1 2 Previous Next 53 Replies Latest reply on Mar 7, 2017 6:38 AM by BobLevine

    Color separation when exporting a PDF

    tranceplantt Level 1

      It's been driving me nuts, ADOBE seems to have forgotten about color separation when using the export to PDF method.  Even quark has this option.

       

      Anyway I was hoping to know if there is a way that I don't know.

       

      Cheers

        • 1. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
          Daniel Flavin Level 4

          It's not a common requirement with modern workflows.

          Your best (PC) option would be to Print to Adobe PDF printer.

           

          I'm assuming you need Separations which would be available in the Output tab.

          • 2. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
            Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

            There is no way exporting. Print postscript/distill is the only way.

            • 3. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
              tranceplantt Level 1

              I looked in the output tab, but it doesn't work.

              • 4. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                You’re asking for fairly archaic things here.

                 

                 

                 

                You can put in a feature request but you’d need to explain how this would benefit the entire user base and IMO you’re going to have a rough time doing so.

                • 5. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                  Daniel Flavin Level 4

                  Do you have the Adobe PDF Printer installed? (Note that the PDF Printer will use the current Quality/Options as set in it's Preferences.)

                  Do you have any Postscript Printer installed? (If so, select Postscript File for Printer. Select a ppd which allows separations. Note the location of the saved .ps file and pass it through Distiller)

                  ID Seps to PDF.jpg

                  • 6. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                    MW Design Level 5
                    ...Even quark has this option.

                    That would be, "even Quark use to have this option." Quark in all their wisdom yanked host-based separations in version 10. They may put it back in due to popular request/demand. Only the Shadow knows. I quite often use QXP 9.x for making the seps for a couple local screen printers when the jobs aren't basic vector art done in CorelDraw.

                     

                    Mike

                    • 7. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                      tranceplantt Level 1

                      Jefferey, that's what I thought. The problem with postscript is that it's getting outdated and sometimes doesn't do a good job.

                      • 8. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                        tranceplantt Level 1

                        That would be, "even Quark use to have this option." Quark in all their wisdom yanked host-based separations in version 10. They may put it back in due to popular request/demand. Only the Shadow knows. I quite often use QXP 9.x for making the seps for a couple local screen printers when the jobs aren't basic vector art done in CorelDraw.

                        MW

                         

                        I know the color separation has been removed in Quark, but in printing.  It's still available in the export option. 

                         

                        Using the export method in quark, you can select the colour you want to export.  That's a beautiful thing. That's about the only thing good in that program.... anyway back to indesign

                        • 9. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                          tranceplantt Level 1

                          You’re asking for fairly archaic things here.

                           

                           

                           

                          You can put in a feature request but you’d need to explain how this would benefit the entire user base and IMO you’re going to have a rough time doing so.

                          Bob, it might be archaic, but it's still used a lot in the publishing world. 

                           

                          in the book world, the new trend is for firms to do books in a co-edition format. The idea is to have one firm do all the work (normally in english). But then other firms from other countries and other languages will simply send a PDF of the text ONLY without the colors (cmyk).  So when I export the PDF I only need ONE color. I do not wish to export the whole CMYK.

                           

                          Do you understand where I am getting from.

                          So in simplified terms.  The printer has 4 plates for the colours of the book and will simply change a 5th plate to the desired language.

                           

                          5000 copies

                          CMYK plates

                          5th plate: german text


                          10 000 copies

                          French

                          exactly the same CMYK plates as german

                          5th plate: switch to the french plate

                           

                          50 000 copies

                          English

                          exactly the same CMYK plates as german

                          5th plate: switch to the english plate

                           

                          and so on....

                           

                          The cost is greatly reduced for everyone, but we need an option to export the TEXT only.

                           

                          You will simply say, but have the text in a separate layer. That is true, but in reality, it's not all the files that are built like that and most graphic designers will have the text on a separate spot color instead of a separate layer.  Unfortunately when I receive the file it's too late to do the changes.

                           

                          I hope I make sense, english is not my first language.

                          • 10. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                            Daniel Flavin Level 4

                            It's still outdated workflows.

