23 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2013 11:02 PM by Peter Spier

    tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now

    karinaepf

      Hello!

       

      I'm still learning indesign so i'm definitely not a pro. I've been working on an assignment which consists of creating compositions in indesign. The indesign file basically has text, lines and colored areas.

       

      I've just realized that I am only allowed to use a couple of colors and their tints. This whole time i've been using color and working with its transparency. Is that remotely the same thing? I am not sure how to get the exact same color i've produced when working with the transparency of a color as a tint. (I'm not suppose to be using transparency yet... XD) Please help.

       

      Also, once the above is figured out, what is the correct way to export this file as a pdf? Finally, I also need to export all 12 compositions as a 72dpi jpeg to upload online-- how do i do that? The file in indesign is a cmyk file and i'm pretty sure it exports as a cmyk pdf which is okay since i'm printing the pdf. The jpeg part really throws me off though.

       

      So far, this is what i'm 100% sure on:

       

      Indesign:

       

      File> Adobe PDF presets> High Quality Print> give the file a name and save

       

      then

       

      this is where i get confused - do I changed the standard options and compability options as well? what about the compression? i've basically printed so many variations of the project playing with the above (from what i've read) and have reached a point in which i'm no longer sure what the correct colors of my file are once exported as a pdf.

       

      Please help me. Thank you in advance!!!

       

      (forgot to mention i'm working with indesign CS5.5 and adobe acrobat pro x)

        • 1. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Tints and transparency can yeild the same result, or something completely different, depending on how you use them.

           

          Tints are a halftone screen, or partial coverage of an area with your color, but if you put them in front of something else, they knock it out and there is no interaction unless you specify that one color should "overprint" the other and mix. When you use transparency you are also using only partial coverage, but when placed in front of something else, they interact and blend with what is behind them.

           

          Tints are created inthe Swatches panel, transparency inthe Effects panel. As far as whether you should be using transparency, that depends on the assignment, and also how you use the colors. If there is nothing behind that need to interact, a tint is less complex to process and less likely to cause other problems.

           

          What are the colors you are using. You said the file is CMYK, so are you using process colors (CMYK mixes, which is not truly a two color file) or Spot colors, whcih are solid inks,  more like paint (and intended only for output on a printing press where you would make a plate for each spot color used in the file).

           

          The High Quality Print preset will preserve the colors you use unchanged, so the instructor can see them in the output preview. Don't change a thing in the preset unless the instructor tells you to do so.

           

          JPEG export is a separate operation. File > Export... and choose JPEG, then set the parameters in the next dialog.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
            Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

            Transparency and Tints are VERY diferent. Imagine, you have a white Background it looks very the same. But you can place an object with 50% Opacity on a different color, let's say black and do the same with a 50% tint. The 50% Opacity object (transparent object) will mix with that background color and will show up darker, the tint will not change at all.

             

            Which preset you use for PDF export depends on the purpose you will it use for. For offset printing you should use a PDF X-standard, depending on the requirement of the printer. 72ppi would be to low for offset printing.

            High Quality Print is only useful for small laser printer, I would not recommend to use it at all.

            If you want to supply your PDF in the Internet you can choose an PDF interactive Export or Smallest File Size.

             

            What color space you get upon PDF export depends on the settings in the Output Sections of the PDF Print Export dialog. This should be as the printer requires it. There is no common valid setting, depends on the paper and the process the printer is using.

             

            I would recommend to change standard setting only if you know what they are meaning or when the printer tells you to do so.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

              Also please note that in general, overprinting tints to achieve a poor man's transparency effect is most strongly NOT RECOMMENDED for reliable workflows. Not all PDF viewers (especially for mobile devices) support overprint display at all. And even with Adobe Reader and Acrobat, you need to be in certains modes or output preview to see the effects of overprint.

               

              If you want or need transparency, use the appropriate transparency blend mode. Most all PDF viewers support at least the standard and multiply blend modes of transparency. Adobe Reader and Acrobat support all 16 blend modes.

               

                        - Dov

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                karinaepf Level 1

                Hello again!

                 

                @ Peter, these are the colors I am using:

                 

                Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 5.05.57 PM.png

                 

                The assignment says colors + tints only. However, I showed my professor my compositions and she didn't say anything with regards to that (i'm not sure if she noticed...). I was told to leave them as they are.

