CMYK question

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  • fadein11

    I couldn't find a suitable thread so here goes...

    I don't do a lot of print design these days and have a question.

    Is it normal for a PDF exported from a CMYK file in PS or ID to look washed out when viewed in Finder or Preview?

    I know CMYK reduces the vibrancy of colours but this seems a little washed out not just a colour shift. Is there a setting in OSX for viewing CMYK PDF's more accurately?

    I did a quick proof and it is closer to the original files but still a bit washed out (but not as washed out as when viewing the PDF in Finder or Preview),

    This is for a album cover and I think it's a big run. Getting a little nervous as it's v. different to what I have been sending to the client as I have been working on it.

    Thanks in advance.

  • hans_glib0

    there's a chance that that could happen if the file has been created in cmyk and then output as cmyk without proper conversion.

    • fuck, i meant if the file was created in rgb and then output as cmykhans_glib
    • The original was CMYK PSD then added to an ID file with other elements, then exported as a PDF.fadein11
    • all look great on screen in the apps but not when viewing the PDF. is there a setting when creating the PDF to reduce the change?fadein11
    • what are the pdf settings? some of the colour profiles can have an effecthans_glib
    • I have tried various - the stabndard CMYK and even no conversion as it looks fine in the app. but all look terrible in Finder and Preview.fadein11
    • terrible = a little too washed out, not awful. Do you find CMYK files lose their contrast as well as the colour shift?fadein11
    • I chalk it up to Finder using a monitor color profile and somehow interpreting 100% K as not "rich" blackmonospaced
  • Fax_Benson0

    all colours, or just black that's washed out?

    • All.fadein11
    • oh, you're fucked. swallow your sim card and lay low somewhere until it all blows over.Fax_Benson
  • sted0

    1 never export CMYK pdf from photoshop
    2 in indesign check the color profile used for the document, (for example in SWOP v2 it will be washed).

    • (I see that you're using id to export the pdf)sted
    • I have tried various and the PDF is being created from ID (sorry my OP was confusing).fadein11
  • monospaced0

    It's kinda normal. I was actually noticing it big time with my files just recently, and just emailed a printer about it, to ensure the blacks print "rich" and not as they appear in the PDF.

    I've done nothing different, and I work in CMYK basically 90% of the time.

    • Ah cool. That's good to know - thanks.fadein11
    • Actually, not really cool. I'm having the same issue, and even I'm a bit baffled because it's a newer issue.monospaced
    • Yes! Although I don't do a lot of print work I still do a bit and this is definitely a recent issue. Have googled but cannot find similar probs.fadein11
    • At the moment, I'm trusting my workflow that I've used successfully for a decade is just right, and it's Finder's fault.monospaced
    • coolfadein11
  • Morning_star0

    If you ask the printers for a 'wet' proof before the print run starts this will give you a very accurate representation of the finished product.
    Colours also get muddier depending on the paper you're printing on (coated/uncoated/bonded etc) all have different effects on the inks. Then there is the finishing to consider, a machine seal effects colours differently to a matt varnish or a gloss laminate
    In short the printer is your friend and will guide you the results you want.

    • It's a vinyl pressing company who also print the sleeves. I hope they offer a wet proof service yep. I will strongly recommend that to the client. Thanks.fadein11
    • my experience with record pressing places is they don't give a shit. best to flag up your concern and get them to pre-flight it properly, and make sure theyhans_glib
    • give you an answer either way.hans_glib
    • Yep - thanks.fadein11
  • fadein110

    Having looked at my proof again I think that shift is acceptable - as would be expected from a CMYK file.

    I was an idiot and showed the client my original ideas in RGB which were obvs way more vibrant. Something I wouldn't have done if I did print stuff a lot.

    Annoying as the vibrancy of the colours were probably why he liked the original concept.

    But as I say the proof looks decent (never going to get screen vibrancy in print).

    Thanks all.

