17 Replies Latest reply on Sep 21, 2014 2:25 PM by rob day

    Black on Multiple Plates?

    Lou Dina Level 3

      I created an Engineering line drawing Illustrator CS6 using only black ink (0C, 0M, 0Y, 100K). I do have color management turned on, set to Gracol2006_Coated1v2. I saved the file with the profile embedded in AI format. I placed the saved file into an InDesign brochure. InDesign and the document are both set to the same CMYK color space as Illustrator. I was doing a prepress check before sending the file off for printing and discovered that these line drawings (supposedly K only) are showing up on all four process plates. I double checked the file in Illustrator and it looked okay to me. So, I created a "grayscale swatch" set to 100K and redid the file. It still shows up on all four plates in ID.

       

      I decided to try saving the Illustrator file as a PDF using the Illustrator default settings. When placed in ID, they were K only. I tried another experiment. I saved the Illustrator drawing as an AI file but without an embedded profile. That also retains K only inside ID.

       

      So, I have a workaround, but I want to understand what is going on for future work. I figured I must have some ICC color conversion going on, re-separating my file to 4C black, but I can't understand why. It's probably simple, but I am obviously missing something.

       

      Any ideas?

       

      Thanks, Lou

        • 1. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          How are you delivering the job to the printer—PDF? If you include a profile with the PDF then there would be a conversion in the printer's output if their destination profile is something other than your GRACol profile. You want to make sure you use the printer's output profile as your document CMYK profile.

           

          Or, if you want complete control of the output CMYK values and flattening on export, use the PDF/X-1a preset, which includes an Output Intent but not a profile. All the CMYK color from a PDF/X-1a is deviceCMYK and should output unchanged. It would still be possible for the printer to force a conversion, but it's not likely.

          • 2. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
            Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

            I would not recommend in your case to include a profile to the AI file, so it will use Document CMYK and you will avoid any CMYK-CMYK conversion.

            • 3. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Or is this just to view something and discard it instead of using it in production?

               

              But Lou doesn't have a profile conflict, he's using GRACol in both AI and ID. If that's the case the conversion has to be happening at export or output.

              • 4. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                Lou Dina Level 3

                Thanks for the responses. In the process of writing this post, I think I figured out my problem.  I will add some clarification.

                 

                4C blacks were showing up inside of InDesign when viewed with Separations Preview. My Press PDF was generated from InDesign with No Color Conversions and no profiles embedded, which is what this commercial printer wants. Of course, the PDF shows 4C black drawings too, same as ID, but all my text remains on the black plate.

                 

                I went into Bridge and Synchronized my Color Settings. They were not synchronized before, but the color spaces were the same in all my apps. InDesign was set to Preserve CMYK Numbers (ignore linked profiles). I changed that one setting to Preserve Embedded Profiles. I went into Illustrator (after syncing my color settings) and re-saved the file with the embedded profile as an AI document. I updated the link in InDesign and it still shows as 4C black.

                 

                In InDesign, if I select the 4C line drawing and Convert to the InDesign CMYK working space, it becomes a K only file. The file had to be coming in from Illustrator with a different profile, even though my CMYK color space profile is the same.

                 

                This engineering drawing was originally a CAD file that I received from my client and brought into Illustrator. I no longer have the original file any more and don't remember the format or other details. I had Illustrator set to Preserve embedded profiles, so there must have been a profile embedded in the original (though I thought the original was an RGB file). I selected the entire drawing and manually assigned Gracol2006 in Illustrator. I reserved it with the embedded profile and placed it into InDesign. It's all on the black plate. Your feedback helped me think this through, so I thank you.

                 

                Just a few questions more...

                 

                Does Convert to Profile inside InDesign convert ONLY the currently selected graphic, or does it convert ALL items in the document?

                 

                Would people recommend that my Illustrator CMYK color management policy be changed to a different setting (Convert to Working Space perhaps)?

                 

                It seems that once you synchronize your Color Settings in Bridge, if you even open the color settings dialog box in IL, ID or PS, Creative Suite assumes you changed a setting, even if you just wanted to take a look at them. Then it tells you your settings are unsynchronized. Does anyone else find this irritating? Or do I have it wrong?

                 

                Thanks again for all the help.

                 

                Lou

                • 5. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  When you synchronize you are synchronizing the application's Color Settings and not existing documents, so if you have documents with mismatched profiles sync'ing won't change anything. Sync'ing is useful for future documents and projects not existing ones.

                   

                  To check an ID document's assigned profile choose View>Proof Setup>Document CMYK. Proof Setup also shows your current Color Setting's Working CMYK space and it could be different. It's the Document CMYK profile that color manages the document CMYK colors, not the Working CMYK profile.

