23 Replies Latest reply on Mar 24, 2016 12:03 PM by Laubender

    Ink Manager Bug/Problem?

    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

      Yesterday there was a question about the preview of Pantone colors in Acrobat (Indesign Pantone 262 U problem) which got me to take a closer look at a color problem I've noticed in the past but didn't pay much attention to because I never use the Pantone system for process color jobs.

       

      If you use Ink Manager to convert Pantone solid spot colors to CMYK in CS6 or later you get a color managed conversion from Pantone's Lab color to your document's CMYK space. Works great when the color is 100% and produces the same result you would get if you manually converted the swatch to a CMYK process color.

       

      However, you don't get the same result if tints are used. The difference can be so great I would question ever using Ink Manager to convert Pantone solids to process. How bad the separation values are seems random but is particularly noticeable with dark saturated colors—you would surely see the problem with 262C but maybe not with 659C where the hue doesn't shift.

       

      Here's a screen shot of some various Pantone color tints exported as a PDF/X-4 to default US SWOP Coated CMYK. On the right I used Ink Manager's All Spots to Process, on the left I changed the swatches' Color Type from Spot to Process and let InDesign make the conversion from Lab to CMYK on export. The circled 262C 30% tint converts to 21|19|16|0 via Ink Manager, which be almost a perfect neutral gray on most presses and wouldn't have the violet cast you would expect of a 262C tint. The version on the left where the swatch was set to process is a clearly better and expected conversion at 20|26|13|0 with more magenta and less yellow.

       

      You can see similar problems in all of the other tints. Here's a zip file of my examples.

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

       

      Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 8.52.26 AM.png

        • 1. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
          MW Design Level 4

          Hi Rob,

           

          I had a bit of play this morning about this subject. I am just going to dump a screen shot of a spread sheet I made up. It begins with the top row, to the left of the light blue column of using Pantone's CMYK definition of Pantone 262 C when using the US SWOP profile in the PCM software. The calculated tint values in the first column to the right of the light blue column (the Pantone row) are what I believe the values should be. It should be a straight calc of tint to solid values. I don't have my Pantone Tint swatch books anymore, but if I recall that's all they were is a straight calculation of, for instance, the C value divided by 100 times the tint value. So in this example, C equals 69, so (69/100)*30. But I might be misremembering.

           

          With couple of them, I exported as Spot and did the conversion in Acrobat and those are indicated. With XDP, a spot will be a spot no matter what and so it was converted by Acrobat. The one CS6 row, I used the CMYK definition for the spot, then converted in Acro. In PPX8, CDX7 and QXP9, I converted to CMYK at PDF generation. Then your two are listed at the bottom.

           

          Mike

           

          capture-002594.png

          • 2. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
            MW Design Level 4

            Dang. I knew I would muck things up...

             

            The tint calc is the straight CMYK tint calculation. The Pantone tint books only show the screened result, no CMYK conversion in the books for the screens. Also, it nagged me about the XDP issue. Yep, in the Print setup (not the PDF Export dialog) there is a checkbox for the spot to process conversion. What a dumb place to hide it.

             

            Updated screen shot of the spreadsheet.

             

            capture-002595.png

            • 3. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              After CS6 there are no longer any CMYK definitions for Pantone Solid colors—everything is Lab. So when you convert solid colors to CMYK, Pantone's recommended mixes never come into play—conversions are color managed. Pantone does provide recommended CMYK mixes in the Color Bridge libraries, but those process CMYK libraries are separate from the solid ink libraries and have nothing to do with Ink Manager spot conversions.

               

              So when you convert the 100% solid swatches to process, either via Ink Manager or the swatch itself, the conversion is color managed. It should be the same as converting a Lab color to CMYK in Photoshop. The resulting CMYK mix would depend on the destination CMYK profile and the color intent not any Pantone predefined mix.

               

              You would expect the conversion from Lab to CMYK to be the same whether you do it via the swatch or via Ink Manager, and that is the case when the color is at 100%. When the color is a tint you don't get the same result and they both can't be right.

