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MikeA

Publisher 1.8.2 (Windows): Color handling -- File/New vs. File/Document Setup

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By now I've learned enough about Affinity Publisher that I'm ready to create a small book of photographs to be printed by an online book service that uses a four-color process. I have just noticed something in creating a template, which I first set up in CMYK color space using the default color profile for CMYK:

In Publisher's dialog shown via File > Document Setup, there an option to select "Assign" or "Convert." However, the option to select Assign, versus Convert, does not appear in the dialog displayed via File > New. Thus the option appears only after you've created the document. I assume these terms have the same meaning here as they do within a program like Photoshop—what should the program do color-space-wise when an image is opened or placed?

Is this option's absence from File > New intentional? If so why would that be?

Whichever option is selected—Assign versus Convert—what is the effect when placing images exported  from a RAW editor in, say, sRGB or Adobe RGB once they are imported into the document? There doesn't seem to be any "leave in native color space" option—it's assign or convert.

The purpose of selecting CMYK is that the book company requests that text be in CMYK color space. This is presumably to avoid "full" black which can cause problems on the press. But now I am wondering if this kind of document should be in an RGB color space throughout its creation, and then converted to CMYK on export to PDF—with Publisher instructed to leave images in their native color space at that time. Advice much appreciated.
 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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As your goal is to produce a printed book, you should choose CMYK/8 color mode when you create your document, and choose the color profile recommended by the printer. Do not touch the Document Setup color controls, they are there only for a situation where you need to sitch the color mode or convert colors from one profile to another, or assign a different color profile without changing the existing color assignment of document obects (like text and shapes). Import your images in (s)RGB color space. Make sure that your text is defined as C0, M0, Y0 K100. Export your publication using the export method recommended by the printer, if not recommended anything else, I'd recommend using PDF/X-1a:2003..

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Thanks kindly for your reply. On picking one of the "press ready" templates supplied with the program, I see that Document Setup seems to have Convert set by default. (That's assuming I'm interpreting correctly what the UI is telling me. The button colors are: Assign: white text on a dark grey background. Convert: white text on a black background. The "Convert" button appears to be "pushed." This kind of UI makes me a bit crazy; I wish UI designers would use a bit of color — even just a small amount of yellow — to indicate button selections.)

I take it this does not mean that a "placed" image in sRGB color space will be immediately converted to CMYK? Clearly all of it has to be CMYK as it goes onto the press, and the book company states that there is such a conversion for the entire document before printing. I guess I'll find out soon enough, if the placed images' colors go all bizarre on me.

They recommend precisely what you recommended for text. For large areas of black they recommend either

"Rich black" — 60C, 50M, 50Y, 100K
or
"Warm black" — 20C, 70M, 70Y, 100K

Thanks again.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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3 minutes ago, MikeA said:

I take it this does not mean that a "placed" image in sRGB color space will be immediately converted to CMYK?

Correct. They stay in sRGB format even if on screen their colors are shown adjusted to your document CMYK color space (you can see this if your RGB photos have vivid colors: they are more desaturated now as they are shown in CMYK mode). Whether the RGB data is converted to CMYK in your exported PDF depends on the export method. If you use PDF/X-1a:2003, they are forced to be converted, PDF/X3 and PDF/X4 also accept RGB data and your images would not be converted at export time, but only when processed by the printer according to the color profiles of the images and your embedded document color profile. If you choose PDf (for press), the default is that RGB data will be converted to CMYK (according to your document color profile).

 

11 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Document Setup seems to have Convert set by default.

I do not think that it is in any way related to your initial choice of color profile, I suppose "Convert" is just the default mode. "Convert" and "Assign" are meaningful onyl if you change the color profile, and you should typically not do so. If you do, "Convert" will change all your existing color definitions, meaning e.g. that all your K100 text color definitions will turn to four-color black according to the specs of the new color profile.

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4 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

They stay in sRGB format even if on screen their colors are shown adjusted to your document CMYK color space (you can see this if your RGB photos have vivid colors: they are more desaturated now as they are shown in CMYK mode).

Hmm. Perhaps before exporting them from Capture One I had  better soft-proof them using CMYK to see how disappointed I'll be... there will be a few with pretty vivid colors (deep blue sky in the early evening, for example). I've seen that the same book company did an absolutely bang-up job with a photographer's b&w images in a book I've just ordered from him. But color...another matter of course.

As for the export method: in their instructions for exporting from InDesign, the screen shot of the export dialog shows "Compatibility:  Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4)". And FWIW, they're recommending selecting "Optimize for fast web view."


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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22 minutes ago, MikeA said:

"Compatibility:  Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4)"

That is not very strict so it basically allows you to choose PDF/X-1a:2003 or PDF/X-3 as standard export methods. The main difference between the two is that the former forces CMYK conversion while the latter does not. Any transparencies that you use, will be flattened. 

