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Unable to convert SPOT COLOR TO CMYK

Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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I have placed a simple eps page consist of rectangle colored with SPOT color. No matter what I do in ink manager (all different combination of options tested), when file is printed to postscript file and distilled it still includes not converted spot color as standalone plate.

But before I strike print the message is shown.

"One or more placed graphics include an RGB or LAB spot color. The spot color will print on the black plate since it is not defined with CMYK color mode. Do you want to print anyway?"

How could I manually define CMYK for such color.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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What is the SPOT color? Is it associated with an InDesign color swatch? With an established color book like PANTONE? Or is it a spot color you've created and set within InDesign?

 

As far as assigning CMYK values, You likely have to go back to the source for the placed EPS rectangle and assign it there, rather than expecting InDesign to resolve the color assigned in another application. As an EPS, you could use Adobe Illustrator to open the file and handle the color translation you desire.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Spot color is PANTONE 185 C.

I create file with a single rectangle in CorelDraw X7, then color the rectangle with PANTONE SOLID COATED

COLOR 185 C and export it to .eps. It is not that I can't overcome specific problem on different way, but I was

used just to set spot color to cmyk and conversion on output was generated automatically. Now when I change spot color to process indesign converts color to LAB and Color Mode is disabled. When I want to print message dialog is telling me something like conversion tables are missing. Why I can't set custom cmyk values to any spot color. Here doesn't matter way I do things as I do. I put this example to know how to solve similar problems when I get material from non-professionals. I do DTP for about 35 years.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Hi @U16B6 , starting with CS6 the InDesign Pantone + Solid ink books are defined as Lab Spots. That change helped clarify the difference between an actual spot color outputting to a separate press plate and a CMYK process simulation of the spot ink. There‘s also the Pantone + Bridge swatches which are defined as process CMYK, so unless the job is really outputting to a spot separation, the best approach is not to use spot colors at all.

 

If you place a file that includes a Pantone named solid ink Spot color, the ID book’s Lab defined swatch gets added to InDesign’s Swatches panel. As long as the linked file is in the document, you can only edit the Color Type. Set it to Process and the output to Document CMYK would be a color managed conversion from Lab space to the document’s CMYK profile.

 

There has never been a way to edit the color space and values of a swatch that comes in with a placed object, but you  could remove the placed file(s), edit the spot swatch to a CMYK definition, replace the file(s) and get the new CMYK values:

 

Screen Shot 67.pngScreen Shot 68.pngScreen Shot 69.png

 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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You can set custom CMYK values to any spot color ... if the color build is created within InDesign.

 

But placed graphics have never had the capability to redefine EPS color builds within InDesign. Color values within EPS files are intrinsic, and InDesign respects that, as have other page layout programs since the start of the desktop publishing era. That's where the "encapsulated" part of an Encapsulated PostScript file definition comes into play.

 

You have always needed to go back to a vector program to reassign colors in an EPS to whatever value(s) you wish them to be. And you still do today.

 

Sorry I haven't got a better answer for you, but that's just the way it goes.

 

Randy

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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You have to watchout for Color Type though. If you want to convert the color to a custom CMYK build in the placed file, and it is using a PANTONE name, you have to convert the Color Type to Process in order to get the CMYK values in ID. If it is left as Spot, InDesign will override the placed file’s spot CMYK definition, and use its Lab defined PANTONE book swatch:

 

Screen Shot 72.png

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Another option is to make a CMYK Spot swatch with the desired CMYK values and Alias the incoming swatch to the custom Swatch, setting it to Process in Ink Manager:

 

Screen Shot 74.png

 

 

 

Separation Preview shows the EPS spot with the aliased CMYK values:

 

IM.png

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Why I can't set custom cmyk values to any spot color. Here doesn't matter way I do things as I do.

 

Putting best practices aside, I don’t think your problem is coming from the EPS format—an AI formatted file would act the same way.

 

If you want to force the PANTONE 185C spot swatch to a custom CMYK build without editing the original, look at the Alias example I posted above. Printing that file to postscript and distilling gives me the alias’ custom CMYK build in the PDF:

 

Screen Shot 7.png

 

 

The distilled PDF

 

Screen Shot 6.png

 

 

 

It also works with a direct Export to PDF/X-4:

 

Screen Shot 9.png

 

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Thanks Randy,

the way with aliasing color works form me. 

- place original graphics in indesign 

- create new spot color and alias it in ink manager.

- print to new pdf

- place new created pdf where spot color is in cmyk from then on.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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And that would work fine ... for any subsquent element you create within InDesign.

 

But it isn't going to magically unlock the embedded color information for the EPS.

 

And that's going to get you two different color builds based off the same PANTONE 185 C color build; one you've created and one that's placed with the EPS. Though it brings up an interesting question.

 

When you place the EPS, you should have a spot color build appear in your Swatches panel that's identified as PANTONE 185 C based on the spot color build in the placed EPS. You can't change it, of course, but you can use it for any element created within your InDesign document after it's placed.

 

So I'm curious: why do you feel compelled to create a second 185 C color build? Or, when you do this after placing your EPS, is your created 185 C color build the first one?

