33 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2017 1:11 PM by rob day

    Black only Shadows in a RGB document

    Lokinator14777

      Hi Everyone

      I noticed that I can place CMYK Smart objects within RGB documents and it retains the CMYK values ( when you open the smart object. My current WF is to create a CMYK file with Black only shadow for printing and a RGB file for everything else. I started thinking if I can create the shadow as a SMART object and place it into a RGB file it will retain its CMYK properties I can now use one file instead of 2 (and RGB files look better on our DAM). My issue comes in when I create a PDF from indesign ( Using the RGB file with CMYK smart Objects) it changes the black only shadow into 4 color. If I can get this to work it would save me a ton of time, server space etc. I have tried saving with and without profile, changing PDF profiles etc….does anyone know if it is possible….even if it requires a script I would be interested. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!!

       

      Thank you in advance for your time

      Bob

        • 1. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I noticed that I can place CMYK Smart objects within RGB documents and it retains the CMYK values ( when you open the smart object

          I don't think it is possible. The smart objects can be different modes, but for output there can only be one mode and assigned color profile. Even saving as PDF/X-4 with no conversion results in all the objects converted into the file's color mode.

           

          You can do it with InDesign. If you layer different mode Photoshop files and export as PDF/X-4, no conversion, the resulting PDF will maintain the different color modes. Or, you can place an RGB image and give it a CMYK black only drop shadow and export with no conversion.

          • 2. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
            Lokinator14777 Level 1

            I was shocked when I did it, let me tell you WHY I think its somehow retaining the CMYK color info. I do the CMYK smart object, save it as a RGB PSD file, reopen the file and tell the eyedropper to show me "actual" color, over the shadow it shows CMYK #'s over the object it shows RGB. Same Document....different color readings according to the eyedropper. Program anomaly? I dont know and would be happy to share the file if anyone's interested. Another weird thing we noticed ( Different File) in Bridge we had a file that showed a CMYK color space with a RGB profile...Leading me to believe somehow it might be retaining something  somewhere. If you could do it it would be a huge break through for asset management/designers everywhere.

            • 3. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
              Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

              My tests show otherwise, the result is a CMYK black from the K only smart object in the RGB PSD.

               

              This is as expected and I can’t duplicate your results.

               

              Sorry to rain on the parade!

              • 4. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Save As using the  PDF/X-4 preset which allows mixed color modes and check the mode in AcrobatPro. You can use Output Preview>Object Inspector to get the native color mode of any object in the PDF, or use Show to show and hide CMYK objects. I can't get a mix out of Photoshop. InDesign lets you spec different color modes and export them unchanged.

                 

                If Photoshop did allow mixed modes there would have to be a way to assign both an RGB and CMYK profile to a document. InDesign documents can be saved with both.

                • 5. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                  Lokinator14777 Level 1

                  Let me get infront of my computer in the morning - and I'll post the screen grabs. Believe me I thought the same thing and so did my 5 retouchers. We all tried it and all got the same results. Where I am stuck - is the Indesign is obviously seeing it the RGB file as RGB despite it having a CMYK embedded via smart object. The PDF/x-4 sounds like the way to go...I was praying it would see through the "wrapper" and convert the RGB to CMYK and leave anything that was CMYK (Smart object) alone but havent tried it yet. I will let you know and post screens

                  • 6. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    A Photoshop document can only have one color mode. An RGB file with an embedded CMYK smart object will always output as RGB.

                     

                    However, readouts from the file can be any color mode. These are calculated from whatever working spaces you have set. This is why your K only black gets recalculated and turns into 4C.

                    • 7. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      You can see the conversion into the document color mode more clearly if you put an RGB smart object into a CMYK doc. Here the green smart object is obviously an out-of-gamut RGB color which is being converted. The smart object opened in AI on the right:

                       

                      Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 8.07.50 AM.png

                       

                      Exported to PDF/X-4 no conversion, the green exports in the CMYK space:

                       

                      Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 8.14.52 AM.png

                       

                      InDesign can do what you want:

                      Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 8.17.14 AM.png

                       

                      Exported as PDF/X-4 the objects remain unchanged. You can see the black is unchanged DeviceCMYK at 0|0|0|60 and the green is sRGB

                       

                      Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 8.26.52 AM.png

                      • 8. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                        Lokinator14777 Level 1

                        First thanks to everyone for all your help and time. I am going to try this...long story short I CAN import the RGB file with A CMYK ( K Only shadow ) as long as I export as a PDF/X-4 it retains the CMYK values in the PSD file. This is HUGE! I agree the out of Gamut could a problem if its doing the on the fly conversion but my thinking is I should be watching that anyway during the capture. I am really excited to try this ( stuck in a SAG meeting...yawn). And again thanks for all your help!!

