/W

                                         

                                        I am not sure what will happen ..... hmmmm....

                                        • 19. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          Ceencha wrote:

                                           

                                          Now, here's the deal — those black and white images were created in Illustrator using "live trace" — and you were right, the black ink used was some kind of "rich black" mix.

                                          OK, the live trace probably is NOT rich black. since it's the added type that is the problem. The way to fix this is to go back to Illustrator and change the fill color on the type. If you don't the printer is either going to reject file, print the pages in color and charge you accordingly, or print only the black separation (and of the three possibilities, this is the least likely) which might work, or might leave you with grayish screened type.

                                          • 20. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                            ceencha Level 1

                                            Thank you so much for bearing with my extreme ignorance.

                                             

                                            However, I don't understand why you say the TEXT is the issue.

                                             

                                            My issue is that the outer edge looks grey, and the picture looks "rich black"

                                             

                                            Right?

                                             

                                            http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/PRIVATE_SAMPLE_SPREAD.pdf

                                             

                                            931_GRAY_EDGE.jpg

                                             

                                            I would like the edge to look the same "darkness" of black as the pictures on the inside.

                                             

                                            Maybe I should just take a "sample" section of the black from the pictures and blow it up as the background to the entire page?  So they will "match" ?

                                            • 21. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Those 40 pages will be printed BLACK AND WHITE by Sheridan.

                                              You should communicate with the printer on this so they know what you want.

                                               

                                              The PDF you posted can be converted correctly to grayscale in Acrobat—where everything is 100% black—but you have to be careful because CMYK black (0|0|0|100) usually does not convert to 100% Grayscale black—the default US SWOP to grayscale will convert to 91% grayscale.

                                               

                                              In AcrobatPro you can correctly make the conversion via Tools>Print Production>Convert Colors if you check Preserve Black

                                               

                                              Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 8.16.44 AM.png

                                              When you make that conversion the Output Preview will show your page as a grayscale object with your 4-color text converted to 100% grayscale:

                                               

                                              AcrobatScreenSnapz001.png

                                              • 22. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                Here's a screen capture of your spread with the black plate turned off:

                                                RichBlack Type.png

                                                 

                                                As you can see, the only things on that page that are rich black are the type in the scrolls and halo, and you DO need to fix that before going to print.

                                                 

                                                If you think the edges look gray in comparison to the illustration it's probably an optical illusion caused by the large amounts of white inside the illustration providing contrast. Remember, too, that 0,0,0,100 is not as dark as a rich black and will look gray in print if there is a rich black for comparison.

                                                • 23. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                  Let me add that it would be best when saving the illustrations in Illustrator that you NOT emebed any profile to ensure that ID presumes they are in your working space when they are placed and does not do any profile conversion to match the color appearance, which could result in the entire illustration going to rich black.

                                                  • 24. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    My issue is that the outer edge looks grey, and the picture looks "rich black"

                                                    Right?

                                                    You are confusing the soft proof preview with output. You have to look at the numbers to know what the output will be.

                                                     

                                                    Here I'm sampling your text and the readout is a 4-color CMYK mix:

                                                     

                                                    AcrobatScreenSnapz002.png

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    And here I'm sampling the woodcut which reads as 0|0|0|100:

                                                     

                                                    AcrobatScreenSnapz003.png

                                                     

                                                    The woodcut soft proofs as a lighter value because a 4-color black would print relatively blacker than 100% grayscale black

                                                    • 25. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Peter, one problem with the posted PDF is it has CMYK, RGB, and grayscale objects, which you can see via the Show dropdown in Output Preview:

                                                       

                                                      Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 8.55.01 AM.png

                                                       

                                                      Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 8.55.08 AM.png

                                                       

                                                      Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 8.54.50 AM.png

                                                       

                                                      You could go into Illustrator and get everything on the CMYK black plate, but because it's a 1-color job the print operator would need to output the CMYK black plate and not convert to grayscale at print time. She probably will know to do that but it's not guaranteed—there's the risk that a print time conversion to grayscale would output 90% and not 100% black.

                                                      • 26. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                        It's the text that's RGB (as I suggested back in August), and I'm not sure the grayscale is an issue. It shows as Non-device CMYK as well as when you select grayscale. It's clearly only on the black plate.

                                                         

                                                        I think the only problem comes in if you attempt to "fix" the PDF instead of fixing the illustrations. If the type in the illustrations is converted to 0,0,0,100 there won't be any conversion to grayscale required anyplace. My recollection is that there are actual color pages in this file as well, but it's been quite a while since I looked at the document ceencha sent me earlier to diagnose a different problem. That makes conversion inside Acrobat much more complicated and prone to error.

                                                        • 27. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                          That makes conversion inside Acrobat much more complicated and prone to error.

                                                          Why would converting a color object to grayscale in Illustrator or Photoshop be better than in Acrobat? Sounds like a lot of work if there are 40 pages similar to the post #1 link.

                                                          • 28. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                            If you do the conversion in Illustrator you know which objects you're working with. That's a lot less clear, at least to me, in Acrobat where you choose a class of objects and also have to make the conversion for the entire page or all pages, which may not be correct.

                                                            • 29. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              If you have a color object—RGB, Lab, or 4-color CMYK mix—the conversion will have to be to grayscale and you would have to choose one grayscale profile, so the conversion is going to be the same where ever you do it. You might be worried about the conversion of CMYK rich black vs. 0|0|0|100 producing different gray values and want to do it manually, but I think Acrobat's color conversion dialog has that covered with the Preserve Black checkbox.

