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Preparing files for print

Contributor ,
Mar 19, 2009 Mar 19, 2009

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Hi everyone,

I was given a .icc profile from my printer and was told to convert to this profile after I'd finished my editing in RGB mode.

I was also given the following information:

General Specs for newsprint:
Colour should be CMYK. When converting RGB to CMYK, use the following Photoshop settings:
Ink Colour: Newsprint
Dot Gain: 30%
Separation Type: GCR
Black generation: Light
Total Ink Limit: 260%
UCA: 10%

I don't understand the above settings as I thought that all that information was captured in the .icc profile that I was supplied. This is my first experience in a colour managed workflow so I may be getting a bit confused. If the above settings are not in the .icc profile then where do I set them in Photoshop?

Would really appreciate any advice.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 19, 2009 Mar 19, 2009

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>> from what I recall, the default is to convert your data. You have to manually check the "Leave Color Unchanged" box.

That's exactly what I don't understand, what would it be Converting my CMYK to?
I think they are just Command+E in Id to make PDF.
>> why are you using Sheetfed Coated?

It is going to a sheetfed press (why would I use a Web press standard)?

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Engaged ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Here is a nice description how to create a profile with
special parameters (as tested by PhS CS2):
http://www.damiensymonds.com.au/art_newsprint.html

Probably the pressman gave you such a profile. A profile
contains indeed all necessary data.
The additional information helps understanding quality
issues.

You can test your conversions by
View > Proof Setup > Proof Colors

Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>I don't understand the above settings as I thought that all that information was captured in the .icc profile that I was supplied.

You are correct. TAC (Total Area Coverage), dot gain/TVI (Tonal Value Increase), GCR, UCR, UCA, are all "rolled in" into the profile's own LUTs (Look-Up Tables).

The CMYK values that the profile generates upon conversion from, say, an AdobeRGB file will already, and precisely, account for all those factors.

So, if the profile is what you are being asked to use for your conversions, the rest of the information should be somewhat redundant.

One thing you could do, though, is to check and make sure that the profile actually *does* generate the TAC it is supposed to. If it turns out to be 320%, for example, then the profile is not correct for the stated print conditions, and you should make that known to your counterparts.

If you have ColorThink Pro, you can also view the profile's neutral rendering curves and inspect its black generation by looking at the black curve in the graph.

>This is my first experience in a colour managed workflow so I may be getting a bit confused. If the above settings are not in the .icc profile then where do I set them in Photoshop?

You don't have to activate any of those settings in Photoshop, and they are not "settings in the ICC profile" either. Once the profile's LUTs (Look-Up Tables) are "baked in" at profile creation time, those "settings" disappear and become implied in the CMYK numbers that the conversion produces -- effectively invisible as "settings", unless you have a profile inspection tool like the already-mentioned ColorThink Pro.

I hope that this clarifies things for you somewhat.

Best regards.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Thanks for the reply,

I'm still a bit confused.

U.S Web Coated (SWOP) v2 was selected as the CMYK Working Space in the colour settings dialogue, and I then went into custom CMYK to see the current settings in that custom dialogue. I noted these and then clicked Cancel. I then changed the CMYK Working Space to the profile that my printer gave me (ISONewspaper26v4) and again went into Custom CMYK, but I was seeing the same settings as the US Web Coated (Swop).

If both these profiles are the same to begin with, and I'm just creating a custom CMYK profile according to the setting given to me by my printer, then what's the use of the original profile that he sent me? What information is contained in that file if I'm recreating a custom cmyk profile?

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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This is a common misunderstanding, but the Custom CMYK engine has *nothing at all* to do with ICC-profile-based conversions.

The twain shall not meet -- they are *completely* separate from one another. Either you use one or the other. If you use ICC profiles to convert your image files, then Custom CMYK is *completely* out of the picture.

That's why you are seeing no changes after you tinker with Custom CMYK: because it has no effect whatsoever on ICC conversions.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Thanks for that reply,

I must have posted my earlier one before viewing it.