    • As you know, there's a difference between 100% K black, and a "rich" black that has CMY added to it. That's what the PDF is showing.monospaced
    • There are settings in ID and AI to "display and output all blacks as rich black" but it doesn't always work as expected.monospaced
    • Once you go rich black, you never go back, unless you need to because its throwing its dummy when converted back to RGB.detritus
    • But it looks fine in ID on screen - it's only in the PDF in Finder or Preview that it doesn't. Is there a rich black option when creating the PDF - I cannot seefadein11
    • onefadein11
    • Just looked and ID is set up to output as rich black. the plot thickens.fadein11
    • exactly ... Finder is somehow overriding this?monospaced
    • ah I hope so. Bit nerve racking when your PDF looks like a limp biscuit compared to the app preview.fadein11
    • if you export that CMYK file as RGB, it comes out "rich" blackmonospaced
  • monospaced0

    You should sync your color settings in Bridge to an industry standard, which syncs all your apps... for starters.

    Then output the PDF as a High Quality Print or as Press Quality.

    Your colors shouldn't ALL be washed out, especially if all the colors in your file really are CMYK.

    • is that how you have solved the same issue?fadein11
    • no, but it's what we do here and I don't notice the overall washed out look you're experiencingmonospaced
    • I get the blacks showing up at what appears to be like a 98% black in Finder PDFs, but my colors are just fine.monospaced
    • ok thanks.fadein11
  • monospaced0

    • You use 'web' coated swop as your standard setting? I'd imagine financial industry does more sheet-fed workGnash
    • Okay - will do this. Thanks.
      Still confused why this has suddenly become an issue. Never had it before.
    • Yes, I do use that, and it's been no issue. I'd love to learn more though :)

      This issue is new to me too. I am looking into it.
    • You mentioned Bridge? I cannot find this in bridge. What app is this from?fadein11
    • This is just from InDesign Color Settings. The "Synchronized" at the top is dictated in Bridge Color Settings.monospaced
    • @mono: 'web' tends to be newsprint so the display compensates for the higher dot-gain on the paper. (web is roll-fed, not sheet-fed)Gnash
    • I a using an old version of Bridge - no color options in preferences. Not to worry - viewing in Acrobat is good so I can live with that (and a wet proof!).fadein11
    • The bridge synch has been around for at least 10 years.…monospaced
    • @Gnash, thanks! My work is only "financial related" in a superficial sense. I do large scale event and environmental design work.monospaced
    • great - yes its under edit not preferences - just found. It was set up as synced anyway.fadein11
    • cool ... just going down the list of things that might mess up your previews :)monospaced
    • Thanks.fadein11
  • i_monk1

    Preview and Finder aren't built around viewing CMYK process print files. Is there a reason you aren't looking at them in Acrobat? Do they still look washed out in Acrobat?

    • Much better in Acrobat thanks.
      Find it bizarre that a Mac app called Preview does not preview CMYK colours correctly... grrrrr.
    • Our account people have the same problem, always using preview.
      always open in native program
    • thanks - good to know. Just presumed Preview would render well as Macs are used by design pros. And there is no Adobe Reader on Mac.fadein11
    • There certainly is Adobe Reader on Mac :)monospaced
    • Really??? This is news to me. I will find. I just presumed they replaced it with Preview like Apple likes to do. Not on my machine.fadein11
    • Adobe makes Acrobat. Preview is Apple, so it's not a replacement :)…
    • Acrobat Pro is a CC application, so that's why you have it installed. Reader doesn't get installed automatically.monospaced
    • oh god mono - I know that. I know the difference between Acrobat Pro and Reader. Opening with Pro was v.slow compared to preview. As discussed Ifadein11
    • just presumed Adobe discontinued Reader on mac because Preview did it's job and came with the system. Lol.fadein11
    • But thanks for all your help. Genuinely.fadein11
    • lol, I guess I took the "Really???" too seriously ... you're welcomemonospaced
    • no it was serious for a while. but basically it all came down to me relying on Preview and not doing CMYK artwork often. Many thanks.fadein11
  • monospaced0

    My PDFs look washed out in Acrobat, just like in Finder. Here's the same file from InDesign (true color, rich black, cmyk) and from Adobe Acrobat, so you can see the difference.

