12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 23, 2014 1:48 PM by rob day

    Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files

    JustBob Level 1

      I recently ran into trouble with an Illustrator file placed in InDesign.

       

      The CMYK definition of the Spot color has changed in Illustrator, but I could not update it in InDesign.

       

      I went to report this as a bug (though it may be a feature request) to Adobe, but the page said I ran over my 2,000 character limit.

       

      So, I will post that report here. I wonder if any agree with me that this is a problem, or if others may have a better solution:

       

       

      Concise problem statement:

       

      I imported a logo from an Illustrator file to Indesign. The Logo file has two layers: One with the color specified as a PMS Spot color, and one as a CMYK color.

       

       

      I use this workflow so I can specify a simplified color mix when printing to newspapers. For instance, rather than let InDesign call out some crazy color combination like c100 m62.32 y7.15 k0.14 for PMS 300, I might specify the color as c100 m62.

       

       

      Now, a long time ago, Adobe and Pantone specified this same color as more like c100 m42. We recently decided to start using c100 m62 as a closer color match for PMS 300.

       

       

       

      Steps to reproduce bug:

       

      1. So, I open an old document that has this logo placed in it. At the time it was originally imported, PMS 300 was specified as c100 m42 in the Illustrator file.

       

       

      2.I try to modify the spot numbers in Illustrator and cannot do it. Adobe documentation says this is how it should be. Okay. So, I cannot replace the color or modify it. But! That same file is now using the updated color; that is, c100 m62; but still, InDesign shows the color as c100 m42, and there seems to be no way to modify it!

       

       

      Results: So, even though the color definition has changed in the original file, the definition does not change in InDesign. I try replacing the logo in Indesign with the new file, but the color definition does not change!

       

       

      True, I could probably delete the logo and then the swatch and place it again; but, this logo appears many places in the InDesign file and I do not want to delete and replace it on many, many pages.

       

       

      Expected results: I think there needs to be a way to modify the color definition of imported swatches and/or, if the color definition in the original file changes, we should be able to choose whether we want to update the InDesign swatch with the new definition; or!, just update the InDesign color definition is the linked Illustrator color definition changes.

       

       

      I see a problem here. What if the same PMS color is specified differently in two different Illustrator files that are then placed into InDesign? Well, why not let InDesign decide what CMYK values should be applied to that PMS color? Why can't we change the CMYK values of an imported Illustrator file in InDesign?

        • 1. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
          Danny Whitehead. Level 4

          My advice would be, don't use spot colours in process jobs. Especially not for newspaper ads (with their usually more robust preflighting standards that might reject a PDF containing spots), and especially not when you want to control the CMYK values that hit the paper (they might be converted according to their name and a lookup table in the RIP rather than your CMYK values).

          • 2. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
            Steps to reproduce bug:

             

            Starting with CS6 the Pantone Solid libraries are defined as Lab color. So if you place a file with a spot color named PANTONE 300 C the Lab definition will be used for display. The assumption is you've chosen a spot color and it will output as spot and not process and in that case Lab provides the most accurate preview.

             

            Of course you might want to convert the spot to process and in that case the conversion is from Lab to your document's CMYK profile, which gives the flexibility you are looking for—the output values can be adjusted depending on the conditions, (i.e., US SWOP Coated vs. SNAP Newsprint) by choosing the correct destination profile at output.

             

            But, Pantone 300 C is out-of-gamut for any CMYK space and really out for newsprint, so converting it to process is problematic whether the conversion is color managed or hand built. For an out-of-gamut color the Rendering Intent will have a significant impact—US SWOP Perceptual is 100|65|13|1, while Absolute Colormetric is 100|54|2|0.

             

             

            I see a problem here. What if the same PMS color is specified differently in two different Illustrator files that are then placed into InDesign? Well, why not let InDesign decide what CMYK values should be applied to that PMS color? Why can't we change the CMYK values of an imported Illustrator file in InDesign?

             

             

            You can via an alias. You might reasonably argue that you never want yellow or black in the color and you want to build it yourself and you could do that with an alias.

             

            So here I've made a CMYK defined spot color swatch named 300 Conversion defined as 100|65|0|0 and in Ink Manger I've aliased Pantone 300 to it and set its type to process by clicking the left column icon:

             

            Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.53.38 AM.png

             

            Now Sep Preview shows its output as 100|65|0|0:

             

             

            ScreenSnapz001.png

            • 3. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
              JustBob Level 1

              Thank you, Rob—

               

              That is a very nice discussion of imported PMS and CMYK in colors in InDesign. I learned another use of Alias colors.

               

              In my particular case, I have an Illustrator file that contains two layers. I have the exact same logo on each layer. There are two colors in the Swatches panel: PMS 300 C and a CMYK mix now named with the CMKY values. I don't know how the Swatch was named before.

               

              The PMS color layer is shown, the other layer layer's visibility is off.

               

              I imported the Illustrator file into InDesign and changed Object Layer Options to show the CMYK layer instead of the PMS color. Now, I seem to have both Swatches in the InDesign Swatches Panel: PMS 300 and the CMYK mix.

               

              Later, I went back and changed the CMYK mix from c100 m42 to c100 m62 and re-named that swatch in Illustrator.

               

              InDesign does not show the re-named swatch, but shows the original c100 m42 color mix. I also have the the logo sitting a color background in Illustrator, which is using the same blue mix (the logo is white and blue, so the white of the logo still shows). Now, the logo and blue InDesign background do not match: the blue logo is much darker. That's good because the blue background is called out as the CMYK swatch c100 m42. I switch the ID background to PMS 300. No visible change. When I click on the logo in ID, the PMS 300 swatch is selected. Exporting the piece to a PDF shows both the background and logo to be the same color, but using the c100 m42 color mix, not the darker c100 m62.