Just another question if that's okay: after I've converted to profile and obviously seen the drastic reduction in colour saturation due to the newsprint profile, is it okay to make any more edits at this stage? I mean if I try to apply any contrast curve or resaturate the colours or something, that will just undo all the effects of the profile won't it?

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>Just another question if that's okay: after I've converted to profile and obviously seen the drastic reduction in colour saturation due to the newsprint profile, is it okay to make any more edits at this stage? I mean if I try to apply any contrast curve or resaturate the colours or something, that will just undo all the effects of the profile won't it?

No, you should soft-proof your image to your intended destination profile while it's *still in RGB*, *before* you convert. Once you have converted the file to the destination CMYK profile, it's too late to get back any saturated areas and detail that you could have otherwise retained.

Soft-proof in RGB, add adjustment layers to manipulate judiciously your Hue/Saturation (and Selective Color too, which can work wonders), save the file, then separate it to your destination CMYK profile. That is best practice.

Also, you are correct to fear unwanted effects from manipulating the file after it's converted to CMYK: for example, you could be pushing the image's TAC values in excess of the desired 260% target, causing the presence of excessive amounts of ink in the shadow areas on press.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Okay thanks - great advice.

Just finally: I think I understand now that icc colour management relies on a calibrated monitor so that instead of using CMYK colour values to judge colour, you're actually trusting what you see on your screen.

If someone has given me a CMYK value from a Pantone "Solid to process guide" booklet and asked me to colour an area of an image with this colour, I know that when I convert to profile the CMYK values are going to change. Does this mean that if I choose an icc colour managed workflow that CMYK values obtained from these Pantone booklets are no longer useful or valid due to the number changes?

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>Just finally: I think I understand now that icc colour management relies on a calibrated monitor so that instead of using CMYK colour values to judge colour, you're actually trusting what you see on your screen.

Exactly. ICC color management, properly implemented, creates a work environment in which one can make reliable visual judgments. One should also make sure to have good color vision, and a bit of artistic sensibility can only help.

>If someone has given me a CMYK value from a Pantone "Solid to process guide" booklet and asked me to colour an area of an image with this colour, I know that when I convert to profile the CMYK values are going to change.

Not necessarily. It depends on both the Pantone color and the type of CMYK destination: sheetfed is better than SWOP at rendering certain saturated colors, for example.

By the way, the Pantone Solid to Process guide is limited in its ability to predict what the color will look like on *your* intended press. For added safety, you may want to request a continuous-tone proof from the prepress people, so that you'll be able to evaluate something that is meant to be much closer to the expected results.

Also, I would remind you that a number of Pantone colors may be well within reproducible range of the press and inks used to print your work. So, it all depends.

>Does this mean that if I choose an icc colour managed workflow that CMYK values obtained from these Pantone booklets are no longer useful or valid due to the number changes?

If the client wants a Pantone color to be faithful to the visual appearance of that color in a Pantone swatchbook, and that color is simply too difficult to match with the available 4-color process inks/press combination, then you should discuss the option of adding an extra plate on press just for that color. Otherwise, the color may change, depending on the ability of the printing conditions to produce a match.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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You say that the CMYK values won't necessarily change when converting to profile. I just filled an RGB file with the equivalent CMYK values that matched a pantone colour, ie.

0
100
56
19

I then converted to profile (US Web Coated (SWOP) v2) and the colour values changed to:

11
100
57
2

I also tested it on the US Sheetfed Coated v2 and the colours changed to some other values.

Is this just one particular set of CMYK values that won't convert successfully or is it true that other combinations may convert and have their values maintained?

Could I also just clear another thing up? After working in Photoshop and converting to profile, before I place this image file into InDesign, should I embed the profile into the image? If I do embed the profile and I then create a pdf from the Indesign file, will the profile be embedded in the pdf?

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>You say that the CMYK values won't necessarily change when converting to profile.

If it's me you're referring to, read carefully: I didn't write that, and I'm not sure where you're getting it from.

I wrote that "a number of Pantone colors may be well within reproducible range of the press and inks used to print your work", but that's different from what you're mentioning here.

