21 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2015 1:21 AM by Stephan State

    PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator

    BrieBurnham Level 1

      Hello, I am having a bit of a frustrating problem.

      I'm working on graphics for a large project, and I have to get some of my files from InDesign into Illustrator (they are both CS5) for our printer.

      I would have normally designed them in Illustrator but ALL my graphics are in InDesign and we just found out once we started on production that he needs AI and needs our trim path set up for our irregular shapes. 

       

      For MOST of the documents, its been pretty easy (exporting to PDF > opening in illustrator and making a cut path > saving as AI) however I have this one file that is making me lose my mind.

      When I export it as PDF, it opens perfectly and looks normal in acrobat, and I also check it out in preview as well. The background shows up and everything. However when I open the PDF in illustrator it completely loses the background. I noticed it doing this before for a couple graphics, but I assumed that was because they had gradients drop shadows and transparencies and all that. This file has nothing weird except for a gradient grey background.

       

      Help? I'm including some screenshots of whats happening in the hopes that you guys can help solve it.

       

      http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at121802PM.png

      http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at121852PM.png

      http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at121900PM.png

      http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at121819PM.png

       

      So here we have me saving it, then opening it in Acrobat to check stuff out.

       

      Now here is what happens when I open it in Illustrator:

       

      http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at121749PM.png

        • 1. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          My best advice is to dump that printer and tell him why.

           

          There is ZERO reason for the "request." Illustrator is NOT a general

          purpose PDF editor.

           

          If you truly have to work this way you'll probably find it faster to

          recreate the entire thing in Illustrator.

          • 2. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            And you're making this even worse by flattening everything with X-1a.

            • 3. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
              BrieBurnham Level 1

              Unfortunately I don't have a choice with the printer, the museum hired him so we have to stick with him. His work is pretty good but I've just run into a bunch of technical problems since I'm used to giving people just the native indesign file packaged and outlined and letting THEM deal with it. I just am more comfortable using InDesign to create graphics since I'm bringing in stuff from all over so 90% of my stuff is designed in InDesign.

               

              Anyways....

              He said because of the type of printer they use (?) they need to print from a high res PDF (OR Illustrator). Which I am ok with (although flattening my transparencies since many of my files have 3 layers of textures and gradients and overlays has been a NIGHTMARE. But that is another story and probably another post). Most of the graphics are PDFs now and look fine.

               

              But since some of my files are irregular and require a precise trim path and not just a bleed (in this case, the rounded "pill" shape) he said his printer/cutter needed the "cut path" to be in illustrator. Most of the PDFs that I needed to bring into Illustrator for the cut path look exactly perfect, even the ones with complex backgrounds. But for some reason this particular one is having the background drop out.

              • 4. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                BrieBurnham Level 1

                And you're making this even worse by flattening everything with X-1a.

                Do you have any suggestions on how to save the files? My files are typically a ton of layers and transparencies and PSD files placed. I modify the X-1a with a "museums" preset we have that USUALLY looks great when tested in PSD, Acrobat, and Illustrator (I test it to see if its actually 100% what I want). But its definitely NOT perfect, as occasionally things like this happen.

                 

                I am an entry level designer that got bumped up to lead and I'm sort of lacking in these practical skills like "how to save the PDF when you have a bajillion layers for your printer."

                So any tips on best ways to export to PDFs from InDesign so its exactly how it "looks" would be so appreciated. I'm hoping that will also solve my strange illustrator background issue.

                 

                Edited to add: I'm worried about NOT flattening it though, because of the white drop out that can occur :/

                • 5. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                  BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  It shouldn't matter if you have one layer or a bajillion. PDF/X-4 is the

                  industry standard.

                   

                  If you need to supply die lines then draw them and add them to a new

                  layer directly above the bajillionth

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                    BrieBurnham Level 1

                    I just tried it with PDF/x-4 and the background is still missing when I open it in illustrator

                    • 7. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      Bob, in this case I think the request is to have this in Illy because the printing device is perhaps a cutting plotter in a sign shop.

                       

                      @ BrieBurnham,

                       

                      That looks simple enough that you could easily copy and paste the shapes into Illustrator and then reset the type in a matter of a few minutes...

                      • 8. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        If that's the case I would expect the request for a CorelDRAW file.

                         

                        And your advice is the same as my original advice. Just recreate it in

                        Illy.

                        • 9. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                          CorelDraw? Seriously?

                           

                          As far as repeating your advice, nobody pays attention to you anyway.

                          • 10. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                            BrieBurnham Level 1

                            Bob, in this case I think the request is to have this in Illy because the printing device is perhaps a cutting plotter in a sign shop.

                             

                            @ BrieBurnham,

                             

                            That looks simple enough that you could easily copy and paste the shapes into Illustrator and then reset the type in a matter of a few minutes...

                            Its a printing/cutting machine that can print white and prints directly onto the material (in this case, alluminum). Its slipping my mind the name of the process.

                             

                            As for the graphic, I'll try recreating it, I'm just frustrated its dropping things from the PDF and was hoping to fix it since this same thing happened a couple times to other graphics that I can't recreate in illustrator and when I try and copy and paste those it gives me an error message (most likely because of all my vector lines -its a tiled molecule pattern).

                             

                             

                            But an update on THIS graphic: its simple enough that I was able to copy and paste all the objects into illustrator without it giving me the error. So....success for now!

                            • 11. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              I haven't done signs in a long time but the shops I used to deal with

                              wanted CorelDRAW or EPS.