                        • 9. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          If the document mode is CMYK you can spec any CMYK value for the drop shadow you want, but in that case a placed RGB smart object is going to convert into the document's CMYK space. The no conversion option when you save a PDF/X-4 doesn't prevent the conversion.

                          • 10. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                            Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                            First thanks to everyone for all your help and time. I am going to try this...long story short I CAN import the RGB file with A CMYK ( K Only shadow ) as long as I export as a PDF/X-4 it retains the CMYK values in the PSD file. This is HUGE!

                             

                            As previously stated: No one can’t do this, not in my experience or in my knowledge and understanding of how things work.

                             

                            Until you can provide the native source files and output PDF file for examination, the only logical explanation from the info previously provided is user error/misreading of the situation.

                            • 11. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Yeah. This is just not how smart objects work. It's not possible.

                              • 12. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                                P.S. Try opening the final output PDF into photoshop in CMYK mode and then inspect the drop shadow values, which should be CMYK and not K only. Many people are mislead and confused with the separations feature/eyedropper in Acrobat Pro, it does not always show current values but expected values after a conversion (and a conversion may happen in other software that has different settings and behaviour than Acrobat Pro). The object inspector does show current/actual values.

                                • 13. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  P.S. Try opening the final output PDF into photoshop in CMYK mode and then inspect the drop shadow values, which should be CMYK and not K only.

                                  Just to clarify you can make a K only drop shadow if the document's color mode is CMYK, but then an RGB smart object would get converted. By default Acrobat sets the Simulation profile to the PDF/X's output intent, so Separations would show the shadow as K only (if it was spec'd that way) when inspecting an X4 or X-1a from PS. If you rasterize the CMYK PDF back into Photoshop the K only shadow would be unchanged. 

                                  • 14. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                    Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                    So are you saying it will work? And the rendering intent is screwing with it? You are saying it shows the separations as K only which is what I want. And even rasterizing the PDF will show a K only shadow.

                                    This Is atleast the right idea, 

                                     

                                    ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: You can take the saved RGB file and convert it back to CMYK, normally this would make the black turn 4 color, it does not it retains the org K only shadow through the conversion. So even a Save as RGB it retains the org smart object CMYK values. SO.... Theoretical or not YOU CAN Have a CMYK In a RGB document that does not change when changing color modes....enclosed is a screen grab and link below of the smart object opened from within the RGB file notice the header says CMYK and it reads CMYK values when you read actual color.  I wouldnt have believed you if you told me BUT I REALLY WANT TO USE IT.

                                    I also know Indesign will only change the RGB object to CMYK but if it had the info stored ( via smart object) as we know the file does could use it

                                    I will get infront of Indesign tomorrow and try it....I will update with results.

                                    Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 8.01.40 PM.png

                                    Excuse me I haven't looped back to test this today (12 hours is enough work for one day) but I will tomorrow.  link to the RGB PSD file that shows the CMYK Smart object in a RGB Document....."

                                    DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER - MASS HYSTERIA!!"

                                    - Bill Murray

                                    Test_KShadow.psd - Google Drive

                                    • 15. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                      Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                                      I think that it is time for me to bow ouf of the conversation at this point, as I keep repeating meself. :]

                                       

                                      The only logical explanation from the info previously provided is user error/misreading of the situation.

                                       

                                      Examples follow…

                                       

                                      RGB with CMYK Smart Object Placed into InDesign and Exported as PDF/X-1a and Viewed in Acrobat Pro:

                                       

                                      X1-seps.png

                                       

                                      X1-object.png

                                       

                                       

                                      RGB with CMYK Smart Object Placed into InDesign and Exported as PDF/X-4 and Viewed in Acrobat Pro:

                                       

                                      X4-seps.png

                                       

                                      X4-object.png

                                       

                                       

                                      Although the PDF/X-4 separation values are CMYK (as dictated by the output intent profile) – the object inspector shows that the object is really RGB.

                                       

                                      Neither InDesign or Acrobat Pro have any idea that there is a CMYK smart object in the RGB image!

                                       

                                      In all cases, the RGB original is treated as an RGB original and is converted from RGB to CMYK as expected.

                                      • 16. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        So are you saying it will work? And the rendering intent is screwing with it? You are saying it shows the separations as K only which is what I want. And even rasterizing the PDF will show a K only shadow.

                                        This Is atleast the right idea, 

                                        Only if your Test_KShadow document in also CMYK.

                                         

                                        If you convert that document without merging or rasterizing the smart object, the smart object itself doesn't change, but it will change when you output or export the document holding the smart object. Check the Info>Actual Color for the Test_KShadow document and you will see that it is RGB.

