17 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2016 6:20 AM by rob day

    Printing issues on all Adobe applications

    jamesgraphics

      I work in a design studio, and we've had persistent problems with printing - and we assumed that the problem was with our printer. We get washed out colour, lacking in definition and detail, and garish colours that don't look like the image on screen. Below is a portion of a printout - it's a crowd at a conference.

       

      IMG_4133.JPG

       

      That's just a pic of a printout from my iPhone, but hopefully you can see where there's strange, washed out "gaps" in the shadows. We have three designers, and we all experience exactly the same kind of printing problems. Upon investigating this, my colleague printed the same image from Preview, and look what happened -

       

      IMG_4134.JPG

       

      All detail and colour restored. And we were able to print accurately from Word too. So the problem was with Adobe all along, but since those are the only applications we print from, we hadn't realised. (Acrobat and Photoshop print just as poorly.)

       

      I've been through the lengthy printing trouble-shooting guide on here, and I've also used all the different print settings I can think of. The only partial fix I've found is: Print > Output > Colour: - and change the setting from 'Composite CMYK' to 'Composite RGB'. This slightly improves the printout quality, but still nowhere near as good as Preview or Word. (I'm also wary about using that setting as it's surely not the correct setting to use!)

       

      If anyone has any ideas about what we can try then I'd much appreciate it! Thanks

        • 1. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Looks like a color management issue -- Adobe apps are color managed, Word and Preview are not. If you don't specify the correct profiles for input and output in the Adobe apps you will get this sort of color shifting.

          • 2. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
            Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            The thing is - Adobe is probably printing it accurately and it's coming out wrong.

             

            And Preview/Word are printing it inaccurately but it's coming out right.

             

            With Preview being a poor PDF viewer, it doesn't have as many bells and whistles as Acrobat, so it dumbs the content down to it's simplest form.

             

            Printing it from Word - I just don't know what to say... please don't...

             

             

            Anyway - back to your problem at hand.

             

             

            What Adobe programs are you using? Are you printing directly from Adobe programs or are you making PDFs? If you're making PDFs what are your PDF settings?

             

            What are you Adobe Colour Settings/and also what Colour Mode are you in RGB/CMYK in Illy/Photoshop?

            • 3. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
              jamesgraphics Level 1

              Thanks for your responses - I'm using CMYK images from Photoshop, and imported into InDesign. The InDesign files are optimised for print. I've tried printing from Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat, and the issues are the same on all. This has been quite a long standing issue in our studio

              • 4. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Have you calibrated your monitors and profiled them, and profiled your printer? You cannot ***** whether color is "right" unless you have some sort of standard, and a managed workflow, in place.

                 

                And what version of the apps are you using?

                • 5. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                  jamesgraphics Level 1

                  We're on Creative Cloud 2015. And the printer has been calibrated. The monitors haven't, but the main issue is not the colour so much as the actual loss of information and definition in the image.

                   

                  I've just tracked down the original photographer's pictures and printed the jpeg directly in InDesign, without editing in Photoshop. It looks a lot better - though there is still some of the 'loss of information' problem. And the original jpeg printed from Preview comes out absolutely spot on - which suggests that both the Photoshop colour profiles and also the InDesign profiles are at fault. How do I reinstall them all? I assumed that with CC, it would all be updated automatically?

                  • 6. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                    Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    In InDesign - what are you Colour Settings

                     

                    Edit>Colour Settings

                     

                    Can you post a screen shot

                     

                    And also the same from Photoshop?

                    • 7. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                      jamesgraphics Level 1

                      Thanks Eugene - see below. I suspect I'm about to feel somewhat naive!

                       

                      InDesign: -

                       

                      Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 17.25.10.png

                       

                      And Photoshop: -

                       

                      Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 17.26.17.png

                      • 8. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        OK, for starters, unless you tell it otherwise, when you convert your camera image to CMYK in Photoshop you are converting to SWOP (which is a pretty washed-out space, compared to the Fogra you are working in in ID), and you are telling ID to ignore the embedded profile on import and presume the image is in the working space, preserving and reinterpreting the numbers. Not a good plan.

                         

                        You should choose a set of default settings (that are appropriate for the bulk of your work), then synchronize across all Adobe apps. I would also consider importing the images as RGB rather than trying to convert to a device-specific CMYK profile before import. CMYK-to-CMYK conversions tend to make things worse.

                        • 9. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                          jamesgraphics Level 1

                          I appreciate that Peter, and certainly what you're saying corresponds with what I'm seeing here.

                           

                          I might be jumping to conclusions, but it seems you're suggesting I should work in InDesign with RGB images, then convert to CMYK when writing a PDF for print? This seems like a workaround or compromise, and furthermore the press printers we use prefer to be supplied with packaged InDesign files, and they reject artwork with RGB images. So it seems logical to convert images to CMYK in Photoshop, pre importing them to InDesign.

                           

                          To me, this all suggests that Adobe isn't really fit for purpose as a print design package.

                           

                          Sorry if I've misinterpreted anything, it's a criticism of Adobe and not your advice. Furthermore we are probably creatives rather than techies in this studio, and we could probably do with brushing up on our technical knowledge! So thanks for sharing your advice.

