1 2 Previous Next 50 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2009 10:54 PM by Gernot Hoffmann

    Preparing files for print

    gwhPoster Level 1
      Hi everyone,

      I was given a .icc profile from my printer and was told to convert to this profile after I'd finished my editing in RGB mode.

      I was also given the following information:

      General Specs for newsprint:
      Colour should be CMYK. When converting RGB to CMYK, use the following Photoshop settings:
      Ink Colour: Newsprint
      Dot Gain: 30%
      Separation Type: GCR
      Black generation: Light
      Total Ink Limit: 260%
      UCA: 10%

      I don't understand the above settings as I thought that all that information was captured in the .icc profile that I was supplied. This is my first experience in a colour managed workflow so I may be getting a bit confused. If the above settings are not in the .icc profile then where do I set them in Photoshop?

      Would really appreciate any advice.
      • 0. Re: Preparing files for print
        Level 1
        >> from what I recall, the default is to convert your data. You have to manually check the "Leave Color Unchanged" box.

        That's exactly what I don't understand, what would it be Converting my CMYK to?
        I think they are just Command+E in Id to make PDF.
        >> why are you using Sheetfed Coated?

        It is going to a sheetfed press (why would I use a Web press standard)?
        • 2. Re: Preparing files for print
          Gernot Hoffmann Level 3
          Here is a nice description how to create a profile with
          special parameters (as tested by PhS CS2):
          http://www.damiensymonds.com.au/art_newsprint.html

          Probably the pressman gave you such a profile. A profile
          contains indeed all necessary data.
          The additional information helps understanding quality
          issues.

          You can test your conversions by
          View > Proof Setup > Proof Colors

          Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann
          • 3. Re: Preparing files for print
            (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
            >I don't understand the above settings as I thought that all that information was captured in the .icc profile that I was supplied.

            You are correct. TAC (Total Area Coverage), dot gain/TVI (Tonal Value Increase), GCR, UCR, UCA, are all "rolled in" into the profile's own LUTs (Look-Up Tables).

            The CMYK values that the profile generates upon conversion from, say, an AdobeRGB file will already, and precisely, account for all those factors.

            So, if the profile is what you are being asked to use for your conversions, the rest of the information should be somewhat redundant.

            One thing you could do, though, is to check and make sure that the profile actually *does* generate the TAC it is supposed to. If it turns out to be 320%, for example, then the profile is not correct for the stated print conditions, and you should make that known to your counterparts.

            If you have ColorThink Pro, you can also view the profile's neutral rendering curves and inspect its black generation by looking at the black curve in the graph.

            >This is my first experience in a colour managed workflow so I may be getting a bit confused. If the above settings are not in the .icc profile then where do I set them in Photoshop?

            You don't have to activate any of those settings in Photoshop, and they are not "settings in the ICC profile" either. Once the profile's LUTs (Look-Up Tables) are "baked in" at profile creation time, those "settings" disappear and become implied in the CMYK numbers that the conversion produces -- effectively invisible as "settings", unless you have a profile inspection tool like the already-mentioned ColorThink Pro.

            I hope that this clarifies things for you somewhat.

            Best regards.
            • 4. Re: Preparing files for print
              gwhPoster Level 1
              Thanks for the reply,

              I'm still a bit confused.

              U.S Web Coated (SWOP) v2 was selected as the CMYK Working Space in the colour settings dialogue, and I then went into custom CMYK to see the current settings in that custom dialogue. I noted these and then clicked Cancel. I then changed the CMYK Working Space to the profile that my printer gave me (ISONewspaper26v4) and again went into Custom CMYK, but I was seeing the same settings as the US Web Coated (Swop).

              If both these profiles are the same to begin with, and I'm just creating a custom CMYK profile according to the setting given to me by my printer, then what's the use of the original profile that he sent me? What information is contained in that file if I'm recreating a custom cmyk profile?
              • 5. Re: Preparing files for print
                gwhPoster Level 1
                Thanks for that reply,

                I must have posted my earlier one before viewing it.

                Just another question if that's okay: after I've converted to profile and obviously seen the drastic reduction in colour saturation due to the newsprint profile, is it okay to make any more edits at this stage? I mean if I try to apply any contrast curve or resaturate the colours or something, that will just undo all the effects of the profile won't it?
                • 6. Re: Preparing files for print
                  (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                  This is a common misunderstanding, but the Custom CMYK engine has *nothing at all* to do with ICC-profile-based conversions.

                  The twain shall not meet -- they are *completely* separate from one another. Either you use one or the other. If you use ICC profiles to convert your image files, then Custom CMYK is *completely* out of the picture.

                  That's why you are seeing no changes after you tinker with Custom CMYK: because it has no effect whatsoever on ICC conversions.
                  • 7. Re: Preparing files for print
                    (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                    >Just another question if that's okay: after I've converted to profile and obviously seen the drastic reduction in colour saturation due to the newsprint profile, is it okay to make any more edits at this stage? I mean if I try to apply any contrast curve or resaturate the colours or something, that will just undo all the effects of the profile won't it?

                    No, you should soft-proof your image to your intended destination profile while it's *still in RGB*, *before* you convert. Once you have converted the file to the destination CMYK profile, it's too late to get back any saturated areas and detail that you could have otherwise retained.

