13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 5, 2012 2:01 PM by lilia@

    Tracking pages that use color/inks?

    John Hawkinson Level 5

      For those of you who produce projects in InDesign where some pages have color (or spot inks) available and others don't, what methods do you use to keep track?

      Anything clever?

       

      Generally speaking, for our tabloid newspaper that's imposed 4-up, we just track it on paper and hope that nobody screws up, and don't make any attempt to track it in InDesign. (For instance, a 16-page paper will probably have CMYK on pp. 1,8,9, and 16. And maybe also on pp. 3, 6, 11, 14.)

       

      I don't expect InDesign to do the math for me, but once we've decided, I wonder if we should try harder to track it. For instance, we could color pages in the pages panel, but that's fairly subtle. We could add some non-printing markers on the page and/or pasteboard, such as a big colored rectangle behind the entire page. We could do any of the above on master pages and have seperate master pages for the color pages.

       

      (Having seperate master pages for the colored pages seems like a good idea. It's not something we do right now, I guess, because there is no substantive difference in the recurring elements on pages that have color.)

       

      What do you do? Either in books or newspapers or other forms of print?

      What works and what doesn't work?

      What do you wish you could do?

       

       

      I worry that anything I've thought of so far is either too visible or too in-visible. Hmm, maybe a subtle transparency-like grid?

        • 1. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Our student paper is smaller than yours and for that we just know color on pages 1,4,5 and 8 only, so a visual check of our PDFs (and as a backstop we print to PDF as composite gray or composite CMYK rather than exporting -- I know, don't ask) is sufficient.  For a book I did recently that was printed digital I ended up making a preflight profile that doesn't allow CMY or spot plates. It throws a warning with a link to a location, so I can just go through the list and make sure that I really intended to have a color page.

          • 2. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Hi, John!
            Good question.


            Idealy we could use different color working spaces in one document on a page by page basis to preview color and greyscale pages side by side with their respective profiles. But this feature is not on the horizon.

             

            If working with single side pages one could imagine a script that constantly checks the layout window(s) for specific page names and would apply a greyscale color profile to "View/Proof setup/custom…" if on specified greyscale pages and a CMYK color profile if on specified color pages.


            This concept will not work for facing pages.

             

            For facing pages we need a marker element that indicates "color page" or "greyscale page".

             

            It should be an object dependent on a specific page name and not part of a specific page or its content  (to be idependent when shifting pages around). I see no concept in InDesign to achieve this automatically in a constant way.

             

            Maybe a startup script that interacts when page names are changing or pages are shifted around is doable.

             

            Uwe

            • 3. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
              [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

              Generally, I just run a Preflight profile that only checks for "whatever color"; the Preflight panel will helpfully list all pages. Is that all you need to know?

              • 4. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                John Hawkinson Level 5

                Hmm, I didn't mean to anchor this question too firmly in newspaper-space. What drove the query was production of an 8x10 32-page magazine. Like Peter, we don't have too much trouble keeping track when its the newspaper, or perhaps it's because we have workflows that are well-adapted to figuring it out early. When we have fewer design constraints, suddenly it becomes more important.

                 

                Peter wrote:

                For a book I did recently that was printed digital I ended up making a preflight profile that doesn't allow CMY or spot plates. It throws a warning with a link to a location, so I can just go through the list and make sure that I really intended to have a color page.

                Hmm. I guess checking after-the-fact is one way to go. I feel like we do a reasonable job with that, but I think we're 100% on catching any such screwups at the final proofing stage, it's just that we'd love to catch them earlier and have an easier way to tell in advance. Especially when our FPO photos tend to be color, which means b/w layouts will look color initially, so confusion is easy.

                 

                Uwe:

                I notice you've provided a theoretical answer; while that's interesting, I would like to hear more about what you actually do.

                If working with single side pages one could imagine a script that constantly checks the layout window(s) for specific page names and would apply a greyscale color profile to "View/Proof setup/custom…" if on specified greyscale pages and a CMYK color profile if on specified color pages.

