7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2015 8:39 AM by MW Design

    Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed

    Karen B Hutchison Level 1

      Designer newbie here with a drop shadow question.  I am working on a project using vintage-style square photos with a white stroke and a drop shadow.  It looks great on the screen but I just got a page back from the printer and the drop shadows are way too solid-looking on the paper.  They almost look like grey boxes around the photo.

       

      This is a personal project and every time I print, I have to go to FedEx Office to pick it up, so I don't want to just fiddle.  I'm hoping you can help me.  How do I get them to look more subtle?  I tried lowering the opacity and they just looked like lighter gray boxes around the photo.

       

      I am using Adobe InDesign CS 6Here are the settings I am using:

       

      Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 2.12.04 PM.png

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          This is a personal project and every time I print, I have to go to FedEx Office to pick it up, so I don't want to just fiddle.

           

          How are you delivering the print file? Are you exporting a PDF? If so what are your export settings?

          • 2. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
            psmudger Level 1

            Also, is your monitor properly calibrated? I'm using your settings on my X-Rite calibrated monitor and it almost looks like grey boxes around the photo, which is exactly how you're describing your print outs.

            • 3. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
              Karen B Hutchison Level 1

              rob day--yes, I am exporting it to a PDF.  There are a lot of export settings.  I'm not sure which ones you are referring to.  Here are my settings:

               

              Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.03.12 AM.png

              • 4. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
                Karen B Hutchison Level 1

                cbgpsmith, I think it is calibrated properly, but as I said, I am a newbie.  The drop shadows look perfect on the screen. 

                • 5. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  The High Quality Press preset exports color unchanged so a default drop shadow will export as CMYK black percentages. I'm assuming that the FedX printer is some kind of composite copier and it might not color manage device CMYK values very well. By default ID documents are set up for US SWOP web press printing, which the FedX printer is not.

                   

                  I don't think there's an easy answer for you, but I would build a test sheet with a dozen or so boxes with different shadows. It's not unusual for composite digital printer to have trouble with CMYK values, so try some shadows with RGB as the color and export with the PDF/X-4 preset.

                   

                  Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 11.09.39 AM.png

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  Also set your document's RGB profile to sRGB :

                  • 6. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    The other thing that many digital copiers have a hard time with is small percentage values, so the percentages as the shadow goes to white might be dropping out. An RGB shadow probably helps with this, but exaggerating the feather via Size might also help.

                    • 7. Re: Drop Shadows Look Too Solid When Printed
                      MW Design Level 4

                      Around here, FedEx Office use a few different brands of digital printers. And they have two means of printing, their in-house software and Acrobat. I have never had great prints from their PPA software. From Acrobat I have, though. So I simply request they do so (and most times they do anyway).

                       

                      I create the files using the PDF/X-4 preset most times. Else I simply use the highest PDF compatibility version (depends if whether the software I am using supports PDF/X-4 or not). My drop shadows come out as good as their various printers can print.

                       

                      Rob is correct. RGB is better for their printers if you are careful to remain in gamut. Because the types of things I make intended for printing at FedEx are not of the highest caliber (hey, their convenient, about the only thing going for them), I don't take the time to design in RGB. They're quickie fliers, hand-outs and the like. Anything of importance I send to the local printer I have been using for eons.

                       

                      Mike