                 

                I know feel extremely silly; instead of transparency I meant opasity. Sorry guys; today is just not my day. Is opasity similar to transparency? For some reason i was thinking transparency is opasity. In a couple of compositions I am using both a tint and opasity in a color. In others just opasity or tints of a color.

                 

                Thanks for the pdf printing advice. I think I will just leave it with its presets. My only concern though is that i've printed the exact same file on two different cmyk printers and the colors have come out differently. Also, the colors are a bit more richer/pale in some aspects of the pdf file as oppose to the indesign file, is that normal? Is it also okay for the colors to get darker when I proof colors the file in indesign?

                 

                Thanks for the jpeg export answer as well! I was doing something else completely- saving the pdf as jpeg images and then changing their settings under convertion>colorspace to rgb... plus other options, big confusion/mess :S

                • 5. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                  karinaepf Level 1

                  @ Pete

                   

                  Nevermind about the opasity question; Willie just answered that question for me.

                   

                  @ Willie

                   

                  Thanks for the explanation! I was worried I messed up by saying transparency as opposed to oppasity but i saw you refered to them as the same thing.

                  • 6. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                    karinaepf Level 1

                    @ Willie

                     

                    What exactly is offset printing? I've read that X-1 flattens transparency and X-4 keeps it (?). I was under the impression that a high quality print is the best option for printing a file (ex. poster, presentation board, etc.)

                     

                    Thanks for the tips about the internet and pdfs!

                    • 7. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                      karinaepf Level 1

                      @ Dov

                       

                      Thanks for the info! Sorry, my terminology is not that good. Sorry if the following is a really silly thing to ask but could you tell me in simpler terms what you mean by overprinting tints to achieve a poor man's transparency effect is most strongly NOT RECOMMENDED for reliable workflows. Thank you in advance!!

                       

                      How do you know when you are using the appropriate transparency blend mode?

                      • 8. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        Ofset printing is printing using a printing press and plates for the individual inks that make up the colors (typically CMYK, but also spot colors). In a gross oversimplification of the process the press coats the plates with ink, and the ink is transferred from the plates to a "blanket" which is made of a resiliant material like vinyl, and the ink is "offset" again from the blanket onto the paper.

                         

                        Laser and inkjet  printers, for the most part, use only CMYK ink or toner (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK) to mix a simulation of other colors. We tend to refer to these types of printers as digital printers.

                         

                        The High Quality Print preset is really designed for digital prints rather than offset, but it's unlikley you would be going to press with your classwork, so it is not an inappropriate choice. PDF/X is a group of standards, mostly for the offset world. X-1a flattens transparency during the PDF export process and converts all colors to one CMYK output space. X-4 leaves transparency live and colors unchanged (and embeds a rendering intent) so that the transparency is flattened and the colors converted at the last possible moment before making the plates. A PDF\X-4 file is usable over many different output conditions becasue the final conversions are made at print time. X-1a is meant for only one specific device, so you must know in advance what the output condition will be.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                          karinaepf wrote:

                           

                          @ Dov

                           

                          Thanks for the info! Sorry, my terminology is not that good. Sorry if the following is a really silly thing to ask but could you tell me in simpler terms what you mean by overprinting tints to achieve a poor man's transparency effect is most strongly NOT RECOMMENDED for reliable workflows. Thank you in advance!!

                           

                          How do you know when you are using the appropriate transparency blend mode?

                           

                          (1) Prior to transparency being an attribute of PDF and the Adobe Imaging model, the only easy way you could fake transparency was use of overprinted tints. Since overprinting is not always viewable or printable with various PDF viewers and modes, you are better off using the transparency attribute. That is well-defined and widely implemented (of course, fully implemented in all Adobe products).

                           

                          (2) Simple transparency is most often accomplished by the normal blend mode, drop shadows are implemented using the multiply blend mode. Beyond that it gets more complicated than it would be fair to get into here.

                           

                                    - Dov

                          • 10. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                            Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                            Dov Isaacs wrote:

                            (1) Prior to transparency being an attribute of PDF and the Adobe Imaging model, the only easy way you could fake transparency was use of overprinted tints. Since overprinting is not always viewable or printable with various PDF viewers and modes, you are better off using the transparency attribute. That is well-defined and widely implemented (of course, fully implemented in all Adobe products).