                            The press is either running cmyk or cmyk +black

                             

                            If you output just the black plate in a cmyk the black plate is changing. There is no cost change aside running a 4 color vs. 5 color job. (Effectively, in the cmyk scenario, there is one less black plate)

                             

                            In your multiple language document, if each language were a unique Black plate (Black copy, Black copy 2) the need is only for the Printer (not InDesign user) to output the correct separation form the composite pdf.

                             

                            Even the above is outdated today. A layered pdf is the efficient method, beyond my scope of knowledge.

                            The question begs. Why a single pdf black plate? The printer should be able to separate colors. 

                            • 11. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                              tranceplantt Level 1

                              Daniel Flavin wrote:

                               

                              It's still outdated workflows.

                              The press is either running cmyk or cmyk +black

                               

                              If you output just the black plate in a cmyk the black plate is changing. There is no cost change aside running a 4 color vs. 5 color job. (Effectively, in the cmyk scenario, there is one less black plate)

                               

                              In your multiple language document, if each language were a unique Black plate (Black copy, Black copy 2) the need is only for the Printer (not InDesign user) to output the correct separation form the composite pdf.

                               

                              Even the above is outdated today. A layered pdf is the efficient method, beyond my scope of knowledge.

                              The question begs. Why a single pdf black plate? The printer should be able to separate colors.

                               

                              Yes you are right,  but the reality is not like that. In theory everyone should drive an electric car.

                               

                              In the real life world, lots of firms will have their text in a spot color. I then receive that document and told to change that text to my desired language. If we have time we rework the files and have the text changed to put the text on a layer. but in reality we have very little time and simply exporting the text in color separation is just as good. 

                               

                              I use the postscript, but i prefer using the export as it has less changes of mistakes.

                              • 12. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                On behalf of Adobe ...

                                 

                                Adobe applications including InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop intentionally omitted the capability of initiating a pre-separated PDF workflow. Although one could hack together a pre-separated PDF file by producing PDF via distillation of PostScript (another workflow that we at Adobe most strongly discourage), the concept behind modern PDF publishing workflows is to leave final form content at the highest level of abstraction until it needs to be rendered, whether that rendering is on screen (an inherently RGB device), to 4 colorant CMYK process printing, or high fidelity printing using traditional CMYK colorants plus other colorants such as bright green and orange or light cyan and light magenta as well.

                                 

                                Once you pre-separate PDF, you can't really display the PDF for normal reading, you can't readily search and/or touch up, and you can't change the target printing condition. You also cannot have live transparency in a pre-separated PDF file! And modern native PDF RIPs don't work with such workflows! No ISO PDF/X standard supports such workflows either!

                                 

                                You want or need to preview the separations? Use the separation preview feature of Acrobat (or even the authoring applications).

                                 

                                If you are working with a Luddite print service provider who demands such PDF files or creates them internally, you really need to very seriously consider other print service providers.

                                 

                                          - Dov

                                • 13. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                  tranceplantt Level 1

                                  Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                   

                                  On behalf of Adobe ...

                                   

                                  Adobe applications including InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop intentionally omitted the capability of initiating a pre-separated PDF workflow. Although one could hack together a pre-separated PDF file by producing PDF via distillation of PostScript (another workflow that we at Adobe most strongly discourage), the concept behind modern PDF publishing workflows is to leave final form content at the highest level of abstraction until it needs to be rendered, whether that rendering is on screen (an inherently RGB device), to 4 colorant CMYK process printing, or high fidelity printing using traditional CMYK colorants plus other colorants such as bright green and orange or light cyan and light magenta as well.

                                   

                                  Once you pre-separate PDF, you can't really display the PDF for normal reading, you can't readily search and/or touch up, and you can't change the target printing condition. You also cannot have live transparency in a pre-separated PDF file! And modern native PDF RIPs don't work with such workflows! No ISO PDF/X standard supports such workflows either!

                                   

                                  You want or need to preview the separations? Use the separation preview feature of Acrobat (or even the authoring applications).

                                   

                                  If you are working with a Luddite print service provider who demands such PDF files or creates them internally, you really need to very seriously consider other print service providers.

                                   

                                            - Dov

                                  Seems like Adobe is missing the point here.

                                   

                                  Read my real life need for it above and you will see that it makes a lot of sense to have this option that I am asking for.  Not all files are perfect, therefor the export in separation mode is just a time saver.

                                  • 14. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    Any printer that cannot ignore the CMYK and output only the language spot plate from a composite PDF (and trap it correctly when they do that) should be out of business by now.