               

              You can really see a problem with the Ink Manger conversion in the Orange 21 patch. At 100% both methods convert to 0|82|100|0. At 50% the ink manager version is 0|46|35|0 vs. 0|40|53|0. These are two very different colors and the swatch conversion makes more sense if you know the numbers. The ink manager conversion is closer to salmon pink then 021's sunkist orange.

               

              The reason for the post is I think it is fairly common practice to convert Pantone solids to CMYK via Ink Manager, and I'm not sure it produces the best results.

              • 4. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                MW Design Level 4
                So when you convert the 100% solid swatches to process, either via Ink Manager or the swatch itself, the conversion is color managed...The resulting CMYK mix would depend on the destination CMYK profile and the color intent not any Pantone predefined mix.

                Rob,


                First let me say that I am as ignorant as the average person as regards managing color conversions. Maybe more, who knows. But I don't think I was using Pantone's predefined mix per se. The screen shot is from PCM, with using the highlighted profile. It also uses the LAB internally for this function...from what they told me anyway.


                capture-002596.png


                Changing the profile of course changes those CMYK values. So shouldn't the conversion from our software when using the same output profile be reasonably close to those values?


                Further, shouldn't the tint then be based upon the CMYK conversion of the 100% tint itself?


                • 5. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  My post is about how InDesign not Pantone handles spot color conversions. If you think Pantone's software has better color management that's fair enough, but Pantone's CMS doesn't come into play when you check the All Spots to Process box in InDesign's Ink Manager.

                   

                  So shouldn't the conversion from our software when using the same output profile be reasonably close to those values?

                   

                  InDesign also has a black point compensation option and different color intents available in Color Settings and they all can have an affect on conversions to CMYK.

                   

                  Further, shouldn't the tint then be based upon the CMYK conversion of the 100% tint itself?

                   

                  I don't think so but if you do, using Ink Manger is even more of a problem when you look at the Orange 021 comparisons.

                   

                  I don't want to over complicate this, just pointing out that two methods of converting Pantone spot colors in InDesign sometimes produce very different results and it's hard to come up with a rational as to why they should.

                  • 6. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    I wonder how much of the discrepancy might be attributable to dot gain compensation calculations in the algorithm, not that I know that there are any. The lower the percentage of ink, the less gain there would be, so there may be some compensatory increases in the lower numbers that would skew the values while not necessarily printing off-color, particularly if there are wide differences between the inks.

                    • 7. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      When you look at the 021C tints in my example there's a considerable shift in hue which would be hard to explain with some additional dot gain compensation (both methods seem to use the same destination profile).

                       

                      In any case there's a shift in color appearance as well as values when you go out via Ink Manager. So this is a hypothetical page where I've filled frames with different colors that have the same appearance on screen—Pantone 021C at 50% and Lab 80|33|43. On export via Ink Manger you get different appearance and numbers, which I have a hard time seeing as desirable.

                       

                      Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.25.25 AM.png

                       

                      Here's the ID file

                       

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

                      • 8. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        Well, it was just a thought.

                        • 9. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                          Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Hi together,

                          I want to resurrect this thread, because I recently did some tests around this bug with Ink Manager and spot color separation.

                           

                          The problem does not only apply to the spot colors found in the color libraries, but to every spot color you create yourself.
                          So I made some experiments you can download here from my Dropbox:

                           

                          Dropbox - SpotColor-LAB-61-65-85-Folder.zip

                           

                          To avoid the problem I see two ways:

                           

                          1. Early binding workflow where you want to output to CMYK

                          Still use spot colors and their tints to select colors, but immediately create a new CMYK process color out of the found Lab values.
                          But only, if you have set up your color management settings properly.

                           

                          2. Late binding workflow where you want flexibility in output. Either to spot or to CMYK.

                          2.1 Do NOT use tints of spot colors at all. (This may be unrealistic.)

                          2.2 If you want to use tints of spot colors, do the tints with percentages of opacity in the Effects Panel

                           

                          InDesign seems very peculiar when it comes to showing spot colors.
                          Here some screenshots, that hopefully are self-explanatory. If not check my original files or ask here.

                           

                          1. InDesign CC-2014.2 document with placed images from PhotoShop containing Lab equivalents of the spot color, containing the spot color or are pre-separated to CMYK.
                          Together with spot elements from InDesign, gradients, applied effects. Also one applied color that was made from a tinted spot as described in the early binding workflow above.

