21 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2017 6:33 AM by rob day

    How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?

    chicagonature Level 1

      To begin with, I have experience with color management (assigning, converting, embedding color profiles, rendering intents, all that stuff.) I know how to do it stuff with Photoshop. But I'm having problems understanding how to EMBED a profile in an exported PDF from InDesign CS6. I want to print a long banner at a banner printing company. When I go into Adobe Bridge to see my exported PDF, it shows that it's "UNTAGGED." But I gave it the Destination Profile when I exported it. I thought it would embed. When I send it to the place that prints the banners, they end up with a huge color shift. I think it's because it's UNTAGGED. I'm finding that many of these banner places are unfamiliar with how color management works, let alone profiling their printers. So, to make their lives easier, they just tell their customers to convert to the standard, narrow US Sheetfed Coated profile. Except, I know that their printer can give out a lot more color than that. So, I actually export using a wide gamut CMYK profile and trust their RIP to do the conversion. This way, I'm able to eek out more much color because the RIP has their exact printer profile and it knows how to convert from my wide-gamut profile to their exact printer profile, which has much more color than the standard press profiles.

       

      Here's how I did the export from InDesign under "Export Adobe PDF" windows:

       

      GENERAL
           Adobe PDF Present: High Quality Print

           Standard: PDF/X-4:2010

           Compatibility: Acrobat 7 (PDF 1.6)

       

      OUTPUT

           COLOR    

                Color Conversion: Convert to Destination

                Destination: WideGamutCMYK (don't worry about the actual name or the profile not being US Sheetfed or a standard CMYK profiles.)
            PDF/X

              Output Intent Profile  Name: WideGamutCMYK

       

      Again, after this process, the PDF remains untagged. If the profile can be embedded, then I shouldn't have to guess to much about what's going to come out of their printers.

       

      Thanks,

          Mike

        • 1. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
          Randy Hagan Adobe Community Professional

          The one setting you didn't mention was the Profile Inclusion Policy: options box.

           

          When you go to the Output settings, it's the options box right below the Destination: options box. By default, InDesign uses the Don't Include Profiles option. You want to change that to the Include Destination Profiles option. That should embed your preferred profile in the resulting PDF file.

           

          Though I do have to say, you're skating on thin ice by embedding a profile that differs from your vendor's specs. If your resulting job delivers poor results, and your vendor catches that, you may end up eating that job and paying for the make-good as well.

          • 2. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Hi,

            what is the banner printing company saying?

            What kind of PDF do they require?

             

            Did they provide the WideGamutCMYK profile?

             

            If yes, do the conversion from RGB images to CMYK images with PhotoShop using the WideGamutCMYK profile.

            Replace the images in your InDesign layout.

             

            You have to ask the banner printing company:

            Export to PDF/X-4 with WideGamutCMYK as print intent.

             

            OR and also ask the banner printing company:

            Export to PDF/X-1a with WideGamutCMYK as print intent.

             

            Check with Acrobat Pro if the color values are maintained in the exported PDF.

             

            FWIW: Adobe Bridge is out of this game. Check for output profiles always with Acrobat Pro.

            What is your exact version of Acrobat Pro? Best use version 9 over X or XI.

            Or use Acrobat Pro DC. Some serious bugs with X and XI with color preview were fixed with Pro DC.

             

            Regards,
            Uwe

            • 3. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Ah. Mike, with InDesign CS6 there is an explicit PDF/X-4 output preset. Use that, if the banner printing company requires a PDF/X-4 kind of PDF. Do not use "High Quality Print" as base for output.

               

              Regards,
              Uwe

              • 4. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                When I go into Adobe Bridge to see my exported PDF, it shows that it's "UNTAGGED."

                Bridge can't give you accurate profile information about a PDF because PDF allows multiple objects with different color spaces and profiles. You can use AcrobatPro's OutputPreview>Object Inspector to look at the color space and profile of any object.