                                                              • 30. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                You're presuming now that all RGB objects in the file need to be grayscale.

                                                                • 31. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                  ceencha Level 1

                                                                  I should clarify that the color pages are being treated by Sheridan as "separate" — they call it an "insert" — it has nothing to do with the Black and white sections.

                                                                   

                                                                  The 40 woodcuts happen in the Black and white section of the books.  They do not happen in the color "insert"

                                                                   

                                                                  I have to tell you that I am so confused by the above.  I am sorry: but I am just so confused by the comments above.

                                                                  • 32. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                    Are you sending one PDF, or two, to the printer? Is this printed on a press, or digitally?

                                                                     

                                                                    Which comments do you find confusing? A lot has been said this morning. Rob has suggested that the current PDF file can be fixed in Acrobat Pro (do you have Acrobat Pro?) and I've suggested that it would be best, in my opinion, to correct the problems with the woodcuts in Illustrator and to output a new PDF. Either method will probably work, but your choice of which is best may depend on whether the color pages are included in the same file and your comfort level in Acrobat, if it is available to you.

                                                                     

                                                                    Neither Rob nor I is seeing the border as "grayer" than the woodcut itself, and we are both trying to deal with the text on the woodcut pages.

                                                                    • 33. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                      ceencha Level 1

                                                                      Hello, Peter.  Again, I want to thank you so very much for all your amazing help.

                                                                       

                                                                      Regarding the text on that picture of St. Joseph, I am not too worried about it, since I can fix in inside Adobe Illustrator (just change it to 0/0/0/100, right??).  I almost NEVER used Illustrator to place the text, but for that picture, I did, because it had "rounded" text — that is why I used Illustrator for that particular picture.

                                                                       

                                                                      I just exported some random woodcuts from my project (which goes to print on Wednesday, in two days!)

                                                                       

                                                                      http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/708_Black_Ink_Tester.pdf

                                                                       

                                                                      What do you think?  Are there problems?  Are they good?

                                                                       

                                                                      My major concern is that I don't want the "outer edges" to look grey while the inside picture looks black.  That looks horrible.

                                                                       

                                                                      I want the entire page to look a uniform color black (I don't care if it is 90 or 100).

                                                                       

                                                                      PAGES 5, 8, 10, 11, and 13 are examples of entire page woodcuts.

                                                                      • 34. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                        I have to tell you that I am so confused by the above.  I am sorry: but I am just so confused by the comments above.

                                                                         

                                                                        This is your spread converted to grayscale in AcrobatPro—all of the spread's blacks are 100%

                                                                         

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

                                                                         

                                                                        Here is the Acrobat Convert Colors setup:

                                                                         

                                                                        Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 12.26.57 PM.png

                                                                        • 35. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                          Page 42 has a line of 4-color text, other than that everything is on the black plate.

                                                                          • 36. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                            ceencha Level 1

                                                                            Dear Rob,

                                                                             

                                                                            I went in and changed the TEXT to be 0/0/0/100.

                                                                             

                                                                            I changed the BACKGROUND to be 0/0/0/100 instead of "rich black".

                                                                             

                                                                            Here is the result:

                                                                             

                                                                            http://musicfortheliturgy.org/In_Design_Questions/707_Black_Ink_Tester.pdf

                                                                             

                                                                            Is there still RGB ?  It is hard for me to understand why there could have been RGB to begin with.

                                                                             

                                                                            Thank you for converting using Acrobat Pro.  What is Acrobat Pro?  I have CS5.5 Suite which has Adobe — is that Adobe Acrobat pro?

                                                                             

                                                                            When I viewed your file, Rob, all the blacks appear to look "uniform" as far as I can tell.  Here's a screen shot I took of viewing your file:

                                                                             

                                                                            928_SCREEN.jpg

                                                                             

                                                                            Does that mean if I get "stuck" I should use your conversion method of "problem" pages?

                                                                            • 37. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                              ceencha Level 1

                                                                              Peter, I am sending three files — 800 page black and white, 120 page color insert, and cover file (PDF).

                                                                              • 38. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                                Yes, you can fix the woodcuts in Illustrator by changing the text to 0/0/0/100. The one on page 10 has a similar problem in the sample PDF you just posted.

                                                                                 

                                                                                That said, ALL of the pages in that sample are now in color because of the added marks and color bars. That might or might not be a problem, depending on the printing method. For press, probably not, but if the printing is going to be done on a composite digital copier of some sort, then it's a BIG problem. That sort of device does not print only the black plate from a page that also has color on it.

                                                                                 

                                                                                As far as the woodcuts and the surrounding black, they appear to me to be the same 0/0/0/100 everywhere except the text we've already discussed.

                                                                                 

                                                                                If you have Acrobat Pro the easy way to spot a problem with something that should only be black is to open the output preview window and ucheck the black ink box. Anthing still visible on your page is using C,M, and/or Y inks.

                                                                                1 person found this helpful
                                                                                • 39. Re: What the heck? Why black looks NOT black at all !
                                                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                  If you are not experienced with AcrobatPro, don't try my conversion example. I think the example PDF you posted will work if you comunicate to the printer that you want all blacks to output at 100%

                                                                                  1 person found this helpful
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