                    Soft-proof in RGB, add adjustment layers to manipulate judiciously your Hue/Saturation (and Selective Color too, which can work wonders), save the file, then separate it to your destination CMYK profile. That is best practice.

                    Also, you are correct to fear unwanted effects from manipulating the file after it's converted to CMYK: for example, you could be pushing the image's TAC values in excess of the desired 260% target, causing the presence of excessive amounts of ink in the shadow areas on press.
                    • 8. Re: Preparing files for print
                      gwhPoster Level 1
                      Okay thanks - great advice.

                      Just finally: I think I understand now that icc colour management relies on a calibrated monitor so that instead of using CMYK colour values to judge colour, you're actually trusting what you see on your screen.

                      If someone has given me a CMYK value from a Pantone "Solid to process guide" booklet and asked me to colour an area of an image with this colour, I know that when I convert to profile the CMYK values are going to change. Does this mean that if I choose an icc colour managed workflow that CMYK values obtained from these Pantone booklets are no longer useful or valid due to the number changes?
                      • 9. Re: Preparing files for print
                        (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                        >Just finally: I think I understand now that icc colour management relies on a calibrated monitor so that instead of using CMYK colour values to judge colour, you're actually trusting what you see on your screen.

                        Exactly. ICC color management, properly implemented, creates a work environment in which one can make reliable visual judgments. One should also make sure to have good color vision, and a bit of artistic sensibility can only help.

                        >If someone has given me a CMYK value from a Pantone "Solid to process guide" booklet and asked me to colour an area of an image with this colour, I know that when I convert to profile the CMYK values are going to change.

                        Not necessarily. It depends on both the Pantone color and the type of CMYK destination: sheetfed is better than SWOP at rendering certain saturated colors, for example.

                        By the way, the Pantone Solid to Process guide is limited in its ability to predict what the color will look like on *your* intended press. For added safety, you may want to request a continuous-tone proof from the prepress people, so that you'll be able to evaluate something that is meant to be much closer to the expected results.

                        Also, I would remind you that a number of Pantone colors may be well within reproducible range of the press and inks used to print your work. So, it all depends.

                        >Does this mean that if I choose an icc colour managed workflow that CMYK values obtained from these Pantone booklets are no longer useful or valid due to the number changes?

                        If the client wants a Pantone color to be faithful to the visual appearance of that color in a Pantone swatchbook, and that color is simply too difficult to match with the available 4-color process inks/press combination, then you should discuss the option of adding an extra plate on press just for that color. Otherwise, the color may change, depending on the ability of the printing conditions to produce a match.
                        • 10. Re: Preparing files for print
                          gwhPoster Level 1
                          You say that the CMYK values won't necessarily change when converting to profile. I just filled an RGB file with the equivalent CMYK values that matched a pantone colour, ie.

                          0
                          100
                          56
                          19

                          I then converted to profile (US Web Coated (SWOP) v2) and the colour values changed to:

                          11
                          100
                          57
                          2

                          I also tested it on the US Sheetfed Coated v2 and the colours changed to some other values.

                          Is this just one particular set of CMYK values that won't convert successfully or is it true that other combinations may convert and have their values maintained?

                          Could I also just clear another thing up? After working in Photoshop and converting to profile, before I place this image file into InDesign, should I embed the profile into the image? If I do embed the profile and I then create a pdf from the Indesign file, will the profile be embedded in the pdf?
                          • 11. Re: Preparing files for print
                            (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                            >You say that the CMYK values won't necessarily change when converting to profile.

                            If it's me you're referring to, read carefully: I didn't write that, and I'm not sure where you're getting it from.

                            I wrote that "a number of Pantone colors may be well within reproducible range of the press and inks used to print your work", but that's different from what you're mentioning here.

                            >I just filled an RGB file with the equivalent CMYK values that matched a pantone colour, ie.
                            >0
                            >100
                            >56
                            >19
                            >I then converted to profile (US Web Coated (SWOP) v2) and the colour values changed to:
                            >11
                            >100
                            >57
                            >2

                            Converting from one space to another *always* changes the color numbers in the file. Even when you convert from one CMYK space to another, or from one RGB space to a different RGB space.

                            What will *not* change is the *appearance* of that color. That's because any given set of CMYK or RGB numbers produces a different-looking color when associated with different profiles.

                            By themselves, without a profile to assign to them a definite color appearance, the file's CMYK or RGB numbers have no objective color meaning.

                            In short, expect the color *numbers* to change, but expect the color *appearance* to remain constant -- except when the destination space is unable to reproduce the saturated appearance of the source color (gamut mismatch). In that case, the color will be mapped to the closest similar color in the destination, according to the selected rendering intent.

                            >After working in Photoshop and converting to profile, before I place this image file into InDesign, should I embed the profile into the image?

                            Yes, certainly and definitely.

                            >If I do embed the profile and I then create a pdf from the Indesign file, will the profile be embedded in the pdf?

                            That will depend on the settings you select in the "Export to PDF > Output > Color" options.
                            • 12. Re: Preparing files for print
                              gwhPoster Level 1
                              Okay - great explanation. I understand now.

