13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2014 9:11 PM by SasquatchPatch

    Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?

    Sue Loon. Level 1

      Hi,

           The printing company for our photo book on Loons, uses roll fed web presses.  They have asked for a pdf set to X-1a.

      First soft proof was light and washed out.  Printer had us increase saturation and contrast.  Second proof

      all our blue water photos come out more purple then blue. 

      We currently  used srgb jpeg photos embedded in a ms word document.  We used acrobat 11 to create the pdf using the request X-1a

      setting.

          Should we have converted the photos in photoshop to the requested setting first and then embedded them in word?

       

      Thanks for any help.

        • 1. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
          SasquatchPatch Level 2

          PDF-X1A is just one of many pdf standards for printing. You still have to specify the correct output profile when exporting as a pdf. It's almost always best to convert all you RGB files to the proper CMYK in Photoshop before placing them in InDesign. I'm assuming you are using InDesign, right?

           

          What is the profile that your printer specifies? What is their spec'd total ink? What paper are you printing on?

           

          The biggest rookie mistake most people make when exporting to pdf, well the two biggest mistakes are leaving the default settings. You want to go in and make sure that you are NOT using jpeg compression on your CMYK tiffs - and you should be using tiffs. Use zip compression. The second thing is that the default setting when saving a pdf -x1a is for Acrobat to automatically convert your file to whatever profile happens to be loaded in Acrobat. You absolutely need to set that to Do Not Convert colors. It's as if the people who wrote the output module for Acrobat knew nothing about printing at all. Although it sounds like you printer might not know too much either, but that's no surprise.

          • 2. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
            Sue Loon. Level 1

            The book was created using MS Word. Sorry for not saying in first part. The current pdf was created using output profile X-1a U.S. (swop) v2.

            Our book was originally printed on digital press by another printer (whose per copy price is too high now)  with no color problems using a different output profile.

            Is there anyway to fix this problem for web roll printing short of rewriting using InDesign?

            I have no problem recreating the photos in Photoshop.

            Is there a way to swop the new photos into a pdf using Acrobat 11?

            • 3. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
              jdanek Level 4

              Microsoft Word is not a color managed application.  I see a few problems in your approach.  First, the tag for your pics is sRGB.  When the file is converted to PDF via the X-1 setting, the pics' gamut gets clipped and you end up with hue and saturation issues.  InDesign will give you more options and more control in color management.  However, I would recommend you save a copy of your original pics using the AdobeRGB tag.  It has a wider gamut and will convert closer to the original via a CMYK conversion further down the pipeline.  Now, since Word is not color managed and you use "Leave Color Unchanged" in Acrobat, there may be a problem because Word has no profile and does not honor any profiles.  So, in Acrobat Pro, use "Working Space RGB" color profile: AdobeRGB; Working Space output profile: US Web Coated SWOP v2.  At least Acrobat will make an attempt to retain the original AdobeRGB tag you assigned in Photoshop if you apply "Convert All Colors to CMYK" or similar somewhere in Acrobat settings. It is extremely important to work with the print service provider to obtain a decent hardcopy proof before going to press ( which I see you are ).

              • 4. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                SasquatchPatch Level 2

                Word. Well, it doesn't do CMYK at all, so you're pretty screwed there. Probably should have imported the Word doc into Id and go from there. jdanek's advice to "save a copy of your original pics using the AdobeRGB tag" is, well, ridiculous. You'll gain nothing at all doing that and just waste your time. In addition, he doesn't specify whether to convert or assign profiles, and it makes a huge difference. sRGB is more than fine for almost any type of output, particularly offset lithography - y'know printing paper on a press. If you insist on Word, then your ONLY choice is going to be convert to the output profile when saving the pdf. Not the best way, especially if you've got any problem children in there, but it will work. You absolutely need to find the correct profile from your printer, install that in your system and choose that when you're making your pdf. Everything I wrote before still applies. Good luck...

                • 5. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                  jdanek Level 4

                  In Sue's case, it would be a "Conversion" upon opening the original photo in Photoshop.  I've done extensive and exhausting studies on the different work space RGB's and there is white paper documentation via Adobe that backs me up on what I've said regarding sRGB vs. AdobeRGB.  Dan Margulis ( "Professional Photoshop ) has written extensively on the different work spaces and concurs on what I said in my post.  The question here was whether Sue should "Convert" the pics or leave them as-is.  I recommended she "Convert" them.  It would be prudent to test a problem image and proof it to see how it renders using different approaches to PDF generating.  I would expect at least four tests and a hardcopy proof for each file version ( PDF ).  We agree she needs to work with the printer to establish a workflow that will generate the best possible outcome via some application limitations.

                  • 6. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                    SasquatchPatch Level 2

                    Oh please. Just converting sRGB to AdobeRGB doesn't do a damned thing if all you're going to do is convert. And if all you're going to do is convert, the final colors will be virtually unchanged. There's no basis for this recommendation other than the lack of understanding of how to deal with digital color. Sorry Danek, you're way off base here. Your advice is only going to confuse someone further who is already out of their element. Keep it simple.

                    • 7. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                      jdanek Level 4

                      Not necessarily.  True, the image, which in this case was/were acceptable when embedded into the Word document. So, in conversion, you wouldn't want to alter the appearance of the image, but rather have it render "better" further in the pipeline.  Also, we have not discussed color settings in Photoshop that include such things as Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation.  Those, if setup properly, will be applied in the "conversion" because you are moving the image into your workspace. We probably will not agree on this and perhaps there is some confusion.  I tried to keep it simple, but there really isn't a simple answer when you consider the document is indeed a Word document.

