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Transparency in graphics - Indesign CC 2018

Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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Hi

After some testing I've found that only images in .gif format seem to maintain their transparency settings when placed in indesign.

Is there any way to achieve transparency with tiff or png files?

Thanks!

You are wrong on multiple accounts.

(1)     TIFF and PNG files certainly do maintain transparency from Photoshop (or other reputable image editors) when placed into InDesign. You do need to be very careful about the options you choose when you save those files to specify that the transparency is to be preserved.

(2)     Clipping paths are a very nice workflow for content produced over 15 years ago. Once true transparency became part of the PDF imaging model, such of such kludges became unnecessary.

(3)     There is absolutely nothing wrong with use of PNG imagery for print. PNG files support color management and transparency. And compression is lossless and often yields better results than JPEG, especially if the content of the raster image is vector-like with large areas of constant color and lines. The only things that PNG doesn't support are (a) CMYK and LAB, (b) 16-bits per colorant, and (c) extra channels.

(4)     In terms of preserving transparency, there is absolutely no difference between placing TIFF, PNG, PSD, or PDF if the proper save options are used!

          - Dov

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Transparency in graphics - Indesign CC 2018

Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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Hi

After some testing I've found that only images in .gif format seem to maintain their transparency settings when placed in indesign.

Is there any way to achieve transparency with tiff or png files?

Thanks!

You are wrong on multiple accounts.

(1)     TIFF and PNG files certainly do maintain transparency from Photoshop (or other reputable image editors) when placed into InDesign. You do need to be very careful about the options you choose when you save those files to specify that the transparency is to be preserved.

(2)     Clipping paths are a very nice workflow for content produced over 15 years ago. Once true transparency became part of the PDF imaging model, such of such kludges became unnecessary.

(3)     There is absolutely nothing wrong with use of PNG imagery for print. PNG files support color management and transparency. And compression is lossless and often yields better results than JPEG, especially if the content of the raster image is vector-like with large areas of constant color and lines. The only things that PNG doesn't support are (a) CMYK and LAB, (b) 16-bits per colorant, and (c) extra channels.

(4)     In terms of preserving transparency, there is absolutely no difference between placing TIFF, PNG, PSD, or PDF if the proper save options are used!

          - Dov

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Dec 04, 2017 0
Contributor ,
Dec 04, 2017

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The answer and preferred method you are looking for, for just about all file formats is: clipping paths!

GIF and PNG transparencies, predominantly used for web, can cause issues when outputting for print.

Creating and saving a clipping paths in photoshop and then saving/exporting to chosen file format, will give you the most stable and reliable results. For many years this has (in my opinion at least) been considered the industry standard method.

However Photoshop files do also retain transparency settings, without the need for clipping paths when placed in indesign, so you could just native PSD files if available.

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Dec 04, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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Thanks - sounds good, but I unfortunately I don't have Photoshop and am using free graphics software because I'm largely working with graphics that have been supplied by clients.

I agree about GIF and PNG and I try to avoid them usually, but I would have thought I should be able to do something with TIFF files.

I'll have a look at alternative graphics programs.

Many thanks for your advice.

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Contributor ,
Dec 04, 2017

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A decent free alternative to photoshop can be found here...it is called GIMP!

https://www.gimp.org/

it is also open source, well documented and widely used.

But obviously always go with photoshop if you can...its worth every penny!

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 04, 2017

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I wouldn't use GIF but PNG files should be fine. TIFF certainly works.

Clipping paths? I haven't used one in 15 years.

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Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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Thanks for responses. I've been using Photofiltre and setting transparency by colour (they are all white backgrounds, so no need for path tracing or the like) which seems to work fine for GIF but not TIFF.

I'll give GIMP a try and see if that does things differently.

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Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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OK I've just been having a quick play with GIMP and it seems to work nicely - just tweaked the save settings a bit and now both png and tiff files work just fine - thanks for the suggestion!

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Adobe Employee ,
Dec 04, 2017

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You are wrong on multiple accounts.

(1)     TIFF and PNG files certainly do maintain transparency from Photoshop (or other reputable image editors) when placed into InDesign. You do need to be very careful about the options you choose when you save those files to specify that the transparency is to be preserved.

(2)     Clipping paths are a very nice workflow for content produced over 15 years ago. Once true transparency became part of the PDF imaging model, such of such kludges became unnecessary.

(3)     There is absolutely nothing wrong with use of PNG imagery for print. PNG files support color management and transparency. And compression is lossless and often yields better results than JPEG, especially if the content of the raster image is vector-like with large areas of constant color and lines. The only things that PNG doesn't support are (a) CMYK and LAB, (b) 16-bits per colorant, and (c) extra channels.

(4)     In terms of preserving transparency, there is absolutely no difference between placing TIFF, PNG, PSD, or PDF if the proper save options are used!

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Dec 04, 2017 0
New Here ,
Oct 23, 2020

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Hello,

 I think I am stucked at exactly this point and can’t keep the transparent part transparent after the import in indesign. Frame with slightly darker background gets visible when printed.

 Do you have any advice for me what I could change while saving as tif or png in photoshop or illustrator? 

 

Thank you very much for your time!

bárbara 

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Oct 23, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Dec 06, 2017

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Bob & Dov certainly are the experts here and their advice is invaluable and should be trusted, but in my situation i still have to use clipping paths for a fair proportion of the work i create.

In an ideal world where everyone uses the latest technology and the latest kit with the latest methods applied then yes transparency issues are a thing of the past.

In my situation i produce work for my own in-house Litho/Digital printing equipment and for external printers too. Naturally any work produced for our own in house printing does not suffer from said issues. My issues generally appear when applying the more modern methods for use with short run printers or digital printers that don't use or have up to date RIP technology.

I do a lot of work for sign writers and for short run digital companies using machines like OKI's, Epson's Xerox printers etc and this is generally the most problematic areas i find.

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Now that i think about it I started in print around 15 years ago, and my RIP workflow is 10 years old so it would stand to reason my methods are out of date! .......geeez how time flies i now feel like a print dinosaur! ... Next step more training!

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Dec 06, 2017 0