                                         

                                        So your document saved as PDF/X-4 in Acrobat confirms that the shadow is in fact RGB which would have different CMYK values depending on the final print CMYK destination:

                                         

                                        Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.13.55 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.14.12 PM.png

                                         

                                         

                                         

                                         

                                        If you convert the holding document to CMYK you can have the K-only values in the smart object, but now there are no RGB objects. Saved as default PDF/X-4:

                                         

                                        Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.18.58 PM.pngk.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.20.17 PM.png

                                         

                                        Note that Acrobat reports the image as ICCBasedCMYK so it has a profile. If the PDF is output to some other CMYK destination, the K-only shadow will get converted to 4-color. If you save as PDF/X1-a the image in the PDF will be DeviceCMYK and the K values should output unchanged even when there's a different destination.

                                        1 person found this helpful
                                        • 17. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          The only logical explanation from the info previously provided is user error/misreading of the situation.

                                          The OP is taking the K reading from the smart object not the composite image, thus the CMYK Actual color.

                                           

                                          I don't see the value in jumping through hoops to get the K-only shadow. If the conversion from RGB to  press CMYK is handled well the correct CMYK profile should keep the shadow neutral when it converts to CMY and it will probably look more realistic.

                                           

                                          You could save the image and shadow as separate files and assemble them in InDesign and get the RGB image and K-only shadow:

                                           

                                          Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.45.57 PM.png

                                           

                                          Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.47.16 PM.png

                                           

                                          k.png

                                          • 18. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                            Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                            ACP Especially thanks for your help I understand and it was my fear. Thanks everyone that solves my ask. I knew it was a long shot but was hopeful maybe there was a way to "trick" indesign  into looking deeper or not converting the file but no such luck. I dont suppose a Black only spot channel would work in its place? So create the file as RGB with a Alpha Ink Black. Would that merge with the 4color Black in Indesign and not create a sep 5th channel?? Just a thought....

                                            • 19. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                              Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                              Thanks very much for the suggestion....I think my production artists would have a stroke as I do 1000's of pages with alot of images so asking them to place two would cause some WF issues....And I almost guarantee a product would get moved without the shadow and it would go horribly wrong. I was wondering if a K ink only Alpha would work in the RGB file....I will have to try that...I am on a mission to get rid of the crappy CMYK conversion of my product just because of a shadow.

                                              • 20. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                                                I don't see the value in jumping through hoops to get the K-only shadow. If the conversion from RGB to  press CMYK is handled well the correct CMYK profile should keep the shadow neutral when it converts to CMY and it will probably look more realistic.

                                                 

                                                Agreed Rob, and unless there was a strong GCR component in the image, there may be registration issues with the drop shadow being K only… And if there is a strong GCR component in the profile, then the drop shadow should get a good mix of K vs. CMY anyway, with the CMY being neutrally balanced and mostly hidden by the K value anyway.

                                                 

                                                A K only shadow will show a single channel “stipple” effect, while a CMYK shadow will have a “rosette” appearance matching the rest of the image. My preference would be for the “softer” rosette over the “hard” stipple, not even factoring registration issues.

                                                • 21. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  I will have to try that...I am on a mission to get rid of the crappy CMYK conversion of my product just because of a shadow.

                                                  What is it about the shadow that needs black only? Would you also demand that other neutral RGB colors in the image output only to the black plate? The male model's shirt is mostly even RGB numbers

                                                   

                                                  Also, because you have made the smart object black only CMYK with a US Web Coated SWOP assignment, it gets placed back into the composite RGB image with a slight color cast. If you take RGB readings of the shadow you'll see that the values are not neutral. Most CMYK profiles pick up the "color" of the black ink so when black only gets converted to RGB the numbers are not even:

                                                   

                                                  Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.14.49 AM.png

                                                   

                                                  You would be better off making the shadow with a perfectly neutral RGB gray and letting the conversion happen to the correct gray balance via the press profile at output or on export from page layout.

                                                  • 22. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                    Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                                    Thanks the reason the shadow needs to be black only is the line screen is very low, paper very crappy and when they print a 4C shadow banding appears at the drop off, I am not in love with the gray shadow I agree on all points,...my printing doesnt allow for it. We tried it and it was bad...the shadows looked like rainbows. My shadow in the example wasnt one we make it was just for this demo. the files we normally drop are CMYK so they are neutral.