                 

                Standard: PDF/X-4:2010

                PDF/X-4 is an offset press standard and requires an Output Intent CMYK profile and all color objects must include profiles. The exception is document CMYK which exports as DeviceCMYK (no profile). If you really want document CMYK objects to include a profile you have to set the Standard to None and choose Include All Profiles in the Output tab.

                 

                Destination: WideGamutCMYK (don't worry about the actual name or the profile not being US Sheetfed or a standard CMYK profiles.)

                I can understand why you think this might be a good idea, but modern CMYK output profiles are created by taking color readings from a printed press sheet, so using a random output class CMYK profile (that isn't an actual profile of the output device) as the source profile won't likely produce consistently good results. Usually for composite inkjet printer workflows the better approach is working with tagged RGB color and letting the conversion be directly from RGB into the printer's color space. So AdobeRGB-to-PrinterCMYK, rather than AdobeRGB-to-YourCMYK-toPrinterCMYK.

                • 5. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                  Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                  Unlike images, PDFs can contain content in a wide variety of colour spaces and profiles. When you export your PDF, under Output, try selecting 'No Colour Conversion' and 'Include All Profiles'. That way, everything gets embedded and the RIP at least knows the source.

                   

                  But don't count on everything being converted directly to the printer's profile. They may have their RIP set to simulate (and convert all non-CMYK to) the US Sheetfed Coated profile, in the name of lowest common denominator consistency, so you might not be able to access the wider gamut of their printer anyway. Even if you can, using 'WideGamutCMYK' isn't the way to do it.

                  • 6. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                    chicagonature Level 1

                    Hi,

                     

                    I'm giving the banner printer a file with a profile with a wider gamut than they want is because here's what these guys say, "The profile is in the RIP. I can't get it for you. Just use US Sheetfed Coated." But I KNOW that the profile of their machine is wider than what they recommend (US Sheetfed Coated). If I would convert it to their suggested USSC, I'm immediately throwing away the color before it even hits their RIP.

                     

                    However, if I provide their RIP with a profile with a wider color gamut, my hope is that their RIP is going to convert it to their printer's gamut anyway, allowing me to maximize the color of their printer. I've done this with both wide-format printers and at printers with digital copiers (though they call them digital presses). I'm always able to eek out a little extra color if I just let their RIP do the conversion. (Of course, if their RIP is simply "assigning" their profile to my file, that's bad and would produce wrong colors.)

                     

                    Standard CMYK is such a narrow format for my photography. My work celebrates the kaleidoscopic colors of the rare and wild habitats of the Chicago region--its prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. There's more nature within an hour's drive of downtown Chicago thn 29 national parks, including Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Acadia, and almost as big as Mt. Rainier National Park. Many of my pictures feature purple flowers, and they would fall flat and turn towards the pink side. Recently, I published a big photo-literary coffee-table book using the finest book printer in the world. They're the same Chinese company that made Apple's $299 book. This book printer uses wide-gamut CMYK inks to reproduce color that rivals prints that I make on my Epson 9800 8-color printer. For my purposes here, I'm printing banners and bookmarks to promote the book, and I want the best color I can get out of the comparatively inferior devices used to print them.

                     

                    I hope this clears up that part of the confusion.

                     

                    Thanks,

                        Mike

                    • 7. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                      John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      chicagonature  wrote

                       

                      ...if I provide their RIP with a profile with a wider color gamut, my hope is that their RIP is going to convert it to their printer's gamut anyway, allowing me to maximize the color of their printer.

                      Yes, this principle is well known and understood here, that's exactly what Rob Day's post #4 is about. And since you understand it, and this:

                      If I would convert it to their suggested USSC, I'm immediately throwing away the color before it even hits their RIP.

                      One would assume you'd be looking to maximize the input gamut. But you're not. By using any CMYK space, you're:

                      immediately throwing away the color before it even hits their RIP

                      Maybe you missed it. Reread the last part of Rob's post.