                              Just to round off the conversation: say I embed the profile in the photoshop image file and then place this image into Illustrator. I do some other work on the illustrator file, then save it and then place the illustrator .eps file into Indesign. Will the original placed photoshop image still have its profile embedded? I know this type of workflow may seem a bit sloppy but I sometimes work this way, ie. from photoshop to illustrator to indesign.

                              So since the file will finally be output to pdf from Indesign, do I need to apply any profiles in Illustrator as well since this is where a component of the file was placed from?
                              • 13. Re: Preparing files for print
                                (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                >Just to round off the conversation: say I embed the profile in the photoshop image file and then place this image into Illustrator. I do some other work on the illustrator file, then save it and then place the illustrator .eps file into Indesign.

                                The EPS format does *not* retain ICC profile information. InDesign will assign to the linked EPS file whatever profile is the default for that whole InDesign document.

                                >So since the file will finally be output to pdf from Indesign, do I need to apply any profiles in Illustrator as well since this is where a component of the file was placed from?

                                So long as the profile you use for the Illustrator EPS file and the Photoshop image embedded in it is the same as the default profile in the InDesign document, you'll be fine. But remember that EPS files lose any profile information.
                                • 14. Re: Preparing files for print
                                  gwhPoster Level 1
                                  Okay, so if I understand you correctly since a .eps file loses any profile information, it's probably not worth my embedding the profile into the image in Photoshop if I'm going to place it into illustrator before going to Indesign. My best bet would be to convert to profile without embedding, place the image into illustrator and then into Indesign. Then once the layout is complete in Indesign I can assign the newspaper profile for the whole of the ID document.

                                  As a second scenario, if I'm placing the Photoshop file directly into InDesign then I can probably embed the profile. Although I don't know if that's a waste of time since I'd have to assign an overall profile in InDesign anyway.

                                  Have I got it right?
                                  • 15. Re: Preparing files for print
                                    (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                    >Okay, so if I understand you correctly since a .eps file loses any profile information, it's probably not worth my embedding the profile into the image in Photoshop if I'm going to place it into illustrator before going to Indesign.

                                    No, embed it: it's the right thing to do in any case, and won't hurt at all anyway. But know that that the profile information will not be retained once the image becomes part of an EPS.

                                    But that will still be OK, as long as the proper profile for *all* the elements in the EPS is *the same* as the CMYK document profile for the InDesign document -- since that is the profile that will be assigned to the EPS once it becomes a linked element within that InDesign document.

                                    I hope that this doesn't sound too complicated...

                                    >My best bet would be to convert to profile without embedding, place the image into illustrator and then into Indesign. Then once the layout is complete in Indesign I can assign the newspaper profile for the whole of the ID document.

                                    That wouldn't be an incorrect procedure -- but I would still advise that you embed the profile in the Photoshop image file anyway. As I said, it's good practice, and it doesn't hurt.

                                    Make sure that the Illustrator elements are also geared for the same profile as the rest of the work.

                                    >As a second scenario, if I'm placing the Photoshop file directly into InDesign then I can probably embed the profile.

                                    You *can* in any scenario. Nothing makes it a wrong thing to do. But yes, in that case, you *should* certainly make sure to embed the profile in the Photoshop file, as an added level of safety.

                                    >Although I don't know if that's a waste of time since I'd have to assign an overall profile in InDesign anyway.

                                    In Design also allows the user to bypass a linked image file's embedded profile and assign to it a different profile (Object > Image Color Settings). So there is ample flexibility with that as well.
                                    • 16. Re: Preparing files for print
                                      Level 1
                                      interesting...I just sent a 24x30" poster to print

                                      In Photoshop, I had one RGB full-bleed pixel layer and three basic type layers that I converted to Shape layers.

                                      Next I Converted to Sheetfed Coated CMYK then Saved as Photoshop .eps file (preserve vector data checked).

                                      Next I placed the file in an InDesign layout with no other files and handed off the file to the printer.

                                      At this point I want them to just print my file (like Quark used to do) -- but after reading this thread it sounds like once they open my file in InDesign to write the PDF -- I am not so sure that's going to happen now.

                                      I instructed them to turn off all PDF compression options -- at that point WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY CMYK NUMBERS -- are the CMYK numbers going straight through or is the PDF doing some kind of color conversion.

                                      How do I get this Ps>Id>PDF to just run my Ps .eps files through with no compression or color changes?
                                      • 17. Re: Preparing files for print
                                        pfigen Level 1
                                        "at that point WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY CMYK NUMBERS -- are the CMKY numbers going straight through or is the PDF doing some kind of color conversion"

                                        It depends on how the Distiller preferences are set, and from what I recall, the default is to convert your data. You have to manually check the "Leave Color Unchanged" box.

                                        BTW, why are you using Sheetfed Coated? Do you really want to have 350 percent ink limits? I guess what I'm also saying is that in all the different print vendors I've used, I've never come across a single one that either used that profile or was close to it in their own calibration.
                                        • 18. Re: Preparing files for print
                                          pfigen Level 1
                                          "That's exactly what I don't understand, what would it be Converting my CMYK to? I think they are just Command+E in Id to make PDF."

