Transparency effects printing issues

Eric Boucher

Active member
Hi,
We have just started using a new Konica C3080 with Konica Hikari RIP coupled with their AccurioFlux software. This is replacing a Konica C1070 with bustled Fiery RIP.

For the past 5 years using the C1070 we never had any issues with transparency. All our jobs are supplied by the customer with little intervention on our part. A lot of job typically have some text or logo with a transparent background (a PNG image or PDF or anything) laid out on top of a color background. We set up our file in Illustrator and then send them to the printer from there. With the C1070, no issue, printing came out fine.

With the new C3080 we get a background block around the transparent item that has a slightly different color than the background. Very annoying.

Any idea how we could solve this? I don't know what the Fiery did that the Hikari RIP doesn't.

I read about the APPE, would that do anything? Or will that only work with PDF files? We do have an APPE setting in the AccurioFlux software but turning it on/off doesn't do anything. I've come to understand that there is an APPE module you can add to the engine itself (UK-207), would that help?

Thanks!
 

Puch

Well-known member
Your late Fiery apparently was a souped-up version which had APPE built in. Hikari (without an upgrade) doesn't have it, hence you see the artifacts. Solutions: A.) produce PDF/X-1a out from Illustrator. PDFs will be a bit larger, but they will go through without problems. B.) Get the APPE upgrade from Konica; that way you'll have the same functionality as before.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Thanks for your input. So the APPE will have an effect not only on PDF files but also on native .AI or .EPS files? I don't how much the APPE upgrade is but I'd like to make sure this solve our problem spending any more money on this...
 

Puch

Well-known member
Uhhh. You throw native .AI or .EPS onto Hikari? I think it is a no-no. Please produce PDFs, that's the perfect food for the beast. .AI is a native format, obviously not flattened, so it will always produce problems with Hikari.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
I know, but we just save time that way. We import the customer's file into an Illustrator template and then FILE > PRINT. We don't need to save the file and do not have to send a PDF to the printer.
 

michaelejahn

Well-known member
I know, but we just save time that way. We import the customer's file into an Illustrator template and then FILE > PRINT. We don't need to save the file and do not have to send a PDF to the printer.
Does not sound like you are saving time ( or materials ) dropping AI that don't process / print as expected. Sorry. Converting to PDF/x resolves a lot of print related issues.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Does not sound like you are saving time ( or materials ) dropping AI that don't process / print as expected. Sorry. Converting to PDF/x resolves a lot of print related issues.
Thanks for your reply. We did actually save time with the C1070 and Fiery IC-415, never had a single transparency issue for the past 5 years... This new controller is behaving differently and I guess we'll have to work within the "norm".

Question, does anyone have C3080 or any other similar Konica printer with the UK-207 APPE add-on to the printer engine? I'm curious about what it does (or doesn't).

Thanks again!
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Does not sound like you are saving time ( or materials ) dropping AI that don't process / print as expected. Sorry. Converting to PDF/x resolves a lot of print related issues.
I'm looking into the PDF-X options, I'm a bit confused about which one to use, X-1:2001, X-3:2002, X-3:2003, X-4:2010..? I know I need to educate myself on that subject...
 

Puch

Well-known member
You need PDF/X-1a:2001. That's a perfectly flat, CMYK+Spot PDF which can be printed by your equipment without any problems. All the other standards might have RGB or unflattened elements, or both in them.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
You need PDF/X-1a:2001. That's a perfectly flat, CMYK+Spot PDF which can be printed by your equipment without any problems. All the other standards might have RGB or unflattened elements, or both in them.
Thanks again for your input. I'm changing our process to saving our files as PDF/X-1a:2001 directly to a hot folder with our printer settings, rather than printing the native .AI file through a virtual printer. Basically the same thing but without the potential errors...

Now onto writing scripts to automate saving the files as PDF!
 

Puch

Well-known member
If you use a Mac, that's fairly easy to do; and Illustrator's scripting abilities are very mature. On the other hand, if you have a lot of jobs to handle, you might consider investing into Enfocus Switch.
 

Magnus59

Well-known member
If you are printing from an application to the device, or sending EPS, the issue is with your printing/conversion settings, not with transparency handling on the device.
Printing from an application produces Postscript, which does not support transparency, EPS is encapsulated Postscript and, because it is still Postscript, also does not support transparency.
You need to look at your flattening settings in the output. APPE will only be of benefit if PDFs with live transparency are sent to the device.
 

eemDesign

Member
You need PDF/X-1a:2001. That's a perfectly flat, CMYK+Spot PDF which can be printed by your equipment without any problems. All the other standards might have RGB or unflattened elements, or both in them.
Is PDF/X-4 not a better standard, since it supports more features such as transparency and some RGB etc.? If I understand it correctly, it will allow such elements to be embedded properly in the PDF which in turn will allow intended results in print as one wishes: What is PDF/X-4 | How to create or process a PDF X4 file
 

Alith7

Well-known member
Question, does anyone have C3080 or any other similar Konica printer with the UK-207 APPE add-on to the printer engine? I'm curious about what it does (or doesn't).
We just got a C3080 with the internal Fiery RIP. I don't run jobs as much anymore, but in the past, I've seen this pop up, especially with a flattened transparency that takes vector art and flattens some of it to raster. It has to do with the color management that you are apply in the Fiery. It is adjusting the way it is processing the CMYK breakdowns in the images differently than the vector. Stupid, right?
On my Xerox printers, I went into the properties for the job then to color and changed "CMYK Processing Method" to "Full (Source GCR)". But now that I'm looking at the options for the C3080 I'm not seeing that.