                      • 8. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                        If I would convert it to their suggested USSC, I'm immediately throwing away the color before it even hits their RIP.

                         

                        You don't have to convert into any CMYK space, edit color in an RGB space and export with the profiles included and let the conversion into the printer profile happen at output. Assuming the printer will honor the source profiles you can use a wide gamut RGB space like ProPhotoRGB.

                        • 9. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          How was the WideGamut CMYK profile made?

                          • 10. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                            chicagonature Level 1

                            Hi Rob,

                             

                            Thanks for your help! And thanks to everyone else, too!

                             

                            I wrote the banner printer:

                            As the printer, what kind of PDF do you want? For instance, what PDF standard do you use. Also, what is the profile of your banner printer.

                             

                            The printer wrote back:

                            The pdf ideally should be created at full scale and 150 dpi. I'm not sure what export options for your end because we don't use indesign. The profile for our banners printing is 13oz  key banner profile and for the roll up banner is the anti curl  banner profile.

                            Just save the PDF as a standard CMYK file. NO we CANNOT give you the profile and it would be useless to you anyways.

                             

                            So, do you see why I'm confused? This kind of response is not unusual from banner printers. I'm trying to understand how it all works.

                             

                            You asked:
                            How was the WideGamut CMYK profile made?

                             

                            I was using the WideGamutCMYK (WGCMYK) profile from a high-end book printer in China with a gamut that is almost as wide as my Epson 9800 printer. It's actual name is in Chinese and it's long and hard to type, so I just call it WGCMYK. Now, I know that my thinking may be wrong here, but I originally thought that when the EXPORT TO PDF (in InDesign) was asking me for a Destination Profile, that all of the objects, images, and text in the InDesign file would be converted into that profile, leaving the final PDF with with one and only one color space after all is said and done (WGCMYK). I also thought that by using this really wide color space, I'd be creating a Large Container of CMYK Color to dump all of the pictures, objects, and text into so that I wouldn't lose any color in the conversion. And then, when the banner printer saw this single color space, it would convert the colors in the file into it's own profile (that would be wider than US Sheetfed Coated (USSC). This would then give me more color than if I would have started out with converting to the narrow output profile of USSC. So, that WAS my logic.

                             

                            WHY THIS ALL HAPPENED:
                            In April, I sent the banner printer a PDF file and it printed out perfectly, with great color. The other day, I added text to the SAME InDesign file and exported as a PDF. It printed terribly. I can't figure out how to find the PDF standard I was using in Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. They may have been different.

                             

                            WHAT ARE THE STEPS?

                            I have an InDesign file with both CMYK and RGB objects and text. When I export, what does the printing place need to tell me? Is it which Adobe PDF Preset to use and also the Standard? What should my Output be?

                             

                            Adobe PDF Preset:
                            Standard:

                             

                            OUTPUT:

                            Color Conversion =

                            Destination =

                            Profile Inclusion Policy = IT'S "GRAYED" OUT.

                             

                            PDF/X:

                            Output Intent Profile Name =

                            Output Condition Name =

                             

                            Thanks again!

                                 Mike

                            • 11. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              It printed terribly. I can't figure out how to find the PDF standard I was using in Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. They may have been different.

                              If you have both PDFs you can compare the page item's color specs and profiles via Acrobat's Object Inspector. So here I can click on the image and see that is RGB with AdobeRGB as the source profile, and the red fill is CMYK with no profile (DeviceCMYK)

                               

                              Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 3.45.24 PM.png

                               

                              Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 3.45.34 PM.png

                               

                               

                              I have an InDesign file with both CMYK and RGB objects and text.

                               

                              Why mix color spaces? If you think the Chinese CMYK profile is the best choice for a source profile, why use RGB at all?

                              • 12. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                chicagonature Level 1

                                As I was saying earlier, I wanted to find a single wide-gamut color space to convert the PDF into. So, I decided to pick the very wide color space from the Chinese printer. Who cares what it was, as long as it's wider than the banner printer.

