13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2013 8:02 AM by Phillip M Jones

    Color separation not working

    Urban Thorsell

      I have a PDF from which I need to exclude one of the colors. I'm using Acrobat XI Pro. I followed the Adobe guide to separate colors.

      When selecting Print, I can uncheck the color I want to exclude and in the preview window it looks just fine. The color is not included.

      After printing to file (printer Adobe PDF) and opended the ps-file in Distiller to a PDF, the color is still there.  Any suggestions?

        • 1. Re: Color separation not working
          Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

          Did you actually print separations? (To PDF, that is)

          If you did, there is no way to recombine these greyscale plates back into a colour page.

          • 2. Re: Color separation not working
            SeniorSSS Level 2

            I'm not quite sure but as i understood from reading somewhere when i got similiar problem, then, it doesn't work that way. I tried to use in-RIP separation and unclick channels i didn't want but pdf file still got them. Explanation was something like that in-RIP separation is just "command" for RIP devices or something. So pdf still should have all channels for viewing on your "computer".

            I solved it "bad" way. I used Separation, unclick channels i didn't neede and got channel's which i needed greyscale plate. After that i combined them back in Indesign using those channels which i needed one over other changing "black" color to channels original color (like for Cyan - Cyan=100%, Magenta, Yellow, Black=0%) and using overlaying effect - Multiply. After that i create pdf from that Indesign file and got myself "separation" i needed. Sound tricky but it really isn't. Took like 10 minutes top and before that several hours to find other and proper way

            If you didn't understand my method, i can explain it step by step later.


            P.S. I used Acrobat X Pro.

            • 3. Re: Color separation not working
              Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

              I do understand the method, and it's very ingenious. It may be about the only way you can do it.


              Short answer: Acrobat has no function to do what you want.


              Long answer: in RIP separation asks the "RIP" to do separation. If the RIP understands, then the RIP makes greyscale plates. It honours the list of plates. In the RIP doesn't understand, you can the normal full colour image with nothing taken away. This isn't an Acrobat-specific thing, it's how RIPs work.


              Now, when you print to PDF the "RIP" is Distiller. It doesn't understand in-RIP separation, so you just get an unchanged colour image. If it had understood, you would have got the same result as printing (not in-RIP) separations.

              • 4. Re: Color separation not working
                SeniorSSS Level 2

                And i just wanted to replay to your post that it's posible

                I don't know about ingenious but it felt good to solve it. But i think my memory failed me (again). I can't check it right now but i have suspicions that pdf (even if it's greyscale) cannot be "colorized" in Indesign. But it's posible to rasterize pdf throught Photoshop to tiff or something and then colorize it in Indesign or just use same Photoshop to "combine" back. There is minus (for some cases really big for some absolutly unimportant) - all vector graphic (and that means text too) will be rasterized. For me it worked couse i just needed to make "preview" print without spot channels, for printing press was sent original pdf with all "stuff" it got.

                • 5. Re: Color separation not working
                  Urban Thorsell Level 1

                  I started with a PDF, and it looked exactly as I wanted it to be when previewing the file before printing to PDF. In the preview window the color I needed to exclude was excluded, but when the file was printed to PDF it was not excluded

                  • 6. Re: Color separation not working
                    Urban Thorsell Level 1

                    Thank you for your replies!


                    OK, so color separation from a PDF is NOT supported by Acrobat XI Pro?!

                    The function is in the software, but cannot handle PDF files? In the guides I´ve read it states PPD. So, as I understand your answer Acrobat XI Pro does only support .PPD and NOT .PDF?

                    IF so, does anyone know of a software that can exclude a selected color from a PDF and create a new PDF?

                    • 7. Re: Color separation not working
                      Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                      Ok, I'll come back to my original question. Did you actually print separations? (What did you choose from the menu with choices of Composite, Separations etc.)

                      • 8. Re: Color separation not working
                        Urban Thorsell Level 1

                        OK, sorry I misunderstood your question!


                        Color: In-RIP-Separation (also tried Separations but it came out black & white)

                        • 9. Re: Color separation not working
                          SeniorSSS Level 2

                          I heard rumors (never done it by myself but people talks about it) that Pitstop can remove spot color if that is a problem.

                          • 10. Re: Color separation not working
                            Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                            I have a feeling that you do not really know what colour separations means. It in no sense means "separating out or removing a colour from a colour file".


                            Colour separations are used in professional printing, to make printing plates. There is one for each ink, so often there would be a cyan, magenta, yellow and black separation - so typically four per page (but more if there are "spot" colours). These are each black and white (greyscale) since the colour comes when the ink is added to the plate.

                            So when you make separations from Acrobat, you get black and white pages - this is working normally.

                            When you make In-RIP separations it is more complicated. A full colour file is sent to the printer ("RIP") with instructions to make separations (and instructing which ones to make or ignore). Some printers understand this and will make greyscale separations. Some printers don't (it's a very expensive add-on) so they just print colour. Distiller doesn't have the add on, so this again is working normally and prints full colour.


                            Bottom line: Acrobat doesn't offer ANY tools to take a colour plate out of a PDF, leaving a PDF with less colour.

                            • 11. Re: Color separation not working
                              Urban Thorsell Level 1

                              Thank you SeniorSSS! I will check out Pitstop

                              • 12. Re: Color separation not working
                                Urban Thorsell Level 1

                                The reason for my assuption that colour separation was the deal, is that we´ve been using a local Printing office to do some "separations" for us, but it´s getting pretty expensive since we have approx. 200 pdf´s we need do remove a colour from. They hinted that Acrobat should be able to perform the job we needed. I now understand that it is not true

                                Thank you for clearing this out for us!

                                • 13. Re: Color separation not working
                                  Phillip M Jones Level 4

                                  If you need to remove the Color and make Greyscale or B&W,  edit the images Photoshop it can kill the color.  Also if you have a Digital Camera such as a Nikon D3200 or similar you can also set the camera to create Black & White (o rGrey scale actually) images before you even shoot the picture.  Then you won't have to sepate anything.