17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2012 5:16 AM by Peter Spier

    Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!

    AdobePDFAdobe

      The colours of my exported PDF file from InDesign is different from what they look in InDesign itself?!

       

      I have tried exporting in all settings.

       

      Please help!!

        • 1. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
          gorerilla Level 1

          What are your color settings in InDesign? Edit > Color settings

           

          And what are you using to view the pdf afterwards?

           

          And are you building everything in CMYK? RGB? Spot?

          • 2. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            Color management is a very complex subject, but let's start with what settings you are using for color management in InDesign, and what settings you've been using to export to PDF? Are the color management settings the same in Acrobat as they are in ID?

             

            What version of InDesign are you using? What operating system?

             

            Is you monitor calibrated and profiled?

            • 3. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
              AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

              InDesign CS5.5, OS X Lion. Monitor is user calibrated.

               

              View in Adobe Acrobat or Cmd-Spacebar in Finder.

               

              Document is CMYK.

               

              Colour Settings: Europe General Purpose 2

               

              I've tried all settings to export to PDF. High Quality Print, PDFXa1 2001, etc.

               

              Colour Management in Acrobat is North America General Purpose 2.

              • 4. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                gorerilla Level 1

                Technically you could use a pdf editor like Pitstop and get a CMYK reading from certain objects then compare it to the actual file. If it's the same readings then no problems to be had. You're just probably dealing with two applications displaying with a different monitor profile. If the CMYK values are changing then there's color conversion happening during the pdf export.

                • 5. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  AdobePDFAdobe wrote:

                   

                  Monitor is user calibrated.

                  What does this mean? Did you use an instument, or just "eyeball" it?

                   

                   

                  Document is CMYK.

                  Does this mean that al images and objects created in ID are CMYK?

                   

                   

                  AdobePDFAdobe wrote:

                   

                  Colour Settings: Europe General Purpose 2

                   

                  Colour Management in Acrobat is North America General Purpose 2.

                  Color managemet settings should match. Export settings such as PDF/X-1a convert all color to a CMYK destination (usually the documetn working space, in this case US Web Coated), and remove all profile information. Those color numbers, when viewed in Acrobat in a different color space are very likley to look different than they looked in ID.

                  • 6. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                    AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

                    I have used another small application that let's me select a part of the monitor screen and see what colour it is displaying. The InDesign colour and PDF colours are different.

                     

                    I calibrated it by eye. Not used a spider or anything. But would this matter if the colours are displaying differently on the same monitor screen?

                     

                    I had noticed that a lot of my ID documents (CMYK) exports were different in colour, so I created a test ID document placing only a rectangular shape of a colour. The colour of this shape differs in ID and as an exported PDF. The shape is CMYK also.

                     

                    I have exported in PDFX1a and converted all colour to CMYK destination, as well as no conversions and the problem seems to still be there.

                     

                    I have changed the Colour Management settings in both to Europe General Purpose 2 and they still don't match.

                    • 7. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                      gorerilla Level 1

                      When you calibrate the monitor is there an ICC profile being saved somewhere? I've seen clients' monitor profiles do crazy things to exported pdfs.

                       

                      however, if you've tried exporting with No Conversion (and no profiles included) then I don't think that's the issue.

                      • 8. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        When you look at the file in ID, do you have separations preview (Overprint Preview) turned on?

                         

                        Please make a simple file with just a color filled rectangle in ID in ID and export that to PDF using the High Quality Print  preset.

                         

                        In ID, open the Separations Preview panel and read the numbers, then open Output Preview in Acrobat Pro and read the numbers there. Do they match (they should). If they don't there is a color profile conversion happening that we need to identify.

                         

                        Calibration of your maonitor with an instument is important for accurate viewing of color across different systems and as a soft proof for printing, but your monitor ought to be showing the same clor for the same numbers in Acrobat and ID if they are using the same color settings.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                          AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

                          Where can I find the Output Preview in Acrobat?