                               

                              And I know nobody pays attention to me, but I don't pay attention to

                              them, either.

                              • 14. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                BrieBurnham Level 1

                                Now I'm running into this problem with a more complex graphic when I'm exporting from InDesign:

                                 

                                This is how it looks in illustrator (and I am using just X-4, and making it Acrobat v9 compatable FYI):

                                 

                                http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at45829PM.png

                                 

                                This is how it looks in both InDesign AND Acrobat:

                                 

                                http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at45846PM.png

                                 

                                (it is the bottom part of a layered sign, which is why its super simple FYI)

                                 

                                I tried to copy and paste it into Illustrator but for some reason the gradient grey is never showing up, just the molecule background and type.

                                Does it have a problem with gradients? and is this a display problem for my illustrator? I don't know if I should take this to the illustrator forum, but its an issue about moving a file FROM Indesign to illustrator. Ugh. I honestly find the technical troubleshooting so frustrating, I just want to do design  

                                • 15. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                  BrieBurnham Level 1

                                  I'm wondering if it is that particular gradient of grey that doesn't transfer? Its from 40% black > 20% black and I made new swatches for each of those values.

                                   

                                  Here is another file, exported into a PDF from InDesign and opened in illustrator. And here the gradient IS showing up, the document looks exactly how it looked in InDesign.

                                  Gradients and all.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c62/brieface/Screenshot2013-08-26at52416PM.png

                                  • 16. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    I think Bob mentioned at the start that Illustrator is not an all-purpose PDF editor. It can only reliably edit its own PDFs andy anything else is a conversion that may be great, or not so great. ID's PDF tends to be very difficult to edit in Illy because it has tons of fragmentation and clipping mask additions.

                                     

                                    Why not add another ellipse with your gradient behind the molecule in Illy, or copy/paste only the molecule since it's probably more complex than you'd care to redraw?

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 17. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      You should stop opening the PDFs in Illustrator. As mentioned already.

                                       

                                      If the printer wants Illustrator files then use Illustrator to create the print job.

                                       

                                       

                                      Stop trying to use the wrong tools to get accurate results.

                                       

                                      You're better off using the right tools and save yourself time, and exasparation.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 18. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                        BrieBurnham Level 1

                                        You should stop opening the PDFs in Illustrator. As mentioned already.

                                         

                                        If the printer wants Illustrator files then use Illustrator to create the print job.

                                         

                                         

                                        Stop trying to use the wrong tools to get accurate results.

                                         

                                        You're better off using the right tools and save yourself time, and exasparation.

                                        Thanks guys, I'll give all these a try. And I definitely wish I had created them in illustrator, I just didn't get a chance to speak to my printer until AFTER everything was designed so I was trying to find a way that I didn't have to completely re-do everything (I have about 100+ graphics laid out already in InDesign).

                                         

                                        I appreciate everyone's input and advice greatly.

                                        • 19. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                          philter2001 Level 1

                                          Hi, Brie. I have been running into this issue for quite some time now. I also received the same response as you did. "Stop opening exported PDFs in Illustrator." This is an unsatisfactory answer for someone that works in the large format print industry that needs to preflight directly in the Illustrator program. I've done a ton of research and have been racking my brain for the last 2 years and have finally found sufficient workarounds for this issue. The downfall with these workarounds: all spot colors located in the gradients will convert to CMYK mixes. I'm still researching to see if there is a way to keep spot colors intact in these areas.

                                           

                                          A little back story: InDesign is converting the gradients into something called NChannel. It enables more accurate handling of color blending by including additional dot gain and color mixing info. Both InDesign and Acrobat have the ability to display these elements whereas Illustrator, from what I’m finding, does not. Which is why we’re seeing gradient elements drop out when opened in Illustrator.

                                           

                                          Workaround for CMYK Gradients

                                          Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat

                                          Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors

                                          Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)

                                          Color Type: DeviceCMYK

                                          Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)

                                          Expand Document Colors on the right and Select DeviceCMYK in Color Spaces then click ok

                                          Save the PDF

                                           

                                          Workaround for 1 Spot Color in Gradients (Converts Spot Color located in Gradient to CMYK – all other Spots stay intact)

                                          Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat

                                          Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors

                                          Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)

                                          Color Type: Spot Color

                                          Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)

                                          Expand Document Colors on the right and Select the Spot that is located in the Gradient in Color Spaces then click ok

                                          Save the PDF

                                           

                                          Workaround for 2 Spot Colors in Gradients (Converts Spot Colors located in Gradient to CMYK – all other Spots stay intact)

                                          Open PDF exported from INDD in Acrobat

                                          Go to Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors

                                          Object Type: Smooth Shade (this tells Acrobat to hone in on Gradients only)

                                          Color Type: Spot Color

                                          Check Embed next to Conversion Profile (should be SWOP)

                                          Expand Document Colors on the right and Select the DeviceN spot color that is located in the Gradient in Color Spaces then click ok

                                          Save the PDF

                                           

                                          Please try this and let me know if you have any questions! I'm always looking for new problems to solve! Good luck!

                                           

                                          - Jenny

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 20. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                            BrieBurnham Level 1

                                            Thank you for this! I managed to use it for some of the graphics, but in the end I had to stand my ground a bit and insist I give them my native files. Fortunately they have the capabilities to handle it but I'm going to save this in case I need to use it again in the future.

                                            • 21. Re: PDF exported from InDesign missing background when opened in Illustrator
                                              Stephan State

                                              I have had the same problem with missing gradients in exported PDFs, but your solution solved this!