0 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2011 12:37 AM by Håvard Graudo

    linked .ai files are randomly output as flat grey on PDF

    Håvard Graudo Level 1

      After upgrading from CS3 to CS5 we have had random problems with placed .ai files not outputting correctly.


      Very rarely some random .ai file will be output as either a square gray box. OR as a "crossed out" transparent box with black frames. Are anyone else seeing this?


      It is a nightmare as it does not happen very often - I would guess maybe one in every 4-5000 output .ai files. If I just export again without changing anything the PDF is OK and will probably be OK for the next hundreds of PDFs made.


      Some common denominators:

      * Seen this on all CS5 versions. Currently at 7.04. (Not tested on 5.5)

      * Output is 'convert to destination, keep numbers.'

      * I think it only happens when target ICC-profile is a CMYK profile, not sRGB nor AdobeRGB.

      * All bitmap images used are 97% jpg and 3% tiff in Adobe RGB 1998 format, and InDesign converts to assigned profile.

      * placed .ai files are either made from CMYK or PMS colors. Never RGB.

      * the failing .ai files are usually very, very simple. Ie a simple logo with very few paths, neither transparency nor placed images.

      * PDF target is usually PDF/X-1. (Maybe  [And also with] PDF/X-4 or PDF v1.6 (custom setup), but I am not 100% sure it has happened with these two formats)

      * One repeating .ai logo may be used 50 times in a document - and only one of them may error. (next export it will be OK)

      * I have seen an instance with an .ai logo placed on the middle of a spread and output as single pages. On the left page of the PDF the logo was OK, and on the right page it was only a gray box.

      * All linked files reside on Helios servers, using AFP.

      * When the error occur InDesign does not log any error or give any warning. The PDF files are valid, so I cannot flight-check them for errors.

      * I think it only happens when using background export

      * The failing .ai files may be saved from different versions of Illustrator (CS5, CS4 and CS3)

      * I have never seen it on similar .eps files from Illustrator (we are slowly converting our old .eps logo archive to .ai)

      * some InDesign files are constructed as Layers. Master layer with all images and logos. Then 10 text-only layers, (think "local price"). When output (by script) as 10 different PDFs all sharing the same images and logos from master layer. I may then find one PDF with one bad .ai file. All others are OK. (Next output and everything is OK)

      * Mac OS 10.6.X.

      * FontExplorerX Pro Server and plug-in. No other 3.rd party plug-ins for InDesign

      * I am very sure it is not some "bad" .ai file. Some of the failing ones have been used thousands of times.

      * Seen this from several workstations, at least 7.

      * all files have very strict file names and folder names. Only lowercase low ascii used.

      * all InDesign files are only handled by the Mac version of InDesign.

      * no traces in console when error occurs.

      * We output a fair amount from Indesign, over 30.000 individual tabloid pages printed yearly - with very few errors.

      * I consider the production environment strict and fairly controlled.


      What I have tried:

      Export to IDML and reimport. Does not solve anything.

      Put ai-files on another server. (From Helios on Solaris to an Apple Xserve afp). No difference.



      * Convert all .ai files to ... EPS? PDF?

      This might work. It is quite a lot of work, and EPS are sooo 1995.

      PDF are not optimal as they are hard to distinguish from non-illustrator PDFs.


      * Not using background export (by script). Not optimal.


      As the problem seems completely random it is hard to troubleshoot. Anyone else seen this?


      Thank you,