6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2011 5:49 AM by m.kellerman

    Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?

    m.kellerman Level 1

      I'm used to a modern workflow where I'm working in RGB and not going to CMYK until I export for print. And in certain cases I get better results (colorwise) when I'm settting Transparency Blend Space to RGB rather than CMYK, and then just going to the correct CMYK profile in the export settings. When I screen or multiply objects on RGB images, the color is typically more "correct" and saturated with RGB Blend Space, and the CMYK Blend Space doesn't look quite right (much like working in CMYK i Photoshop doesn't yield the same results as when working in RGB).

       

      With the CMYK Blend Space and the export color conversion set to "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)" all CMYK swatches are honored, so that my black text (100 % K, only) remains just that, for instance. And the same is true with the Blend Space set to RGB, as long as there's no transparency on the spreads.

       

      The problem is with spreads including transparency when I do need to use RGB Blend Space rather than CMYK, because then all objects on the spread are converted to RGB and then back to CMYK when I export (resulting in dirty cmyk colors and 4-color black text), rather than just the objects that need to be affected by the transparency flattener RGB setting.

       

      So if I, for example, put an RGB image on the left page and something requiring flattening on top of that image, but only black text (K only) on the right page, the text on the right page would also be converted to RGB even though there's no real reason for that conversion.

       

      For now I'm leaving Transparency Blend Space set to CMYK, but that means accepting sub-par color on some flattened stuff at times. So if I wanted to put screened RGB text on top of an RGB image in Photoshop, but instead do the same thing in InDesign (so that the text is not pixelized and so it can more easily be changed [rather than having to go through Photoshop for any adjustments and then updating the linked image]), I'm getting a different result because the image is converted to CMYK and the text is converted to CMYK and then the text is screened in CMYK, and it's just really annoying.

       

      What I would really like is the ability to only apply the RGB Blend Space or the Transparency Flattening on the objects that needs it, leaving everything else as if I've simply removed the transparent objects from the spreads.

       

      It would also be great if InDesign automatically applied the transparency flattening only to the objects that are in fact in need of flattening, rather than including all other objects on the spread as well.

       

      So … is there a way to get around these problems or am I just doomed to always working with Transparency Blend Space set to CMYK for everything and just accepting the results?

        • 1. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
          Daniel Flavin Level 4

          It was a long wordy thread and my eyes are tired, but to my understanding, pdf/X-4 allows RGB and CMYK spaces and can leave transparency live.

          • 2. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            It would also be great if InDesign automatically applied the transparency flattening only to the objects that are in fact in need of flattening, rather than including all other objects on the spread as well.

             

            As you've found out the entire page (not spread) gets blended as soon as any transparent object is added. Think of the page as a Photoshop file where there can only be one color space—if the file is RGB (RGB Blend Space) then any black pixels will have to be converted to 4-color on a conversion to CMYK.

             

            It's not hard to see why  blending is to the entire  page rather than to individual objects. Imagine a circular transparent object on a field of small black-only text. The circle would have to have a bounding box when it's flattened into an RGB space so the text inside the bounding box would output as 4-color while the text outside would remain black-only and you would see that on press.

             

            So … is there a way to get around these problems or am I just doomed to always working with Transparency Blend Space set to CMYK for everything and just accepting the results?

             

            If there's small black text on the page yes. Keep in mind that RGB blended pages will eventually be converted to CMYK for print. So, you should be working with Overprint Preview turned on, which gives you the document CMYK preview.

            • 3. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
              m.kellerman Level 1

              Separations Preview reveals that my CMYK objects are converted to RGB and then back to CMYK, but you're saying that's only on-screen, and that the exported results (given they're pdf/X-4) will be different than what InDesign is saying/showing/previewing? That's terribly counterintuitive, but interesting.

               

              However in this particular case I had to deliver in PDF 1.3 format (using the printers joboptions), and choosing the X-4 standard automatically selects PDF 1.6, so that wouldn't have worked out in this case.