                           

                           

                           

                          Also, these are the settings and warnings for my High Quality Print preset:

                           

                          Description

                              Use these settings to create Adobe PDF documents for quality printing on desktop printers and proofers.  Created PDF documents can be opened with Acrobat and Adobe Reader 5.0 and later.

                           

                           

                          PDF Preset: [High Quality Print]

                           

                           

                          Compatibility: Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4)

                           

                           

                          Standards Compliance: None

                           

                           

                           

                          General

                              Pages: All

                              Spreads: Off

                              Generate Thumbnails: Off

                              Optimise PDF: On

                              Create Acrobat Layers: N/A

                              Export Layers: Visible and Printable Layers

                              Include Bookmarks: Off

                              Include Hyperlinks: Off

                              Export Nonprinting Objects: Off

                              Export Visible Guides and Baseline Grids: Off

                              Create Tagged PDF: On

                              Interactive Elements: Do Not Include

                           

                           

                          Compression

                              Colour Images

                                  Bicubic Downsample at: 300 ppi

                                  for images above: 450 ppi

                                  Compression: Automatic

                                  Tile Size: N/A

                                  Quality: Maximum

                           

                           

                              Greyscale Images

                                  Bicubic Downsample at: 300 ppi

                                  for images above: 450 ppi

                                  Compression: Automatic

                                  Tile Size: N/A

                                  Quality: Maximum

                           

                           

                              Monochrome Images

                                  Bicubic Downsample at: 1200 ppi

                                  for images above: 1800 ppi

                                  Compression: CCITT Group 4

                           

                           

                              Compress Text and Line Art: On

                              Crop Image Data to Frames: On

                           

                           

                          Marks and Bleeds

                              Crop Marks: Off

                              Bleed Marks: Off

                              Registration Marks: Off

                              Colour Bars: Off

                              Page Information: Off

                              Page Mark Type: Default

                              Weight: 0.25 pt

                              Offset: 2.117 mm

                              Use Document Bleed Settings: Off

                              Bleed Top: 0 mm

                              Bleed Bottom: 0 mm

                              Bleed Inside: 0 mm

                              Bleed Outside: 0 mm

                              Include Slug Area: Off

                           

                           

                          Output

                              Colour Conversion: No Colour Conversion

                              Destination: N/A

                              Profile Inclusion Policy: Include Tagged Source Profiles

                           

                           

                              Simulate Overprint: N/A

                              Output Intent Profile Name: N/A

                              Output Condition: N/A

                              Output Condition Identifier: N/A

                              Registry Name: N/A

                           

                           

                          Advanced

                              Subset Fonts Below: 100%

                              Omit PDF: Off

                              Omit EPS: Off

                              Omit Bitmap Images: Off

                              Transparency Flattener Preset: N/A

                              Ignore Spread Overrides: N/A

                           

                           

                          Security

                              N/A

                           

                           

                          Warnings

                              1) The preset specifies source profiles that don't match the current colour settings file. Profiles specified by the colour settings file will be used.

                          • 10. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            The warning is normal and not a problem. You want ID to use your color settings file.

                             

                            In Acrobat 9 (I don't have Acrobat X), output preview is under Advanced > Print Production

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                              AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

                              Okay, that seems to work for some reason now. In ID and Acrobat Output Previews match. Although in ID, there is a CMYK 35% and in Acrobat there is a Total Area coverage 34%. Thanks! Weird though, it was always different before.

                               

                              ..I think it was the Simulation Profiles that didn't match in Acrobat and ID. Incidentally, what colour settings does the preview window in finder use and where can you find them (when you spacebar a file)?

                              • 12. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                Sorry, I'm a Windows guy, but I presume the finder uses the monitor profile (RGB) for everything. It's probably in your color sync folder.

                                 

                                I'm guessing that in your previous attempts you may have had CMYK images that was tagged with a profile that did not match the working space in ID and that during export that content was converted to the working profile with Preserve Numbers selected (this is really a reassignement of the profile, rather than a conversion) and by changing the profile you changed the appearance of the colors.