                                          Every program has its defaults, and more often than not, you're better off going through them one by one to make sure those settings are appropriate. You do that in Ps and ID, and you need to do it for Distiller too. The default setting also is to use jpeg compression on all your files as well.

                                          I'm pretty sure that the reason the default is set to convert is to guard against inexperienced designers placing RGB documents and sending those off to press. Converting automatically averts that problem but causes several more. The more advanced user is expected to go through and set those preferences as they need them. In any event, that's what you need to do.

                                          Who is the "they" who are exporting your ID files to pdf? If "they" are the printer, "they" should know better...

                                          "It is going to a sheetfed press (why would I use a Web press standard)?"

                                          Because unless you're printing on the highest quality paper on a great press, 350 percent ink coverage is too much. If your printer suggested that profile, you need to ask them what ink limits they recommend for their press on the paper you're printing on. Even on a number one sheet, most good printers want something more in the 320-325% range with a black something akin to what a GCR1 is in ProfileMaker.

                                          If you're not printing on at least a number two sheet - something like Topkote Gloss, even a lower ink limit might be in order.

                                          But again, you really need to communicate with your printer, and I'd be really surprised if Sheetfedv2 was the correct profile. And, of course, you might have a printer running device link profiles that make your profile choice less important, as they're going to reseparate on the fly anyway. Not to complicate matters, of course.
                                          • 19. Re: Preparing files for print
                                            gwhPoster Level 1
                                            >But that will still be OK, as long as the proper profile for *all* the elements in the EPS is *the same* as the CMYK document profile for the InDesign document -- since that is the profile that will be assigned to the EPS once it becomes a linked element within that InDesign document.

                                            So since the final layout will be output to newsprint, I would just set the working space in Illustrator to the .icc profile that I was using in Photoshop right? I mean this would be the proper profile for all the elements in the .eps you mention above right? There's no converting to profile like in Photoshop?

                                            Then when I get to InDesign I do the same thing - just set the working profile to the newsprint .icc file? Then finally export to pdf and preserve all the settings?
                                            • 20. Re: Preparing files for print
                                              (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                              >So since the final layout will be output to newsprint, I would just set the working space in Illustrator to the .icc profile that I was using in Photoshop right?

                                              While you work in the Illustrator file, yes, the newsprint profile should be the one assigned to it. That way, you will see on your *calibrated and profiled monitor* something close to the final output.

                                              Of course, the Illustrator EPS will still not retain the profile information. Though you embedded the newspaper profile in the Illustrator file, the profile information will be lost in the EPS.

                                              So, the *truly* fundamental thing is to make sure that (a) all the elements in the Illustrator EPS are geared for your newsprint profile, and (b) that the InDesign document's default profile is the newsprint profile for your press output.

                                              >Then when I get to InDesign I do the same thing - just set the working profile to the newsprint .icc file? Then finally export to pdf and preserve all the settings?

                                              Yes, you preserve the InDesign file's own profile, to be correct.
                                              • 21. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                gwhPoster Level 1
                                                Thanks a million! You've cleared everything up.
                                                • 22. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                  Gernot Hoffmann Level 3
                                                  An image, saved by Photoshop as EPS can have an
                                                  embedded (tagged) profile (choice in the save menue).
                                                  In Illustrator this EPS retains its profile if
                                                  the whole EPS is embedded and it loses the profile if
                                                  the whole EPS is linked.

                                                  Nowadays there is no reason to use EPS (except for
                                                  PostScript programs, my preferred application).

                                                  In an Adobe workflow use PSD or TIFF for raster
                                                  images, PDF for combinations of raster images and
                                                  vector graphic (PhS image+text layers,for instance),
                                                  and PDF also for plain vector graphic.
                                                  Illustrator PDF can be edited later by Illustrator,
                                                  if this option was chosen.

                                                  In InDesign a doc has a document color space set
                                                  (mainly RGB and CMYK).
                                                  But each image can have a different profile, if it
                                                  is already embedded (tagged), or if it is assigned
                                                  arbitrarily in ID.
                                                  A good style:
                                                  Convert all images to the same destination profile
                                                  and use this as document profile.
                                                  Also a good solution, after soft-proofing the RGB
                                                  images by Photoshop: use RGB images, make a PDF
                                                  and convert this globally into the destination space
                                                  by Acrobat Professional.

                                                  Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann.
                                                  • 23. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                    Level 1
                                                    >> Who is the "they" who are exporting your ID files to pdf? If "they" are the printer, "they" should know better...

                                                    The printers here in San Diego don't even know what a profile is they ask for CMYK or RGB  they don't have a clue about what CMYK their workflow is based on.

                                                    I look at their Photoshop color settings and they are consistently on default.

                                                    Further, Acrobat PDF have always confused me, which is why I am asking the question.

                                                    ++++++

                                                    I use Photoshop CMYK .eps because I don't want them messing with the file I didn't use .psd because it gives them an open opportunity to mess with my file.

                                                    I don't know any reason why my basic Pixel/VectorShape layers Photoshop .eps would not work as long as I got it right.

                                                    I took the extra step and placed my .eps in InDesign.

