8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 25, 2011 10:02 AM by Just_A_Mac_Guy

    Are Adobe gradients all the same?

    Robert G Boulay

      Specifically, are gradients produced in Photoshop superior? Or is it the same rendering engine for those produced in InDesign and Illustrator?


      Thanks in advance for your comments.

        • 1. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
          Imranma Level 1



          Yeah it can work out if you mind about file formats forexample you can retain a gradient from indesign to illustrator by making a pdf but you cant get it from Ai to Indesign, so for photoshop since its not a vector based you cant edit but you can overide and put it as an effect or blending option since its an effect in photoshop you still cant edit it in illustrator so the thing is about indesign to illustrator


          • 2. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
            Robert G Boulay Level 1

            Thanks, imranma, but my question is more about end results in printing. Will a gradient generated in ID or AI produce exactly the same smooth gradient as one from Photoshop, because it is the same rendering engine?

            • 3. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
              Imranma Level 1


              I think yes as long as your using the same profiles and color modes in both applications

              • 4. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
                27 Frank Level 1

                In my printing experience, I have had better luck with gradients from Illustrator than from Photoshop, especially on large scale. Granted, I have done flyers for a local club in US Legal size format with gradients in Photoshop with no problems.

                • 5. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                  There really are two questions being posed here.


                  The first question is whether there are differences between the implementation of gradients in various Adobe products (and perhaps why that is so). Assuming an affirmative response (i.e., yes) to this first question, the second question is which implementation or method is better (whatever better may mean).


                  Yes, there are differences in the implementation of gradients in different Adobe products. Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics program. When you do a gradient in Photoshop, you get the actual bits representing the transition from one specified color to another. When you display or print, what is in that raster image is exactly what you get on the screen or paper subject to whatever color management is in place.


                  Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator, although they can place raster graphics, are natively text and vector graphics programs. When you define a gradient in either of these programs, the gradient is implemented via PDF/PostScript smooth shading. When output for print to either PDF or PostScript language level 3, what is output is not the gradient itself, but a description of the parameters of the gradient. By definition, PDF or PostScript language level 3 RIPs create the appropriate raster for the defined gradient based on those smooth shading parameters and the characteristics of the device itself. In the case of Adobe's OEM partners marketing print/RIP devices based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine or Adobe PostScript 3, the implementation by our OEM partners is supposed to be an implementation that best renders the gradient per the characteristics of the device (obviously, a subjective call, but Adobe does provide this freedom to our partners to do what is right in this case given that gradients often need to account for the physics of particular technologies and device characteristics). When doing output to older PostScript Level 2 devices or even in creating PDF 1.2 (Acrobat 3 compatibility), InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat/Reader all punt and create a raster graphic equivalent of a gradient instead of using smooth shading. Note that in old versions of Adobe Illustrator, prior to Illustrator 8, gradients were implemented via arrays of very narrow rectangles with slightly varying colors to form the impression of a single gradient. Obviously there significant drawbacks to such an implementation including file size, performance, and quality varying wildly from device to device.


                  What's better? In theory, the gradients output via smooth shading in InDesign and Illustrator should be superior and certainly yields more flexibility in terms of the mechanics and workflow for content. What really happens depends on the RIP implementation, the print technology, and possibly even the parameters of the gradient being defined. There are print professionals who've almost made a career out of knowing how to manually make killer gradients.




                            - Dov

                  • 6. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
                    Robert G Boulay Level 1

                    Thanks Dov. That is the most comprehensive answer I've ever had!


                    If you don't mind, I'll quote you in all the other forums I used for this question.


                    Cheers, Robert

                    • 7. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                      Glad to be of assistance and yes, you may quote me.


                                - Dov

                      • 8. Re: Are Adobe gradients all the same?
                        Just_A_Mac_Guy Level 1

                        I did not know Robert last year when he was dealing with this issue, I met him a little over a month ago as I was transitioning into my new job.


                        Ironically, I started revising the gradient files you have been discussing. The end results are a mix of Indesign and Photoshop, depending on the capabilities of foreign print vendors...
                        some still in the dark ages, I am afraid...


                        Sadly, Robert lost his battle with cancer last week, He was a good guy and I think he would like that his discussions here helped me understand what he had to sort out last year.


                        Rest in peace Robert...