               

              But also, if the printers had accepted an X-4/1.6 pdf, what happens then? At some point all objects need to go to CMYK before printing anyway, so does the X-4 standard really fix the problem in a better way than InDesign does on it's own? I mean, if all it achieves is for me to be able to deliver the pdf in a an unruined fashion, but then it gets ruined at the printers instead, it's of no real value to me.

              • 4. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
                m.kellerman Level 1

                As you've found out the entire page (not spread) gets blended as soon as any transparent object is added. Think of the page as a Photoshop file where there can only be one color space—if the file is RGB (RGB Blend Space) then any black pixels will have to be converted to 4-color on a conversion to CMYK.

                 

                On my copy of InDesign (7.5.0.142) it very much applies to the spread and not the page. If it was page only, that would actually help me on some spreads, but no such luck. If this is somehow controlled by some setting somewhere, or something else, please enlighten me. But even as I try creating a fresh three page document, and add some transparent rgb-object (or one using another blending mode than Normal) on page 2 and one word in K only on page three, if I turn on Separations Preview and deselect the black channel the text on page three disappears (as it should) when the Blending Space is set to CMYK but appears again as CMYK-to-RGB-to-CMYK text if I switch InDesign to RGB Blending Space (which is very much undesired as far as I'm concerned). There's just no need at all to convert that K into RGB, even though it may be simpler for Adobe to implement it that way. The page isn't a file, and in itself it very much allows me to use objects with different color spaces, so why should that have to change just because certain objects needs special treatment? If an RGB Blend Space doesn't apply to objects on spreads with no transparency, why would it apply

                 

                It's not hard to see why  blending is to the entire  page rather than to individual objects. Imagine a circular transparent object on a field of small black-only text. The circle would have to have a bounding box when it's flattened into an RGB space so the text inside the bounding box would output as 4-color while the text outside would remain black-only and you would see that on press.

                 

                It really only needs to apply to layered transparent or non-CMYK objects (as defined by their bounding boxes). Objects with 100 % Opacity that are already CMYK and whose bounding boxes aren't touching or overlaying/stacking transparent objects or RGB objects, simply needn't be affected (unless you want them to for some reason).

                 

                In your example I'd say that both the circle and the text should be blended in RGB, but I say there's no real need to also "blend" any other objects on the page or spread that aren't touching/overlaying the objects that need to be "blended".

                 

                I do however realise that once the color of certain objects are changed in one way, it would often make sense to apply the same changes to everything on that page or even that spread as far as color consistency goes … but that doesn't really apply to text set in K in objects that don't touch/overlap objects that have to be converted/blended, and even with other objects using CMYK rather than just K, I would very much prefer to be able to control what gets blended as RGB and what is just passed through if it's already CMYK.

                 

                For me something like an extra Transparency Blend Space>Document RGB (preserve numbers [when possible]) setting would go a very long way towards satisfying my needs with this. And whenever the designer feels they would be better served by converting everything on a page or spread they can just go with the the existing RGB option instead (much like in the export settings).

                 

                Ultimately though, I'd like to see some way to at least save an over-ridden Blend Space setting on a per-page level, so that I can tell a specific page to use any of these three blend space options regardless of the general setting for the entire document or the application. I want to be able to control the results more exactly, and I want to be able to save these settings correctly for the document so that I don't need to manually change the settings during exports.

                 

                An alternative solution would be to let the user manually combine affected objects into smart objects (much like in Photoshop) and to be able to set a different blending space for that smart object.

                 

                Anyways, right now I'm just baffled that as soon as any little object on a spread needs flattening all objects on the spread that doesn't need flattening are also flattened. It makes precious little sense to me. Simpler to achieve on Adobe's end, sure. Simpler to grasp for the end user, maybe (but I'll venture that most people who understand what the Blend Space settings do wouldn't have any problems picking between an all-spread approach and an object-based approach). But certainly not more logical or more versatile.