What I do see that might be worth trying is Properties -> Color under "Color Input" change "CMYK Source" to "Bypass Conversion".

Basically, you need to find the setting that will change the color management in the copier to to manage the job as a whole, and not render the vector and raster with different curves.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Following up on this thread. I'm sorry I didn't the last couple replies right away. Thanks for your input.

As advised by Puch, I have set up our workflow to save our files as a PDF/X-1a:2001 before printing. So far it is working fine. I managed to write a script to automatically save from Illustrator into a designated Hot Folder so we can print directly from AI.

I've educated (or tried to) myself on this subject, from what I read, it seems the way to go now is to use the PDF/X-4:2010 along with an APPE enabled RIP.

We currently do not have the APPE patch on our C3080. Although I had asked for it and our sales rep said it came "free" with the AccurioFlux software. I came to find out that what came with the AccurioFlux software was the toggle button to turn APPE on/off. But if the engine is not equipped with the APPE add-on, that button doesn't turn on/off anything... So much with the "free" feature... Not the first time this is happening with sales people.

I'm wondering if I should get the APPE add-on and change our workflow to PDF/X-4:2010. My guess is that not flattening transparencies (as we do with the PDF/X-1:2001 format) will result in higher quality.

Am I wrong?
 

Puch

Well-known member
The quality gain is minimal. When you use PDF/X-4, your artwork isn't converted to some CMYK colorspace (eg. ISO Coated v2), it rather stays RGB. The conversion to CMYK happens in the DFE, and (assuming a proper job setup) it will use all of the device's gamut. Your artwork might be more colourful. Sounds fancy?

The reality is, that eg. Konica machines with the standard toner set have a minimally larger gamut than the ordinary offset CMYK ink set. What you will see (after a closer inspection) is that you can produce more deep blues, 'redder' reds. There is a little increase in contrast, too.

But there is another consideration. When you produce PDF/X-1, the 'heavy lifting' happens on the desktop, and you will see the final rendered material before printing. You will get approval using that PDF, of course. On the other hand, by using PDF/X-4 you have to give up the idea of getting real approval from the customer (unless you have an approval portal which is PDF/X-4 compatible). Basically you only see the final, flattened, converted material when it's coming out of the printer. If you don't catch a problem caused by the rendering process there, you will produce a lot of waste.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
The quality gain is minimal. When you use PDF/X-4, your artwork isn't converted to some CMYK colorspace (eg. ISO Coated v2), it rather stays RGB. The conversion to CMYK happens in the DFE, and (assuming a proper job setup) it will use all of the device's gamut. Your artwork might be more colourful. Sounds fancy?

The reality is, that eg. Konica machines with the standard toner set have a minimally larger gamut than the ordinary offset CMYK ink set. What you will see (after a closer inspection) is that you can produce more deep blues, 'redder' reds. There is a little increase in contrast, too.

But there is another consideration. When you produce PDF/X-1, the 'heavy lifting' happens on the desktop, and you will see the final rendered material before printing. You will get approval using that PDF, of course. On the other hand, by using PDF/X-4 you have to give up the idea of getting real approval from the customer (unless you have an approval portal which is PDF/X-4 compatible). Basically you only see the final, flattened, converted material when it's coming out of the printer. If you don't catch a problem caused by the rendering process there, you will produce a lot of waste.
Thanks for your reply. We'll work with our current new process using PDX/X-1 files and see how things go. Thanks again!
 

eemDesign

Member
The quality gain is minimal. When you use PDF/X-4, your artwork isn't converted to some CMYK colorspace (eg. ISO Coated v2), it rather stays RGB. The conversion to CMYK happens in the DFE, and (assuming a proper job setup) it will use all of the device's gamut. Your artwork might be more colourful. Sounds fancy?

The reality is, that eg. Konica machines with the standard toner set have a minimally larger gamut than the ordinary offset CMYK ink set. What you will see (after a closer inspection) is that you can produce more deep blues, 'redder' reds. There is a little increase in contrast, too.

But there is another consideration. When you produce PDF/X-1, the 'heavy lifting' happens on the desktop, and you will see the final rendered material before printing. You will get approval using that PDF, of course. On the other hand, by using PDF/X-4 you have to give up the idea of getting real approval from the customer (unless you have an approval portal which is PDF/X-4 compatible). Basically you only see the final, flattened, converted material when it's coming out of the printer. If you don't catch a problem caused by the rendering process there, you will produce a lot of waste.
Hi Puch,
Is it possible for you to share some sources where we can learn more about the differences of PDF/X-1 and PDF/X-4 etc that you have mentioned.
Thanks in advance!
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Hi, yet another question...

What happens when you save an AI file as a PDF/X-1 and then save it again as an AI file?

I would think the document loses some properties when saved as PDF/X-1 but I've tried and everything looks unchanged.

My original AI file is 16.7 Mb, the PDF/X-1 is 5.6 Mb, the PDF/X-1 file saved as AI is 17.8 Mb. So things are happening, just don't know what.

The reason I want to do that is I have a script that save the current AI file as a PDF/X-1 (directly sent to the printer) but I want to keep the AI file open to keep working on it and not lose the "undo" history. The best way would be to be able to save the PDF "as a copy" but that doesn't seem to be possible...

Thanks.
 

Eric Boucher

Active member
Following my question above. I've ran some tests doing this :

- saving a native AI file as a PDF/X-1
- then saving the same file as a native AI file again
(keeping the file open the whole time)

As far as I can tell, as long as the file stays open in AI, it remains as a native AI file, even though I've saved it as a PDF/X-1 along the way.

If anyone can confirm this, I'd like to make sure there is no loss of anything if I do that.

Thanks.
 

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