20 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2015 12:50 PM by rob day

    Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?

    kcrossley Level 1

      I'm working on a design in InDesign CC 2015 using these colors:

      Orange: C:0, M:50, Y:100, K: 0

      Teal: C:80, M:10, Y:45, K: 0

       

      I just picked up the job from my printer and the colors were off. The orange was a little too yellow and the teal was too light. When I asked my printer about this they said the reason was because the printable PDF I submitted had these color specs, when sampled in Photoshop, which I've confirmed:

      Orange: C:0, M:48, Y:88, K: 0

      Teal: C:81, M:20, Y:42, K: 1

       

      Why did InDesign alter my color specs?

       

      COLOR PROFILE SETINGS

      North American General Purpose 2

      RGB: sRCB IEC61966-2.1

      CMYK: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2

       

      Color Management:

      RGB: Preserve Embedded Profiles

      CMYK: Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles)

        • 1. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Why was the PDF being color sampled in Photoshop? Were you supposed to submit this as SWOP? Did the printer give you a profile or .joboptions settings file for export?

           

          How do you know the colors are incorrect? Is your monitor calibrated and profiled with a colorimeter or Spectrophotometer? If it isn't, you can't trust it to show you the true colors.

          • 2. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
            kcrossley Level 1

            Woah! Lots of question there Peter.

             

            I have no idea why the printer sampled the PDF in Photoshop. When the colors came out wrong on press that was the excuse I was given. Unfortunately, this particular printer doesn't have a PDF Preset so I'm using one from another printer, which has worked fine until now. I've attached screen shots of the PDF Preset I'm using.

             

            I never rely on my monitor or my in-house proofing printer for color accuracy. Instead, I try to specify color builds using the Pantone Bridge system. This usually ensures accurate color reproduction and gives printers a consistent point of reference. My gut feeling is the printer simply ran the colors wrong. But apparently the pressman took offense, which is why he's citing the Photoshop color samples.

             

            I'm supposed to meet with the printer next week to resolve all of this. My printer has been very accommodating and has committed to re-running the job at their expense. I just want to learn as much about this as possible so I can make sure that I'm not contributing to the color accuracy problem. Any insight you can provide is very much appreciated.

             

            Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.29.00 PM.png

            Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.29.08 PM.png

            Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.29.15 PM.png

            Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.29.23 PM.png

            Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 5.29.30 PM.png

            • 3. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              It sounds like they opened the PDF in Photoshop for output and it went through a color conversion. If that's the case, run away from them as quickly as you can. Of course, we'd need to see the actual PDF to be sure, but you should be able to check it yourself in Acrobat Pro.

              • 4. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                kcrossley Level 1

                Thanks Peter. I've never checked colors in Acrobat Pro before. How is that done?

                • 5. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  Depends on the version, but it should be something like Tools > Print Production > Output Preview and you'll get a window similar to ID's Separations Preview. Hover the cursor over an area and read the numbers. Be sure the simulation profile is set for SWOP since that's what your assumed profile is.

                  • 6. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                    You need to go to Acrobat Pro > Print Production > Separations and go with the mouse over each item which will tell you the ink value or run a profile.

                    • 7. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                      kcrossley Level 1

                      Gentlemen, thanks for your help. According to Acrobat Pro the PDF colors I submitted are absolutely fine. Peter, I think you're right. The printer must have run the file through some sort of Photoshop prepress processing. I'm meeting with them Monday to discuss all of this. Thanks again guys. Have a great weekend!

                      • 8. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                        Opening the file in Photoshop does not only convert colors. Text and vectors are rasterized at the files resolution and not at the devices resolution which is much higher. So you will recognise the output in blurry edges. It is a no go to open PDFs in Photoshop for print. (Other reasons may exist, but not for a printer.)

                        • 9. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                          kcrossley Level 1

                          Yeah, that makes sense. I'll need to find out exactly what they're doing in pre-press on Monday.

                          • 10. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Thanks Peter. I've never checked colors in Acrobat Pro before. How is that done?