    • you seperated your black (from rgb) and print it with different colors. That's why all the other colors are rendered in previewmekk
    • My black is just the built in 100%K, as I've always used. I did ask the printer to ensure they print "rich" though, just in case.monospaced
    • Nothing in this file is RGB, it's a print file.monospaced
    • And nothing here is in Preview. This is Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat Pro.monospaced
    • InDesign will treat 100K as rich black on screen, but I don't think that means it encodes CMY values into it when exported as a PDF.i_monk
    • rightmonospaced
  • Gnash0

    When I output PDFs for print I don't let acrobat do the conversion. I always select "No Color Conversion"

    All my CMYK work is done beforehand and geared to the paper I'll be printing on. Acrobat always seems to mess it up.

    • thanks - yep I tried no color conversion. All looks good in Acrobat though. I just presumed Preview would render it correctly so didn't bother opening Acrobatfadein11
    • (like a fool)fadein11
    • ^ do a "Command-i" with a PDF file selected in the finder, In the box that opens there is an option to "Open With:" Select Acrobat in the drop-down.Gnash
    • ... then click "Change All..." just below that. Now ALL files that are PDFs will default with Acrobat instead of PreviewGnash
    • (of course this also works with all other file types, as well)Gnash
    • that's a must :)monospaced
    • Acrobat opens slowly on my machine though - why isn't there a light PDF viewer on Mac that works well. Like Reader does on Windows...fadein11
    • Acrobat Pro I am talking about here. Had no idea there is an Adobe Reader for Mac. Not on either of my machines...fadein11
    • It's free. You get it the same way you would on Windows. Just go download it :)monospaced
    • I know there used to be but just presumed Apple replaced it with their own Preview.fadein11
    • Lol - I do feel silly. I hate Preview in general. I am downloading it now lol. I am a web designer mainly so can I be excused? :)fadein11
    • Apple can't "replace" Adobe software. Preview is a fast lean file viewer, though. Have you tried hitting space bar on a file in Finder to preview it? I do that.monospaced
    • You won't find Reader to be that much faster than Acrobat Pro, unfortunately.monospaced
    • I knwo they can't, wrong terminology - i.e. they discontinued it on Mac because Preview came with OSX.fadein11
  • prophetone0

    Preview will NOT render a CMYK pdf properly and even worse if you send it to someone on their iPhone and they open it things like blue will turn black and colors are stripped out 90%. Always preview an output PDF in Acrobat to get best idea of what is really happening.

    • this was probably said 10x above, but you know, tldrprophetone
    • Yep - all sorted now thanks.fadein11
  • fadein110

    Thanks for all your help.
    The problem was indeed simply Preview and it's lack of support for CMYK files.
    I think it is likely not a new issue as I rarely have to do work in CMYK these days so prob didn't notice it.
    I don't do a lot of print work and the stuff I do is often fine as RGB as digital press.
    Thanks all.

    • I always create a proof and discuss that with the client. it isn't just about how different displays render colors but also how the stuff behaves on the papersted
    • so ... Preview displays things identically to Adobe Acrobat Pro on my Mac ... leading me to believe it does just fine with CMYK ... this is frustratingmonospaced
    • Totally different on mine and and from what it sounds others below. I can relax now.fadein11
    • But silly me for trusting Apple software - I still forget their stuff isn't aimed at design pros anymore.fadein11
    • primarily aimed at...fadein11
    • Preview is fine with CYMK; What can come up with PDFs is if you're using true spots mixed with other color modes. Preview can't handle full spot composites.evilpeacock
    • If you must use spot colors, then when you make a PDF (or send to a printer) you have to check off "convert all spots to process" in the ink settings.evilpeacock
    • Overall, I'd suggest never using spot inks unless you really are going to print with spot inks. Use a process library if you're doing CMYK. Show proper intent.evilpeacock
    • @evil, of course!monospaced
    • Preview is not fine this end - totally different colour rendering to Reader or Acrobat Pro. No spot colours either. All sorted now though - thanks.fadein11
  • BaskerviIle-1

    Get a wet proof if it's a big run, not worth the risk. Never trust a screen where print is concerned

    • Will do. If the vinyl press company offer that service. I would hope so!fadein11
    • I am not dealing with them currently - the client is.fadein11
    • depending on how wide the vinyl is send the client 2-3 stripes (just cut out some of where to color is questionable) what they can use to print the previewsted
    • A wet proof is unlikely unless they're willing to hold the press while you review it. Better to just go to the press approvalGnash
    • yep thanks. I am not as concerned now I know it was a mac issue and not my artwork. Thanks all!fadein11