>I just filled an RGB file with the equivalent CMYK values that matched a pantone colour, ie.
>0
>100
>56
>19
>I then converted to profile (US Web Coated (SWOP) v2) and the colour values changed to:
>11
>100
>57
>2

Converting from one space to another *always* changes the color numbers in the file. Even when you convert from one CMYK space to another, or from one RGB space to a different RGB space.

What will *not* change is the *appearance* of that color. That's because any given set of CMYK or RGB numbers produces a different-looking color when associated with different profiles.

By themselves, without a profile to assign to them a definite color appearance, the file's CMYK or RGB numbers have no objective color meaning.

In short, expect the color *numbers* to change, but expect the color *appearance* to remain constant -- except when the destination space is unable to reproduce the saturated appearance of the source color (gamut mismatch). In that case, the color will be mapped to the closest similar color in the destination, according to the selected rendering intent.

>After working in Photoshop and converting to profile, before I place this image file into InDesign, should I embed the profile into the image?

Yes, certainly and definitely.

>If I do embed the profile and I then create a pdf from the Indesign file, will the profile be embedded in the pdf?

That will depend on the settings you select in the "Export to PDF > Output > Color" options.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Okay - great explanation. I understand now.

Just to round off the conversation: say I embed the profile in the photoshop image file and then place this image into Illustrator. I do some other work on the illustrator file, then save it and then place the illustrator .eps file into Indesign. Will the original placed photoshop image still have its profile embedded? I know this type of workflow may seem a bit sloppy but I sometimes work this way, ie. from photoshop to illustrator to indesign.

So since the file will finally be output to pdf from Indesign, do I need to apply any profiles in Illustrator as well since this is where a component of the file was placed from?

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Guest
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>Just to round off the conversation: say I embed the profile in the photoshop image file and then place this image into Illustrator. I do some other work on the illustrator file, then save it and then place the illustrator .eps file into Indesign.

The EPS format does *not* retain ICC profile information. InDesign will assign to the linked EPS file whatever profile is the default for that whole InDesign document.

>So since the file will finally be output to pdf from Indesign, do I need to apply any profiles in Illustrator as well since this is where a component of the file was placed from?

So long as the profile you use for the Illustrator EPS file and the Photoshop image embedded in it is the same as the default profile in the InDesign document, you'll be fine. But remember that EPS files lose any profile information.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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Okay, so if I understand you correctly since a .eps file loses any profile information, it's probably not worth my embedding the profile into the image in Photoshop if I'm going to place it into illustrator before going to Indesign. My best bet would be to convert to profile without embedding, place the image into illustrator and then into Indesign. Then once the layout is complete in Indesign I can assign the newspaper profile for the whole of the ID document.

As a second scenario, if I'm placing the Photoshop file directly into InDesign then I can probably embed the profile. Although I don't know if that's a waste of time since I'd have to assign an overall profile in InDesign anyway.

Have I got it right?

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Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>Okay, so if I understand you correctly since a .eps file loses any profile information, it's probably not worth my embedding the profile into the image in Photoshop if I'm going to place it into illustrator before going to Indesign.

No, embed it: it's the right thing to do in any case, and won't hurt at all anyway. But know that that the profile information will not be retained once the image becomes part of an EPS.

But that will still be OK, as long as the proper profile for *all* the elements in the EPS is *the same* as the CMYK document profile for the InDesign document -- since that is the profile that will be assigned to the EPS once it becomes a linked element within that InDesign document.

I hope that this doesn't sound too complicated...

>My best bet would be to convert to profile without embedding, place the image into illustrator and then into Indesign. Then once the layout is complete in Indesign I can assign the newspaper profile for the whole of the ID document.

That wouldn't be an incorrect procedure -- but I would still advise that you embed the profile in the Photoshop image file anyway. As I said, it's good practice, and it doesn't hurt.

Make sure that the Illustrator elements are also geared for the same profile as the rest of the work.

>As a second scenario, if I'm placing the Photoshop file directly into InDesign then I can probably embed the profile.

You *can* in any scenario. Nothing makes it a wrong thing to do. But yes, in that case, you *should* certainly make sure to embed the profile in the Photoshop file, as an added level of safety.

>Although I don't know if that's a waste of time since I'd have to assign an overall profile in InDesign anyway.