                                                     

                                                    Its weird that Photoshop doesnt make it neutral and adds a slight cast - I have no idea why it would do that...but again didnt want to use RGB shadow wanted to extract the K only like it was created with in the smart object. But great reasons on why it wont work. It was a long shot thanks for your time

                                                    • 23. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                      Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                                                      So this is one of those “exceptions” to the modern late-binding workflow concept, where you do need early binding (a CMYK image with specifically controlled values for a given output condition that is not achievable using other methods). If you require flexibility, you could store the RGB version of the image as a smart object and have the main document CMYK mode with the K only drop shadow. That way you can repurpose the RGB original to different CMYK conditions or use an RGB variant for late binding workflows as required.

                                                      • 24. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                        Its weird that Photoshop doesnt make it neutral and adds a slight cast - I have no idea why it would do that...

                                                        It's the profile that determines the neutral appearance of black ink. It's really obvious with a profile like Newsprint SNAP, black isn't even close to absolute black on newsprint and the profile correctly displays its strong brown cast:

                                                         

                                                        k.png

                                                         

                                                        Old curve based profiles like Photoshop's custom CMYK did not consider differences in black ink so 100%K displays as 0|0|0 RGB with legacy profiles like Photoshop 5 Default.

                                                        • 25. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                          Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                                          Great idea on the RGB SMART object with A CMYK file...I will try that....I'm assuming the RGB smart object wont screw with the Gamut even though its in a CMYK target.

                                                          • 26. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            I'm assuming the RGB smart object wont screw with the Gamut even though its in a CMYK target.

                                                            You can't have it both ways. This RGB smart object is out of gamut and its color is previewed in the composite file's CMYK space:

                                                             

                                                            Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 5.21.03 PM.png

                                                            • 27. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              I just remembered there's another option that will work if you have control of the final CMYK conversions. When you make the conversion from RGB to CMYK with a layered smart object document, you are given the choice whether to merge and/or rasterize the layers. That choice will produce different CMYK results. If you choose not to merge or rasterize the smart objects the black only numbers will be preserved. After the conversion you would have the option to flatten the CMYK file and still keep k-only shadows.

                                                               

                                                              So this out-of-gamut RGB file converted without merging will preserve the smart object's k-only values even though the Info panel is showing 4-color. You could have an RGB master and send a customized conversion to the press.

                                                              Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 5.58.01 PM.png

                                                               

                                                              The conversion to CMYK without merging keeps the k-only shadows.

                                                               

                                                              Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 5.42.36 PM.png

                                                              • 28. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                                                NO kidding??? This will work?? That would be spectacular!! I cant wait to try this....I knew someone smarter than me could figure it out!! So is there a downside to doing it this way??

                                                                • 29. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                  Stephen_A_Marsh Adobe Community Professional

                                                                  One can also use this method with a layer masked monochrome channel mixer adjustment layer to create K only tones with the RGB smart object shadow in a CMYK file.

                                                                   

                                                                  mixer.jpg

                                                                  1 person found this helpful
                                                                  • 30. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                    mastergblog

                                                                    Wow... this is so an amazing post with professional replies

                                                                     

                                                                    Thanks Bosses

                                                                    • 31. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                      So is there a downside to doing it this way??

                                                                      You wouldn't be able to delay the final CMYK conversion to later in the workflow—either via export from the page layout or from the RIP at output. It has be in Photoshop and you would have to watch out for additional CMYK-to-CMYK conversions downstream, so I would save the CMYK version without a profile.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                        Lokinator14777 Level 1

                                                                        You mention that I would have to do it in Photoshop upfront and not at the RIP....I need to do it as the PDF export as  another department releases the pages and no step for "Photoshop conversion" in between. Thats why I am making CMYK files up front...

                                                                         

                                                                        Stephen mentioned reverse engineering it and make my document CMYK with a RGB smart object...I am assuming that would minimize the gamut for the RGB smart object placed into a CMYK or no??

                                                                         

                                                                        Why does Indesign convert it and Photoshop wont?? I am assuming my answer is it cant see past the "Main Color" profile....but ooohhh sooo close....

                                                                        • 33. Re: Black only Shadows in a RGB document
                                                                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                          Stephen mentioned reverse engineering it and make my document CMYK with a RGB smart object...I am assuming that would minimize the gamut for the RGB smart object placed into a CMYK or no??

                                                                          Right a CMYK document with a placed RGB smart object is still a CMYK document and will display that way. You can't do this with a single document.

                                                                           

                                                                          Why does Indesign convert it and Photoshop wont??

                                                                          InDesign does not have a document color mode and Photoshop does—ID can contain any number of objects with different color spaces along with 2 assigned document profiles for handling the conversions on export or output. When you place a CMYK image in InDesign you are not placing it into an RGB or CMYK mode document. For Photoshop to do the same it would have to have a document format with no mode that could have two profiles assigned.