11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2013 5:16 PM by rob day

    Transparency Flattening

    Ken Krugh Level 1

      Hey Guys,

       

      Picked up some fancy-dancy frames from a client's CS5 file that include drop shadows. The printer is telling us they can't deal with the transparencies that were created when we PDF'd it.

       

      On the PDF export dialog I see that we can only change the transparency flattening settings if we change the PDF verson down to "Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)".

       

      Why is that? I'd like to modify our "standard" PDF presets but I'm concerned about always using that old PDF version.

       

      Many thanks,

      Ken

        • 1. Re: Transparency Flattening
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          To be perfectly frank, it's time to find a new printer. Transparency has

          been part of the PDF specifications for more than 10 years.

           

          Other than that you should use the X/1-a preset and hope for the best.

           

          Bob

          • 2. Re: Transparency Flattening
            Ken Krugh Level 1

            Yeah, I said as much to the publisher. At this point its one of those things that because of the transparency the printer wants to take the time to output proof for the publisher but the publisher doesn't want to hold things up for that.

             

            Still, any idea why that option is unavailable?

             

            Thanks,

            Ken

            • 3. Re: Transparency Flattening
              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Why is that? I'd like to modify our "standard" PDF presets but I'm concerned about always using that old PDF version.

               

              I use PDF/X-1a all the time without any problems. All it does is handle color management and flattening at export time rather than print time and in many cases there's an advantage to looking at the PDF and seeing the exact print values and not a simulation. If color is important, you do have to have the correct printer profile assigned before export.

              • 4. Re: Transparency Flattening
                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Still, any idea why that option is unavailable?

                 

                PDF 1.4-1.7 keep transparency live so the flattener settings wouldn't be used and are grayed out. You can hardly blame the printer for not wanting transparency when the client won't take the time for a proof.

                • 5. Re: Transparency Flattening
                  Ken Krugh Level 1

                  I guess I can understand the printer's request for proof given the problems that can occurr that most people don't usually think about when things are flattened.

                   

                  I still don't understand why Adobe would remove it as an option just because PDF can now deal with it. I would certainly rather have a PDF export setting that I use all the time that does the flattening as I think it should.

                   

                  Maybe there's more to it than I'm aware.

                   

                  Thanks again to all for the help.

                   

                  Ken

                  • 6. Re: Transparency Flattening
                    BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    What you're missing is that there is no sense at all in flattening

                    anything past PDF 1.3.

                     

                    You do have a setting you can use. X/1-a.

                     

                    Bob

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Transparency Flattening
                      Ken Krugh Level 1

                      Well, there is if the printer my largest client uses all the time can't process it without special attention. Which comes back to your original post and finding another printer.

                       

                      If we do decide to always use the X/1-a or b setting do you know if there could potentially be anything in the InDesign file that couldn't be handled by that PDF "level?" Would InD (CS3, CS5, CS6) warn us if there were?

                       

                      Thank you again,

                      Ken

                      • 8. Re: Transparency Flattening
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        X/1-a is about as dumbed down (and archaic) as you can get.

                         

                        If it passes X/1-a standards the only thing you'd have to worry about is

                        image resolution being sufficient. Beyond that, the file will be CMYK

                        with no transparency.

                         

                        Bob

                        • 9. Re: Transparency Flattening
                          Ken Krugh Level 1

                          Re. dumbed down: Yeah, that's what I thought. Hense my concern about something being done in InD that might cause problems in that version of PDF.

                           

                          It sounds like X/1-a might be our best bet though.

                           

                          Thanks again for your time, Bob.

                           

                          Ken

                          • 10. Re: Transparency Flattening
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            The only thing that I think is likely to be a problem is mismatched transparency flattener color space and potentially some issues with spot color gradients.

                            • 11. Re: Transparency Flattening
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Re. dumbed down: Yeah, that's what I thought. Hense my concern about something being done in InD that might cause problems in that version of PDF.

                               

                              I think dumbed down is the wrong description—X-1a is just less flexible. When you know the destination you don't need  flexability—ID can correctly flatten and make the conversion to the destination CMYK space on export via X-1a. If there's a problem you'll see it when you open the flattened PDF in Acrobat–what you see is what's going to print unless someone edits the file on the other end.

                               

                              There are also cases where flexibility can cause problems. I know Adobe recommends the PDF/X-4 workflow and it is particularly good for multi-purposing documents or when the designer/provider knows nothing about color-management or flattening, which is a common scenerio. But I could easily build a PDF/X-4 that would break downstream.