                 

                And the fact that InDesign can't even determine that CMYK-only objects that are blended with CMYK-only objects needn't be converted to RGB first (when blending space is set to RGB) is also beyond me. Computers and computer software should be here to make the end users life easier, not to create hurdles.

                 

                So what is Adobe's stance on this? Everything is fine the way it is, and users should just make vertain spreads in a different document and export them as PDFs and mount those in the main document, or what?

                 

                Hrmpff… ;-)

                 

                Yes, I guess this christmas I really am the Grinch. ;-)

                • 5. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  m.kellerman wrote:

                   

                  As you've found out the entire page (not spread) gets blended as soon as any transparent object is added. Think of the page as a Photoshop file where there can only be one color space—if the file is RGB (RGB Blend Space) then any black pixels will have to be converted to 4-color on a conversion to CMYK.

                   

                  On my copy of InDesign (7.5.0.142) it very much applies to the spread and not the page. If it was page only, that would actually help me on some spreads, but no such luck. If this is somehow controlled by some setting somewhere, or something else, please enlighten me. But even as I try creating a fresh three page document, and add some transparent rgb-object (or one using another blending mode than Normal) on page 2 and one word in K only on page three, if I turn on Separations Preview and deselect the black channel the text on page three disappears (as it should) when the Blending Space is set to CMYK but appears again as CMYK-to-RGB-to-CMYK text if I switch InDesign to RGB Blending Space (which is very much undesired as far as I'm concerned). There's just no need at all to convert that K into RGB, even though it may be simpler for Adobe to implement it that way. The page isn't a file, and in itself it very much allows me to use objects with different color spaces, so why should that have to change just because certain objects needs special treatment? If an RGB Blend Space doesn't apply to objects on spreads with no transparency, why would it apply

                   

                  First thing you should do is update to the 7.5.2 patch. Then if you still have problems with spread vs page, you can try splitting the spread. See InDesignSecrets » Blog Archive » Breaking Pages Apart to Bleed Off a Spine

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Can I prevent Transparency Flattener from including unnecessary objects?
                    m.kellerman Level 1

                    I'm now up to 7.5.2.318, thanks for pointing that out. (Don't know why I hadn't been alerted to that update, checked the settings and they were fine.)

                     

                    InDesign still behaves the same, though, and flattens the entire spread just the same.

                     

                    And splitting the spread makes the flattener only work on the one page containing the transparency and leaves the K-only text alone on the next page, so that's a start at least … that solves some of my problems for certain spreads.

                     

                    But I'm not too keen on ruining the spreads, though. I much prefer being able to navigate a magazine seeing the spreads as spreads rather than single pages, yet still be able to arrange for spine bleed and so forth.

                     

                    This ties in to exactly what my next thread would be about, and that is being able to "split spreads" to add spine bleed, without losing the ability to still be able to view spreads as spreads while still being able to output all pages automatically and correctly. That is, I would basically want InDesign to honor spreads as spreads even while split, and when viewed regularly the pages would just sit next to each other showing the spine bleed but when in preview mode the spine bleed should of course be masked like the rest of the bleed and the pages of the spread should be presented as a non-split spread. But before I go any further I should really split this off into a new thread. ;-)

                     

                    Anyway, back to the transparency flattening. If I put a 100 % Opacity RGB image on a page, and put something transparent on top of that image (or something with a different blending mode), and then put 100 % K text on top of that, and even some CMYK-object on top of that … it's my definite opinion that InDesign should be clever enough to realise from the stacking order that only the RGB image and the transparent object (or blending mode object) really needs to be flattened to be output as CMYK (when I'm viewing using separations preview), and that the K and CMYK object on top of that flattened art can remain unchanged. And I believe the smoothest solution would be a menu option like: “Transparency Blend Space>Document RGB (preserve numbers)” that performs this type of checking automatically.