                   

                  If Separation Preview is showing 4-color blacks there has to be a conflict between the AI embedded profile and the assigned ID document profile. If GRACol is embedded in the AI file your doc's assigned profile would have to be different to get a 4-color separation.

                   

                  Does Convert to Profile inside InDesign convert ONLY the currently selected graphic, or does it convert ALL items in the document?

                   

                  Edit>Convert to Profile only affects native ID colors and swatches it leaves placed files alone. You can change the profile assignment of images via Object>Image Color Settings, but not AI or PDF files because they can have more than one profile assigned to the objects inside.

                   

                  Would people recommend that my Illustrator CMYK color management policy be changed to a different setting (Convert to Working Space perhaps)?

                   

                  Not if you don't want 4-color blacks. If you don't want the CMYK values changing assign your ID doc's profile, or as Willi suggests save without a profile so it becomes DeviceCMYK. Any conversion to a new CMYK space will produce 4-color blacks

                   

                  Also, the color management policy gets saved with the file on creation, so changing the policy in Color Settings doesn't change the policy for existing doc's. If you create your documents with the Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles) policy, CMYK values will get placed unchanged.

                  • 6. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                    Lou Dina Level 3

                    Thanks, Rob.

                     

                    Very clear, as always. when I originally imported the CAD drawing into Illustrator, I must have screwed up and ignored a profile warning or something.

                     

                    For B&W line drawings like this, I will probably save the AI file without an embedded profile.

                     

                    Thanks for for the other tips. I will try them all so they sink in.

                     

                    Have a good weekend.

                     

                    Lou

                    • 7. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      For B&W line drawings like this, I will probably save the AI file without an embedded profile.

                       

                      You can also select the Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles) policy before you make new InDesign documents—it's the default for most of the presets because of this problem.

                       

                      Changing policies for existing documents can be a pain—you have to turn on warnings in Color Settings to get a profile and policy change dialog. If you are using OSX I have an AppleScript I can post that makes it easier.

                      • 8. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                        Lou Dina Level 3

                        Thanks Rob.

                         

                        I'll have to think about Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles) in Color Settings. I can see how it would be helpful with B&W images and line drawings, but I'm not sure I'd want my profiles ignored on all my color images (PSD, TIF, AI, etc). I guess I can override that and select my profile when the image is placed. Or, just remember to save my K only files without an embedded profile.

                         

                        I'm curious…what do you do?

                         

                        Lou

                        • 9. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                          Place images as RGB so they will be converted into the correct color space.

                          • 10. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                            Lou Dina Level 3

                            Thanks Willi. I'll have to think about that and experiment some. I have always edited my images in Photoshop in CMYK before placing into InDesign for press. And CMYK color work in Illustrator I have always embedded profiles too.

                            • 11. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I have always edited my images in Photoshop in CMYK before placing into InDesign for press.

                               

                              Photoshop and InDesign share the same color management system so you wouldn't get different CMYK values converting inside of Photoshop vs. making the conversion during a PDF export (assuming the source RGB and destination profiles and color intents are the same).

                               

                              If you need to make post CMYK color corrections—for example you want to get a CMYK color that's not in the RGB gamut like 100% cyan or 100% magenta—then you don't want any chance of a CMYK-to-CMYK conversion because your gamut correction will be lost. It's the same problem as 100% black getting converted to 4 colors.

                               

                              You might still want a profile saved with the document so it's appearance doesn't change if the Working CMYK space has changed in Color Settings next time you open. That's the case where Preserve Numbers is useful—you've made a correction to specific CMYK numbers and you want those numbers preserved in pagelayout even when there's a conflict with your embedded profile.

                              • 12. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                Lou Dina Level 3

                                It's a complex issue, that's for sure. I guess playing defense is sometimes the best strategy. CMYK > Lab > CMYK seems to be one of the Achille's heels of color management, at least for jobs going to press, and especially when you don't know the final destination or have the ultimate press profile. I can see where Preserve Color Numbers makes sense in this context. It's safer, but doesn't live up to the ultimate promise of color management. I was spoiled for years because I sent most of my press work to a single, reliable color-managed commercial printer who had a good press profile, good QA and a prepress guy who knew exactly how to handle my files. We communicated regularly. That's not my situation now.

                                 

                                Willi's suggestion to place RGB images with embedded profiles into InDesign will at least allow RGB images to be separated to CMYK at the last minute. As long as I'm happy with the default conversions to the final CMYK destination, that's a good option.