In Design also allows the user to bypass a linked image file's embedded profile and assign to it a different profile (Object > Image Color Settings). So there is ample flexibility with that as well.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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interesting...I just sent a 24x30" poster to print

In Photoshop, I had one RGB full-bleed pixel layer and three basic type layers that I converted to Shape layers.

Next I Converted to Sheetfed Coated CMYK then Saved as Photoshop .eps file (preserve vector data checked).

Next I placed the file in an InDesign layout with no other files and handed off the file to the printer.

At this point I want them to just print my file (like Quark used to do) -- but after reading this thread it sounds like once they open my file in InDesign to write the PDF -- I am not so sure that's going to happen now.

I instructed them to turn off all PDF compression options -- at that point WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY CMYK NUMBERS -- are the CMYK numbers going straight through or is the PDF doing some kind of color conversion.

How do I get this Ps>Id>PDF to just run my Ps .eps files through with no compression or color changes?

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Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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"at that point WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY CMYK NUMBERS -- are the CMKY numbers going straight through or is the PDF doing some kind of color conversion"

It depends on how the Distiller preferences are set, and from what I recall, the default is to convert your data. You have to manually check the "Leave Color Unchanged" box.

BTW, why are you using Sheetfed Coated? Do you really want to have 350 percent ink limits? I guess what I'm also saying is that in all the different print vendors I've used, I've never come across a single one that either used that profile or was close to it in their own calibration.

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Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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"That's exactly what I don't understand, what would it be Converting my CMYK to? I think they are just Command+E in Id to make PDF."

Every program has its defaults, and more often than not, you're better off going through them one by one to make sure those settings are appropriate. You do that in Ps and ID, and you need to do it for Distiller too. The default setting also is to use jpeg compression on all your files as well.

I'm pretty sure that the reason the default is set to convert is to guard against inexperienced designers placing RGB documents and sending those off to press. Converting automatically averts that problem but causes several more. The more advanced user is expected to go through and set those preferences as they need them. In any event, that's what you need to do.

Who is the "they" who are exporting your ID files to pdf? If "they" are the printer, "they" should know better...

"It is going to a sheetfed press (why would I use a Web press standard)?"

Because unless you're printing on the highest quality paper on a great press, 350 percent ink coverage is too much. If your printer suggested that profile, you need to ask them what ink limits they recommend for their press on the paper you're printing on. Even on a number one sheet, most good printers want something more in the 320-325% range with a black something akin to what a GCR1 is in ProfileMaker.

If you're not printing on at least a number two sheet - something like Topkote Gloss, even a lower ink limit might be in order.

But again, you really need to communicate with your printer, and I'd be really surprised if Sheetfedv2 was the correct profile. And, of course, you might have a printer running device link profiles that make your profile choice less important, as they're going to reseparate on the fly anyway. Not to complicate matters, of course.

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Contributor ,
Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>But that will still be OK, as long as the proper profile for *all* the elements in the EPS is *the same* as the CMYK document profile for the InDesign document -- since that is the profile that will be assigned to the EPS once it becomes a linked element within that InDesign document.

So since the final layout will be output to newsprint, I would just set the working space in Illustrator to the .icc profile that I was using in Photoshop right? I mean this would be the proper profile for all the elements in the .eps you mention above right? There's no converting to profile like in Photoshop?

Then when I get to InDesign I do the same thing - just set the working profile to the newsprint .icc file? Then finally export to pdf and preserve all the settings?

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Mar 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009

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>So since the final layout will be output to newsprint, I would just set the working space in Illustrator to the .icc profile that I was using in Photoshop right?

While you work in the Illustrator file, yes, the newsprint profile should be the one assigned to it. That way, you will see on your *calibrated and profiled monitor* something close to the final output.

Of course, the Illustrator EPS will still not retain the profile information. Though you embedded the newspaper profile in the Illustrator file, the profile information will be lost in the EPS.

So, the *truly* fundamental thing is to make sure that (a) all the elements in the Illustrator EPS are geared for your newsprint profile, and (b) that the InDesign document's default profile is the newsprint profile for your press output.