                             

                            If you did use the preset you are showing with no profiles included, then all of the document's CMYK color would be defined as DeviceCMYK. When you open a PDF with DeviceCMYK color as CMYK Color mode into Photoshop there would never be a color conversion because there is no source profile, so you would in fact see the PDF numbers unchanged in Photoshop's Info panel. The only way your printer would see a number change would be if they spec'd RGB or Lab Color Mode when they opened the PDF

                             

                            If you check the numbers via Acrobat's Output Preview you have to keep in mind that the Separation numbers are a simulation of output and not necessarily the number's in the actual file. To make things more difficult different versions of Acrobat handle the simulation of DeviceCMYK differently. To get the actual file numbers you have to use Object Inspector, which tells you if the color is profiled and its actual numbers with no conversion. Here the teal is showing as DeviceCMYK 80|100|45|0:

                             

                            Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.21.54 AM.png

                             

                             

                            I try to specify color builds using the Pantone Bridge system

                            Are the Pantone colors process CMYK (Pantone + Color Bridge Coated) or spot Lab (Pantone + Solid Coated)?

                            • 11. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                              kcrossley Level 1

                              So should I modify the preset I'm using?

                               

                              I've used this preset with other local commercial printers and even UPrinting and the colors have always come off very close to what I was expecting.

                               

                              BTW, how are you quoting text?

                              • 12. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                So should I modify the preset I'm using?

                                 

                                 

                                Not necessarily. You're trying to spec output CMYK numbers and you want them to output unchanged. DeviceCMYK (no profiles included) makes conversions at output unlikely, but not impossible. If you have the actual PDF you sent and Object Inspector is showing the correct numbers, something happened at output or with ink densities on press, or you are referencing a solid ink swatch book for a process job, which creates a different color management problem.

                                 

                                If you used Pantone +Solid colors, then that's a problem because the spots have to get converted to CMYK somewhere and you might not be getting the values you expect, but you would still see the problem in AcrobatPro.

                                 

                                If you look at the orange on the press sheet under a loupe is the yellow separation in the orange color solid or halftoned?

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                BTW, how are you quoting text?

                                 

                                Select the text and click the quote icon

                                 

                                Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.44.31 AM.png

                                • 13. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                  kcrossley Level 1

                                  If you used Pantone +Solid colors, then that's a different problem because the spots have to get converted to CMYK somewhere, but you would still see the problem in AcrobatPro.

                                   

                                  I'm using the Pantone Color Bridge system.

                                  If you look at the orange on the press sheet under a loupe is the yellow separation in the orange color solid or halftoned?

                                   

                                  Wow, that's weird. This isn't a traditional 4-color dot pattern. Instead, it looks like lines at a 45 degree angle. That's why the reversed type seems fuzzy. I know that they're printing it on a Canon Digital Press, but I've never seen this kind of pattern before.

                                  • 14. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I know that they're printing it on a Canon Digital Press

                                     

                                    This is a case where trying to use the Pantone system for process color matching becomes a problem. If you reference the Pantone Solid ink swatch books, the color is solid ink not process CMYK. The bridge color swatches give you a process CMYK mix that simulates the solid ink, but under what printing conditions? A generic sheetfed press maybe, but probably not a Canon Digital Press, which might have a very different profile.

                                     

                                    Then there's the question of what the Canon printer does with unprofiled CMYK colors? It maybe that there has to be a conversion, which would be difficult without a source profile.

                                    • 15. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                      kcrossley Level 1

                                      Yes, all very good points. This is what I'll need to cover next week with my printer.

                                       

                                      What preset do you tend to use if the printer hasn't provided one?

                                      • 16. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Are you trying to run jobs without a proof? You're managing color by referencing a swatch book, but the only way to make the Pantone Bridge mixes useful would be to have a bridge swatch book printed from the Canon, use it as the reference, and make sure the output is always the same.

                                         

                                        What preset do you tend to use if the printer hasn't provided one?

                                         

                                        Adobe recommends PDF/X-4 which profiles everything, but the effectiveness of that assumes the printer will make the correct conversion for their press. It also assumes you have some decent monitor profiling in place. I'm not sure it will help when you are referencing Pantone swatches and going to a press with an unusual profile.