I am not sure why they mention "Fast Web Viewing", it is basically related to ability to start viewing the PDF in a browser even if it is not completely downloaded. It does compress text and line art so it might have some effect also in print production, but it is not important and I am not sure if there is even equivalent option in Affinity apps or whether they do this automatically.

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Whew. Someone's tiny brain is starting to hurt. I think it might be mine.

Publisher's PDF export dialog's "More..." panel contains quite a few options. Compatibility options include everything you've mentioned, including the one the book company (MagCloud) recommends for InDesign.

Publisher's dialog has an option to convert image color spaces; I'm not sure what the equivalent command is for InDesign. A possible "gotcha":  there's a MagCloud export preset made for InDesign. It automatically selects an option to export pages and has a "Spreads" checkbox that should remain UNchecked. Affinity Publisher doesn't have an equivalent check-box, but you can select "Area: all spreads" or "Area: all pages." I'm guessing I select "Area: All pages."

The more I look over the requirements for InDesign exports, the more I see a number of options that don't have obvious equivalents in Affinity Publisher. Or if they do, they're worded much differently in the dialog. ("Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than: 0%" does not seem to have a Publisher equivalent at all, for example—not that I know what it means.) The downsampling options in InDesign are more involved than Publisher's, with separate options for color and monochrome images (no such distinction made in Publisher's output dialog). Not sure what to do about those.

Color Conversion for InDesign is to be set as "No color conversion." I'm guessing that the appropriate setting in Publisher would be "Color space: As document" and "ICC Profile: Use document profile". Just a guess. So—on the whole, InDesign's PDF export dialog has a lot more options. I guess this just has to involve trying what seems to come closest, then find out if the PDF fails MagCloud's preflight checks. Or if it passes, but something goes haywire on the press. How nice if it ends up actually working. : -)

Perhaps if there are any Serif employees in the vicinity they might want to comment. (Serif: I can send you that MagCloud PDF describing the requirements. Due to the ongoing forum problems I won't be able to attach it here but I can send it in email.)


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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34 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Area: All pages

Correct.

34 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than: 0%

Scroll further down and uncheck "Subset fonts".

38 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Color Conversion for InDesign is to be set as "No color conversion."

That might indicate the colors are left as RGB so PDF/X-3 would be a good starting point.

 

11 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Ok ... the save-as-PDF-1.4 option seems to be working incorrectly

You probably mean PDF/X-4 as that uses PDF1.6 version.

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You're right — and I had mis-typed the PDF option in the above comment. My error entirely. (I hid the comment in which I mentioned it, but you must have seen it before I clicked that 'hide' menu item.)

Using PDF/X-3 does produce an output file that Acrobat Reader says is PDF version 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x). So that much at least should work for MagCloud's purposes. Thanks kindly for the tip about unchecking the 'subset fonts' optoin.

Publisher's estimate of the output file size is wildly inaccurate. The program estimates 440K for this small .afpub document I'm using as a test. The actual output file size is 2.2 MB.

Interesting to see that for 'title' (per Acrobat Reader, anyway), Publisher has passed along the title of the document template itself. When I saw this I also spotted what looks like another "gotcha". I renamed that template outside Publisher, at the command line. But Publisher doesn't know its name has changed and passed along the original name to the PDF file. This must mean one had better do the renaming within Publisher. ... no, wait. That doesn't appear possible within Publisher. If it's to be renamed it has to be renamed on disk but it would seem that the original name was stored internally and not updated when the file was renamed. Could be a bug.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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3 minutes ago, MikeA said:

The program estimates 440K for this small .afpub document I'm using as a test. The actual output file size is 2.2 MB

It may be that the calculatrion does not include the size of the color profile (which is included in PDF/X-3).

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That 'name' string problem is definitely looking like a bug. I created a newly named PDF export preset and when I saved the PDF, the OLD — and now deleted — document template name was again used. Somehow the program has stored this string somewhere and insists on using it repeatedly as the PDF title string even when the export preset by that name is removed. Not very convenient. I need to get rid of that damned unwanted name string somehow.

 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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23 minutes ago, MikeA said:

That 'name' string problem is definitely looking like a bug. I created a newly named PDF export preset and when I saved the PDF, the OLD — and now deleted — document template name was again used. Somehow the program has stored this string somewhere and insists on using it repeatedly as the PDF title string even when the export preset by that name is removed. Not very convenient. I need to get rid of that damned unwanted name string somehow.

 

In Publisher you have the Fields studio panel, where you can change the document title.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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9 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

In Publisher you have the Fields studio panel, where you can change the document title.

Bingo. There it is. User error (mine) again. The online course I took, which was to introduce users to the rock-bottom-basics of the program, did not mention this and I hadn't yet looked at it in Tools / Studio.

Thanks kindly.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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