                                 

                                If I have images that need a trip to PS to take advantage of 100% cyan or 100% magenta, etc, as mentioned, I can place edited CMYK images and have ID set to Preserve color numbers. Unlike untagged RGB, untagged CMYK is at least fairly reliable and in the ballpark. I'll place CMYK AI and PDF images the same way. I'll strip the profile from B&W line drawings in Illustrator just to be safe.

                                 

                                If I want the option re-separate some CMYK PS images, I can apply the correct profile in InDesign after import, even with Preserve CMYK Color Numbers turned on. If I generate the PDF and convert to a specific CMYK profile, at least those images will be converted to the final press space. If I choose No Color Conversion on PDF export, the numbers in the file will be retained (will that work if the file has RGB images?).

                                 

                                I'm sure this printer asked for No Color Conversions and Not to include Profiles during PDF generation since it is safe.

                                 

                                Does that overall strategy make sense? Thanks for helping me understand and thinking this through with me.

                                 

                                Lou

                                • 13. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  CMYK > Lab > CMYK seems to be one of the Achille's heels of color management, at least for jobs going to press, and especially when you don't know the final destination or have the ultimate press profile.

                                   

                                  But there's no reason to let that happen because the conversion path is really: your RGB editing space>Lab>guessed CMYK space>Lab>final destination CMYK. So at that point you might as well leave the placed file as RGB and let the conversion be: your RGB editing space>Lab>final destination CMYK on export or output.

                                   

                                  The current conventional wisdom is to leave images as profiled RGB, export as PDF/X-4 where the standard enforces profiles, and let the conversion from RGB to CMYK happen at output. But that assumes the printer knows what she's doing and is willing to take on the responsibility of making color conversions—big assumptions.

                                   

                                  Your printer doesn't want to color manage and is asking for No Conversions and No Profiles—or final, flattened CMYK (PDF/X-1a). If your printer won't provide a press profile you are forced to guess. There's no point in guessing US Sheetfed and letting an additional conversion to GRACol happen later.

                                   

                                  I can place edited CMYK images and have ID set to Preserve color numbers. Unlike untagged RGB, untagged CMYK is at least fairly reliable and in the ballpark. I'll place CMYK AI and PDF images the same way. I'll strip the profile from B&W line drawings in Illustrator just to be safe.

                                   

                                  Both approaches will produce the same results. When the policy is Preserve Numbers, linked files get the document's CMYK profile assigned and an embedded profile is ignored. Same thing happens when there's no profile, the document profile gets assigned to the linked file and there's no conversion.

                                  • 14. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                    The conversion from RGB to CMYK will have the same result under the same conditions.

                                    Look here:

                                    Re: Re: Converting Images to CMYK for Print Publication

                                    ––

                                    Willi

                                    • 15. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Just to be clear if the printer is asking for No Conversions and No Profiles so PDF/X-4 with RGB is not an option.

                                      • 16. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                        Lou Dina Level 3

                                        Thank you both for the wealth of information and for steering me straight. I learned a lot.

                                         

                                        Willi, I looked at your link to Bob Levine's comment on keeping images as tagged RGB in InDesign for maximum flexibility. Makes sense to me. I've been doing it the old way and I guess that means I'm archaic! Hahaha...doesn't surprise me!

                                         

                                        As Rob mentioned, PDF/X-4 will work fine with color managed printers, but not this one. His PDF generation settings are No Conversion and No Profiles. But, I think can still place RGB images from Photoshop, as you suggested. I can place CMYK B&W line art and critical CMYK images where I want to max out cyans, magenta, etc (with ID set to Preserve Color Numbers). When I generate a PDF, I can Convert to Profile (preserve color numbers) and not include any profiles, and it should only convert my RGB files to the destination space. All the AI, PDF and CMYK files will be left alone, since Preserve Numbers will ignore the profile and assign the document working space. I think I have it right now. It's a lot faster and easier working in RGB for the bulk of my images.

                                         

                                        I've run a few tests and this seems like it ought to work.

                                         

                                        Many thanks to both of you!!

                                         

                                        Lou

                                        • 17. Re: Black on Multiple Plates?
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          I've been doing it the old way and I guess that means I'm archaic! Hahaha...doesn't surprise me!

                                           

                                          PDF/X-1a is an older standard, but archaic implies it's no longer useful, which I don't think is the case. Your printer might be stuck in an old workflow or they simply don't want to take on the risk of making conversions—"What do you mean 0|255|0 is out-of-gamut! My green needs to be brighter!! Reprint the job!!!"

                                           

                                          PDF/X-1a is a standardized way of ensuring final color management happens at export, and PDF/X-4 standardizes a way of delaying final color management to output. It's easy to come up with scenarios where either one is be better than the other.