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Hi all,

I have a question regarding greyscale document setup in Affinity Designer and image greyscale format in Affinity Photo. My normal workflow is to create a Grey/8 Greyscale D50 document in Affinity Designer. I first edit my images in Affinity Photo and convert the images to Grey/8 Greyscale D50. I then import the images into Affinity Designer. 

My question is, what is the best workflow for accurate greyscale images? The other options are Generic Gray Gamma 2.2 Profile or Generic Gray Profile - what is the difference between the three options? Also what settings is recommended for pdf export for printing on press. 

*The setup is for a Year Book where most pages will be printed on a press with black ink only. 

Thank you.

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Hi Luko, 

I'd say you are already using the best process for converting your images to greyscale. As for the differences between he profiles I'm not sure but hopefully someone will come along with more info. These profiles aren't specific to Affinity so Google might help you with answering that. When exporting to PDF for print your printing service will usually tell you the settings they would like.

Thanks

C


Please tag me using @ in your reply to I can be sure to respond ASAP.

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19 hours ago, Luko said:

where most pages will be printed on a press with black ink only

I assume that you do not have Affinity Publisher, so I am wondering what kind of publication this is, and how it is set up in Designer? Does the quoted text mean that some pages will be printed in color and at least that the print PDF will be produced with Designer? Either way, if you produce for commercial printer, you should choose CMYK/8 as your document color space and then choose the color profile instructed by your printer (different profiles will be used e.g. for uncoated and coated paper). 

I think that Gray Gamma 2.2 is applicable when converting from non-grayscale to grayscale, and for monitor; conversions for CMYK printing are typically done in terms of dot gain, and the value used (e.g, 15%, 20%, etc.) depends on what kind of paper (coated/uncoated/newspaper etc.) will be used for printing. But when you fine tune your images in Photo, it is just ok to use the Grey/8 Greyscale D50 profile when you save your images for import to the actual publication document.

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Hi Callum and Lagarto, 

Thank you for the reply. The publication is for a school year book. The cover and centrefold will be printed in CMYK on coated paper. All the other pages will be printed in black only on coated paper. I have not purchased Affinity Publisher yet, so i'm setting up all pages in Affinity Designer. Legarto, if you say it is "just ok to use the Grey/8 Greyscale D50 profile..." are you saying importing the Greyscale D50 images into Affinity Designer (also Greyscale D50 profile) is not the best "practice"?

If you possibly have any advice for greyscale image conversion workflow for images with groups of students. I'm struggling to lighten and get good contrast for these group images (the ones where students have all white shirts). The images seem very flat after the conversion. I use a Black and White Adjustment layer before flattening and converting to Greyscale D50. 

Thank you.

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45 minutes ago, Luko said:

are you saying importing the Greyscale D50 images into Affinity Designer (also Greyscale D50 profile) is not the best "practice"?

No. If you have the color profile recommended by the printer in your Designer document and import your grayscale images with Greyscale D50 profile embedded (and have checked that the shades are ok already in Photo) then it is up to Designer to make any adjustments related to the kind of paper you use (this happens when you export to PDF according to the document color profile). I do not think that Affinity apps support Dot Gain based gray scale conversions so going with the Greyscale D50 is ok. If your display shows colors and grays realistically enough you should be able to trust that you get more or less what you see even without a calibrated display.

45 minutes ago, Luko said:

The images seem very flat after the conversion. I use a Black and White Adjustment layer before flattening and converting to Greyscale D50.

After having used the Black and White adjustment layer, I'd use Levels adjustment to get the shades, highlights and mid grays balanced. If you convert from color photos, the Black and White adjustment layer allows you to selectively bring up or down converted grays, but these adjustments may be highly dependent on the kinds of colors that exist in the original photo, so you may need to spend some time with them to get a good conversion.

If you are uncertain about the levels, you can upload here on the forum a sample of gray conversion you typically have (in file format you intend to import in Designer) -- e.g. of some generic photos and not necessarily any of your actual photos of people, but just something that represents well the typical gray levels you have in your images after the conversion.  

EDIT: I just realized that you mentioned that you have Greyscale D50 as your document profile also in Designer. I think it would be good idea to ask your printer if they rather want you to have some generic or specific CMYK profile for coated paper, even if you'd produce the color parts in a separate document. (CMYK profiles are normally used in commercial press even if you print only by using the black ink.) 

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I had a look on this in Publisher, and based on my tests, it seems it is better to have the document created with CMYK/8 color space and the correct profile (e.g., in the United States, US Sheetfed Coated would be typical while in Europe Euroscale Coated 39, ISO Coated v2, etc. are the most common profiles for coated paper) right from the start, and import the Greyscale D50 images only after that. It is important NOT to change the color space after you have created your publication document and specifically not after you have imported your images. Greyscale D50 is basically a display color profile (with 255 gray values) and must be converted to percentage values of black ink and the correct printer profile adjusts the percentages so that the dot gain typical for the kind of paper you use will be considered so that the images do not print too dark

If you use Greyscale document colorspace in your publication document, you'd also need to pay close attention to the export settings, since you may end up inadvertently converting your grayscale images to CMYK images as I noticed that some export profiles will force conversion from grayscale to CMYK even if conversion of color spaces is not specifically asked. But having the document color space right from the start as CMYK/8 and then exporting with e.g. PDF/X-4 profile, would keep the images as grayscale (and use mere black ink to print them). PDF/X-4 is just one export option, please ask your printer if they have a recommendation for the PDF export method. 

I think you'd need to use Publisher for this job. Designer is an artboard based app rather than a page layout application.

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Hi Lagarto,

Thank you so much for all your replies and help. I will definitely purchase Affinity Publisher for the next one.
I will see to find a sample image and upload. You all at Affinity, have a great day :)

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Of course, for this Job Publisher the better program would be. But if the yearbook has only a few pages, it works with Designer as well.

( The technical problems with Publisher are no less. :D )


This article has been written with the kind assistance of DeepL.

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