 

Randy

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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Reason for doing this are plenty of old files (not only my files, but from external cooperatives too) which has some spot colors which has been changed through years and was printed standalone on separate plate at that time. Now

i am using that material for example in magazine, and have to convert different spot colors from different files to same cmyk values (new color defined again by designer). That is why color aliasing is usefull for me.

 

Uroš

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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I guess it would be ... if it worked. But alas, it will not. As you're discovering.

 

So back to the previous question: Do you have one or two PANTONE 185 C color builds in your Swatches panel?

 

Randy

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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The reason for aliasing would be to get a specific CMYK build to represent the solid ink color, rather than a color managed conversion from Lab to a CMYK profile, which produces different CMYK values depending on the profile.

 

If you want to avoid color managed conversions, then the question is what is the "correct" CMYK build for PANTONE 185? If you want to use Pantone’s suggested build, you could alias to the Pantone + Color Bridge version of 185 which is defined as process CMYK:

 

Screen Shot 20.png

 

 

Unless there is something wrong with the placed EPS this should work as is—here is my example file which includes an  EPS with Pantone 185C:

 

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/2ff4e0cb-bd2e-425f-7b1e-88c84fe92d98

 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Hi U16B6,

is the spot color still in an exported PDF/X-4 file?

Please show a screenshot of your ink manager with that spot color.

 

Thanks,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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He is creating PDFs via postscript. No way to make a PDF/X-4 this way.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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I suppose we also should ask why you are using .eps id this is a simple rectangle. Why not simply create it in InDesign? If it's a more complex saving as something other than .eps from the native application -- .psd, .tif, .ai or PDF, for example, mould probably make your life easier.

And why are you still distilling PDF instead of exporting from InDesign?

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Hi U16B6,

I do not have Corel Draw installed.

Could you share that simple EPS file?

 

Thanks,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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Don't use EPS in modern times.

Dont print to POstScript in modern times.

 

Postscript does not support color management. The ink manager is unable to function if you use eps and make postscript files.

 

Usie AI or PDF/X-4 to place in InDesign.

Create PDFs via Export and not via Postscript.

 

The behaviour you experience is one of the main problems why no one should use EPS any more nor create PDFs via print.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 01, 2022 Mar 01, 2022

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I concur with the others... printing Postscript is NOT the way to go. If that is what you've always done it (which made sense in the early days) it's really waaay past the time to lose that approach.

That being said, since you seem to be concerned about files coming from clients/designers that are set up this way, I'd say ignore the fact it's still a spot colour;

Why? If you are printing to a composite printer using Acrobat, you can chnage the colour to Process in Acrobat's Ink Manager (making suire a correct Output Profile is selected), or even let it be: If your composite printer is colour managed, it will do the conversion for you giving you the best Lab to CMYK conversion it can do.

OR, If you're sending the PDF to a RIP, most RIPs have ways to handle spot colours and and can convert them (and consolidate them) to a common CMYK at that stage for separations/etc.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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This is a bit off topic, but another option is to use an Acrobat preflight profile to map a specific spot color to any desired value. 

Go to Tools> Print Production> Preflight> Fixups.

Find & select the preflight "Map spot colors with specified name and color values", duplicate it from the Options fly-out menu.

Give the new preflight a name, click on the Edit button, set the Source color name (PANTONE 185 C), Destination, and Destination color value, click OK.

Select the new profile and click Fix. All instances of the spot color should be converted, including placed .eps and colored grayscale images.

You can create an Acrobat action that can quickly apply the profile to a file, or a folder of files.

Map spot color.png

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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LATEST

Also, ink aliasing is scriptable. You could try this script which will import the Bridge CP CMYK process version of locked solid ink Pantone Coated (C) colors and use it as the alias. Here a compiled version:

 

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/02bb254a-30f5-4fc9-584e-66fbd4fb7c95

 

 


var d = app.activeDocument;
var ik = d.inks;

var ikn, bn, as, ni;
for (var i = 0; i < ik.length; i++){
    if (!ik[i].isProcessInk) {
        ikn = ik[i].name;
        //check if the Bridge version exists
        bn = ikn.substring(0, ikn.length-1) + "CP";
        if (isPlaced(ikn) && isBridge(bn)) {
            makeAliasSwatch(bn).model = ColorModel.SPOT
            ni = ik.itemByName(bn);
            ik[i].aliasInkName = bn;
            ni.convertToProcess = true;
        } 
    } 
};   

/**
* Check if a swatch is editable 
* @ param swatch name 
* @ return true if the swatch is locked 
*/
function isPlaced(i){
    var b = false
    var sw = app.activeDocument.colors.itemByName(i);
    var s = sw.properties;
    try {sw.space = ColorSpace.CMYK;}catch(e) {b = true}
    sw.properties = s; 
    return b
}

/**
* Makes a new Pantone Bridge swatch 
* @ param swatch name 
* @ return the new swatch 
* 
*/
function makeAliasSwatch(n){
    var c;
    try {
        d.importAdobeSwatchbookProcessColor (n)}catch(e) {c = d.colors.itemByName(n);} 
    return d.colors.itemByName(n);
}

/**
* Check if Bridge swatch exists 
* @ param name to check 
* @ return true if the Bridge version exists 
*/
function isBridge(n){
    var b = true
    try {
        d.importAdobeSwatchbookProcessColor (n)}catch(e) {b = false;}  
    return b
}

 

 

 

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