                                    • 15. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                      You would think, wouldn’t you?

                                      • 16. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                        tranceplantt Level 1

                                        it has nothing to do with the printer.  I am being asked by the editors and the co-editors to provide a PDF of only the text (not to mention it helps for proofreading). The printer is not requesting this (although it makes it easier for him to do it). Besides, why would I send the printer a 2gig file of all the pictures when I can send a 2 mb files of just the text?  Again, lots of time saved.

                                         

                                        When I have to print out the text and have it proof read, why would I waste 500 pages of CMYK of ink when I can just print the text? Again, money saved. When you do 75 books like that a year, the money saved up is very real.

                                         

                                        Remember, the printer is NOT asking me for this. The whole process is asking me too.  This technic is gaining in popularity and the option would greatly speed up some process.

                                         

                                        meanwhile I use the postscript, but it would be great to update the export option. 

                                        • 17. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                          Why not put the text on its own layer?

                                          1 person found this helpful
                                          • 18. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                            tranceplantt Level 1

                                            Bob Levine wrote:

                                             

                                            Why not put the text on its own layer?

                                            Ya, I wrote that earlier. It is the solution, but it is very time consuming. Remember, I am dealing with full color books that have 500 pages with a very complicated layout.  When we have time we can fix it, but as you know time is money and normally we want the easy way out.

                                             

                                            The thing is that I receive a lot of files (mostly from Europe) that has the whole layout already done with the text in a spot color. It's the old way of working, but I have no say in how they work. Sometimes they are files done many years ago.

                                             

                                            So after receiving those files we translate the text in French (canada) in the indesign files and when I have to extract the text ONLY, it's either I have a graphic designer spend the whole day editing the files or simply export (postscript) the text alone.  it's MUCH quicker to just output the text in separation. 

                                            I mean, it wouldn't be such a big thing for them to have that. In the pre press world, this is an option greatly missed. You dont hear about it too much because you can still use the postscript, but i have the feeling adobe is killing this slowly.

                                            • 19. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                              I'm fairly confident that it could be scripted to find all text frames and move them to a new layer, or even limit it to text frames using the spot color for the text.

                                              • 20. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                The script could be simple something like this AppleScript, which would put any text with a spot color fill up on a layer named for the spot:

                                                 

                                                 

                                                ---------------------------------------------

                                                tell application "Adobe InDesign CS6"

                                                   

                                                    --all of the document text

                                                    set paras to object reference of every paragraph of every story of active document

                                                   

                                                     --check for any spot fill

                                                     repeat with x in paras

                                                        set fcolor to model of fill color of x

                                                        if model of fill color of x is spot then

                                                            --move the text's frame to a layer named for the spot color

                                                            set tfs to parent text frames of x

                                                            set c to name of fill color of x

                                                            repeat with t in tfs

                                                                try

                                                                    set item layer of t to layer c of active document

                                                                on error

                                                                    tell active document

                                                                        set myLayer to make layer with properties {name:c}

                                                                        set item layer of t to myLayer

                                                                    end tell

                                                                end try

                                                            end repeat

                                                        end if

                                                    end repeat

                                                end tell

                                                • 21. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                  tranceplantt Level 1

                                                  Rob Day wrote:

                                                   

                                                  The script could be simple something like this AppleScript, which would put any text with a spot color fill up on a layer named for the spot:

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  ---------------------------------------------

                                                  tell application "Adobe InDesign CS6"

                                                    

                                                      --all of the document text

                                                      set paras to object reference of every paragraph of every story of active document

                                                    

                                                       --check for any spot fill

                                                       repeat with x in paras

                                                          set fcolor to model of fill color of x

                                                          if model of fill color of x is spot then

                                                              --move the text's frame to a layer named for the spot color

                                                              set tfs to parent text frames of x

                                                              set c to name of fill color of x

                                                              repeat with t in tfs

                                                                  try

                                                                      set item layer of t to layer c of active document

                                                                  on error

                                                                      tell active document

                                                                          set myLayer to make layer with properties {name:c}

                                                                          set item layer of t to myLayer

                                                                      end tell

                                                                  end try

                                                              end repeat

                                                          end if

                                                      end repeat

                                                  end tell

                                                   

                                                  I am bad with scripts, but that is not a bad idea. I will look into this.

