2 Replies Latest reply on Feb 21, 2014 3:18 AM by Peter Spier

    How to keep accurate color in a PDF?

    kiski Level 1

      Mac OSX10.6.8  InDesign CS6.

       

      I've created a design for a flowing graphic "wave" across an office window 20 ft wide. The only colour is Pantone #301 (blue), and there are gradients from 10% to 80%.

      The sign supplier wants a high res PDF to print on a flexible vinyl material. When I export to PDF, the colors change on my screen and go from blue to a grayish-blue tone.

       

      1) If I don't do anything, but send the file, will the final output be close to what I see on my screen, or what the InDesign color palette specifies?

       

      2) When I export to PDF, I see several options. I've tried several variations, and it does not bring the image closer to Pantone #301. What else can I do to assure I get the Pantone color?...

       

      Here are the process and options:

      - Pantone #301 is only color specified in InDesign.

      - EXPORT to PDF.

      - QUALITY  - Press

      - COMPATIBILITY - options from PDF 1.4 to 1.7. Which is the best to use?

      - OUTPUT - COLOR -

      Conversion to Destination? or Not?

      Destination - many, many choices!

      Profile Inclusion? Not sure what that does.

      Ink Manager - It gives an option for "Spot to Process". Should I chose that?

       

      Any help you can provide will be tremendous! We can't have the wrong color output.

        • 1. Re: How to keep accurate color in a PDF?
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

          kiski schrieb:

           

          Mac OSX10.6.8  InDesign CS6.

           

          I've created a design for a flowing graphic "wave" across an office window 20 ft wide. The only colour is Pantone #301 (blue), and there are gradients from 10% to 80%.

          The sign supplier wants a high res PDF to print on a flexible vinyl material. When I export to PDF, the colors change on my screen and go from blue to a grayish-blue tone.

           

          If you use spot colors, the color on the screen will not affect anyway the final result. You should compare your color with a printed color book from pantone.

           

           

          kiski schrieb:

           

          Mac OSX10.6.8  InDesign CS6.

           

           

          1) If I don't do anything, but send the file, will the final output be close to what I see on my screen, or what the InDesign color palette specifies?

           

          It depends how accurate your screen can show the colors and if your screen is calibrated. If not, the colors may be far away from what you see on your screen. Compare it to a printed Pantone Color Book or go to the printer and let him show you his color book and example prints with those colors. It is easy for him if you are there to change the print to a different color which will come closer to your intend.

          If you have no calibrated monitor you cannot trust the colors you see, but anyway even if your monitor is calibrated there is always a discrepancy betwen the additive color model which any monitor or any light has and the subtractive color models (like cmyk) which will be printed. Only very expensive and very accurate monitors can come close to real print colors.

           

          kiski schrieb:

           

          Mac OSX10.6.8  InDesign CS6.

           

           

          2) When I export to PDF, I see several options. I've tried several variations, and it does not bring the image closer to Pantone #301. What else can I do to assure I get the Pantone color?...

           

          Here are the process and options:

          - Pantone #301 is only color specified in InDesign.

          - EXPORT to PDF.

          - QUALITY  - Press

          - COMPATIBILITY - options from PDF 1.4 to 1.7. Which is the best to use?

          - OUTPUT - COLOR -

          Conversion to Destination? or Not?

          Destination - many, many choices!

          Profile Inclusion? Not sure what that does.

          Ink Manager - It gives an option for "Spot to Process". Should I chose that?

           

          Any help you can provide will be tremendous! We can't have the wrong color output.

          Fist of all it is important to communicate with the printer before you do anything.

          Export to PDF is ok.

          For printing purposes are different PDF/X presets. Which one you have to choose you should ask your printer.

          I don't think that a conversion might be good in your case, destination you can get only from your printer.

          Profile inclusion would tag your color values with an output profile (or a different source profile). A color is defined not only by color numbers but also by its profile and the environment where the color is printed and presented and the light you will see it. That is a problem with a not calibrated monitor, which will have the color numbers in RGB but not an accurate monitor profile.

          If your printer prints with Pantone Spot Colors (what I hope in your case) you must NOT use the Ink Manager and must not convert a spot color to process color.

          • 2. Re: How to keep accurate color in a PDF?
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            This sounds like a one-off, or very low number print run, and you mentioned vinyl, which makes me think this is going to run on an inkjet plotter, so it's pretty unlikely that real spot inks will be used. In my Color Bridge swatch book the CMYK conversion for 301 has a decidedly gray cast and I would suggest you ask the printer to do a small sample of 301 on the actual media in various densities so you can see the real thing -- ID isn't particularly good at rendering spot color tints on screen.

             

            As far as whether to do the spot-to-process conversion on export or in the plotter, ask the printer. If he says to do the conversion yourself (which lets him off the hook), be sure you get a destination profile from the printer. CS6 defines spot colors using Lab values for the best possible conversions when you have the correct destination profile. If the destination is a CMYK profile, you might also do better using the Color Bridge version of the swatch.