                          • 10. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            CMYK profiles are all device-specific. Using RGB up until export allows you to work without knowing the output conditions in advance, or to re-purpose to different output devices without giving up any color quality unnecessarily. If you feel you must work in CMYK, then you MUST know the correct output profile before you begin, and I recommend assigning that same profile as the document working profile (do that in the Edit menu), which need not be the same profile chosen in the color settings.

                             

                            I haven't worked with a printer that wanted native files in years. Industry standard has been PDF for more than a decade in the US, though I'm sure there are other parts of the world that are not as up to date. That they would reject a file with RGB images makes me think they have no idea how to really work with InDesign, or they don't want to take responsibility for their own lack of understanding of color management so they can say the "the color we printed is the color you submitted" which should no longer be acceptable to you in a color managed workflow.

                             

                            I work almost exclusively for print, including the occasional color-critical museum catalog, and I haven't used anything but InDesign to do layout since about 2002 when version 2.0 was released. The printers I use understand color management, provide profiles for output, and my monitors are calibrated. The print runs match the contract proofs, which match what I see on my monitor as close as technology allows.

                            • 11. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                              jamesgraphics Level 1

                              Thanks again Peter, I will liaise with our printers - there's no real reason to work in CMYK in the design process. The only reason for supplying our printers with InDesign files, is because we are an in-house studio, and sign-off for projects comes from various departments in the company. So there tends to be numerous last-minute amendments, which the printers can then do themselves to save time. But there's no reason they can't convert to CMYK themselves in the pre-press process.

                               

                              My only other criticism of Adobe is that, speaking as an Adobe user of more than 20 years, it didn't use to be ANYWHERE NEAR as bad at CMYK conversion.

                               

                              However, your solution should be more efficient - and also lead to better results.

                              • 12. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                Twenty years ago there was no color management, and nobody expected true color fidelity in reproduction.

                                • 14. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                                  jamesgraphics Level 1

                                  Actually - another minor technical issue. Assuming we'll be working in RGB - if I need to edit, adjust, or cutout an image in Photoshop prior to importing into InDesign; do I need to think about RGB colour profiles?

                                  • 15. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                                    Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                                    To put it another way: 20 years ago everyone got a rough and ready average conversion to CMYK.  What you may not realise is that 20 years ago, on critical jobs, printers were running the press, stopping, comparing the proof, fiddling with ink settings and repeating until the colours were right. We no longer have pressmen doing that, but we have tools to convert to exact colour, measured with tests on the press. But convert with the wrong settings and there's nobody to twiddle knobs on the ink and fix it for you. The skill and demands have been pushed up to you. We now have to be colour experts.

                                    • 16. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                      RGB profiles, for the most part, are not device-specific, but are general standards. The exception would be monitor profiles and printer-specific output profiles, which are not a good choice for working spaces. In practice, you pick a standard profile in Photoshop (I work in Adobe RGB), have a profiled monitor, and Photoshop converts the color on the fly for display.

                                       

                                      sRGB was developed to represent the average monitor condition (so is commonly used for web). Adobe RGB is a bit larger color gamut, but not necessarily possible to see all of the colors on a typical monitor (my wide-gamut monitor delivers, they  claim, 98% of Adobe RGB). Colormatch and ProPhoto are larger gamut still. These might be useful for high-end capture devices to be sure all colors are faithfully recorded, but aren't really useful as editing spaces since you won't see the fringe colors accurately on your monitor anyway.

                                       

                                      All RGB color spaces have colors not reproducible in CMYK, which is why you don't want to convert prematurely and lose a potentially better conversion to a larger CMYK space -- once you lose a color you can't get it back with more conversion. There are also some colors, like pure cyan, that cannot be accurately rendered in RGB.

                                       

                                      You might want to pick up a copy of Real World Color Management. It's an excellent resource and highly readable for the non-techie, explaining both the how and the why of a color managed workflow.

                                      • 17. Re: Printing issues on all Adobe applications
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        My only other criticism of Adobe is that, speaking as an Adobe user of more than 20 years, it didn't use to be ANYWHERE NEAR as bad at CMYK conversion.

                                        Nothing has changed with the color management engine and CMYK conversions since the late 90s (the creation date for the default US SWOP Coated is July 2000). The problem you are seeing is with your composite printer's ability to interpret CMYK color and not the conversion itself—I don't think it is giving you a reliable proof relative to what would happen on an offset press.

                                         

                                        Most composite print drivers expect RGB. The printers themselves print with some variation of CMYK inks, but the driver performs best with RGB color so the conversion can be directly into the printer's color space. The typical inkjet printer has a wildly different inkset than offset inks so it's easier to control color when the conversion is starting from RGB

                                         

                                        Also, delaying the conversion to CMYK is a matter of flexibility and convenience, not quality. If you and your printer are using the same destination CMYK profile, the output will be the same it doesn't matter who makes the conversion. So a printer might be sophisticated about color management and still want CMYK because she knows it's just a matter of time before a client wants her to print this color:

                                         

                                        Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 8.44.20 AM.png