                             

                                      - Dov

                            But Overprinting is not fully supported in combination with X4 when it comes to the pdfx-ready test V3 http://www.pdfx-ready.ch/index.php?show=496

                            In section 27 the results are different from that what should be and in each Adobe Product (InDesign, Illustrator with Export, Illustrator with Flatten Transparency, Photoshop) you will get a VERY different result from each of those programs too. This causes the problem, that here (DACH region), where many printers use this test they don't want to have X4 files because they have to fulfill this test. That is why I take overprinting with caution into X4 files.

                            • 11. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                              Willi Adelberger wrote:

                               

                              Dov Isaacs wrote:

                              (1) Prior to transparency being an attribute of PDF and the Adobe Imaging model, the only easy way you could fake transparency was use of overprinted tints. Since overprinting is not always viewable or printable with various PDF viewers and modes, you are better off using the transparency attribute. That is well-defined and widely implemented (of course, fully implemented in all Adobe products).

                               

                                        - Dov

                              But Overprinting is not fully supported in combination with X4 when it comes to the pdfx-ready test V3 http://www.pdfx-ready.ch/index.php?show=496

                              In section 27 the results are different from that what should be and in each Adobe Product (InDesign, Illustrator with Export, Illustrator with Flatten Transparency, Photoshop) you will get a VERY different result from each of those programs too. This causes the problem, that here (DACH region), where many printers use this test they don't want to have X4 files because they have to fulfill this test. That is why I take overprinting with caution into X4 files.

                               

                              The PDFX-Ready “test” referred to is actually composed of swatches from test swatches from the Ghent Workgroup V3 tests, with which we are very familiar (I'm Adobe's representative to the Ghent Workgroup.

                               

                              I don't quite understand what you are claiming the issue is with swatch 27. When viewed or printed from Adobe Reader or Acrobat, the results are correct. When sent to a RIP with the Adobe PDF Print Engine supporting PDF/X-4, the results are correct.

                               

                              When you discuss InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop with regards to this patch, exactly what do you mean, somehow opening, placing, and/or linking to this file from those applications? Of those three programs, none honor the output intent profile of PDF/X-4.

                               

                              In the case of Photoshop, assuming that you are creating a CMYK image from a PDF/X-4 file, unless that image's color space matches that of the PDF/X-4 file's output intent profile, all bets are off, although explicitly-tagged CMYK and RGB will come in correctly, albeit converted to the Photoshop image's CMYK color space. But there is no good reason to bring such files into Photoshop unless your goal is to ruin the quality of the content.

                               

                              In the case of Illustrator, you certainly never want to open such a PDF file in Illustrator since Illustrator is not a PDF editor.

                               

                              For both Illustrator and InDesign, if you place a PDF/X-4 file, you do have the limitation that the output intent profile from the PDF/X-4 file is totally ignored although explicitly-tagged CMYK, RGB, and grayscale is indeed honored. That could cause some issues if the CMYK profile of the placed file doesn't match the default CMYK color space of the Illustrator or InDesign document. However, this is no different than for PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3! This is a known issue that I am trying to get resolved with both the Illustrator and InDesign development teams at Adobe (to offer option to honor output intent of PDF/X and tag or convert as necessary non-tagged objects in the placed PDF/X).

                               

                              You brought up “flattening” — I don't know why you are involving that. Transparency blending should only be done at rendering time (i.e., when PDF is displayed or actually RIPed). Anything else is a crap shoot!

                               

                              And obviously, in these applications, the normal viewing mode doesn't take overprinting or even the final ouput color space into account, but that isn't a PDF/X-4 issue at all!

                               

                              My original recommendation was not to use overprinting other than in limited situations such as black text overprint (and possibly manual trapping although in-RIP trapping is adequate for the vast majority of today's printing other than some packaging). The reason for this recommendation has nothing to do with these test swatches and their use or mis-use!

                               

                              We have been watching the current circus at the Ghent Workgroup meetings where some of the participants (especially old-time printers who are very set in their ways) are dead set against any standards or use of standards in which there is anything but pre-flattened (i.e., dead) transparency and device CMYK-only colorants (plus true spot colors when absolutely necessary). This is the old “shift the blame” mentality – we printed the exact CMYK values you provided and if it doesn't look right, it's the designer's fault! The newest Ghent Workgroup standards support PDF/X-4, albeit prohibiting use of anything other than device CMYK and spot colors and even that is too radical for some of the European print associations.