                                                    I told them exactly where/how to turn off compression in the Adobe PDF process.

                                                    +++++++

                                                    I guess my question is still is:

                                                    I place a Sheetfed Coated Photoshop .eps in InDesign.

                                                    I Command+E export PDF from InDesign.

                                                    I turn off Compression (so my pixels are sent straight through).

                                                    I save the PDF.

                                                    Did my CMYK "numbers" go straight through?

                                                    If not, what application is making the Conversion?

                                                    Where is it picking up its default profile?

                                                    What profile is it Converting to?

                                                    +++++++

                                                    I understand how profiles work in Photoshop, I just can't follow the chain...Indesign> Acrobat.

                                                    My goal is simply to place my .eps file in InDesign and Export my PDF and not have my color changed.

                                                    +++++++

                                                    In this scenario, I did NOT check "Leave Color Unchanged" so I am especially interested in what's going on where the Assumption is taking place, what profile is being Assumed, and what target profile my CMYK is being Converted to.
                                                    • 24. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                      Lou Dina Level 3
                                                      George,

                                                      I'm not answering your question, so I hope you will bear with me.

                                                      To me, EPS is more of a legacy encoding and I never use it for anything. As mentioned earlier, EPS tags are not respected when placing into Quark or InDesign; they're ignored (or perhaps unseen). If you set up all your Adobe Apps to use the same RGB and CMYK space, (ARGB and US Web Coated SWOP are good general defaults, especially when you don't know where the job is going, or if your service provider is clueless), you should be fairly safe.

                                                      I usually have color management turned on in InDesign. If I know the exact destination press, and if they have a profile, or if I know they adhere to a standard, then I set those as the document defaults in the ID document. Then I place tagged PSD or TIFF files from photoshop, and tagged AI files from Illustrator. You cange change the color settings of any individual placed image from within ID, so you can change rendering intent, etc. Any elements created from within ID iteself will be in the document's default color space (ARGB or US Web Coated SWOP, in the above example). I usually package this and send the ID file and links to the service provider. IF I export to PDF, I use ID's Export command, Press Quality, and "leave color unchanged", assuming I have all my elements in ID set to the destination CMYK. Or, you can convert to the destination CMYK (such as US Web Coated SWOP) in the PDF export and include the profile. This will make sure all elements are in a single space. Works fine.

                                                      If you place an UNtagged file into ID, then ID will ASSIGN it's default profile. That's why it is good to have all your Adobe Color Settings synchronized and in the same color space.

                                                      If color management is OFF in ID, then whatever numbers are in your file will be sent to the RIP at the printer. Tags will be ignored on placed files. Then, the commercial printer will do whatever they normally do at their end (plate curves, etc).

                                                      Another option, is to convert to PDF and select a single destination color space, be NOT include tags. When your printer opens this un-color managed file, they won't know what the profiles are, so they will likely pass the numbers straight through their system, and you will get whatever the numbers are (based on their workflow).

                                                      I usually get to select my commercial printer, and only work with ones that know how to handle a color managed workflow. Our proofs are always very close, and the press sheet is usually very close as well.

                                                      I also agree with Peter, 350 TIL is a LOT of ink, and few presses and papers will do well with that much, though some can do it no problem. 300 TIL is usually plenty, and if you notice it anywhere it will be in the deepest blacks and shadows. The paper will have more influence than anything once you hit 300% ink. If you are working with a GOOD printer, who has a good sheetfed press that is properly maintained and set up, running good process control, and good coated stock, you can probably assume 320 to 330% total ink. But again, it will be noticeable mostly in the blacks and shadows.

                                                      Hope this helps and doesn't just frustrate you, since I side stepped your question a little bit.

                                                      Regards, Lou
                                                      • 25. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                        Level 1
                                                        Thanks, Lou, I always read your posts with interest and appreciate the time you take to move people forward in their approach.

                                                        Web versus Sheetfed:

                                                        I (and many people) are stuck with Converting to an Adobe canned CMYK profile and handing it off.

                                                        Those of us (like me) that have only a crude awareness of a Web press or Sheetfed press may be mislead by the names.

                                                        For example, I go into a print shop, look at their Photoshop Color Settings and ask them if they know their CMYK is based on Web press standards I usually follow up with the fact they have Sheetfed presses...

                                                        It just makes more (common) sense that if they have Sheetfed printing presses, they should be using Sheetfed CMYK color spaces because Web CMYK is not taking advantage of the machinery (limiting the ink to what, Web 240%? vs 320% Sheetfed?).

                                                        Next I usually ask them about their Photoshop working RGB (why sRGB) and broken Color Management Policies (but I won't go there here, suffice to say they don't have a clue what is going with their color miss-management, and how Adobe apps actually handle color).

                                                        How Adobe handles color:
                                                        >>If you place an UNtagged file into ID, then ID will ASSIGN it's default profile.

                                                        I can discuss HOW Photoshop handles color.

                                                        If you open an UNtagged CMYK file in Photoshop (Ps), Ps Assigns its default working RGB profile, true but only for source space-to-monitor Conversion (the actual CMYK numbers haven't been altered/changed at that point regardless of what CMYK profile I Assign and save).