                                                  • 22. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    It's an AppleScript so you have to be using OSX, should be easy to translate to JS.

                                                     

                                                    Copy and paste the script text into AppleScript Editor, click Compile and Save into your ID Scripts folder and it should show in your Scripts panel. Double-click to run.

                                                    • 23. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                      Adobe's not missing the point here. Pre-separated PDF is a very unreliable workflow.

                                                       

                                                      And if you are using this pre-separation approach as a hack to isolate text for some other purpose, we would strongly endorse recommendations to use layers instead! That is one of the reasons we designed layers!

                                                       

                                                                - Dov

                                                      • 24. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                        tranceplantt Level 1

                                                        Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                                         

                                                        Adobe's not missing the point here. Pre-separated PDF is a very unreliable workflow.

                                                         

                                                        And if you are using this pre-separation approach as a hack to isolate text for some other purpose, we would strongly endorse recommendations to use layers instead! That is one of the reasons we designed layers!

                                                         

                                                                  - Dov

                                                         

                                                        So if I receive a file with 500 page file with a complicated layout that I have not worked on and is done that way.  I spend the day separating the layers or I take 5 minutes to do a postscript?  Guess which one is cheaper?

                                                         

                                                        Keep in mind I receive at least 75 files (books) like that every year from all over the world.  

                                                         

                                                        I suggest Adobe goes to the biggest book fair on earth in Frankfort. Where publishers sell and buy co-edition books. Adobe will be surprised to see this.

                                                        • 25. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                          Be thankful those people are designing books and not using power tools.

                                                          • 26. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                            tranceplantt Level 1

                                                            Bob Levine wrote:

                                                             

                                                            Be thankful those people are designing books and not using power tools.

                                                            I have no control over it... many agencies do that. It use to be the old way of doing things. People still work that way and I can't stress this enough, if my firm buys a book that has been done 5 years ago what should I do? Re-do the whole work?

                                                             

                                                            Besides, Adobe should be here to help and not tell me how to work... a simple separation option on export would be great and not that hard to do... little secret.... Quark is doing it!

                                                            • 27. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                              Well, as a work around have you tried placing the PDFs into Quark and exporting from there?

                                                              • 28. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                tranceplantt Level 1

                                                                Bob Levine wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                Well, as a work around have you tried placing the PDFs into Quark and exporting from there?

                                                                well for now I just use the postscript method.

                                                                • 29. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                  tranceplantt Level 1

                                                                  PDF pass-through printing

                                                                   

                                                                  PDF Print Engine printer manufactures release new drivers based on Adobe PDFDriver SDK which have the capabilities of handling PDF in the pass-through mode. When such a printer is selected via InDesign, its PPD can indicate that it is a PDF printer (depends on the Printer manufacturer).

                                                                  Since InDesign can generate a high-quality PDF via PDF export, printing to a PDF printer leverages that functionality, and this high quality PDF is passed on to the printer, rather than via intermediate postscript route.
                                                                  In general, print quality from applications through PDF Driver is equivalent to (or better than) PostScript printing. PDF printing through the Adobe PDF printer also supports live transparency and ICC color management. At InDesign print dialog, options related to Color Management, Color Separation, and Graphics options are disabled because all the color management operations are done on the device for better quality printout.

                                                                  I found this on this page: InDesign Help | Preparing PDFs for service providers

                                                                   

                                                                  Does someone have more information on this method?

                                                                   

                                                                  I have not find a way on how to do that?  Seems like I can generate a PDF via printer without using postscript? Help please

                                                                   

                                                                  or should I start a new topic?

                                                                  • 30. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                    At InDesign print dialog, options related to Color Management, Color Separation, and Graphics options are disabled

                                                                    The help text states that separations are disabled so it doesn't sound like it would help.

                                                                     

                                                                    Besides, Adobe should be here to help and not tell me how to work... a simple separation option on export would be great

                                                                     

                                                                    It doesn't seem like Adobe will have any interest in a print feature that addresses a layout problem. The InDesign SDK and scripting tools make this very solvable from the layout rather than the print side. I didn't spend much time with the script I posted and it probably would have problems with complex groups, but there are other ways of going at the problem. A script could also hide every page item that isn't a text frame containing text with the 5th color. That might be better because it wouldn't change the layout structure.

