Help preparing document with Spot Colors for printing on Heidelberg Versafire

Explorer ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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Hello, for an important job, I'm working with a printing company to print special spot colors in gold and silver on a Heidelberg Versafire.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to fix an issue now for days with setting up the document for printing.

For some reason, all spot colors I set up, show what I believe to be correctly in the Separations & Output Previews.

Itami_1-1644614136280.png

However, the printing company says that for them, they show up black and cant be printed. I do not know what they mean by that or how it looks for them. I first suspected them to need the spot channels on separate layers within the file, but the example file they sent me (which works for them), does just like my file have all channels within the same image.

 

If anyone has experience with this, or knows where I can find proper resources or example files, it would help me out so much, as I literally don't know what else to do and kinda need to get this done.

 

Thanks for your time and help!

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Bug , How to , Import and export , Print

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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Can you share the PDF, or show the individual Separations with the image area showing?

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Explorer ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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Thanks for getting back to me, here is one of the individual channels:

Itami_0-1644617979601.png

The PDF you can take a look at here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1avJafZKE4AkjPrm64zFMzHN_1LTQbiu_/view?usp=sharing

Maybe you can see something I missed or did wrong.

Thanks for your time! I really appreciate it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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I can’t see a problem. Have you shown them screen captures of the two spot plates from your AcrobatPro?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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Looks like the Versafire (EV?) is a digital composite printer with some extra colors? Could it be that the spot colors need to be named a certain way, perhaps "Silver" & "Gold"?

 

Screen Shot 4.png

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Explorer ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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I thought that they needed a specific name or code or something, but apparently, not. They said they assign the special printer ink to the spot colors manually.
But can't with mine because the file would not contain them correctly or something. But from all resources I found, I just can't seem to find the issue.
I tried asking Heidelberg about some sort of presets files for the Versafire. But they have not responded to me yet, nor do they seem to show them on their website.
I don't know the exact model code of the Versafire they use, but I assume they should work mostly similarly.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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AcrobatPro’s Preflight is showing the spot plates. You could create a report and send it to them or ask them to run a preflight and send you the report:

 

Screen Shot 5.pngScreen Shot 7.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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Your original Illustrator file is RGB with spot colors, I'm not sure it matters, but it might work if it were cmyk with spot colors.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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Thanks Luke that could be it.

 

A PDF/X-4 export with the Output Destination Profile set to the Coated FOGRA39 output intent would make the PDF CMYK + Spots.

 

Screen Shot 8.png

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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With spot colours the exact name is normally important.

If the spot colour is for a foil then it may be that you must limit your design to use 100% or 0% of the spot colour (it must be black or white, no shades of grey for that chanel)

Both PdfX-1 and PdfX-4 support spot colour, but there can be problems with transparent objects and spot colour if there is transparency and/or if spot colours are renamed in the workflow.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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PDF/X-1a exports the same separation numbers, but flattened and as CMYK+spots. X-1a on the right:

 

Screen Shot 9.pngScreen Shot 10.pngScreen Shot 11.png

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Explorer ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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Thanks for your responses.
I have tried filing a CMYK file before, but I do not remember if it was set to preserve numbers or not (not sure if that matters).

I submitted only PDFX-4 files so far, as the by them provided working test PDF is working just fine using X-4.

I found some online resources pointing me to use different settings like press quality and standard none, but I somehow have doubt that's the issue.

For now, I submitted a simpler file to them, which only uses a filled path with only the spot color. To see whether that shows up correctly for them. So I'm focusing on narrowing down what the issue is.
If that doesn't work, I will try X-1 as well as creating the file in InDesign.

Will update here as soon as I have news.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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but I do not remember if it was set to preserve numbers or not (not sure if that matters).