>Then when I get to InDesign I do the same thing - just set the working profile to the newsprint .icc file? Then finally export to pdf and preserve all the settings?

Yes, you preserve the InDesign file's own profile, to be correct.

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Contributor ,
Mar 23, 2009 Mar 23, 2009

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Thanks a million! You've cleared everything up.

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Engaged ,
Mar 23, 2009 Mar 23, 2009

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An image, saved by Photoshop as EPS can have an
embedded (tagged) profile (choice in the save menue).
In Illustrator this EPS retains its profile if
the whole EPS is embedded and it loses the profile if
the whole EPS is linked.

Nowadays there is no reason to use EPS (except for
PostScript programs, my preferred application).

In an Adobe workflow use PSD or TIFF for raster
images, PDF for combinations of raster images and
vector graphic (PhS image+text layers,for instance),
and PDF also for plain vector graphic.
Illustrator PDF can be edited later by Illustrator,
if this option was chosen.

In InDesign a doc has a document color space set
(mainly RGB and CMYK).
But each image can have a different profile, if it
is already embedded (tagged), or if it is assigned
arbitrarily in ID.
A good style:
Convert all images to the same destination profile
and use this as document profile.
Also a good solution, after soft-proofing the RGB
images by Photoshop: use RGB images, make a PDF
and convert this globally into the destination space
by Acrobat Professional.

Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann.

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Mar 23, 2009 Mar 23, 2009

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>An image, saved by Photoshop as EPS can have an embedded (tagged) profile (choice in the save menue). In Illustrator this EPS retains its profile if the whole EPS is embedded and it loses the profile if the whole EPS is linked.

My tests (which can be easily replicated) show otherwise. If I place an EPS raster file (saved in Photoshop with a specific embedded profile) into Illustrator, its profile is not honored, meaning that the placed image's appearance is incorrect -- since it conforms with the default profile *in Illustrator*, not with the one embedded in the raster file itself (whether this is linked or embedded).

If I save that Illustrator file as a PDF (v. 1.6 or 1.7, with "Include all Profiles" checked), the profiles embedded in the EPS images files are still *not* honored (judging from their incorrect appearance -- actually, there is some unorthodox behavior in *linked* EPS images).

On the other hand, the PSD and TIFF formats, as you mention, always look correct, in accordance with their embedded profile.

Bottom line, the EPS format is to be altogether shunned in color managed workflows, as either inadequate or unreliable.

>Nowadays there is no reason to use EPS.

Agreed. Unless the separators specifically demand that it be used, for any reason -- in which case one should make sure first to separate the file for the intended output profile.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 23, 2009 Mar 23, 2009

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>> Who is the "they" who are exporting your ID files to pdf? If "they" are the printer, "they" should know better...

The printers here in San Diego don't even know what a profile is they ask for CMYK or RGB  they don't have a clue about what CMYK their workflow is based on.

I look at their Photoshop color settings and they are consistently on default.

Further, Acrobat PDF have always confused me, which is why I am asking the question.

++++++

I use Photoshop CMYK .eps because I don't want them messing with the file I didn't use .psd because it gives them an open opportunity to mess with my file.

I don't know any reason why my basic Pixel/VectorShape layers Photoshop .eps would not work as long as I got it right.

I took the extra step and placed my .eps in InDesign.

I told them exactly where/how to turn off compression in the Adobe PDF process.

+++++++

I guess my question is still is:

I place a Sheetfed Coated Photoshop .eps in InDesign.

I Command+E export PDF from InDesign.

I turn off Compression (so my pixels are sent straight through).

I save the PDF.

Did my CMYK "numbers" go straight through?

If not, what application is making the Conversion?

Where is it picking up its default profile?

What profile is it Converting to?

+++++++

I understand how profiles work in Photoshop, I just can't follow the chain...Indesign> Acrobat.

My goal is simply to place my .eps file in InDesign and Export my PDF and not have my color changed.

+++++++

In this scenario, I did NOT check "Leave Color Unchanged" so I am especially interested in what's going on where the Assumption is taking place, what profile is being Assumed, and what target profile my CMYK is being Converted to.

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