                                        • 17. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                          kcrossley Level 1

                                          Are you trying to run jobs without a proof? You're managing color by referencing a swatch book, but the only way to make the Pantone Bridge mixes useful would be to have a bridge swatch book printed from the Canon, use it as the reference, and make sure the output is always the same.

                                           

                                          That's the whole point of specifying Pantone Bridge colors. At least that's a universal point of reference. This solution has served me well for some time. There's no possible way I can account for every monitor, in-house printer, or printing press that's out there. Most of my jobs are small run–2,000 or less so in most cases close is good enough.

                                           

                                          Adobe recommends PDF/X-4 which profiles everything, but the effectiveness of that assumes the printer will make the correct conversion for their press. It also assumes you have some decent monitor profiling in place. I'm not sure it will help when you are referencing Pantone swatches and going to a press with an unusual profile.

                                           

                                          I used to profile my monitors with a Spyder 3, but when I purchased a Matrox DualHead2Go to run dual monitors off of my MacBook Pro (non-Retina) that setup rendered the Spyder 3 inoperable since it doesn't know how to account for the way Matrox splits the screen. And quite frankly monitor calibration is sometimes useless because my clients don't operate in a controlled environment so what they see, in terms of PDF proofs, is often very different from what I see. Heck, when building websites there's even different gamma settings between browsers. I wish there was a simple, low-cost solution to get everyone on the same page, but to date that has escaped me.

                                           

                                          It sounds like you have advanced knowledge of color management systems so I'm happy to listen to any advice you have on this subject. Just be aware that I'm a small business that can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on color calibration equipment that in the end could be for naught if the suppliers I'm using don't employ a similar setup.

                                          • 18. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            At least that's a universal point of reference

                                             

                                            But unless you are actually printing solid ink spot colors it isn't universal at all. The Bridge colors are CMYK simulations of the Pantone solid inks, and the best CMYK simulations would have to assume a single printing condition—what is that profile? Not likely a Canon press.

                                             

                                            So if you send the bridge simulation for Pantone 144 (0|51|100|0) to two presses with very different profiles without changing the numbers, you're going to get different color appearance on press. The more the profile departs from Pantone's assumed press profile, the more the color will change in appearance.

                                             

                                            So an extreme is US Sheetfed Coated vs. US Newsprint, which you can simulate in ID by assigning the different CMYK profiles:

                                             

                                            Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.21.11 PM.png

                                             

                                             

                                            Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.20.23 PM.png

                                             

                                            US Sheetfed and the default US SWOP are not as different but still a noticeable change:

                                             

                                            Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.36.07 PM.png

                                            • 19. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                              kcrossley Level 1

                                              Yes, I totally see your point, but some of the examples you cited have more to do with dot gain. 

                                               

                                              If I provide my printer with a Pantone color reference can't they simply adjust there equipment accordingly–Canon or otherwise?

                                              • 20. Re: Exporting InDesign CC 2015 file as a PDF changes colors specs?
                                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                If I provide my printer with a Pantone color reference can't they simply adjust there equipment accordingly–Canon or otherwise?

                                                 

                                                No, dot gain is captured in the profile, along with ink color and density, total ink, GCR etc.—if the press conditions are adjusted the press profile changes. There would be no need for profiles if all presses could be standardized to a single condition.

                                                 

                                                US Sheetfed is quite a different profile than US SWOP. If I use US SWOP as a document profile and send it to a press that prints more like US Sheetfed, mid tone colors will likely print darker than expected. I could go on press and ask the press person to lower ink density, but that will also lower the saturation and appearance of the primary colors and I'll start chasing my tail—do I want bright primaries or lighter mid tones? Probably can't have both.

                                                 

                                                If I start with US Sheetfed as the doc profile the mid tone screen appearance will be darker and my tendency will be to lower the values of chosen colors before sending the job out. Now I don't need to try and lower the values on press because the better values are in the file.

                                                 

                                                Likewise if I convert a mid tone RGB color to CMYK the resulting CMYK output values will be lower than if my doc profile had been US SWOP. US Sheetfed's extra gain is compensated for by the profile on the conversion.