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H. P. Salzer

PDF-Export problem: Black Text is not 100 % K in PDF

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3 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

Agreed. The descricption (literally "Preserve Numbers") is accurate enough (or at least intuitive) though I might myself use the expression "Keep Color Values". 

Absolutely so – it took me quite a long time to finally grasp what "numbers" InDesign was referring to... To be perfectly clear "Keep Color Values of non-Image Objects" would be even better.


8 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

As when you switch a CMYK color profile from e.g. one that allows TAC of 330 (like ISO Coated) to something that allows less (like ISO Coated 300, or any profile for uncoated stock), color translation should really be performed (so that numbers should NOT be preserved)

I seem to differ from you here:
I actually think that any colour translation should be default be applied ONLY to images as "normal" colours which you'd generally apply manually to any object (vector – or possibly – black & white or greyscale images) wouldn't hardly be the plus 300% coverage kind and should be left as set (see my example of a logo with clearly defined CMYK values).

Maybe there could be an option(!) to convert these coulors as well, if one decidedly wants to.

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59 minutes ago, Lorox said:

I seem to differ from you here:

I do not have a clear opinion on this, but just wanted to describe what happens. If the conversion is very extreme (like something from high glossy to newspaper), color values should probably be translated for vector objects, as well, but in real life I would probably create two versions of this kind of a job, and fine-tune color values (not necessarily manually but at least running some tests). I do use ISO Coated v2 and its limited version with max TAC 300 most of the time, and even if the profiles are quite close, I would typically want to translate color values at least when printing darker tones on lightly coated stock where some dot gain is likely to happen, even for vector objects.

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2 hours ago, Lorox said:

Choosing the settings from your screenshot doesn't make  a difference: 100 K black is converted to 70C/60M/58Y/84K when the profile used for PDF output differs from the document' s profile.

What app do you use to inspect the color values? – I get the following result for 3 variants, shown in Acrobat X Pro (v10), left to right:
a.) embed YES, convert NO (default preset)
b.) embed NO, convert YES
c.) embed NO, convert NO
Both b.) and c.) still show the 100 K black if the profile gets switched on view from the document profile "PSO Coated v3" into another cmyk profile, e.g. "eciCMYK":

v183 black text & doc col space_embYES-convNO.pdf
v183 black text & doc col space_embNO-convYES.pdf
v183 black text & doc col space_embNO-convNO.pdf

macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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Hi thomaso,

I'm using Acrobat Pro 9.5.5:

  • v183 black text & doc col space_embYES-convNO.pdf  >  all blacks are "rich" RGB black (and stay this way, regardless of what I set as the simulation profile in Acrobat Pro)  – when I change the profile I see subtle changes in colours of the pics (as you'd expect) – I don't have the PSO Coated v3 profile, though (as I don't ever use it)
  • v183 black text & doc col space_embNO-convYES.pdf  >  blacks behave as they should (100 K text stays that way, regardless of what I set as the simulation profile) – pics' colours change a bit (as expected)
  • v183 black text & doc col space_embNO-convNO.pdf  >  blacks behave as they should (100 K text stays that way, regardless of what I set as the simulation profile) – pics' colours change a bit (as expected)

This seems to correspond to your findings, doesn't it?

As soon as I have time for it, I'll double check the PDFs I've exported myself to see if I can replicate this.

But – be it as it may – it's certainly more than a bit unsettling that for the time being it seems so hard for Affinity Publisher to offer the easy and (most of the time) flawless PDF output which InDesign has been offering for years by now. With Publisher it still feels to me like you actually have to fight for your PDFs to come out right and that's definitely not good for an app used in a real life print production workflow...

With one of my last jobs there still were RGB-elements in my PDF although the file's colour space was CMYK (ISO coated v2 profile) and the profile set for PDF export was CMYK. It took quite a bit of trial and error before the PDFs were finally OK...

What I also miss dearly is the ability to actually convert RGB colours to CMYK within Publisher or (at least) to just globally replace an offending RGB colour with a specially created new CMYK swatch. Sometimes when you're using external elements (e.g. logos supplied by clients) these are not necessarily in CMYK colour mode and their RGB colours sort of "spam" your colour palette. Actually the whole colour swatches/palette thing is not actually convincing in the Affinity apps, I'd say... You cannot even – like in the Adobe apps – "add used" colours (or "colours in use"), can you? Meaning colours you mixed and just assigned to an object without creating a swatch – or colours from objects you pasted into your document. You can do this in InDesign easily and it's really annoying to me that you cannot in Publisher (unless I missed something here).

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I feel like I've come to this party a bit late, but hoping Lagato etc. will be able to suggest a thing or two, or just confirm what I'm doing looks OK. I've read through this entire subject which seems overly complicated compared with my previous years of InDesign and Quark. But I guess this is how it is in Publisher for now so I must deal with it! For the last 10 years I've only used two printers and I've never been asked for any specific PDF format or colour space so I'm completely unfamiliar with PDFX. I just make CMYK documents some with RGB images and I just save a generic press ready PDF, all spots and RGBs converted to CMYK. Some might call this a little basic, but I've always had nice looking books and reports. So despite my years, here's the noobie question, what exactly happens with PDFX3 compared with say a standard Quark "Press Ready" PDF and is it any better than PDFX4? Messing around with some settings I think I've found the right combination. Attached is what I've come to (based on some suggestions earlier) for my CMYK report. RGB images will convert to CMYK without the laborious task of editing the originals, and most importantly all the text will remain K only. I've checked "Convert image colour space" as I presume that covers the RGB to CMYK images? "Looking OK here?

Screen Shot 2020-09-11 at 18.38.09.png

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5 hours ago, David Allen said:

what exactly happens with PDFX3 compared with say a standard Quark "Press Ready" PDF and is it any better than PDFX4?

PDF/X3 basically keeps RGB images as RGB and includes their profiles along with the destination (CMYK) profile so that conversion can be done on RIP. PDF/X4 does that plus allows unresolved transparencies.

I think that what you have been accustomed to (converting everything to CMYK) is pretty close to PDF/X1a:2003 as it forces conversion to CMYK and flattening of transparencies. This is the "old school" setting and basically fool-proof.

If you use plain vanilla "PDF (Press ready)" of Affinity apps, you basically allow RGB images and transparencies. You can customize these settings and force CMYK conversion by applying "Convert Image Color Space" setting. Use of this preset is quite confusing though, as by default the color profile is marked to be embedded in these settings, but if you already have CMYK definitions for vector (Publisher) graphics and text, embedding a profile just causes confusion as it would show K100 definitions apparently become four-color-blacks, if the document color profile is not selected in the viewer app as the active assigned profile (e.g. in Adobe Acrobat Pro). So if you have a CMYK document color mode, and CMYK definitions for texts and inline (vector) graphics, I would use the following settings, if not using PDF/X-based export modes:


But PDF/X1a:2003 is probably the safest choice. 

Note that Affinity PDF export feature has changed along the versions so what is mentioned in some earlier posts is not necessarily relevant with current versions. Anyway, I checked the operation of what I mention in this post with the latest release version. 


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