                                                        There is no actual damage to my CMYK color until an actual Conversion takes place specifically to a print space (the Conversion to monitor space is irrelevant to my questions because the source profile is independent of monitor RGB and the monitor does not affect my original CMYK numbers, it is only displaying them).

                                                        The problems with InDesign (Id) and Acrobat (PDF):

                                                        The biggest problem I have is handing over a 80mb CMYK .tiff and having some clueless genius run it through a PDF default to produce a 3mb .jpg (by Adobe default).

                                                        But the PDF color issue is a lot more mysterious, and I haven't seen where anyone has ever explained it in lay terms, link by link.

                                                        For example, in still other words:

                                                        1) I place untagged CMYK in Id (at Id default settings).

                                                        2) I Com+E (Export) PDF (at PDF default settings).

                                                        Have my CMYK "numbers" been changed?

                                                        For some strange reason I think not regardless if PDF mistagged my CMYK with its default profile the PDF still possesses my original CMYK numbers.

                                                        The problem doesn't happen until until an actual Conversion takes place.

                                                        What happens after the PDF to produce the metal plates is a mystery if the wrong profile the PDF Assigned to my CMYK will hose my color or if my CMYK will pass my original numbers through to the plates.

                                                        +++++++

                                                        The only way [my] pea brain is going to understand this is to break down the process link by link...if I understood the question better I could probably ask the question a lot clearer.
                                                        • 26. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                          pfigen Level 1
                                                          Gary,

                                                          If you export a pdf from ID at the default settings, there is no color conversion, but as soon as you choose PDF/X-1A, which is the setting you need for print, then it immediately defaults to convert your file - to whatever is loaded in the Output setting at the time. There is a dropdown menu there to choose from. It looks like it picks up your Color Settings from ID and uses that but I haven't tried enough combinations to know for sure. Since I always convert every element prior to importing to ID, there is never any question and I check the Output tab and change it to Leave Color Unchanged.

                                                          Unfortunately this is a "feature", this automatically converting files when choosing X-1A that comes back to bite people in the ***, and if you or your printer don't know about it, it's bound to screw up your project. Or not.
                                                          • 27. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                            Lou Dina Level 3
                                                            Gary (sorry if I got your name wrong...too much wine)

                                                            It just makes more (common) sense that if they have Sheetfed printing presses, they should be using Sheetfed CMYK color spaces because Web CMYK is not taking advantage of the machinery (limiting the ink to what, Web 240%? vs 320% Sheetfed?).

                                                            US Web Coated SWOPv2 is based on 300 TIL (240 TIL is typical of newsprint). US Sheetfed Coated has ink limits of 350%, which is generally a bit on the high side for even most sheetfed presses, and even that varies depending on the paper being used.

                                                            How Adobe handles color:

                                                            >If you place an UNtagged file into ID, then ID will ASSIGN it's default profile.

                                                            I can discuss HOW Photoshop handles color.

                                                            If you open an UNtagged CMYK file in Photoshop (Ps), Ps Assigns its default working RGB profile, true but only for source space-to-monitor Conversion (the actual CMYK numbers haven't been altered/changed at that point regardless of what CMYK profile I Assign and save).

                                                            There is no actual damage to my CMYK color until an actual Conversion takes place specifically to a print space (the Conversion to monitor space is irrelevant to my questions because the source profile is independent of monitor RGB and the monitor does not affect my original CMYK numbers, it is only displaying them).

                                                            The above is totally accurate.....BUT....if you have a CMYK file that was originally edited in US Web Coated SWOP space, save it UNtagged, then place that untagged CMYK file into InDesign, the file will be ASSIGNED the document CMYK space in ID. Let's assume the ID document is set to US Sheetfed Coated. No numbers are changed YET. But, if you send it to your service provider as is, they will have no choice but to assume your file's color space is US Sheetfed coated. And if you export to PDF, ID will tell Acrobat that the UNtagged file is US Sheetfed Coated. If you "leave colors unchanged", then the CMYK numbers pass straight through.

                                                            I'd rather place tagged files so ID isn't working blind. In fact, I'd prefer to place ALL images (PSD, TIF, AI, etc) tagged in the destination color space if I have a profile for the press. Let's assume that color space is US Web Coated SWOPv2. ID is set up with that profile and ALL components are in that space. If you export to PDF-x/1, you make sure US Web Coated SWOP is specified in your export settings, leave color unchanged, and all files will be sent, as is, to your PDF. The PDF will show the output intent as US Web Coated SWOP.

                                                            But the PDF color issue is a lot more mysterious, and I haven't seen where anyone has ever explained it in lay terms, link by link.

                                                            For example, in still other words:

                                                            1) I place untagged CMYK in Id (at Id default settings).

                                                            2) I Com+E (Export) PDF (at PDF default settings).

                                                            Have my CMYK "numbers" been changed?

                                                            For some strange reason I think not regardless if PDF mistagged my CMYK with its default profile the PDF still possesses my original CMYK numbers.

                                                            Well....you can set up Acrobat to leave colors unchanged, convert to profile, etc. Depending on your settings, you will get different results. If you DO place an untagged file into ID, just make sure the file was created using the same "default" CMYK setting, and you won't have a problem (at least in ID).

