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Has the method of encoding PDFs changed recently? It's broken

Explorer ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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For the last month or two the printers where I work have been having endless problems with PDFs exported out of InDesign using version PDF/X-1a:2001. Whenever we try to render CMYK plate separatios for litho printing using these PDFs, our rip sofware always throws an error and refuses to render. The rip software has not been updated in this time, whereas InDesign has, so it has to be the cause. Resaving these PDFs as postscript files from Acrobat and then distilling them back into PDF/X-1a:2001 always fixes the problem, so the change has not been universally applied across all Adobe products.

 

I have not seen specific mention of this problem elsewhere (although I haven't looked particularly hard) but it is wasting a lot of time. Adobe, please fix it!

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Bug , Import and export , Print

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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How often are you doing SAVE AS with a new name ?

 

If not very often / not at all - try it first - do Save As with a new name - do not overwrite your orignal INDD file.

 

If it still won't help - try IDMLing - export as IDML, open and save - again - with a new name.

 

If it still won't help - try to trash your preferences or even reinstall whole CC using CC Cleaner tool for deep cleaning - sometimes, during update, prefs get corrupted:

 

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/reset-indesign-preferences-and-other-troubleshoo...

 

▒► ID-Tasker / ID-Tasker Server - work smart not hard ◄▒

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Explorer ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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Never, the InDesign file doesn't appear to be a problem because it happens with PDFs exported from brand new files. I'll try clearing the preferences, thanks. Might end up reinstalling as a last resort, but I'd have to do it across multiple computers, so I'd rather avoid that.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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Hi @MTPmedia ,

what's the specific error you are seeing?

What's the RIP software? If Adobe APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine), what version?

 

Did you do a preflight in Acrobat Pro?

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Expert )

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Explorer ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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Hi, we use AFGA Apogee for everything once we have a PDF. This: https://www.agfa.com/printing/products/apogee/

 

Unfortunately the error is about as useless as it can be, it's literally a full stop: "." Apogee does normally provide a more useful error message than that, but with this it doesn't seem to understand what the problem is, just that there is one. I've attached a screenshot.

 

I haven't tried preflighting in Acrobat to see if it can identify a problem, is there a particular item I should use for this? Not super familiar with preflighting this way.

Screenshot 2023-09-01 at 13.36.01.png 

 

 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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As far as I can see the Apogee workflow is using the Adobe PDF Print Engine.

So discuss this with your Agfa representatives…

 

But how could we test what's the difference now with InDesign 2023 version 18.5.0?

 

I would go like that:

Go back to InDesign version 18.4 or maybe better, version 18.3.

 

Export the same document with that version with the same PDF Export Preset as the 18.5 document. Run it through the Apogee workflow. If that does not fail, do a byte-by byte comparison and see what's the difference. Currently I have no idea what has changed. Maybe some annotations inside the PDF that are aimed at the PDF Review function (just a wild guess) ?

 

Regarding doing a preflight with Acrobat Pro.

I would not be surprised if both versions of the PDF, the one that was exported from a previous version of InDesign and the one that was exported with InDesign 18.5 would pass a basic preflight check that is looking for the PDF/X standard. But anyways, do that check.

 

Maybe it would help to do a bug report at InDesign User Voice:

https://indesign.uservoice.com/forums/601180-adobe-indesign-bugs

 

But you have to give the developers something substantial to work with. Best two PDFs from the same InDesign page where the one from 18.5.0 fails and the other one from e.g. 18.3 passes…

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Expert )

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Explorer ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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This is all helpful, thank you!

 

The only other version of InDesign I have installed is 17.4.2, but I've just rendered exactly the same file through this older version of InDesign and this does not cause an error in Apogee. This further suggests to me that there is a new bug in InDesign, but I will download some other more recent versions and continue this test until I hit a version that fails. I strongly suspect it will be either 18.3 or 18.4 because this only started happening very recently.

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Explorer ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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Hello @Laubender 

I have gone back through the latest versions of InDesign and discovered that 18.3 works as it always has, but 18.4 introduces the new PDF problem, so something changed with the way InDesign is rendering PDFs with that update.

I'll submit a bug report, but I wanted to thank you for your suggestions again.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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are you using the latest InDesign version?

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Explorer ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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I think so, version 18.5.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2023 Sep 01, 2023

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Hi @MTPmedia, I've requested support from an Adobe engineer. Unfortunately, experts that we are <grin>, we don't have the capability of delving deeper into this issue.

 

It does appear that something changed in the PDF/X export utility that's affecting your RIP. I hope you get a response soon.

