PDF Transparency/Layers

gerrye

Member
I do the input of jobs in a print on demand dept. I continually have problems with transparency and/or layer issues, ie, text (many time with a drop shadow) knocking out the background.

I am printing from a Fiery RIP to a Konica-Minolta 6500.

I have tried all kinds of settings in Acrobat (7&8) and PitStop (7.2). I have not found a solution with those programs.
The only way to solve the problem is open the PDF in Photoshop and flatten it and then save it back to a PDF.

Are there settings that I can use in Acrobat/PitStop to resolve this?
Do I need to have the designers use different settings when creating the PDFs? They use the export to pdf features which I have always had trouble with but I can't get them to change their ways.

Suggestions/answers...anything.

Dov, I know if anyone has the answer it's you. I've been a fan for many years.

Thanks in advance,
Gerry
 

doubting_thomas

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

I'm no Dov Issacs, but when I print to our Fiery and the file uses transparency I usually check the
Simulate Overprint box in the print dialog. Sometimes this'll help. Our Fiery is a dog when it comes
to flattening artwork. Another thing I do is change the compatibility to Acrobat 4, or Print To File first.
Not really the text book way to go about it, but one of these will generally do the trick.
 
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

Thomas is right...
If you go to adobe's www. do a search for Trans. They have good reads.
I have the same issues with Trans. with our Fiery Rip on a c500. as well as our HP Designjet 5500ps.
Some rips cant handle complex stuff. (Come on "Adobe Print Engine")

You can go to the advanced settings and click "print as file" this will do what photoshop does. But, your color may be off. This is a quick on the fly trick.

What Thomas said about "print to file" is correct. I've found that this is the best method for flattening and keeping vectors.

If you have Indy...I pull PDF into Indy and export as EPS. In your eps settings you can control Trans flattening.
The cool thing is postscript cant hold Trans....so it must flatten. So Adobe says. But, I still have some issues from time to time on complex stuff.
But, for the most part export as EPS and .ps files then distill have been a BIG Help.

Best of Luck...Trans can be a pain.
Let us know...
 
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

BTW...Beware of Quack 7 files.
We export eps out of Quack too.
We had some issues the other week where the drop shadow was in the PDF (made from Quack).
But, when pullend into Indy and printed. It dropped out.

Export as EPS saved the day...
 

Dov Isaacs

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

I *am* Dov Isaacs and my experience with Fiery RIPs and PDF files is that the best way to print to such RIPs is by printing PostScript to them from Acrobat 8.x Pro. Use the "high resolution" flattening parameters. In the Acrobat 8.x Pro "Advanced" print dialog, use the +U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2+ color settings. Do +not+ use the default +Printer / PostScript Color Management+ setting. And do +not+ send any spot colors to the RIP; let Acrobat change them to process (preferably, in your layout program, you use LaB alternates instead of CMYK).

On the RIP side, set the Fiery to simulate SWOP CMYK. Turn off all hackery such as modifications to overprint based on object type. That stuff just doesn't work with flattened transparency.

Note, if SWOP is not your standard CMYK print condition, choose the corresponding CMYK in Acrobat's print dialog +and+ in the Fiery device settings - make sure that they match.

- Dov

PS: I am the Adobe "spiritual venture capitalist" behind the Adobe PDF Print Engine!
 

gerrye

Member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

Thanks to all who replied.

I have used all of those solutions to some extent on various jobs. Sometimes they work, sometimes I have to try another of the work-arounds.

PrepressDog mentions importing into InDesign and exporting as EPS. This brings up the question about how to create a PDF from native programs. Export or print to PDF? I have always had better results printing to PDF or .ps and then distilling. Comments?

As far as Quack 7 goes, our whole prepress dept. hates to see these files from customers. Especially when the customer has used all the new "features". Then again, I just plain hate Quack.

I have just upgraded to Acro 8 and it has solved a lot of the problems. EFI has not upgraded and so I was forced to use v7 to take advantage of the tools in Command Workstation. Catch 22 with the Fiery RIP, they recommend using v7 but trans., etc. are problematic so you have to use v8 to get good results but it doesn't interface with their tools. Fiery RIPs are another thing that I hate. I have never met one that worked well. But, from what I hear from our Prepress dept. that uses a Rampage RIP it's problematic also.

I use all the settings you have recommended Dov. It's good to know I'm on the right track. I do wonder about using LaB color settings. In other words, I know nothing about that color standard. And I know I'd be spitting in the wind trying to get Prepress to use it, they are all used to creating jobs for press so I am constantly having them re-output their files for the Fiery/c6500.