                                • 13. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                  chicagonature Level 1

                                  Nothing happens when I click on the Object Inspector, just a white box below. See here:

                                   

                                  Object Inspector.JPG

                                  • 14. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Who cares what it was, as long as it's wider than the banner printer.

                                    But you don't know that—it's an arbitrary choice. The point of output class profiles is they are device dependent and ideally should be used as a destination and not as source profiles. If it's valid, the Chinese profile would have been measured from a printed press sheet and would not be the correct profile for a composite banner printer which would have a different profile.

                                     

                                    If you are looking for a source editing space with the widest gamut, a wide gamut RGB space like ProPhotoRGB would have a larger gamut than any profile measured from a CMYK press sheet.

                                     

                                    On OSX you can use the ColorSync utility to compare gamuts.

                                    • 15. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Nothing happens when I click on the Object Inspector, just a white box below. See here:

                                      You have to click on the page item object, sometimes more than once to hit it.

                                      • 16. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                        chicagonature Level 1

                                        Okay, it takes a while to fill in the box. I see it now. That's odd. It still doesn't tell me if it's PDF/x3 or x4, though.

                                        • 17. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          That's odd. It still doesn't tell me if it's PDF/x3 or x4, though.

                                          Object Inspector only gives you information about the page items you click on. You can use Preflight to check if a PDF passes an X standard.

                                           

                                          I can see from your capture there is an Output Intent, which indicates you exported to PDF/X. Without inspecting the page objects I'm guessing all of the color is DeviceCMYK which means there is no profile. If you really want to send profiled CMYK that conflicts with the printer's output profile, you can't export using a PDF/X preset. You'll have to set the Standard to None and Include All Profiles.

                                           

                                          Here's my page with none as the standard. My CMYK rectangle now has the document's CMYK profile assigned.

                                           

                                          Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 5.13.01 PM.png

                                          • 18. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                            chicagonature Level 1

                                            1) When I click OBJECT INSPECTOR in Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, shouldn't the info display instantly? It doesn't. It does nothing. Then I'll come back later and there it is. My my computer has 16GB RAM and it's also fast.

                                             

                                            2) Yes, mine does saying DeviceCMYK (after it finally popped up).

                                             

                                            3) What is an "output class profile"? Is it simply a profile for an output device (assuming media type is built in)? I don't know the output profile for their banner printer. They tell me, "We have an ONYX RIP and I can't give you the profiles." I don't see why not, but that's what they say.

                                             

                                            4) My WideCMYK space isn't arbitrary. It's wider than any of these banner printers can produce. But you're saying to use ProPhootRGB and I'm always covered, right?

                                             

                                            Still, let's say that I don't know what the output profile is for the banner printer, what do I do with exporting the PDF?

                                            From what I understand:

                                            1. It's okay to set High Quality Print.
                                            2. I should set STANDARD to NONE.
                                            3. Check Create Tagged PDF
                                            4. OUTPUT: Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles.

                                            I'd be letting the RIP take all of the profiles from the document and convert them one at a time into it's output profile, right?


                                            When I create a PDF for a printer, would I choose PDF/X standard? Is that printer specific, where I'd just ask them? And would I still set OUTPUT to Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles?

                                             

                                            AND FINALLY, couldn't I just output to a TIF for the banner printer? I'd first have to create a PDF, open it in Photoshop, and then save it as a TIF. But, I sometimes see these very thin white outlines around the edges of the objects. Are you familiar with that issue?

                                             

                                            Thanks so much!

                                            Mike

                                            • 19. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              What is an "output class profile"?

                                              It's a profile intended as the destination profile and not a source profile, CMYK profiles are always output profiles.

                                               

                                              Color management workflow for offset printing is different than for general composite inkjet printing. Yes, you can force CMYK-to-CMYK conversions where the source and destination profiles are both CMYK, but that often produces unwanted results in separation printing (4-color blacks and grays, contaminated primary colors, etc.) and you want to avoid them.