 

Preserve Numbers only applies to native InDesign CMYK swatches and colors when you are converting to a CMYK destination, which conficts with the document’s assigned CMYK profile. Your file includes an RGB image, transparency and spots, so the RGB image values have to be converted when you set the destination to Document CMYK.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Just to be clear, PDF/X files can contain RGB, you need to Convert to Destination in order to have a cmyk file.

Generally a printer would not have a problem with an RGB file, but this press might be particularly touchy or it has not been set up properly.

The Output Preview tool in Acrobat will show you all colors by default and show cmyk separation values when the Simulation Profile (at the top of the panel) is set to a cmyk output intent (also the default). To confirm your file is cmyk, change the "Show" color to cmyk.

RGB convert.png

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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I did try submitting a CMYK file to them before, and it did not work either. So whether the file format is CMYK or RGB doesn't seem to affect this particular issue.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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There's a company I use here that has one (they did a lovely job for me with White spot under the CMYK). I can ask them what they need. That being said, I was under the undertsnding that it's a 5 colour machine, so only ONE spot colour with CMYK so, unless they are doing a double pass...Hmmm

 

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Hello Brad, if you could ask them for me, or provide me one of the file setups any maybe export settings which worked in printing with them for you, that would a tremendous help. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me with this! I appreciate it greatly.

 

You are also right, the machine only has 1 extra slot for spot colors. So if, like in this case, two spots are used,  the paper needs to go through the machine twice.

 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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One quick thought: could you ask them to send you a sample PDF containing silver and gold (that prints OK for them)? You can check that out and see if there is any difference you can see in preflight/preview.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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And... a working InDesign file, perhaps you could just copy the swatches?

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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They did send me a working PDF. Unfortunately, I can't provide it here. They also do not have a working InDesign or Illustrator file, as they aren't the ones who created their working test PDF.

Comparing both files in more detail, I noticed some differences which strike me as odd:
- Their file info identifier is set to "FOGRA27" which I can't seem to be able to replicate as mine always seems to state to be "Custom" or "FOGRA39"

Itami_0-1644783732430.png

- In the output preview, under show their file also behaves differently. When selecting "DeviceCMYK" nothing shows up. Compared to all my files which show the CMYK colors under "DeviceCMYK".

Under "Not DeviceCMYK" my files shows the Spot Colors while their file shows all colors CMYK and Spot.
Under "Spot Color" my file shows only spot colors while theirs again shows all colors.
This difference appears in a lot of instances like "DeviceN" as well.
Here is my CMYK version of the file https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bHQWxHT5z26vIBEz9lG6wqGrg10F4nYB/view?usp=sharing

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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I DO remember that they requested specifically PDF/X-3 for exporting my PDFs

Did they not give you any instructions>

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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X-3 flattens, so maybe it is the mix of transparency and spot color? It looks like@Itami ’s PDF has the spot colors assigned to a grayscale Multiplying over the RGB image, rather than Spot channels in the RGB image where there would be no need for transparency effects?:

 

Screen Shot 14.png

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Yah, I noticed that too. (re: Multiply)

In the meantime: I just looked up the Ricoh C7200 which is essentially the same machine as the Versafire, although with a different RIP front end, and their file preparation instructions had specific Names to use for the spot inks: Silver (Cap S) or Gold (Cap G), although I'm sure they could remap anything. The spot layer objects should be set to Fill > Overprint. Also: In their case, their RIP specified PDF/X-4 (didn't matter if it was RGB or CMYK).. this may be RIP-specific so it'd be best if the OP gets specific file preparation instructions for the Versafire.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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It looks like @Itami composited the spot colors with InDesign using three different files with transparency effects—you can’t overprint a grayscale, so I assume thta’s the reason for Multiply?

 

I think the more typical way to do this would be to add the spot inks to the Photoshop file as Spot channels, where there would be no alignment issues and some crude color management for the spot percentages and overprints. This InDesign page has the two spots coming in with the PS file, and no transparency:

 

Screen Shot 16.pngScreen Shot 17.png

 

 

 

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