                      • 8. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                        Sue Loon. Level 1

                        Would it help to recreate the photos as RGB in photoshop, then place them into the MS Word document then create the pdf using acrobat 11.  Once the pdf is created could I swap out the photos

                        for ones that had been converted from RGB to CMYK in photoshop with  Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation etc. filled.  Then preflight the pdf again  or am I shooting myself in the foot...

                            How hard would it be to dump my word document into InDesign with  the newly created RGB or CMYK photos would it work better?  Is the learning curve too much of a hassle for one off?

                        • 9. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                          SasquatchPatch Level 2

                          "but rather have it render "better" further in the pipeline."

                          This is a complete fallacy and will only serve to confuse Sue, who is probably in over her head already. And, in fact, if she's now using a non color managed workflow, converting to Adobe RGB could easily make things worse. For instance, you have to assume an RGB working space for the conversion in Acrobat, and if you're assuming the wrong source, well, what do you think might happen.

                           

                          "Would it help to recreate the photos as RGB in photoshop, then place them into the MS Word document then create the pdf using acrobat 11."

                          Word is the wrong tool to use for what you're doing. It's not color managed and doesn't do CMYK, so what you're proposing is a waste of effort. I'd even be surprised if a qualified printer would even accept your files without having to re-do them. Download the demo of InDesign and use that. You can import the Word document, then make new picture boxes and re-import your Photoshop files.


                          "Once the pdf is created could I swap out the photos for ones that had been converted from RGB to CMYK in photoshop with  Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation etc. filled.  Then preflight the pdf again  or am I shooting myself in the foot..."

                          Yes. Just use the right tools to begin with and you'll be so much better off in the long run.

                           

                          "How hard would it be to dump my word document into InDesign with  the newly created RGB or CMYK photos would it work better?  Is the learning curve too much of a hassle for one off?"

                          I don't know what's going to happen when you import a Word doc with images into InDesign. The way I would do it is to strip the image out of the Word doc, import that to ID, then do as I said above.

                          • 10. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                            Sue Loon. Level 1

                            Thanks!  Sounds like a plan.  I will down load the InDesign trial and give it a shot!

                            • 11. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                              jdanek Level 4

                              Can you show us screen shots of your X-1 PDF Settings ( i.e., Color )?  The reason why I ask is my default Distiller PDF-X1a:2001 Settings use a working space of RGB = sRGB IEC61966-2.1; and CMYK = US Web Coated (SWOP) v2 with the "Color Management Policies: "Convert All Colors to CMYK" ( default ); Rendering Intent ( default is "Preserve" ).  Have you discussed these settings with the print service provider?  These settings, if they are identical in Acrobat 11, would appear to have the same RGB work space as your original sRGB based pics. I sense that Word, although not a color managed application, would work as an image carrier into Acrobat 11 where the image files may retain their profiles going into Acrobat 11 and remain intact going out of Acrobat 11 via a PDF-X1a.  In which case, the print service provider then RIP and Prints the file for a hardcopy proof. In your case, the previous digital printer did a good job reproducing the photos as you supplied them, Word or no Word.  The question now becomes what changed with this new service provider?  Their prepress people must of accepted your documents and pushed them through their workflow.  So, what changed? I know of no way to "swap" images using Acrobat.  In your case, it may be a matter of saving a second set of files or the entire book document as a copy and replacing the pics in that file, then create a second PDF-X1a file.  And, as a third option, use InDesign ( however, no point in using it until you've determined where the problem with quality lies ).  If I assume the printer told you that the sRGB files were sufficient and, if you used the X-1 PDF Settings when Saving As > PDF, that would be their preferred workflow and the image files rendered dull and unsaturated ( as they did in your case ), and the printer recommended you increase the saturation and HUE of the images ( which he did ) and the entire workflow worked for a digital printer in the past ( which it did ), then something changed with this new print service provider.  You have to find out from them what it could be.  It could be something with their direct-to-plate equipment.  I believe it merits further research and development with the new service provider.  There is a solution.  You just have to find it.

                               

                              "Once the pdf is created could I swap out the photos

                              for ones that had been converted from RGB to CMYK in photoshop with  Rendering Intent and Black Point Compensation etc. filled. "...

                               

                              Wait a minute.  You did a RGB-to-CMYK conversion in Photoshop?  Why?  I thought you embedded the RGB files in Word?  Then, Acrobat did the conversion using the X-1 settings mentioned above.

                               

                                "How hard would it be to dump my word document into InDesign with  the newly created RGB or CMYK photos would it work better?  Is the learning curve too much of a hassle for one off?"...

                               

                              Yes it would.  But, your procedures worked for the digital printer.  Why not now with the new printer?  That's my question.  Since Acrobat's X-1 settings have a work space of sRGB ( assumed ), then your sRGB files should render appropriately and they do not.  You have to find out what works for this new print service provider and, whatever Photoshop Color Setting RGB workspace you use, use it in Acrobat 11.  Discuss the entire document and Photoshop setups with the new print service provider.

                              • 12. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                                Sue Loon. Level 1

                                Thank you for all your help! Rather then trying to many things...  I will have to meet with the printer again and ask them to explain why they think

                                the colors are not correct seeing that I am using the requested settings and the pages look good on my calibrated monitor.

                                • 13. Re: Sending a photo heavy PDF for book printing on a web press.  Convert photo in photoshop first or Acrobat 11?
                                  SasquatchPatch Level 2

                                  Don't get too excited Sue. Most printers will not be able to tell you the "why" of anything color wise. They're really good though, at making multiple rounds of proofing and charging you for each iteration. If you're have a calibrated screen, calibrated viewing conditions, are using their recommended profile, and the color is still off, then, probably, their recommended profile is not optimum.