13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2012 9:38 AM by sunnyone

    Colors faded, washed out in PDF display

    Level 1
      Hi all, odd problem... found a few like it in the forums, no solutions though.

      When I export a PDF from InDesign CS3 to Acrobat 8, the PDF opens with a dull "wash" over the entire pages.

      When I scroll or move thru the document in Acrobat, I briefly see the pages properly (vivid color, rich blacks) for a split-second, then this grayish "wash" appears over everything. This even happens in the Print preview dialog.

      It seems to print OK, but executives will be opening & viewing this file and not always printing. I'm getting comments like "can you fix the color?"

      My color settings are synchronized thru Bridge.

      Any insight is much appreciated!!
        • 1. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
          Level 1
          Sounds like you've converted your RGB indesign document to CMYK (Acrobat press settings.

          Also does it make a difference if you switch overprint preview on or off? (Advanced>print production>overprint preview)
          • 2. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
            Level 1
            Hi, and thanks for the reply...

            The ID document is actually CMYK, though it does incorporate RGB elements (photos and PSD artwork). I have tried converting EVERYTHING to CMYK and then RGB to compare -- but I get this "wash" no matter what the original color space.

            Overprint preview makes no difference. Selecting Output Preview makes the pages appear correctly as long as that dialog box is open. But as soon as I close the dialog, the pages "wash" and look faded again.

            Again, it prints OK. But this washed-out display is a problem and really looks bad.
            • 3. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
              gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional
              Have you calibrated your display against a known standard?
              • 4. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                There's a bug in older versions of Acrobat 8 that
                has this kind of effect. Which version are you using?
                • 5. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display

                  If you save EPSs from your PSDs and use EPSs in your Indesign Doc then the PDFs retain the strong colour.

                  I recon it's Indesign not processing the PSDs properly into PDF format.
                  • 6. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                    THank you!!! I have been having this same exact issue. Did you ever find a solution?
                    • 7. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                      I am having a similar but different problem.

                      My documents print from InDesign CS3 just fine. The printed output matches my on screen colors just fine. When I create a PDF from InDesign, the onscreen PDF looks just fine... BUT (here's the problem) the printed output from the PDF is washed out.

                      The reason this is important is because I have to send a PDF file to the printer to have it printed. The printer only accepts PDF files.

                      The color space is CMYK in all cases (US Web Coated SWOP v2)

                      I have tried a TON of different options, from "Preserve Color Space" to not preseving, convert, etc. etc.

                      Does anyone have any ideas why printing from InDesign looks good but printing from the PDF file is always washed out?

                      • 8. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                        I have exactly the same problem, the "washed out" PDF after converting from InDesign. Funnily enough, if I then open the washed out PDF in Photoshop, it appears in all its richness. And I can save it as a Jpeg or Tiff with full colours preserved.
                        Also, most of my page layout PDFs convert with no problem. It's just the front cover design that gets washed out, so i'm thinking it must be something to do with having overlapping objects. I have text over colour-filled rectangles, and some drop shadow on other objects. It seems to be something to do with the way InDesign flattens these when it makes the PDF. Images on page layouts without any overlap remain crystal clear.
                        • 9. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                          This has happened to me when and is always connected with transparency and/or drop shadows. Make sure that your transparency blend space is set to the final color space the PDF will be used for. If I need the PDF for onscreen display only, then I make the images, the document color space and the transparency blend all the same RGB. When I have to work with CMYK, it always prints correctly, but never displays correctly.
                          • 10. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display
                            Level 1
                            There was a bug in Acrobat 8.0 that affected the display of images which had live transparency applied or interacted with transparency (including drop shadows and other effects). The bug was fixed in 8.1. Since things display correctly with Output Preview open, I suspect this is what you are running into. It's only a display problem.
                            • 11. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display

                              That's it!  Was having the same issue ...   I changed my Transparency blend space to RGB and that fixed the problem with my photos.  RGB photos were coming out as faded when I exported to an RBG pdf.  The only other solution was to flatten the pdf.  But changing the transparency flattener colorspace to RBG fixed the problem so that I don't have to flatten the document first.  Thanks!!!

                              • 12. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display

                                I was having the same problem, I am not techy at all just getting started with IndesignC3. So I can't give much insight into the actual issue but i did fix washed-out problem I was having, so maybe this can work for you guys too.


                                When I was exporting to pdf under: settings-general, in the top right is 'compatibility'. At first it was set at Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4). I changed it to Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) and it is woking...no washed out look!


                                Hope it can work for you guys too.

                                • 13. Re: Colors faded, washed out in PDF display

                                  View: Proof colors. When this is on your document will show correctly.