                           

                          We start with Overprint Preview turned off. Ink Manager is totally turned off as well.
                          What is the view showing? Some subtle inconsistency between the gradient elements, some not so subtle inconsistencies between tints of spots, effects on spots and pre-separated tints of spots.

                           

                          1-InkManager-OFF_OverPrintPreview-OFF.png

                           

                          2. Now the view changes completely after turning ON Overprint Preview. The spots can be discerned more easily from the other stuff:

                           

                          2-InkManager-OFF_OverPrintPreview-ON.png

                           

                          3. Finally when Ink Manager is doing its deeds:

                           

                          3-InkManager-ON_OverPrintPreview-ON.png

                           

                          I hope to fuel this discussion further. I think, that are pressing needs to fix this bug with the Ink Manager.

                           

                          Thank you,
                          Uwe

                          • 10. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Oh, I should have added: *

                            If you like to work with my files, note, that the exported IDML file will NOT** show my color management settings, that were in InDesign and PhotoShop set to:

                            ISO Coated v2 with rendering intent Perceptive. If this is the ideal setting is a different discussion, I think. Just to let you know.

                             

                            Uwe

                             

                            * My first version of the post above was far more detailed, but did not see light of day, because the forum acted up and I could not recreate it.

                            ** EDIT: This time I pressed "Save Reply" too soon.

                            • 11. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Something added to the late binding workflow and some oddities with my exported PDFs:

                               

                              2. Late binding workflow where you want flexibility in output. Either to spot or to CMYK.

                              2.1 Do NOT use tints of spot colors at all. (This may be unrealistic.)

                              2.2 If you want to use tints of spot colors, do the tints with percentages of opacity in the Effects Panel

                              2.3 Use images with tinted spot colors from PhotoShop.
                              (This is a bit exotic, not very flexible, but is working with fills for graphic shapes in InDesign)

                               

                              Now the PDFs. Hm. Inspected my PDFs from that workflow again…
                              My uploaded PDFs show faults with the black texts and strokes. Preview in InDesign is showing them as overprinting black 100%.
                              That is not true anymore with the exported PDFs.


                              I used "Maintain CMYK colors when exporting", used the same ICC profile, but the black was converted to a mix of CMYK values.

                               

                              I have to check what went wrong with my PDF export.
                              Strange…

                               

                              Uwe

                              • 12. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                2. Late binding workflow where you want flexibility in output. Either to spot or to CMYK.

                                2.1 Do NOT use tints of spot colors at all. (This may be unrealistic.)

                                2.2 If you want to use tints of spot colors, do the tints with percentages of opacity in the Effects Panel

                                2.3 Use images with tinted spot colors from PhotoShop.

                                 

                                Uwe, I'm not sure it has to be that complicated. In all of my tests simply changing the InDesign swatch from spot to process solves the problematic Ink Manger conversion and I get the expected conversion from the color's Lab values to either RGB or CMYK profiles.

                                 

                                Orange 21 is far out-of-gamut and you would expect it to change in appearance when it is converted to any CMYK space. Ink Manager's tint conversions don't make sense in either appearance or numbers, but if I set the color to process Lab, all of the downstream conversions I'm seeing do make sense and respond correctly to different destination profiles.

                                 

                                So here I've set Orange21 to process Lab and exported to PDF/X-4 with no color changes. I can open the PDF in Photoshop as Lab and keep the Lab values unchanged, so comparing the appearance in ID, PS, and Acrobat everything matches. The CMYK numbers for the same CMYK destination profile also match—in this case I have all three apps set to preview as US Sheetfed Coated and get matching readings:

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.10.35 AM.png

                                • 13. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Hi Rob, thank you for your comments!

                                  My answer is: you are right, it has not to be that complicated.
                                  At least not for a workflow I described as "early binding".

                                   

                                  And it depends, if one is setting up user-defined spot colors or is using the spots from a library or using documents somone else has set up. Converting a spot color to process is much easier, if you set up your own and not using one from the Pantone library. If used from a library it will require some additional steps:


                                  Duplicate the spot

                                  Set the duplicate to process
                                  and delete the original with the duplicate.

