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Preserving spot color information in linked files, esp. when exporting as .pdf/.eps

Community Beginner ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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I'm working with a client file that was built in InDesign, and uses linked graphics from Illustrator. The Illustrator graphics are built with spot colors. It seems like placing the image in InDesign is converting the graphic to process colors, rather than preserving the spot color information. When I export the graphic to somethng that my RIP can recognize that should also preserve spot colors (.pdf. .eps), it's a process color. Compounding this, the specific spot colors are not available in InDesign as swatches, but are avilable in Illustrator.

So, can anyone tell me what's going on, and how to keep the spot color information in the linked graphics?

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Community Beginner , Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

OH MY <sodomizing> GOD.

I just figured it out, because I am an idiot.

The file that was linked used PANTONE 2126 C, but the person that made the original file converted the spot color to a process color. When InDesign placed the linked file, it's getting a CMYK value, but not picking up the name of the color. When I convert the color back to a spot color, and update the links in InDesign, it now registers the color as a spot color, and also picks up the name.

That also explains why they weren't wor

...

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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What version of PDF format are you exporting to? X1-A, etc?

Not all PDF formats support spot color.

What spot colors are you using? Pantone?

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Standard is PDF/X-4:2010, compatibility is Acrobat 7 (pdf 1.6). Compression is turned off. Marks and bleeds are turned off. Color conversion is No Color Conversion, profile inclusion policy is include all RGB and tagged source CMYK profiles (option is greyed out though; cna't change it without changing other things). PDF/X is US Web Coated (SWOP) v2.

I've had no issues with similar option sets in Illustrator preserving spot color information; usually using a preset of "High Quality Print" or "Press Quality" preserves spot colors in Illustrator. (I am much more proficient in Illustrator, but that's really not saying a lot.)

Spot colors are PANTONE Plus Series coated. The specific spot color in this instance is PANTONE 2126 C; it's in my Illustrator color library as a standard color, but is not available in the same color library in InDesign. I have not tested this out to see if spot colors on linked Illustrator files that are available in InDesign also convert to process colors..

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Community Expert ,
Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

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"PANTONE 2126 C; it's in my Illustrator color library as a standard color, but is not available in the same color library in InDesign."

Depends on what version of the Library you have installed in each. PMS 2126 was not part of the Solid Coated normally supplied with the Adobe apps, but it IS in the v3 and v4 libraries, so if you have it in Illustrator, you should be able to copy that library over to your ID install.

 

"I have not tested this out to see if spot colors on linked Illustrator files that are available in InDesign also convert to process colors."

No, that wouldn't happen. I also believe the issue is with Ink Manager, as others have pointed out already.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Have you checked the Ink Manager in InDesign (and Acrobat, for that matter), to be sure it isn't set to convert all spots to process?

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Community Expert ,
Sep 01, 2022 Sep 01, 2022

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Preferences > General > When Placing or Pasting is on or off?

What is Ink Manager doing?

Are you carefully avoiding EPS graphics? Choose .AI instead. EPS cannot color manage nor cooperate with X-4. Sure it had great music and hair, but leave the 1980s in the past!

Mike Witherell

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 17, 2023 Jan 17, 2023

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The whole thing ended up being a moot point; even though the linked files were built with spot colors, the client didn't care about them being any closer than the CMYK conversion. It was a bit of a let down.

...But then I had to color match things that had started as .tif files in Photoshop before being placed into InDesign files, and I had to print as .pdf, so that was... *F*U*N*

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2023 Jan 17, 2023

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so that was... *F*U*N*

 

Pantone 2126 is out-of-gamut, so a CMYK conversion would not likely match in appearance. How you make the (color managed) conversion of the Pantone Lab values would make a difference—the chosen conversion options and destination CMYK profle accuracy. There are a lot of ways it could go bad.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

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On my end--and I'm a self-taught idiot savant, minus the savant part--the concern was more that it's converting to CMYK or RGB at all. The RIP tat I'm using--Thrive 19--is supposed to emulate Pantone colors based on the profile, but it's usually not very close, as in, a delta-E of around 10. But it can only do that in the first place if the color information is preserved as a spot color. I can do color replacement in my RIP, and specify the exact CMYK formula the printer needs to use to hit a color, but that only works if the color is a spot color, versus converted.

This is the only time that it's been an issue for me so far. It might be that I'm just really sucky at InDesign.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

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Can you share the file you are placing that doesn’t add its spot colors to InDesign’s Swatches panel?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

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OH MY <sodomizing> GOD.

I just figured it out, because I am an idiot.

The file that was linked used PANTONE 2126 C, but the person that made the original file converted the spot color to a process color. When InDesign placed the linked file, it's getting a CMYK value, but not picking up the name of the color. When I convert the color back to a spot color, and update the links in InDesign, it now registers the color as a spot color, and also picks up the name.

That also explains why they weren't worried about matching a spot color.

Goddamnit.

I'm going to go pound my head into a wall.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2022 Sep 02, 2022

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Hi @AnotherOffensiveMeme ,

can you show a screenshot of the Illustrator file with the Swatches panel open?

 

Also:

Do a duplicate of the Illustrator file and rename it to PDF.

Open that in Acrobat Pro DC and check if there are any spot colors.

 

Make a sample of one of the Illustrator files available so that we can have a look.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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