Thanks again to everyone,
Gerry

The Struggle Continues...
 

rich apollo

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

> {quote:title=gerrye wrote:}{quote}
> PrepressDog mentions importing into InDesign and exporting as EPS. This brings up the question about how to create a PDF from native programs. Export or print to PDF? I have always had better results printing to PDF or .ps and then distilling. Comments?
>
> I use all the settings you have recommended Dov. It's good to know I'm on the right track. I do wonder about using LaB color settings. In other words, I know nothing about that color standard. And I know I'd be spitting in the wind trying to get Prepress to use it, they are all used to creating jobs for press so I am constantly having them re-output their files for the Fiery/c6500.

Some shops won't accept PDF's that weren't created by Distiller. For whatever reason files exported to or saved as PDF have a much greater tendency to be problematic.

As to your question about usint L*a*b* - CIELab would require some kind of processing to get into the color space of your output device.

rich
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

PrepressDog,

Did you ever let Quark make the PostScript and get Distiller to make the PDF (instead of letting Quark make the PDF)? Confirmation (besides myself) that this is a great workaround for many people (instead of printing from Quark 7 or letting Quark make the PDF) and being able to bypass/circumvent problems (before they happen) would speak volumes I'm sure to everyone here. This is my workflow for Quark 7 and the only tried and true way I have been able to get Quark 7 jobs out while keeping the small amount of sanity I have left.

Don
 

gerrye

Member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

I'm not sure what the designers do. I know they don't like Quack 7 files. I don't think they use it unless forced to because a customer used it.

I hardly ever get native files and would never get Quack. Prepress/Designers (P/D) are mac and I'm PC, so there are too many issues especially fonts.

As far as outputting to .ps and then distilling, I'm going to suggest that we start doing that. Even have customers print to .ps. I'm also thinking about doing all the distilling myself. P/D don't know anything hardly about PDF except for the manager.
 
C

cjwworld

Guest
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

Gerry said:
PrepressDog mentions importing into InDesign and exporting as EPS. This brings up the question about how to create a PDF from native programs. Export or print to PDF? I have always had better results printing to PDF or .ps and then distilling. Comments?

Printing to PDF does not use Adobe Distiller which may cause problems. We save it as a postscript file then to distiller. I have found less problems doing this way than exporting directly to Distiller. Just my 2 cents.
 

leonardr

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

I don't know where you got that information...but printing to the Adobe
PDF Printer is the EXACT SAME THING as printing to a Postscript file and
then dropping that on Distiller with the JobOption chosen. In fact,
that's what the printer is doing behind the scenes!

On the other issue, I continue to stand on the position that creation
via Export (or Save As) from an application is the BEST way to create a
PDF, because it will give you the highest fidelity of data.

Leonard
 

ifredsayred

New member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

I'd have to say that exporting to PS then distilling seems to work much better than exporting to PDF directly. I get fewer issues brought up by my printers, and flattening is usually (I say *usually*) not an issue.

PrepressDog, you might also want to instruct the designers to make sure any ID files have separate text layers on top of any vector/image and effects layers. As I understand it, when ID flattens on export, it rasterizes layers separately, then merges them. If text and effect (like the ever-popular drop shadow) are rasterized in the same layer, the text can become very muddy. In some cases, the effect completely disappears, which could be the cause of the problem you mentioned earlier.

I'm not sure if the same problem exists in Quark, but it's worth investigating. Your designers may already know to do this, but just thought I'd mention it.

Best of luck!
-
Jack Cole
 

Tim_SPI

New member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

> I'd have to say that exporting to PS then distilling seems to work much better than exporting to PDF directly. I get fewer issues brought up by my printers, and flattening is usually (I say *usually*) not an issue.

Could you give some specific examples of problems encountered with PDFs created via export?
 

gerrye

Member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

Leonard wrote:
I don't know where you got that information...but printing to the Adobe
PDF Printer is the EXACT SAME THING as printing to a Postscript file and
then dropping that on Distiller with the JobOption chosen. In fact,
that's what the printer is doing behind the scenes!

On the other issue, I continue to stand on the position that creation
via Export (or Save As) from an application is the BEST way to create a
PDF, because it will give you the highest fidelity of data.

Dov, can we get your opinion on this?
 

ifredsayred

New member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

One ID file had a habit of crashing the RIP whenever I used ID's Export-->PDF, but seemed to go through fine when I exported as a PS then used Distiller with identical output settings. The printer suggested the Distiller route, and it worked fine. There was nothing extraordinary about the file, although it did have a number of large EPSs (linked, not embedded) in it.