                                                            The most important thing is to communicate clearly with your printer. I'd ask what their ink limits are for the press and stock on which you will print. If it is less than 350, then the next question to ask is why they are using US Sheetfed Coated, which stipulates 350%. US Web Coated SWOP is the most widely used profile in this country, perhaps somewhat conservative for many sheetfed press conditions, but at least safe and fairly widely used. If you don't want your colors reseparated, tell the printer specifically. But make sure you are designing according to what they expect. And ALWAYS have them send you a full color contract proof for you to sign off on. That is your guide and theirs. They have to meet those colors (within tolerances set by SWOP, which are unfortunately, fairly liberal).

                                                            It gets complicated. Rick McCleary wrote a very nice book called CMYK 2.0, which addresses many of these questions. Gorgeous photography too. It's available from Amazon. It doesn't go into as much depth on color conversions as you probably want, but it is pretty clear. It also assumes you are dealing with a printer that isn't brain-dead or working the 'old way'.

                                                            Hope something here helps.

                                                            Lou
                                                            • 28. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                              Level 1
                                                              Thanks, I didn't want to do the PDF, and I didn't watch them do it, so I don't know, but they said they did my no compression settings.

                                                              You are saying (when everything has already been Converted):

                                                              InDesign: Command+E

                                                              Choose Adobe PDF Preset: PDF/X-1A:2001

                                                              Choose Output tab> Color> Color Conversion: "Leave Color Unchanged"

                                                              That still leaves PDD/X> Output Intent Profile Name
                                                              Any idea what that does (since there is no Off option)?

                                                              +++++++

                                                              I will add my No Compression setting for anyone trying to follow this.

                                                              Choose Compression tab (in Export Adobe PDF dialog window).

                                                              Then Compression> Color Images: Do Not Downsample
                                                              Compression: None

                                                              +++++++

                                                              This is the first real look I've done into this.

                                                              Let's say I had big book with all AdobeRGB tiffs placed in InDesign and I wanted to setup the PDF to do all the conversions to Press CMYK.

                                                              Would I:

                                                              Choose Adobe PDF Preset: PDF/X-1A:2001

                                                              Choose Output tab> Color> Color Conversion: "Convert to Destination"
                                                              and Destination: Press CMYK

                                                              That still leaves PDD/X> Output Intent Profile Name
                                                              Any idea what that does (since there is no Off option)?
                                                              • 29. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                                                >An image, saved by Photoshop as EPS can have an embedded (tagged) profile (choice in the save menue). In Illustrator this EPS retains its profile if the whole EPS is embedded and it loses the profile if the whole EPS is linked.

                                                                My tests (which can be easily replicated) show otherwise. If I place an EPS raster file (saved in Photoshop with a specific embedded profile) into Illustrator, its profile is not honored, meaning that the placed image's appearance is incorrect -- since it conforms with the default profile *in Illustrator*, not with the one embedded in the raster file itself (whether this is linked or embedded).

                                                                If I save that Illustrator file as a PDF (v. 1.6 or 1.7, with "Include all Profiles" checked), the profiles embedded in the EPS images files are still *not* honored (judging from their incorrect appearance -- actually, there is some unorthodox behavior in *linked* EPS images).

                                                                On the other hand, the PSD and TIFF formats, as you mention, always look correct, in accordance with their embedded profile.

                                                                Bottom line, the EPS format is to be altogether shunned in color managed workflows, as either inadequate or unreliable.

                                                                >Nowadays there is no reason to use EPS.

                                                                Agreed. Unless the separators specifically demand that it be used, for any reason -- in which case one should make sure first to separate the file for the intended output profile.
                                                                • 30. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                  Level 1
                                                                  Lou,

                                                                  Thanks again, I need to absorb your latest post...I just don't trust people around here and simply want to have my CMYK numbers go to press which I think I get now (at least to handing off a good PDF).

                                                                  But still, I've had printers drag my PDFs into Photoshop and print my vector jaggy.

                                                                  Because these people don't know what a profile is, what their profile is, they are working in Adobe defaults or trying to "turn color management off".

                                                                  The export Adobe PDF engine is a real monster...
                                                                  • 31. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                    Level 1
                                                                    >> If I place an EPS raster file (saved in Photoshop with a specific embedded profile) into Illustrator, its profile is not honored, meaning that the placed image's appearance is incorrect

                                                                    You mean on the monitor, right?
                                                                    >> Bottom line, the EPS format is to be altogether shunned in color managed workflows

                                                                    Actually, I am using EPS specifically to take color management out of the job I already have my color the way I want it (my CMYK, my pixels and my vector) and don't want them messed with down stream.
                                                                    • 32. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                      pfigen Level 1
                                                                      The way I see it is that you have no idea if your pixels are right or not at this point. I would be sending a tiff with embedded profile. What does their proof look like?
                                                                      • 33. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                        (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                                                        >You mean on the monitor, right?

                                                                        Yes.

                                                                        >Actually, I am using EPS specifically to take color management out of the job I already have my color the way I want it (my CMYK, my pixels and my vector) and don't want them messed with down stream.

                                                                        You could do that with TIFFs that are already correctly separated to the appropriate output profile *and* have an embedded profile.