                                 

                                As I said in my first response, color management is a VERY complex subject, too complex to go into a lot of detail here. I highly recommend, if you are interseted in learning more, that you get a copy of Real World Color Management. It's written in plain language, not scientific jargon, and gives real world examples and explanations along with recommendations for a color managed workflow.

                                • 13. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                  AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

                                  Okay, so my understanding of this is that if you are going to export the final file for print, then your whole ID document, as well as images when imported should be CMYK. If however, it was to be exported for web, then the ID document and images should be RGB. The document colour setting (RGB/CMYK) should be the same as the images in it.

                                   

                                  If I were to export an ID file that was designed in RGB, then when I export to a PDF for web, then there should be no colour conversions at all. If it were designed in CMYK and exported for print, then also no conversion for colours.

                                   

                                  If however, I wanted to export an ID file done in CMYK for the web, then it would have to have conversion to sRGB? And vice-versa for RGB file export to print?

                                  • 14. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    No.

                                     

                                    There are a lot of things in play, and your color settings and mismatch policies paly a huge role in what happens. RGB is not a probelm in a file destined for print, as long as you don't need to do any color tweaking after conversion. The conversion to CMYK during export is essentially the same one you'd get in Photoshop by converting to the same profile and leave it at that. It's more complex for CMYK, because CMYK to CMYK conversions do things like change 100%k black to some 4-color mix and all CMYK profiles are device dependent and have differnt gamuts, so some colors may be achievable in one profile, but not another (and of course all CMYK gamuts are smaller than any RGB space you are likely to encounter). Incoming objects may or may not be handled differently depending on whether they have embedded profiles and whether your mismatch policy is to preserve the existing embedded profile or to convert (all incoming objects without profiles are presumed to be in the current working space).

                                     

                                    During export (and I think I misstated this above), if you convert to profile (preserve numbers), if the destination space is different from the working space, native ID objects and imported objects in the same color mode (cmyk or RGB) as the destination, but that do not have embedded profiles, will be retagged with the destination profile and their color numbers will not be altered, while all other objects will have their numbers altered to output the same appearance, as nearly as possible, but potentially sacrificing any single-component colors in the process. This is not a big deal for things like color photos which require 4 plates anyway, but is a disaster for Black type (in an imported logo, for example). This setting is pretty much functionally equivalent to Edit > Assign Profiles... and chosing the destination in ID before running the export.

                                     

                                    The other option is to convert to destination without preserve numbers, and this gives the closest color match for all objects, but will convert the native and untagged objects as well, virually guaranteeing that you'll wind up with 4-color black type. This is functionally equivalent to the Edit > Convert to Profile... command in ID and choosing the destination profile before export.

                                     

                                    I suggested using the High Quality Print prest above because it does not do any color conversion. That won't work if you have RGB content and need to go to press, but it's fine for testing as it should be preserving the numbers, so any discrepency in appearance would be attibutable to the view settings in Acrobat. What that says to me is that either you've been doing color conversions you didn't intend, or the problem really was just the color settings in Acrobat. Without watching over your shoulder, though, there's no way for me to really nail down where the color conversion is coming into play. The North America and Europe general purpose settings are similar except for the CMYK spaces (which in this case is important) and both preserve embedded profiles (which I think is a good thing), but neither warns you about mismatches.

                                    • 15. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                      AdobePDFAdobe Level 1

                                       

                                      There are a lot of things in play, and your color settings and mismatch policies paly a huge role in what happens. RGB is not a probelm in a file destined for print, as long as you don't need to do any color tweaking after conversion. The conversion to CMYK during export is essentially the same one you'd get in Photoshop by converting to the same profile and leave it at that.

                                      As RGB has a larger range than CMYK (can be more vibrant, etc), wouldn't this mean that there will nearly always be at least a slight colour difference when converting from RGB to CMYK?

                                       

                                       

                                      I suggested using the High Quality Print prest above because it does not do any color conversion. That won't work if you have RGB content and need to go to press, but it's fine for testing as it should be preserving the numbers.

                                      If my document was in working CMYK and all objects and images also CMYK, then if going to print I would not have to do any conversion? But if all or some objects or images are RGB then I would need to convert when exporting?