I'm not sure why there'd be any difference, but since this happened, I've been using the Distiller route on anything destined for press, and save the Export-->PDF for rendering for screen.

Unrelated to the print process, but... I noticed that with Acrobat 7/ID(CS2), sometimes I'd get thin white lines around placed objects in my PDFs exported directly. I've since read that this was a problem Adobe fixed in Acro8, but it usually disappears whenever I use Export-->PS-->Distiller. There are some [other workarounds for it as well|http://www.layersmagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=823] - the print/design communities are usually a huge help when these oddities show up.

Cheers,
-
Jack Cole
 

Dov Isaacs

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

In fact, printing to the "AdobePDF" PostScript printer driver instance will produce identical results to printing PostScript to file and manually distilling, assuming of course that you specify the same exact joboptions. This isn't opinion, this is fact.

With regards to other methods ...

The "export PDF" or "save as PDF" functions of Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop do result in direct PDF generation from those applications via Adobe's PDF library without no stink'in PostScript intermediary. This is the only way to assure proper color management and live transparency in the resultant PDF file and is the PDF generation method most highly recommended by Adobe for reliable end-to-end PDF print publishing workflows. Yes, we hear reports of printers who have problems with such PDF files, but investigation of such reports generally lead to discovery of either ancient, buggy RIPs and/or very dicey workflows For example, one should not use QuarkXPress as an imposition tool for PDF files - you have no idea how many so-called professional printers still attempt to impose PDF jobs via QuarkXPress 3.x or 4.x. And then there is the OPI tool that converts PDF files to PostScript Level 1 via GhostScript, throwing away all the color management and transparency data, performs the OPI operations on the resultant PostScript, and then converts the PostScript back to PDF via GhostScript - doh?!?

Note that for QuarkXPress (for which I obviously do not claim exertise), PDF export yields an internal process in which all transparency is flattened, PostScript is generated, and PDF is created from that PostScript by a process other thanvia Distiller. You probably can guess what I think of that! :)

- Dov
 

deanb

Member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

What you are seeing is either one of two issues in my experience. One, your RIP doesn't support Acrobat 5 or later. Two, your PDF has either been exported directly to Acrobat 4 or postscripted and distilled to Acrobat 5 or above. Postscripting and distilling is the equivalent to exporting directly to Acrobat 4 to the best of my knowledge, no matter what level of Acrobat you distill to. The simple answer(s) are to either a.) upgrade your RIP to one that supports at least Acrobat 5. Or b.) get the PDF resupplied in Acrobat 5 format or above making sure it has not been distilled first. The more complicated answers are a little more beyond the scope of this post.

Edited by: Dean Bonkovich on Oct 2, 2007 2:00 AM
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

"Note that for QuarkXPress (for which I obviously do not claim exertise), PDF export yields an internal process in which all transparency is flattened, PostScript is generated, and PDF is created from that PostScript by a process other thanvia Distiller. You probably can guess what I think of that! "

Dov,

I agree with you. That's why I let Quark make the PostScript and let Distiller make the PDF through a Watched folder.

Don
 

Greg_Firestone

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

As Leonard and Dov stated, printing to the Acrobat Printer is the same as printing PS and distilling. The one thing to be careful about is that I believe it uses your last distiller job options. So if you just distilled a job for a web page using the web settings and then print a file intended for high res output, you might not get what you expected.

Regarding the issues from exporting PDF, each version of Indesign gets better and better. With InDesign 2, it was a little buggy doing a PDF export in the beginning. And if your RIP didn't support CID fonts, you were in trouble. That's one reason many took the PS approach because Level 1 and 2 do not allow CID fonts. Of course, most RIPs now a days can handle CID fonts so that's not as much of an issue. And the export engine has improved quite a bit.

If your RIP does not support Transparency and Layers, maybe try to push PDF/X-1a to your customers. Both the 2001 and 2003 version flatten the file. Only the PDF/X-4 format qouls allow characteristics of the latest PDF formats such as transparencies, overprints, OpenType fonts, etc.

Regards,
Greg

Systems Engineer
OneVision, Inc.
 

leonardr

Well-known member
Re: PDF Transparency/Layers

[pedantic mode on]

* You can change the JobOptions to use in the Preferences/Properties
panel of the print dialog (on both Mac & Win)

* PostScript Level 2 supported CID Fonts.

* Overprinting has been part of PostScript since Level 2 and PDF since
1.2.

* OpenType fonts, when used in an authoring program like ID, can be used
to create a PDF all the way back to 1.1 - because it is "dissected down"
to it's Type 1 or TrueType roots.

Leonard
 

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