                                               

                                              The PDF/X presets are designed for offset, so a typical workflow would be all placed images are profiled RGB, which can be correctly converted in the RIP when the press profile is actually known. And you only use CMYK for colors that will not benefit from any conversion. So both PDF/X-4 and 1-a leave document CMYK colors as DeviceCMYK and the values are output unchanged to the plates.

                                               

                                              It's wider than any of these banner printers can produce.

                                              You would have to compare the printer's profiles in a utility like ColorSync utility to know that for sure. Is your Chinese printer an offset press? Claims of bigger CMYK gamuts from offset printers are as old as process printing. 

                                               

                                              Here's GRACol, which is generally consider to have a good gamut for offset CMYK vs. ProPhotoRGB.

                                               

                                              Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 6.13.48 PM.png

                                               

                                               

                                              When I create a PDF for a printer, would I choose PDF/X standard? Is that printer specific, where I'd just ask them? And would I still set OUTPUT to Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles?

                                              Again, if you do that all document CMYK will export as DeviceCMYK without profiles. If you are intent on using a random CMYK profile as the source, that profile will not be included with the page items.

                                               

                                              AND FINALLY, couldn't I just output to a TIF for the banner printer?

                                              Would you send that TIFF in your Chinese printer's CMYK color space? White lines are usually the result of flattening (PDF/X-1a) and viewing or printing at low res.

                                              • 20. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                                chicagonature Level 1

                                                Thanks for taking the time to help me understand this.

                                                 

                                                I gave you background and reasoning about what I was doing. I want to know what I should be doing. I don't care about the Chinese profile. I just thought that I should be sending them a CMYK file given they're printing in CMYK. A wide one would guarantee that it would be clearly wider than GRACol or any of those. This Chinese profile from the finest art book printer in the world, and they use specially formulated wide-gamut CMYK inks that rival my Epson 9800 prints made with 8 colors. It's amazine, easily crushing GRACOL or any of those. It's probably the widest true CMYK output profile. But, I don't have to use the Chinese output profile.

                                                 

                                                So, I should just Export PDF from InDesign with what settings for the banner printer?

                                                 

                                                From what I understand:

                                                1. It's okay to set High Quality Print.
                                                2. I should set STANDARD to NONE.
                                                3. Check Create Tagged PDF
                                                4. OUTPUT: Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles.

                                                I'd be letting the RIP take all of the profiles from the document and convert them one at a time into it's output profile, right?

                                                 

                                                As for digital printing from my printer to make, say, bookmarks:
                                                Would I use a PDF/X standard? Or is that printer specific, where I'd just ask them? And would I still set OUTPUT to Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles?

                                                 

                                                Thanks again!

                                                   Mike

                                                • 21. Re: How Do I Embed Color Profile into Exported PDF?
                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  I think Danny's #5 is correct—you don't really know what the banner printer will do with the color. Before you print something big and expensive, it might be worth having them output a small target print—a PDF with a full range of RGB & CMYK color with and without profiles.

                                                   

                                                  From what I understand:

                                                  1. It's okay to set High Quality Print.
                                                  2. I should set STANDARD to NONE.
                                                  3. Check Create Tagged PDF
                                                  4. OUTPUT: Set No Color Conversion and Include All Profiles.

                                                  I'd be letting the RIP take all of the profiles from the document and convert them one at a time into it's output profile, right?

                                                   

                                                  Create tagged PDF refers to XML tags not color profiles.

                                                   

                                                  Include All Profiles with no standard will profile all color including document CMYK. The default [High Quality] preset uses Include Tagged Source Profiles, which would leave document RGB and CMYK color without profiles.

                                                   

                                                  As for digital printing from my printer to make

                                                   

                                                  If the printer is an offset press, PDF/X-4 with RGB images is generally considered best practice. If you can get their recommended press profile, assign it as the document's CMYK profile. Turning on Overprint Preview will preview out-of-gamut RGB colors in the document's CMYK space without actually converting them.