Color profiles?

RytisT

Member
Hi. I tried to understand how the whole color profiles in PDF/X works, but after hours of trying, I still can't.

Problem I have, is that sometimes color profile is mentioned in "Output Intent" section and sometimes it's under "Color Spaces". (I think that depends whether client has saved file with Acrobat DC or X/1-4 profiles.)

Can anyone let me know, how can I correctly check for profile in Acrobat Pro? And what should I be looking for? Output Intent or Color Spaces for color profile? What is the difference between those two? Thank you.
 

Mike Strickler

Well-known member
An output intent is equivalent to and references an ICC profile. It applies to the document itself, which includes any content native to it. For example, if you design a layout in Illustrator, this would include the objects you created as part of that design, as well as any that were pasted into it. This output intent can is usually identical with the CMYK (or RGB) color space listed in the application's default color settings but can whatever the author has assigned as the document space. In addition, ICC profiles can ride along with objects placed into, referred to, in that document. So when the PDF-X is generated you will have in this case a document output intent (RGB or CMYK) and embedded ICC profiles tagged to the placed objects.

You can examine intents and profiles in Acrobat's preflight checks and in a utility like Callas PDF Toolbox. Look in "Overview" and expand both "Output Intent" and "Color Spaces" to see the document space and embedded profiles respectively. The latter also shows any spot colors that are present.
 

RytisT

Member
An output intent is equivalent to and references an ICC profile. It applies to the document itself, which includes any content native to it. For example, if you design a layout in Illustrator, this would include the objects you created as part of that design, as well as any that were pasted into it. This output intent can is usually identical with the CMYK (or RGB) color space listed in the application's default color settings but can whatever the author has assigned as the document space. In addition, ICC profiles can ride along with objects placed into, referred to, in that document. So when the PDF-X is generated you will have in this case a document output intent (RGB or CMYK) and embedded ICC profiles tagged to the placed objects.

You can examine intents and profiles in Acrobat's preflight checks and in a utility like Callas PDF Toolbox. Look in "Overview" and expand both "Output Intent" and "Color Spaces" to see the document space and embedded profiles respectively. The latter also shows any spot colors that are present.
I have been checking with Acrobat's preflights, however sometime my color profile appears under output intent, sometimes it's under color space, that's what I wasn't sure of. I suppose I'm just looking for my color profile in at least one of those categories?
 

abc

Well-known member
An Output Intent is only applicable if the PDF is saved as a PDF/X, PDF/VT or PDF/A file.

When the PDF is saved as one of those standards you can select the Output Intent which consists of an ICC Profile and information such as the 'Output Condition Identifer. This identifes the required printing condition such as Fogra 39 or SWOP (CGATS TR001) for example.
The ICC Profile does not always have to be embedded, it can just be referenced depending on the PDF standard and version.

The Output intent is meant to be an indication to the next person in the production chain that the PDF was created and proofed to be printed using that particular ICC Profile and Output Condition.
In reality though what you often get is the default Output Intent from the originating application. So as a PSP you have to decide if the Output Intent is correct or not.
I've attached an old document from the GWG which might help. It's bit old, but the concept hasn't changed.
 

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