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Explorer ,
Sep 04, 2023 Sep 04, 2023

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Hi @Bevi Chagnon - PubCom.com that's very helpful, thank you. Do you know how they would go about contacting me (assuming they don't simply look into the issue without further contact)? Will it be on here or via email or something?

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Community Expert ,
Sep 04, 2023 Sep 04, 2023

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It'll probably be a reply to this discussion thread. They also might send you a private message via this forum, too.

And I have no guarantee that you will get an answer from an engineer, either, but hopefully you will.

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Explorer ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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Having gone back through different versions of InDesign, it appears that v18.4 was the update that introduced this bug.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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Hi @MTPmedia ,

that's good to know!

So InDesign 18.3 is the one that is not showing the error in your Apogee workflow.

 

Did you talk to Agfa? The error message you see in the imposition module is a bit strange.

Perhaps we see two things here: a change in 18.4 with, my assumption, special comments in the exported PDF plus something in the imposition module that cannot cope with the comments? This is just a guess, of course.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Expert )

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Explorer ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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Yes, files generated from version 18.3 work without any problems.

 

I'm waiting for a response from Agfa at the moment, hopefully it won't take them too long to get back to me. Most of the error message in the screenshot I posted is standard language, it's just telling us where the problem is (everywhere, in this case). The actual error description is blank, it only shows a full stop at the end of a non-existent sentence, which I've never seen in any other error message.

Distilling postscripted files from the initial PDF in Acrobat Distiller using exactly the same settings fixes the problem, which is a little strange since I'd always assumed the rendering engine is shared across the suite of applications.

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Explorer ,
Sep 12, 2023 Sep 12, 2023

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Just in case you're curious about this topic, we've now spoken to Agfa (actually now a company called ECO3, after AGFA sold that side of the business recently).

 

They were aware of the problem and had issued a patch to Apogee to fix it between InDesign v18.4 and 18.5. We don't routinely update Apogee because it has a history of causing massive problems where none previously existed, so I wasn't aware of this patch. However, ECO3 also said that as far as they were aware the 18.5 update reverted the previous problems, which doesn't line up with our experience since we are still having the problem in 18.5 on the unpatched Apogee, so we'll talk to them some more and see what we can come up with together.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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Hi @MTPmedia ,

is there an Agfa Apogee Workflow community that you can contact to see if other Apogee users see the same?

Are all of your Apogee modules updated to the latest bug fix versions?

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Expert )

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Community Expert ,
Sep 05, 2023 Sep 05, 2023

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quote

Having gone back through different versions of InDesign, it appears that v18.4 was the update that introduced this bug.


By @MTPmedia

 

InDesign 18.4 indeed introduced various PDF export bugs. It was confirmed by Adobe - and users were advised to revert back to 18.3 until the issues are fixed (this was widely discussed on this forum and elsewhere). 18.5 fixed the known PDF export issues. Judging by this discussion, it appears that some issues that weren't previously reported remained unfixed.

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Explorer ,
Oct 10, 2023 Oct 10, 2023

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The issue still exist in newest InDesign 19.0

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Explorer ,
Oct 11, 2023 Oct 11, 2023

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LATEST

That's disappointing to hear.

 

I did eventually speak to the company that makes Apogee, our printing software, and this was their reply:

 

"Around July 3rd, the ECO3 software service organization received feedback from various countries and clients that PDF files could no longer be rendered.
Users encountered an error message "The document caused a processing problem.
Please try to fix it with ap_FixErrorOnPDFSpecification" during the PDF rendering process.

 

Internal investigation revealed that this issue was caused by a flaw in Adobe InDesign 18.4.
The suggested solution of processing the PDF files using the Apogee Preflight profile "ap_FixErrorOnPDFSpecification" unfortunately did not provide a comprehensive solution for all scenarios, as observed during testing.

 

In order to enable our customers to continue production, software fixes were released for our latest software solutions – Apogee, Amfortis, and Arkitex. (Version 12) These fixes were made available to our customers starting from July 31st.

 

ECO3 reported this problem to Adobe so that the root cause could be addressed.


Meanwhile, an update for Adobe InDesign 18.5 has been made available that resolves the origin of the issue.

Refer to Adobe InDesign's release notes: https://helpx.adobe.com/be_nl/indesign/kb/fixed-issues.html

 

ECO3 made every effort to resolve the problem, and it is evident that the issue is not the fault of ECO3 itself, as the cause can be traced back to Adobe InDesign."

 

So from all of that, I gather that Adobe thinks it has fixed the problem and is no longer looking into it, especially since it now continues to exist in v19.0 even though the problem has been reported to them.

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