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      Is there a good 'general' setting for if I want to export a wholly CMYK document to print?

                                       

                                      And also a wholly CMYK document to screen (still retaining as near to the original colours as possible)?

                                      • 16. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                        rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        But if all or some objects or images are RGB then I would need to convert when exporting?

                                         

                                        In ID if you turn on Overprint or Separation Preview,  any RGB objects will preview in your document's  assigned CMYK space or, if there's no assigned profile, the current CMYK working space in Color Settings. If you then export as PDF/X-1a using the default settings (output intent is Document CMYK) the preview over in Acrobat pro will match the preview in ID with Separation/Overprint on.

                                         

                                        If you don't want to commit to converting to CMYK on export use the PDF/X-4 preset where nothing is converted. In that case your printer will have to make the conversion at output.

                                        • 17. Re: Exported PDF Colours Non-Matching!
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          AdobePDFAdobe wrote:

                                          As RGB has a larger range than CMYK (can be more vibrant, etc), wouldn't this mean that there will nearly always be at least a slight colour difference when converting from RGB to CMYK?

                                          Only if the file contains RGB colors that are out of gamut in the destination CMYK space. But you will always get this same color shift converting from RGB into any particular CMYK space, no matter where you do the conversion. How much shift will depend on the remapping method (relative colorimetric perceptual move all colors ro maintian relationships, absolute colorimetric moves only out of gamut colors, so you can lose some some fringe colors, but keep all others unchanged, and the correct method to choose is dependent on the type of art -- did I mention this is complex?).

                                           

                                           

                                          If my document was in working CMYK and all objects and images also CMYK, then if going to print I would not have to do any conversion? But if all or some objects or images are RGB then I would need to convert when exporting?

                                           

                                           

                                          Is there a good 'general' setting for if I want to export a wholly CMYK document to print?

                                           

                                          And also a wholly CMYK document to screen (still retaining as near to the original colours as possible)?

                                          If everything is in the correct destination space -- the ID working space and all of the imported content -- then selecting a convert to the same destination space doesn't do any actual conversion. You can choose to convert or leave colors unchanged and get the same result. Conversions only affect colors when you cross color profiles. If I know the output profile ahead of time, I usually assign that to the working space in ID, and I'll either convert RGB images to this space and tweak them for color-critical work like fine art reproduction, or for less critcal work (where nobody wants to spend half an hour or more on an image getting it "perfect") I leave them as RGB and convert on export. Leaving images in RGB allows you also to repurpose your layout for new output conditions and get a better CMYK conversion than you might get converting from one CMYK space to another. All color conversions shrink the number of colors present in the art, and if you've already removed colors for one set of conditions, you won't get them back by converting to a larger gamut space.

                                           

                                          I don't particulary believe in "general purpose" settings (which is not quite the same thing as delivering dumbed-down sure-to-print-more-or-less-correctly files for advertising in publications where I don't control the printing). Why would you want to do less than the optimum that you can achieve? The printer I normally use is calbrated to the GRAcol standard, so I set that as my default CMYK working space (and you can always assign a differnt space on a document by document basis when the destination is different, or export to the new destination with preserve numbers) in all Adobe applications (I saved a custom settings file). If you are in Europe, the Europe General Purpose settings do represent what a lot of printers produce, so they are probably OK, though I prefer the slightly larger Adobe RGB space for print -- again, why start out by eliminating colors that you might be able to reproduce in some cases to be sure you can reproduce them all in the worst possible case? sRGB is an "average" monitor or inkjet printer profile, but since I don't have any control over other users hardware I work to maximize what I can do on equipment I can control. I also turn on all warnings, just because I like to know. I don't generally reassign profiles or convert during the import process (the exception would be things like logos that have k-only blacks that need to be preserved as single inks for output, but my tendency these days is to not embed a profile in those so they are always assumed to be in the document working space).

                                           

                                          Putting a CMYK doument on screen for viewing is no different than working on it during editing. Your monitor is an RGB device and translates the colors on the fly.