Okay! I've got a photo with clipping mask that was created in PS. I'm placing this image into an AI file over a PMS background. When a subsequent print-ready PDF is distilled, the photo disappears leaving only a knockout of the clipped image. Even more odd is that the portion of the image that isn't overlapping the PMS fill shows up fine. See the attached screenshot. However, when placing the same exact image over a 4/C background while changing nothing else about the AI file, it works perfectly.
I've tried modifying dozens of different settings concerning the placed image within AI, but nothing I do works. I'm hoping someone here has a suggestion I haven't already tried. Regardless, someone at Adobe need to investigate this as a bug.
Thanks in advance.
Which version of Illustrator are you using?
I've tried the same composition (vector PMS background + K raster w/ clipping mask) in Illustrator CC 2021 (release 25.2.1), as well as both 2019 (release 23.0.3) and 2020 (release 24.3.0). I had the same result from all three versions of Illustrator.
What file format is the placed image. Try using .PSD. Is there any blending mode on the image in transparency? What happens if you print the .pdf or open the .pdf in Illustrator?
I've tried using both PSD and transparent PNG files. Both work fine within AI, but fail when distilling a print-ready PDF file. And, as I said in my intial post, it works 100% perfeclty if the fill is 4/C instad of PMS. This tells me that it's probably not the file format of the placed image that's causing the issue, but rather how AI treats masked imaged that are placed over PMS fills.
Distilled? Do you use the save as PDF of Illustrator?
That's unfortunately not a possibility. The file is going elsewhere, where it will be placed it into a layout and ultimately exported as a press-ready PDF. This is the result of our department's (my) press ready export test, which the file fails. I've tried direct distilling of the file, placing the file into an InDesign doc and exporting a press-ready PDF from there, placing the file into two a proprietary composition systems and generating PDF proofs. It failed on all fronts. It works fine when layed-over a 4/C fill, but a PMS fill breaks it for some reason. The client requires this to print PMS+K. There are mechanical options that can ultimately be employed if the digital file continues to fail, sure. But I'd prefer to figure out why it's failing and see if there's non-mechanical a solution that's being missed before breaking elements into separate files. So, that's why I find myself here on this forum of Adobe professionals right now.
I cannot reproduce that, I placed a greyscale .psd image with a clipping mask in Illustrator partially on a PMS filled rectangle both the save as PostScript > Distiller > PDF as the direct save as PDF works fine.
Can you share an Illustrator file that shows the problem?
I just recreated the test with a random screengrab, and got the exact same results. Files attached.
I created a K masked raster out of the screengrab in PS. Placed the K masked raster in AI over a PMS background. Saved as an EPS file. Distilled the EPS file with Acrobat. The photo has disappeared from the PDF.
Just checked your mask-test.pdf and it looks ok with Overprint on.
Will have a look at your other files.
Just saved and distilled your eps file as PDF/X-1a:2001 both work fine with Overprint preview on.
This is moving in a positive direction. Okay so now the question is, why does tbe default preview mode in Acrobat show the image as missing? Also, the image will be KO not overprinting. Is something forcing it to overprint?
Overprint Preview in Acrobat is a Preferences > Page Display setting: Use Overprint Preview ...
Thanks, Tom. I've got it to appear in Acrobat on my end now. I very much appreciate your help with that. I'll alert clients to modify their settings should they encounter this issue down the line.
The only lingering quesiton is why the default view setting in Acrobat (Only For PDF/X Files) is showing the image missing. I've never experienced issues with overprinting image elements appearing to 'drop out' of Acrobat like this before. Did some default settings change recently?
In any case, thank you again.
Glad to hear that helped.
Your question why Acrobat needs the Overprint pteview on when the image is knocked out?
I suppose that the transparency in the placed /embedded image is causing that.
When saving as PDF/X-1a:2001 or using PostScript/Distiller, all tranparency gets flattened.
Overprint is used to keep the spot color as spot instead of converted to process.
Saving the Illustrator file as Press Quality does not need the Overprint Preview on, because transparency is supported.
Your example uses a layer with a layer mask which means transparency. If you would have used a flat image (background only) and a vector path as clipping mask there would not have been any transparency and the resulting pdf would not need overprint.
This is the big problem… we have no way to know how clients see the PDF, so we need to keep educating clients. Just wish big tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft could stick with the standards they help to make.
The file is most likely correct, and I would suspect the PDF viewing is not compliant with standards.
What PDF viewer are you using? The PDF viewers from Apple, Microsoft and Google along with many other browser based and mobile browsers fail to show overprinting. The situation you describe sounds like overprinting is not viewed propperly.
Open in Adobe Acrobat on a computer, enable overprint preveiw.
If you need to print on a consumer printer that does not have overprinting there is in Acrobat an option to "simulate overprinting" when printing to these kind of printers.