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Martin Brooks

ICC profiles and rendering intent in PDF/X-3

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I am struggling to manage colour in my workflow from AD to a commercial printer.

The commercial print service wants pdf/x-3 2002; I am hoping they can live with 2003 (since that is all that AD offers).

More significantly, the AD export panel for pdf/x-3 is not providing me with the opportunity to set the ICC profile or rendering intent.

In particular, the AD export panel for pdf/x-3 does not include sRGB or Adobe1998; it includes only the profiles for my own printer (and these are not useful).

Furthermore, the ICC option starts off blank, but if I choose any of the profiles then I can't get it back to blank -- and, I have no idea what it means for export when it is blank.

Whereas, the later pdf export options (e.g. 1.7) do provide many ICC profile options.

None of these provides the ability to set rendering intent.

By the way, I can see the difference between colour in pdf/x-3 vs pdf 1.7 (exporting x-3 with the ICC field in its initial blank state, and exporting 1.7 with sRBG) by viewing them in ColorSync Utility. The x-3 export is dull and dark, whereas 1.7 looks as it should.

Thanks for any workarounds or advice.

Martin Brooks

 

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Long story short, you aren't going to meet the requirements of the earlier PDF/X-3:2002 profile.

 

Rendering intent of a PDF is part of the ICC profile being explicitly or implicitly used.

 

By default, if you use AD's PDF/X-3 pdf type, you are likely producing a CMYK pdf, which would explain the duller appearance.

 

You can possibly fake it if you need to produce an RGB-based PDF. But instead of the PDF 1.7, use PDF 1.4. This is still a more "advanced" type of PDF than the 1.3 revision that the older PDF/X-3:2002 will use, but it is the oldest revision AD is going to allow you to use. 

 

That said, if they are also requiring a CMYK PDF, then the last paragraph is moot.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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Thank you Mike -- It turns out the print service will take pdf 1.4. Furthermore, this service prints RGB, not CMYK. I am now expecting a good result.

 

Related question for Mike or anyone else:

The AD Document Setup panel for colour has a "rocker switch" (like two radios buttons, i.e. mutually exclusive) for assigning vs converting the image to the indicated colour profile -- but I am confused about which setting of the switch is which function. It makes sense to press the button for the desired choice -- but that causes the pressed button to recede and be black, and it is not clear to me whether this means that it is selected. Furthermore, when I press "assign" and then "ok", AD appears to recompute the image, whereas when I press "convert" then it does not appear to recompute it; this is further indication that the buttons are backwards. 

 

thanks

Martin Brooks

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HI Martin,

 

That's good news regarding the 1.4 version.

 

When I am going to use a print establishment that wants RGB (only a couple times for me), I design in RGB as the primary color mode and use RGB images. But I still use CMYK for design elements I draw or vector assets I bring in simply because the print device is still going to print in CMYK (even with multi-ink systems). That way I can rest assured that there will be little to no color shift on the vector elements (including text).

 

As regards the tabs in AD's color section, I think that I would use the Assign option. The recomputing may be due to the image having no color profile, or a different one than the document setup, I suppose. I haven't experienced what I think I am understanding from your post.

 

One main important thing may be how does the resulting PDF look? That's what is going to be printed. And if there is an option for a proof, I would recommend that.

 

Mike


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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Hi Martin Brooks,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

The depressed (darker) button is the one that's selected. When you select Assign and press OK you are assigning a new colour profile to the image and as such the colours on the image change to reflect the new profile (the original colour values/numbers are kept). When you select Convert you are converting an existing profile to another, which will "map" the existing colours to their closest possible match in the new profile meaning there's usually little or no change in the image appearance/colors (depending on the profiles).

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