                               

                              Although Adobe is a member of  and very actively participates in the development of the Ghent Workgroup standards (as well as providing preflight profiles for same in Acrobat XI Pro), it certainly does not endorse their use for reliable PDF publishing workflow. We do endorse use of PDF/X-4 including maintaining the original ICC profile-tagged colors of content, whether CMYK, RGB, or even Lab. The experience of print service providers with open minds (i.e., not Luddites) using PDF/X-4 as designed has been exceptionally positive. If and when the Ghent Workgroup has standards based on the full PDF/X-4 specification (and hopefully the mostly European print association members endorse same), Adobe will gladly endorse such standards.

                               

                                        - Dov

                              • 12. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                karinaepf Level 1

                                Hello!

                                 

                                Thank you for your kind and helpful replies. I was away celebrating Thanksgiving. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, rest of the week!

                                 

                                @ Peter

                                 

                                Thank you for your explanation of what offset printing is. It really helped me visualize the process. Is this something used only when it comes to printing large quantities of work then? (I'm assuming large files as well)

                                 

                                @ Dov

                                 

                                Thanks for explaining your answer in simpler terms. I now understand what you meant. If i'm understanding things correctly, it's not good to use tints over other colors/objects yet it's alright to use them when they are on white backgrounds. Also, it's best not to use tints when it comes to overprinting; transparency is best.

                                 

                                @ Will

                                 

                                Thanks for your information! I'm a bit confused now to be honest; pdfx-4 is not recommended when overprinting with transparency?

                                 

                                @ Dov

                                 

                                If I'm understanding correctly, what you and Will are saying is that it's best not to import pdfs that are saved as pdfx-4? I really enjoyed reading all the extra info. It's all quite exciting! (trying to wrap my head around this)

                                 

                                Thanks guys!!

                                 

                                I decided to export the indesing file under Adobe Pdf Presets> High Quality Print. I didn't change any of the standard settings. With regards to the jpgs, I used the advice recommended - File > Export, choose JPEG, 72 ppi. I do have one large question though...

                                 

                                This is what one of the compositions looks like in indesign:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.53.41 PM.png

                                 

                                 

                                This is what it looks like when I view it under View> Proof Colors in Indesign:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.38.03 PM.png

                                 

                                This is what it looks like when I export it as a Hight Quality Print pdf:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.43.25 PM.png

                                 

                                This is what the jpeg image looks like when I export it under the following settings:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.45.17 PM.png

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.45.57 PM.png

                                 

                                And this is what the jpeg image looks like when I export it under these settings:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.48.34 PM.png

                                Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 2.46.14 PM.png

                                 

                                Is it correct of me to use the exported jpegs with the simulate overprint option selected even though i'm only digital printing this pdf file? The color of the jpeg resenmbles the most of the pdf color. Thus... is it alright to do that?

                                 

                                Thank you

                                • 13. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                  karinaepf Level 1

                                  p.s. Sorry for the blurry images in my post . I'm not sure what happened. The quality is excellent in my mac.

                                  • 14. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    Whew...

                                     

                                    Offset printing has high upfront setup costs, but gets cheaper per print the more prints you make, so it's typically used for longer runs in color, though it's required for any run length if you need spot colors that cannot be simulated accurately in CMYK, or if you need a specialty stock that will not run in the digital device, or if you just want a print quality that digital can't produce (offset is capable of higher resolutions and would be the choice even for a short run of a coffee table art book).

                                     

                                    Digital printing (typically a laser printer of some sort, but possibly inkjet, especially for large format work) has a lower first-print cost (no plates, no press setup or cleanup), but the cost doesn't go down much for longer runs -- the cost per print curve is pretty flat. There will always be some quantity where the cost of digital crosses the cost of offset and it becomes less expensive to run on the press.

                                     

                                    Looking at your screen capture I don't see anything that requires transparency. [Black] overprints by default, so it might make sense to check the simulate overprint box, but I don't think it's going to make much difference here in a jpeg, and wihtout transparency there would be no need to flatten a PDF, so there it would be moot.

                                     

                                    I'm wondering why the blue is going so purple though. What is the color?

                                     

                                    I'm not sure why you got the idea from Dov's post that you should not import PDF/X-4 into ID. It should fare no worse than other PDF, and if all the objects it contains have profiles attached (as anyone here would recommend) there would be no problems.

                                    • 15. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                      karinaepf wrote:

                                       

                                      ...

                                       

                                      @ Dov

                                       

                                      Thanks for explaining your answer in simpler terms. I now understand what you meant. If i'm understanding things correctly, it's not good to use tints over other colors/objects yet it's alright to use them when they are on white backgrounds. Also, it's best not to use tints when it comes to overprinting; transparency is best.