                I'm under the impression that greyscale color profiles don't work in InDesign.  Do you have a workaround for that?

                That's an interesting way to go. I don't normally work in Proof Colors mode I wonder if there's a performance penalty.

                And yeah, lack of facing pages support seems a definite problem...

                For facing pages we need a marker element that indicates "color page" or "greyscale page".

                 

                It should be an object dependent on a specific page name and not part of a specific page or its content  (to be idependent when shifting pages around). I see no concept in InDesign to achieve this automatically in a constant way.

                I'm not too worried about how to have the page adornment be automatically implemented; I'm more interested in what kinds of page adornments people use and might be effective. At the end of my question, I suggested "Hmm, maybe a subtle transparency-like grid?" and I did run with that a little bit last night:

                 

                ntransgrid.png

                I figured that a square grid too strongly screamed TRANSPARENCY so I'd try a hexagon grid. Unfortunately I don't think there's a great way to 2-color a grid of hexagons, and my first shading attempt doesn't work too well at the 10% opacity that is at. Still, I think it might be a workable way to go. But it might be too distracting. Not sure...

                 

                Maybe a startup script that interacts when page names are changing or pages are shifted around is doable.

                I don't think it's too tough for a script in the idle loop to notice when pages are changing and to, say, change which master page is applied or pop up a dialog noting that. But I think I'm more interested in the UI for the designer once the pages are set, rather than the interface for changing the adornments. Because if I can't come up with a useful adornment, the rest doesn't matter.

                • 5. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  If you want theoretical, why not put a big red warning in the slug area on the master, perhaps on a top level layer, that says This is NOT a color page. Overide and delete for pages where color is allowed, or apply a different master.

                   

                  The big advantage to using preflight, though, is is doesn't depend on visual inspection. How often do you get images that peole swear are grayscale, but they're really RGB with a B/W adjustment layer or some other trick? Happens way too often and is very hard to spot.

                  • 6. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                    John Hawkinson Level 5

                    Peter:

                    If you want theoretical, why not put a big red warning in the slug area on the master, perhaps on a top level layer, that says This is NOT a color page. Overide and delete for pages where color is allowed, or apply a different master.

                    What? No, no, I want practical experience, not theoretical (despite my exchange with Uwe).

                    Yeah, maybe a big red warning. I dunno, feels too loud.

                     

                    Jongware:

                    Generally, I just run a Preflight profile that only checks for "whatever color"; the Preflight panel will helpfully list all pages. Is that all you need to know?

                    No, not at all.

                    Because some pages are supposed to have color, some pages are not, so the preflight panel will display things that are problems, as well as things that are not, and that requires manual cross-checking. Which reduces us mostly to the same place we were to start with, where someone actually has to do that manual checking. Perhaps it makes the checking slightly easier though [?].

                     

                    Peter:

                    The big advantage to using preflight, though, is is doesn't depend on visual inspection. How often do you get images that peole swear are grayscale, but they're really RGB with a B/W adjustment layer or some other trick? Happens way too often and is very hard to spot.

                    I'm not sure if I've mentioned my love/hate relationship with Live Preflight, by the way. We are able to successfully trigger extremely hard-to-reproduce crashes by leaving it on (reported, lots of back and forth with Adobe on it, current resolution...indeterminate and thought-we-fixed-it-but-oops-no-its-still-broke--damn!), so it's hard for us to use. But I absolutely love the idea of it.

                     

                    And I could certainly imagine pulling out the SDK to produce custom preflight rules that can complain about color on the wrong kinds of pages.

                     

                    Except that's not so useful during the design phase, because our FPO images are all color, so it's normal for us to have FPO RGB images placed on black and white flats during layout. Maybe that's something we should change and we should grayscale most FPO images. Not sure how well that would work as a workflow (do other people do that?).

                     

                    We definitely do use preflight to check for RGB images prior to PDF export, so the issues like adjustment layers would get caught. And yeah, it's late in the process, but it's an easy technical fix with no design ramifications, so that's OK.

