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PDF files with wrong colors

Contributor ,
Nov 13, 2009 Nov 13, 2009

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Hi All,

I apologize if this has already been discussed, but I probably cannot guess the right search string to find the relevant thread.

I've recently upgraded from FM6 Mac to FM9 Win. My old FM6 documents have two kinds of problems in FM9:

1) replaced fonts horizontally scaled to 80%

2) colors looking good on the display, but bad when converted to PDF

As for issue #1, I couldn't do other than editing all the paragraph styles. But eventually I could solve it in a way or the other.

But issue #2, I cannot seem to come to an end with it. The original color was a Pantone swatch, that I can also find in the Win version of FM. In fact, when opening the FM file, it looks at it used to do on the Mac.

However, either I save as PDF from the File > Save to PDF menu command, or print a file using the PDF driver (with the Press Quality selected), the resulting color is wrong. What used to be a Grey-Blue Pantone 191-7, is now some sort of Cyan. Tones change slightly whether I convert using the Print > Do not save file trick, or use Acrobat Distiller 8 on the Mac with different settings; but the original color is never reproduced.

Oddly, an EPS file in the same FM file looks perfectly good - the original color is there. What a contrast with the oddly-colored text and lines in the remaining parts of the document!

Maybe someone has already gone through this issue, and has a solution for me. I'm literally loosing my sleep to try to solve this issue.

Thank you in advance!

Paolo

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Enthusiast , Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

Paolo Tramannoni wrote:


If you Print (either letting FM9 generate a PDF, or a PS file then processed by Acrobat 8), you'll see the lines are fine, but the color is wrong again.

Paolo,

printing (instead of saving) always writes FM spot colors as RGB (while spot colors from EPS files are written correctly). This is the way Windows and the Win PS driver work and always worked. This is no bug… as long as you don't call Windows a bug 😉

For getting Pantone colors from FM objects, you have to use the "Sav

...

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Advisor ,
Nov 13, 2009 Nov 13, 2009

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Paolo, let us know what version of FM (including the "pxxx" numbers as shown in Help > About). if you aren't using ver 9.0.3 (aka 9.0p250) then update your FM; each update has to be installed in sequence, p237 and p250.

For the font scaling, what fonts are you using? There are significant differences between FM6 vs. FM9 and Mac vs. Win as far as font handling.

edit: search the forums for the string "convert CMYK colors to RGB" or something similar, you'll find threads such as this one:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2028717#2028717

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Contributor ,
Nov 14, 2009 Nov 14, 2009

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Sheila, thank you very much for your answer. I'm using FM version 9.0 p250. Judging from the fact that FM doesn't find any new updates, I guess this is the latest one, despite Adobe's web site citing a version 9.03.

The fonts I used the most in my old documents (sigh - several thousand pages, plus the various translations) were Minion and Frutiger. I'm replacing the first one with Minion Pro, and the second one with Myriad Pro (may St. Frutiger forgive me). I know there were changes from Minion to Minion Pro, but I didn't expect to see such a radical change.

As for the color, I actually tried several solutions after reading these and other forums. But, as the attached pics should show, with no success at all. I wonder if I missed some passage, but I've been repeatedly trying everything since several days. Maybe giving a look to the examples might let you immediately see what I'm doing wrong?

- "SaveAsPDF_PressQuality_ConvToRGB" was created with File > Save as PDF > Convert CMYK to RGB checked.

- "Print_PDF_PressQuality_NoPSFile" was created with File > Print > Print to file unchecked (PDF file generated by FM).

- "Print_PDF_PSfile_MacAcro8_PressQuality" was created with File > Print > Print to file checked; the resulting PS files was processed with Distiller 8 on the Mac side, with the Press Quality setup selected.

None of them is the expected result. I'm scratching my head so hard, that it is starting to bleed.

Paolo

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Contributor ,
Nov 14, 2009 Nov 14, 2009

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I did another try - again: replacing the original Pantone process color, with a web-compliant spot RGB color. I went to the Edit > Color > Definitions dialog, and told FM to replace the color. Then printed to a PS file and converted with Distiller 8. This new result is no better than the olders.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 14, 2009 Nov 14, 2009

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You mentioned earlier than an EPS viewed OK.

Are you using the EPS as input to the Distiller?

And, on the PC,. do you have the full version of Acrobat or are you using the limited version that ships with Frame?

Do you have the default printer on the Windows system set to be the Acrobat printer?

Cheers,

Art

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Contributor ,
Nov 14, 2009 Nov 14, 2009

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Art, thank you for asking. Yes, the EPS (the first example in all the attached pictures) looked fine in all the PDFs. The FM file I'm working on contains both imported (linked) EPS illustrations, ordinary text (in some case in the same Pantone CMYK color as the EPS), and lines created with FM (also, with the same Pantone CMYK color).

The input to Distiller is a PS file generated by FM with the File > Print > Print to file option. The chosen print driver is Adobe PDF, with the Press Quality setting selected. The resulting PS file should include all the above elements.

On the PC side, I only have what comes with FrameMaker. So, no complete Acrobat applications. Probably, there is only a sub-set of Distiller, used when saving to PDF from the File > Save as PDF or File > Print > (Print to file unchecked) commands.

The default printer driver on Windows XP (SP3) is Adobe PDF.