                                      ...

                                       

                                      @ Dov

                                       

                                      If I'm understanding correctly, what you and Will are saying is that it's best not to import pdfs that are saved as pdfx-4? I really enjoyed reading all the extra info. It's all quite exciting! (trying to wrap my head around this)

                                      ...

                                       

                                       

                                      There is nothing wrong with use of tints unless you try to overprint with them as a means of faking transparency. Don't do that! Otherwise, tints are simply “lighter” versions of the colors that they are based upon.

                                       

                                      No, there is no problem with placing PDF/X-4 files unless there is a significant difference between the default CMYK color space of the placed PDF/X-4 file and the CMYK color space of the document you are placing the PDF into. It is most often not a significant issue, especially if your PDF/X-4 files have their digital images in RGB color spaces with ICC profiles, the preferred reliable publishing workflow these days.

                                       

                                                - Dov

                                      • 16. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                        karinaepf Level 1

                                        Hello!

                                         

                                        I re-read all the answers now and understood it better. Thank you.

                                         

                                        @ Peter

                                         

                                        I do use transparency in some compositions; this is just one example in which a color with opacity is not used on top of another color, instead, it's used as the overall color background.

                                         

                                        The background color is:

                                         

                                        Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.16.43 PM.png

                                         

                                        with a 40% opacity.

                                         

                                        I'm not really sure what the color is suppose to be now to be honest... In indesign, it looks blue-ish; when I proof the colors, it looks purpleish. As a pdf, it comes out purpleish. As a jpg, without overprint it's blue-ish, with overprint it's purpleish. That's why I asked if it's alright if I use the overprint jpegs. The pdf is suppose to represent the actual colors right?

                                         

                                        Thank you!

                                        • 17. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          Do you really mean 40% opacity, or 40% tint? In the screen shot you are at 100% tint, so I'm curious. I suspect you really are using the transparency, which you don't need, and that's why the color is shifting with simulate overprint.

                                          • 18. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                            And a quick test seems to confirm this. The 40% tint and the 40% transparency bot look more like the purple version (and are identical here) with overprint preview turned on. Without overprint preview the tranparent version is blue.

                                             

                                            ID doesn't really preview transparency well without overprint preview enabled.

                                            • 19. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                              karinaepf Level 1

                                              @ Peter

                                               

                                              Yeah, the color is 100% with a 40% opacity in all the images above. So then, why is the pdf color more of a darker blueish/purpleish color? I didn't change any settings or clicked anything that said overprint when making this. I only used the simulate overprint option shown under the jpeg settings menu when it came time to export it as an rgb jpeg (to get the same color as the pdf color). Also, what about when I proof set the colors in indesign? That color resembles the pdf color.

                                               

                                              I'm still confused about which version I should use. The pdf is correct right? That's what I'm submitthing. But then which jpeg image version do I use to upload online?

                                               

                                              Thank you in advance!

                                              • 20. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                The PDF is correct, as is the jpeg with the overprint simulation.

                                                 

                                                For this file it would be better not to use transparency -- unnecessary complications with overprint settings as you discovered.

                                                • 21. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                                  karinaepf Level 1

                                                  @ Peter

                                                   

                                                  Okay, thank you!

                                                   

                                                  I didn't really think it would be problematic to have twelve pages with tints and/or transparency here and/or there in a file. I certanily learned new things!

                                                  • 22. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                                    karinaepf Level 1

                                                    @ Peter

                                                     

                                                    Sorry to bother you again with this topic. I thought it was concluded. I went ahead and printed the pdf in the final (nice) printers. (Amazingly) The image came out closer to the lighter blueish/purpleish color in indesign. I printed it three times to make sure. I also printed it in my personal printer - same ligther result.

                                                     

                                                    So even though the pdf looks more purpleish, it will print closer to:

                                                    Final cont. 2 with final changes (text) and background crops3.jpg

                                                     

                                                    which looks more like the color in indesign. Is it better if I upload the lighter jpeg then (the non simulate overprint image)? I'm using the jpeg to represent my work online. What does one normally do in this type of scenario?

                                                     

                                                    Thanks in advance!

                                                    • 23. Re: tints vs. transparency; printing indesign file - so confused now
                                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                      Looks like a pofile mismatch with the printer. I'd upload whichever jpeg is closer to the actual print, but remember that the color people see online will vary with the quality and condition of their monitors anyway.