                                   

                                  If you constantly have to switch back and forth between spots and CMYK a lot, this could get to one nerves.

                                  Also if placed images are using a spot color name like PANTONE Orange 021 C .

                                   

                                  Note: My PDFs with the uploaded files are technically ok.

                                  I tripped myself, because my Acrobat's preferences were set to "Substitute Document Colors" for Accessibility.
                                  I did this for some obscure tests some days ago and did not get back to this version of Acrobat Pro X (v.10.1.14) simply because I had to do work on a different machine since then.

                                   

                                  Then the Output Preview were showing RGBs instead of CMYK in my blacks. Arrgh.

                                   

                                  Uwe

                                  • 14. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    If used from a library it will require some additional steps:

                                    I'm not seeing that with my libraries—I can change either the Mode or Type without duplicating the color.

                                     

                                    Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.49.15 PM.png

                                    • 15. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      If there is placed art Mode gets disabled, but I can still change to Process and Separation Preview changes accordingly:

                                       

                                      Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.58.13 PM.png

                                      • 16. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Yes, I can see this as well, if I create a new spot color.

                                         

                                        But in the moment I select a Solid Coated color (if I click it), "Spot" is automatically applied as "Color Type", instantly grayed out. If I saved that "Spot" I could not change it to "Process" after closing the panel. I have to duplicate the original one, change that duplicate to Process and substitute the original with the duplicate.

                                         

                                        Tested that with InDesign CS6 and CC 2014.2 on Mac OSX 10.7.5.

                                        • 17. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                          Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          In case of the image with the spot, check if your Overprint Preview will change, if you changed the Swatch Options and after using the Ink Manager. In my tests Color Type Process was ignored by the Ink Manager.

                                           

                                          Best I'll do a little video and upload that.
                                          Possible that I'm doing something plain wrong…

                                           

                                          Uwe

                                          • 18. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            I'm not seeing that, I can change Pantones to process whether they are new, existing, or brought in from placed art. Are you using the English version? Try scripting the change, I can also do that.

                                            • 19. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Try this AppleScript:

                                               

                                              tell application "Adobe InDesign CC 2014"

                                                  set c to every color of active document whose model is spot

                                                  repeat with x in c

                                                      set model of x to process

                                                  end repeat

                                              end tell

                                              • 20. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                                Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Hi Rob,

                                                scripting is working. Also with ExtendScript.
                                                After changing from spot to process the colors are converted, but still show the wrong color type in the UI (but grayed out).
                                                I'm using a German version of InDesign. Maybe that's the issue.

                                                 

                                                Here my ExtendScript code snippet:

                                                 

                                                var doc = app.documents[0];
                                                var colors = doc.colors;
                                                for(var n=0;n<colors.length;n++)
                                                {
                                                    if(colors[n].model == ColorModel.SPOT)
                                                    {
                                                          colors[n].model = ColorModel.PROCESS;
                                                    }
                                                };
                                                

                                                 

                                                However, changing back the model would require some more code.
                                                The names should be stored and saved with the document by insertLabel() so later I have access again.

                                                 

                                                Uwe

                                                • 21. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  Or maybe check for process colors with names starting with PANTONE and ending with C or U like this?

                                                   

                                                  tell application "Adobe InDesign CC 2014"

                                                      set c to every color of active document whose model is process

                                                      repeat with x in c

                                                          set n to name of x

                                                          try

                                                              set p to word 1 of n

                                                              set e to last character of n

                                                              if p is "PANTONE" and e is "C" then

                                                                  set model of x to spot

                                                              end if

                                                          end try

                                                      end repeat

                                                  end tell

                                                  • 22. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    I'm using a German version of InDesign. Maybe that's the issue.

                                                    My libraries are updated via Pantone's manager app, maybe that's the difference. Here are the libraries that include the new 336 colors:

                                                     

                                                    Dropbox - PMSacbLibraries.zip

                                                    • 23. Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?
                                                      Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Thank you,

                                                      I will test that later or over the weekend.
                                                      Also writing the code for remembering the converted colors.

                                                       

                                                      Uwe