                                                                    • 31. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                      tranceplantt Level 1

                                                                      Rob Day wrote:

                                                                      It doesn't seem like Adobe will have any interest in a print feature that addresses a layout problem. The InDesign SDK and scripting tools make this very solvable from the layout rather than the print side.

                                                                      Who says it's a problem in the layout. The layout is fine.  Just the way it has been done.   Separating the colours on output is simply an option.  What if I wanted to output just the CYAN? I couldn't even do that other than on the screen.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                        What if I wanted to output just the CYAN? I couldn't even do that other than on the screen.

                                                                        Right, but I think Dov is speaking for Adobe; they consider separated workflows to be a thing of the past, so you are not going to get the feature you want via the export dialog. There really would be little use for exporting a single process plate to make a page correction. But your argument for exporting spot text is valid and it could be solved via scripting or an extension inside of the layout without getting into the print engine.

                                                                        • 33. Re: Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                                          The PDF Pass-Through Printing feature of InDesign 10.1 is designed for printing directly to RIPs and DFEs (Digital Front Ends for digital printers) that support native PDF consumption (not through conversion of PDF to PostScript) using the Adobe PDF Print Engine technology and that have a custom driver created using a special Adobe PDF printer driver SDK. This feature provides a shortcut for printing that is the logical equivalent of exporting a very high quality PDF and manually submitting that PDF file to the PDF RIP.

                                                                           

                                                                          This functionality does not create pre-separated PDF or otherwise resolve the needs of the original posting.

                                                                           

                                                                                    - Dov

                                                                          • 34. Re: Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                            If you are using OSX try this AppleScript:

                                                                             

                                                                            http://www.zenodesign.com/forum/ExportSpotPlate.zip

                                                                             

                                                                            Lets you choose a spot color, hides anything that isn't text filled with the chosen color, exports a PDF, and resets. I haven't tried it on a long doc, but it doesn't change any of the page items so it's probably safer that moving things to layers. If there's process color text mixed in with the spot color text, it does not get hidden so you have to watch out for that.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                              Besides, why would I send the printer a 2gig file of all the pictures when I can send a 2 mb files of just the text?  Again, lots of time saved.

                                                                               

                                                                              There's also a one line script that would hide all graphics which would run faster on a big doc  and solve your file size problem:

                                                                               

                                                                              tell application "Adobe InDesign CS6"

                                                                                  set visible of all graphics of active document to false

                                                                              end tell

                                                                              • 36. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                                tranceplantt Level 1

                                                                                Rob Day wrote:

                                                                                 

                                                                                Besides, why would I send the printer a 2gig file of all the pictures when I can send a 2 mb files of just the text?  Again, lots of time saved.

                                                                                 

                                                                                There's also a one line script that would hide all graphics which would run faster on a big doc  and solve your file size problem:

                                                                                 

                                                                                tell application "Adobe InDesign CS6"

                                                                                    set visible of all graphics of active document to false

                                                                                end tell

                                                                                I would prefer not to use scripts. They don't always work exactly how you want them.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Thanks for the answer.

                                                                                • 37. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                  They don't always work exactly how you want them

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Right you wouldn't want to run any script in production without testing, but not much could go wrong with the one line hide graphics script because there are no conditions—it's either on or off. It would be a simple way of exporting a text only PDF

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                                    FloppyDisc Level 1

                                                                                    I realize this thread is 2 years old but I wanted to let you know that I feel your pain, tranceplantt. I also work in publishing and we do a great deal of work with foreign publishers. We are still very much using a separation based workflow, and have the need for Text only PDFs on a daily basis. I'm sure I get as equally frustrated as you with the lack of understanding and often ignorance of the replies to your simple question regarding the ability to be able to export separations.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I stumbled upon this post while searching for info about Quark 2015. I have, unfortunately, just discovered that Quark has removed the export separations functionality from Q10 and above. I have been using Q9 and the ability to export seps was, in my opinion, the last saving grace for Quark.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    In the 2 years since you made this original post, has your workflow changed?

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Color separation when exporting a PDF
                                                                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                                      In the 2 years since you made this original post, has your workflow changed?

                                                                                      Dan's #10 is the proper—and not very difficult—workflow. Exporting plates is never going to happen, so the only other options are Distiller or a script.

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