I am creating a document in InDesign that uses graphic transparency effects. When exporting as a PDF (for client review), the transparency effects render correctly when viewing the PDF on desktop version of Reader, but not on Reader on Android device (Note 3). Is this a limitation of mobile Reader app? Is it an Android limitation? I have not tried opening the PDF on other mobile devices.
The Android and iOS Acrobat Reader versions fully implement the PDF transparency model. They don't implement ICC color management at this time and that may be the cause of what you are seeing. If you could post a sample file of what you are encountering, we can validate what is going on here at Adobe.
Thanks for you reply.
Here is the generated PDF, that is rendering transparency properly (overprint effect) on my Acrobat desktop app:
Here is a screen grab of the same PDF on my Android device, Reader app:
Files downloaded and analysis completed!!
Your PDF file doesn't contain any transparency whatsoever. It is a PDF/X-1a 2001 file based on PDF 1.3. Neither PDF 1.3 nor PDF/X-1a support “live transparency” (or for that matter ICC color management or many other modern PDF attributes).
I will assume that your original InDesign document indeed did use live transparency. But when you export to PDF/X-1a (or any version of PDF less than PDF 1.4), all transparency must be flattened into opaque objects. In this case, the simple transparency you used in the InDesign document is emulated via use of Overprint. (Overprint is not considered best practice for modern PDF publishing workflows!) You can readily see what is going on using the Output Preview tool of Acrobat Pro.
Unfortunately, very few PDF readers support display of overprint. Although Adobe Reader and Acrobat support full and proper display of overprint if you have the correct preferences and modes set, neither the iOS nor the Android Adobe Acrobat Mobile products support display of overprint; the overprint attribute is effectively ignored and you end up with the visual anomalies you originally described and that appear in the screen shot you provided. I personally do not know of any mobile PDF readers, including those provided by Apple in iOS or Google in Android that support overprint display.
Workaround? Ditch use of PDF/X-1a which depends on overprint for emulating some transparency effects when PDF is created with flattening. Our recommendation is to export PDF/X-4, a much more modern standard that fully supports live transparency and color management. With any halfway modern RIP or DFE for printing, content that originally contained transparency will render/print better and faster with PDF/X-4 with live transparency maintaining until the RIP process where transparency blending and color management occur than with PDF/X-1a with pre-flattened transparency (which can yield weird stitching and flattening artifacts. The live transparency in such PDF/X-4 files will also display without problems in all Adobe desktop and mobile Acrobat / Reader versions as well as many third party PDF viewers.
Let us know if you have further questions and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Thanks for your weekend response! I tried X-4, and still have the same issue.
To clarify, the document is intended for print press as end-use rather than a PDF document (to your point, I would not rely on transparency treatments for a PDF end-use). However I do rely on PDFs for sharing revisions and tracking comments with the client — I typically send low-res files for these purposes.
I'm familiar with the benefits of X-4 exports, and always rely on my print vendors to let me know what profile is best suited depending on the project.
When I export using X-4 preset (X-4:2008), it defaults to X-4:2010. With this preset, the transparency option is not available in the Advanced panel. Here is a screen capture of the dialogue box, and the resulting PDF.
Keeping the X-4 preset (X-4:2008), and changing the default to X-3:2003 allows transparency options to be available, but the results are still the same — no overprint/transparency effect on mobile.
The fact that what you believe to be transparency effects do not show up when displaying the PDF/X-4 on the mobile device provides the final clue as to what is really going on here since transparency is never flattened in PDF/X-4 export and the mobile PDF reader does indeed show transparency correctly.
From what I can see, the four overlapping boxes are each defined with overprint on with the following CMYK values (from left to right): (0,0.06,0.87,0), (0.86,0,0.32,0), (0.53,0,1,0), and (0.2,0.9,0,0).
This can be seen in the Output Preview window of Acrobat Pro:
I'll gladly confirm that this is what is in the original InDesign document if you point me to a copy of it.
Note that the transparency panel is not available in PDF/X-4 export because such export simply exports transparency “as is.” That panel is for use of the retrograde PDF standards (such as PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3) that ruin live transparency by flattening it.
I understand the issue with Luddite print service providers being afraid of PDF standards that date beyond the year 2000. They are causing their own downfall since PDF/X-4 globally yields better results for both print and display.
That having been said, if you need to pass around PDF files for others to see your content accurately, PDF/X-1a or PDF/X-3 simply won't work. Nor will use of overprint as a method of producing faux transparency. (Overprint for black text or lines is generally not a problem since such black overprint doesn't yield any issues with display.)
Again, please point me to the InDesign document containing the content and I'll confirm that the problem is indeed use of overprint in lieu of transparency.
I can most certainly confirm I am using an overprint method in the InDesign file. I realize now I should have stipulated this — I apologize if this has led us down a stray path. This use of overprint is intentional, but I'm wondering if I should be using transparency effects (other than overprinting black where necessary) to achieve similar effects and avoid the PDF issue.
Here is the file:
I may have found a solution (digging around on other boards). If I export X-4, with 1.3 compatibility, it allows me to turn the "simulate overprint" option on in Advanced options. And it is now successfully rendering in both desktop and mobile view.
I played around with using Multiply effects rather than Overprint, but because of the colour tones I am using, I can only get the desired effect with a true overprint.
Exactly what version of InDesign are you running on what platform?
First of all, if you modify the PDF/X-4 setting to PDF 1.3, it no longer really produces PDF/X-4 and absolutely all transparency is flattened, which you really don't want.
Secondly, at least on the most recent version of InDesign, even if you modify the PDF/X-4 settings to be PDF 1.3, the Simulate Overprint setting is not available.
Third, if you start off with let's say the Press Quality settings and change to PDF 1.3, if you set Simulate Overprint, you get stitching artifacts in the resulting PDF file.
I too have played a bit with your document to get the same effect you via transparency. Pure Multiply mode won't do it by itself. I'll let you know what I find, but it will need to be sometime later today or tomorrow at best.
InDesign CC 2017 on Mac OS 10.12.2 (Sierra). My Indesign is updated to the latest release and available updates.
When I export a PDF and select PDF/X-4 and modify it to PDF 1.3, the simulate overprint is available, but only if I change Colour Conversion to Print to Destination. Then the "simulate overprint" option becomes available.
Your reco to use Press Quality and modified to PDF 1.3 works also. Thank you.
For onscreen proofing purposes, this workaround is working for me. I do get stitching effects, but as it is for onscreen review purposes only, it's suitable. I would not deliver the final press-ready file to a print vendor using this export — I would let them guide me as to what file format they prefer, and what PDF presets they would like me to use, based on the overprint elements in my file.
My latest challenge is getting some active hyperlinks to work in the PDF export. I get the dialogue box "Pages with transparency will not include hyperlinks, bookmarks… etc." even though the pages that have hyperlinks do not include any transparency (or overprint) Funny thing is, one of my exports throughout the day (using the two export combinations discussed above) didn't seem to trigger this warning, and the hyperlinks worked. But I cannot reproduce this outcome, using the same two export combinations. Perhaps a topic for another thread.
I appreciate all of your help.