1 Reply Latest reply: Sep 30, 2013 9:37 PM by tman69 RSS

    Gradients dropping out when opening PDFs in Illustrator

    philter2001 Community Member

      Hi everyone. I work for a large format printing company. We receive thousands of files every year from many different designers. We started to notice that gradients would drop out of some PDFs when opening them in Illustrator but they would preview fine when opened in Acrobat. I searched high and low for an explanation for this glitch. The only response I received is "Stop opening exported PDFs in Illustrator." This is an unsatisfactory answer for someone 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 toCMYK – 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 test it and let me know if you run into any issues with these workarounds.  I'm always looking for new problems to solve!

       

      - Jenny

        • 1. Re: Gradients dropping out when opening PDFs in Illustrator
          tman69 Community Member

          you said--"...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"

           

          Your workarounds seem time consuming and (possibly) unnecessary for the following reasons:

          1. large format printers use 4-8 colors to achieve color (so spot colors shouldn't be an issue)

          2. Acrobat Pro has it's own 'preflight' function that works fairly well

           

          additionally (don't know if you know this) there is an add-on to acrobat called 'Pitstop' (google it) that allows just about any change/correction/alteration to be made to a PDF

           

          ...and...opening a PDF in illustrator (that wasn't created in illustrator--do you know how to determine this?) can lead to many problems i.e. gradients dropping out, text reflow, etc.

           

          as far as testing your workarounds, seriously, who has the time when there are tools available that make using them unnecessary (this assumes that you have created these 'workarounds' to match your worflow--but a nearly pure PDF workflow should work in this day and age, depending on your RIP and software).