                     

                    But the idea here is to give the designer a visual cue while designing that is not overbearing but not too subtle.

                    • 7. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      John Hawkinson wrote:

                       

                      ... our FPO images are all color, so it's normal for us to have FPO RGB images placed on black and white flats during layout. Maybe that's something we should change and we should grayscale most FPO images. Not sure how well that would work as a workflow (do other people do that?).

                      Yeah, I do, most of the time. If i'm working in color I leave the RGBs until I'm satisfied, but I almost always do grayscale conversions right off before placing. Helps me see the "color" of the page and understand the tonal relationships. With any conversions, the converted file is ALWAYS saved as a new copy. I never destroy an orignal image because you never know when it might come in handy.

                      • 8. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        @John – You are right. InDesign does not support greyscale profiles, but we could use a "trick"-profile made by prepress expert Thomas Richard for preview only. That "trick"-profile should  NOT be used by any means to produce a printable page. It will only "trick" InDesign to show color at  neutral grey density.

                         

                        Here is the link to a German forum where this profile is presented:

                         

                        http://www.hilfdirselbst.ch/foren/Layoutpreview_in_Schwarzwei%DF_bei_Farbbildern_P409357.h tml#409357

                         

                        Here a link for its use case:

                         

                        http://www.richard-ebv.de/images/HDS/ISOcoatedv2-neutralVorschau-EBV.jpg

                         

                        Handle with care!

                         

                        Uwe

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                          Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          One other trick is mentioned there:
                          Do an overlay of the whole page with an white rectangle and set effect from "Normal" to "Color". You will not get an exact greyscale experience but something like that…

                           

                          Uwe

                          • 10. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            It's a cheap trick, though!
                            And, of course, you cannot produce printable greyscale pages with the effect intact.

                             

                            Uwe

                            • 11. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                              lilia@ Level 2

                              Brings back memories

                               

                              Personally... a visual works for me and anyone that worked with me... I'm a change processes as I go kind-a-girl to meet a bunch of deadlines.

                               

                              Something like 4 small squares in a column, just outside the left and right side of the master pages (not in the spine).

                              4 shades of grey on 1 and CMYK on the other... 2 master pages - 1 for mono and 1 for colour.

                               

                              Another idea is to place an object on the page somewhere on its own layer with printing turned off.

                               

                              Live Preflight at the end is always a good thing... and I would love to know more on the issues of it not working properly... my company doesn't want me to teach it.

                              • 12. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                                John Hawkinson Level 5

                                Live Preflight at the end is always a good thing... and I would love to know more on the issues of it not working properly... my company doesn't want me to teach it.

                                There's not a huge amount to say.

                                 

                                The preflight code produces a database of rules and stores it in a data structure called a heap. When there is sufficient  activity with respect to that data structure, it is periodically rewritten ("compacted"). Sometimes when it that happens, it corrupts the preflight table. Then, when the preflight code consults that table to perform preflighting, bad things happen.

                                 

                                Those bad things are generally either a) crashing InDesign or b) getting stuck in an infinite loop and thus hanging hard. Sometimes I think you could also get stale or wrong information in the Live Preflight panel.

                                 

                                In our environment, this would happen on the average after 10 man-hours of work on a layout. Though once it happened, it would tend to happen more often on a particular layout.

                                 

                                It's not really clear what about our environment caused this bug to be triggered more often than most other people's. But ultimately Adobe was able to reproduce it, and implement a notional fix. Unfortunately, that original fix is apparently insufficient, so there is some degree of back-to-the-drawing-board.

                                 

                                Any questions?

                                • 13. Re: Tracking pages that use color/inks?
                                  lilia@ Level 2

                                  John Hawkinson wrote:

                                   

                                  Any questions?

                                   

                                  None at all. Thank your for the info. Hopefully they can work it out.

                                  Its amazing how many people out there do not understand the correct use of typefaces and/or colour and its impact when printing.