                                                                        If someone downstream chooses to strip the embedded profiles, the output will still be correct for the intended press, and if they honor the profiles it will still be correct. You "win" either way.

                                                                        If you really cannot bring yourself to do that, you can still save those TIFFs as untagged. I think it would just be a good thing to move away from the EPS format altogether.
                                                                        • 34. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                          Level 1
                                                                          >> The way I see it is that you have no idea if your pixels are right or not at this point

                                                                          Why would you see it like that?

                                                                          I am on a hardware-calibrated Apple 30" screen and already proofed my color in Photoshop.
                                                                          >> You could do that with TIFFs that are already correctly separated to the appropriate output profile *and* have an embedded profile.

                                                                          Very true.
                                                                          >> I think it would just be a good thing to move away from the EPS format altogether.

                                                                          I don't have the background to argue otherwise you probably have good reasons for that advice yet there is no reason why a good eps file won't work (unless someone down stream messes with it).
                                                                          • 35. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                            (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                                                            >I don't have the background to argue otherwise you probably have good reasons for that advice yet there is no reason why a good eps file won't work (unless someone down stream messes with it).

                                                                            No reason, true, but I'm making a point of best practices -- that it's more advisable to use TIFFs within color-managed workflows, and that I see the EPS format as obsolete by now.

                                                                            As I said, I would make an exception only if a print provider *demands* that one use EPS files, for any reason they may have to ask for that. But, honestly, I have not met any such instance, yet.
                                                                            • 36. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                              Lou Dina Level 3
                                                                              Gary,

                                                                              PDF-x/1 is a standard group of PDF export settings widely used for jobs going to press. In order to conform, ALL components must be in a single CMYK color space, and that CMYK space must be shown in the PDF (output intent). Any CMYK elements in your ID document that are already in the destination space will be left along. Any RGB elements, or CMYK elements that are in a different CMYK space (or an assumed CMYK space that doesn't match the output intent) are converted to the output intent CMYK space on the way to PDF-land.

                                                                              If your printer doesn't demand PDF-X/1 compliant files, you can use the Press Quality preset when exporting to PDF from ID. Leave the General, Marks & Bleeds, and Compression tabs alone. On the Output tab, set the color conversion to "No Color Conversion", and Profile Inclusion to "Don't Include Profiles". All components in your ID document will be sent to the PDF unchanged, even RGB elements and CMYK elements with a different CMYK space. No color profiles will be included, so the person on the receiving end won't know for sure what your CMYK profiles are, and they will be inclined to leave your files alone, lest they guess wrong. If you want your CMYK numbers honored, this is one way to approach it. But, be SURE to put a big note with the submission telling them not to screw with or convert your files....just print the numbers. And get a color proof and sign off before releasing for print. If the proof looks good, then it is their job to match it. If not, it means they are totally clueless, or you sent them numbers that don't jive with the the way their press is run. That's one reason so many people use US Web Coated SWOPv2 ...it is probably the most widely used "standard" in the US. Many people claim to print to that standard, but many of them really don't. Such is the current state of the industry as it SLOWLY tries to move forward from the old ways of doing things.

                                                                              You CAN set compression to Do Not Downsample, but be sure your files are approximately the right rez. Normally, you don't want to send a 150 ppi or a 900 ppi file (at final image size) to the RIP when burning plates. Assuming a normal sheetfed press and line screen, you should be fine with resolutions between about 266 and 400 PPI.

                                                                              Remember, PDF can create RGB documents for the web, inkjet output, press, etc.

                                                                              Lou
                                                                              • 37. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                                pfigen Level 1
                                                                                "> The way I see it is that you have no idea if your pixels are right or not at this point
                                                                                Why would you see it like that?

                                                                                I am on a hardware-calibrated Apple 30" screen and already proofed my color in Photoshop."

                                                                                Because you don't really know if you have the right output profile. You've only been guessing at that, so nothing else really matters at this point unless you're going to a press check and the pressman is able to push or pull his rig to conform to your file.
                                                                                • 38. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                                  Level 1
                                                                                  >> Because you don't really know if you have the right output profile. You've only been guessing at that,

                                                                                  That is the best guess I have available to me if he is using a high end 4-color sheetfed press on premium poster paper and if he is clueless about what profile his press is based on what's the alternative send him an "RGB" file with an embedded profile so the genius can ignore my profile because he "doesn't use profiles"

                                                                                  And because he has "turned colormanagement off" which means he will take a sledgehammer to my color to beat it up into his goofy work flow?  BTDT.
                                                                                  >> so nothing else really matters at this point unless you're going to a press check and the pressman is able to push or pull his rig to conform to your file.

                                                                                  I have faith, if they are savvy enough to follow my instructions send my eps files straight through, please he will be able to hit my mark, my Photoshop-Epson proof, because my file is correct and within his press tolerance.
                                                                                  • 39. Re: Preparing files for print
                                                                                    (Marco_Ugolini) Level 1
                                                                                    How did this exchange make it here? You guys ("pfigen" and "g ballard") are not even talking to the author of the OP.

                                                                                    How does *he* profit from your conversation/altercation?

                                                                                    Perhaps you should just start your own thread.
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