               

              I am just reporting what happens. It does not seem right to me, that is all. If I change the mix in Illustrator, I think the mix should be updated in InDesign, if that color came from Illustrator in the first place. Or, I should at least be able to update the swatch in InDesign.

              • 4. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Now, I seem to have both Swatches in the InDesign Swatches Panel: PMS 300 and the CMYK mix.

                 

                That's because your Illustrator colors are spec'd as spots. If a swatch is being added to ID's Swatches panel when you place a file its type is spot—incoming process colors do not get added to the Swatches panel. The only case where you should spec a spot color is when the color has to be output as a separate plate.

                 

                By definition a spot color separates to an extra plate and there can be only one version of a named spot color. So when you place a file with a spot ID checks if a spot swatch with the same name already exists and if it does that definition is used and all instances of the color separate to the same plate. If you place a spot and the swatch doesn't exist, one is created and it becomes the definition for all instances of that spot color.

                 

                Your AI color mix updates will work if you spec the AI swatch as process.

                • 5. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  The other way you can control the definition is bypass the Pantone libraries. So if you start with a new ID document and make a new spot swatch named PANTONE 300 C with a CMYK definition of 100|65|0|0 then place an AI file with a spot color of the same name, 100|65|0|0 will be used as the preview and a process conversion. But you have to make the definition in ID from the beginning and again this would be silly if the color will never output as a spot:

                   

                  Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 4.22.22 PM.png

                  • 6. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                    JustBob Level 1

                    Okay.

                     

                    >>> That's because your Illustrator colors are spec'd as spots.

                     

                    Well, only the PMS is spec'd as a spot color. The 4/C Swatch is Spec'd as process (see attached).

                     

                    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.40.07 PM.png

                     

                    I was not understanding one thing in particular…when I selected the logo in ID, PMS 300 was showing as selected in the Swatches Panel. This did not make sense to me. I did not realize that I must have clicked on that swatch at some point and turned the container background blue, because as the page background is the same color, it all blend in.

                     

                    Let's not worry about all of the above.

                     

                    I wonder if you could answer this question:

                     

                    Here is a screen shot of my InDesign file:

                     

                    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.57.35 PM.png

                     

                    As you can see, the colors do not match on screen. The background blue is set to PMS 300 and Layer Options for the logo is set to display the PMS 300 logo. Why don't they match? In Illustrator, the PMS 300 Swatch is set to Book Color. Yet, when exported as a PDF, both colors match using the c100 m42 numbers you see in the dialog box above.

                     

                    I guess I am trying to figure out how to output the color to c100 m62; or!, just revert back to the official Pantone definition, which would be darker than shown.

                    • 7. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Your Illustrator capture shows you still have a spot color swatch. Show us a capture of the logo in Illustrator with the dark blue item selected along with the swatches panel.

                      • 8. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                        JustBob Level 1

                        Yes, PMS 300 is specified as a spot, and there is another swatch specified as c100 m62.

                         

                        I figured I could use the PMS number and have InDesign convert it to CMYK on creation of the PDF.

                         

                        Anyway, here is the Illustrator screen capture. The PMS 300 circle is selected and PMS 300 spot is shown in the Color Panel and the Swatches Panel.

                         

                        Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 3.58.41 PM.png

                        • 9. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Right, so the ID swatch you are showing in #6 is process CMYK—the name doesn't matter, its output will be CMYK 100|42|0|0. In AI the logo's background is a spot color and the name does matter. Double-click the Pantone 300 swatch and change it to a matching process color, then save and update the link in ID:

                           

                          Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.56.37 PM.png

                           

                          Will the blue print as a 5th color or as CMYK? It sounds like it's a process CMYK job if that's the case you are using the wrong Pantone library

                          • 10. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                            Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                            Process colour swatches in Illustrator files don't carry through into InDesign documents. They stay independent, so if you want a swatch of those values in you InDesign document, you have to create one.

                             

                            See for yourself - change the Object Layer Options for you logo in the InDesign document so that only the process version is visible, and it will let you remove the spot swatch. Change them so the spot version is visible, and the spot swatch will return.

                            • 11. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                              JustBob Level 1

                              How strange—it was only when I changed all object Layer Options to the CMYK mix that I was able to modify the CMYK color values for the spot color in InDesign. (I sure with I could just modify the values without having to disassociate the original links. (ID was not picking up the spot color values from the AI file, BTW, because that color (in AI) was defined as Book Color.)

                              • 12. Re: Changing Spot Color Definition of Imported Illustrator Files
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                How strange—it was only when I changed all object Layer Options to the CMYK mix that I was able to modify the CMYK color values for the spot color in InDesign.

                                Not strange at all. When you hide the layer with the spot color it's no longer used by the placed file, so you are free to alter or delete it in the layout. The same would happen if you deleted the placed file. That's how spot colors have to work because their primary use is outputting extra color plates, not defining CMYK colors.

                                ID was not picking up the spot color values from the AI file, BTW, because that color (in AI) was defined as Book Color.)

                                When you place a file with a solid spot Pantone color the assumption is you want the Pantone book value for a solid ink color (Lab 36|-10|-62)—there are no CMYK values in a solid ink and Lab is the best way to accurately display spots. Why are you using the Solid Ink library? You should be using PANTONE+ Color Bridge (PANTONE 300 CP). If you don't like the CP CMYK values you will be free to alter them in either program, you'll just have to edit both swatches.