On the Mac, I have the full Acrobat Pro 8, and the corresponding Distiller 8 that came with Creative Suite CS3. This is the same app I used to generate PDF files from FrameMaker 6 on the Mac - starting from the same files I'm trying to work now on the PC.

Do you see any pattern, here?

Paolo

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Advisor ,
Nov 14, 2009 Nov 14, 2009

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Paolo, fwiw, the reason that the EPS comes through correctly is that FM doesn't touch color in EPS files, it just passes them straight through to the printer/distiller.

Unfortunately, though, FM does monkey with color everywhere else (on Windows) because it uses the Windows' GDI system which is an RGB color model. Ad of course on the Mac this isn't the case.

It is possible to do color re-mapping on the PDFs through use of Pitstop, http://www.enfocus.com . If you have the conversions identified and set up as an "action list" process then it can be a pretty much one-button process, although it may take quite a bit of exploration to identify all the various ways FM munges color.

If you have to generate stable, problem-free color files for pre-press and the issue is significant enough to offset the cost, then the very best way is to use a 3rd party utility called PubliPDF,  from

http://grafikhuset.net/international/    (Grafikhuset is located in Denmark)


Jakob Shaeffer at Grafikhuset is *extremely* knowledgeable about FM's color handling; in years gone by he's contributed much of his knowledge to this forum and to the FrameUsers list.

I see that they offer trial versions, so it would be possible to test the output to confirm that you are getting the color that you should be getting.

You might find more info about FM color-handling if you search the forums for the name of one of our resident gurus "Arnis Gubins" combined with "cmyk". Arnis has posted many threads explaining how FM mangles color, and the intricacies of correcting the problems.

Sheila

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Contributor ,
Nov 15, 2009 Nov 15, 2009

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Sheila, thank you very much for your hints. Obviously, before spending a considerable price for additional software, I would like to see if I can solve the problem with what I have. For example, I'm starting experimenting with Acrobat Professional 8, in the hope it can provide, among the many tools, something that can help me find a solution (like a color profile converter, or the like).

In the meantime, I'm relieved to say that a project starting with only RGB color images (computer screenshots) translates perfectly from the Mac to the PC. PDF generation was done through the File > Print > (Save to file unchecked), probably relying on the internal mini-Distiller that I guess FM includes.

This project also enjoyed a cleaner font translation, with perfect format matching between my old text (based on Frutiger and Minion) and the new (Myriad Pro and Minion Pro). It is a much simpler, less articulat project, so this should have helped.

So: RGB-based projects are fine, CMYK ones are a mess. Unfortunately, my projects are a mix of both systems, and they must go both to paper and to screen. I sincerely wonder if this situation can lead to call FM, now that it only lives on a system without CMYK management, a professional app.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 15, 2009 Nov 15, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

Obviously, before spending a considerable price for additional software, I would like to see if I can solve the problem with what I have.

Paolo,

I've done some in-depth color testing with FM9, and the results can be downloaded here: http://www.meissner-dokuteam.de/Files/Frame/colortest_fm9_p250_FM_elements_EN.pdf

In short words, for the "Save as PDF" CMYK version:

- Spot colors from imported definitions are converted to CMYK

- Spot colors from FM Pantone library are correctly output as Pantone colors *

- Spot colors in imported EPS files are always correctly output

* I was able to nail down the spot color bug: The critical element is the "Name of color" entry in the color definition dialog (below the dropdown/entry field "Name"). If there is a name, then the color will be correctly output as a pantone color. You can see this, if you define a color taken from the FM library, they all contain a "Name of color" entry. Self-defined colors or colors which came in by graphics import don't contain a name there, and are output as CMYK colors.

You can fix this behaviour, if you save your FM files as MIF, and add the required lines at the color definitions yourself. I for example used self defined spot colors, and added the lines

 <ColorLibraryFamilyName `WambaSamba self-defined'> 
<ColorLibraryInkName `WambaSamba Blue'>

Now even self-defined spot colors work. You can see this in this pdf: http://www.meissner-dokuteam.de/Files/Frame/colortest_fm9_p250_FM_elements_EN_MIFedit2.pdf

and download the editet MIF file (for analyzing) here: http://www.meissner-dokuteam.de/Files/Frame/colortest_fm9_p250_FM_elements_EN_MIFedit.mif.zip

One more bug, but this time in Acrobat: Spot color tints are always displayed at 100%, when you open the PDF, unless you enable Output/Overprint preview.

Regards,

Bernd

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Contributor ,
Nov 15, 2009 Nov 15, 2009

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Bernd, great set of tests. However, It seems to me that in both tests, the Pantone swatch on the left is different than the swatches shown in the corresponding PitStop screenshots. Checking with the Mac's Color window's magnifying glass, it seems that my impression is confirmed (shown values in both RGB and CMYK measurements are different).

To be exact: the first swatch looks like the Pantone 191-7 I used in my documents, while the color shown in PitStop seems more or less the result I had when generating a PDF with FM9. If I read your tests correctly, they seem to confirms the bug/mismatch rather than showning how to solve it. I would say the Pantone swatches are never correctly output.

On the contrary, it seems that the two blue spot colors in the second test are the same both in the swatch, and the PitStop screenshot. I can confirm that I don't have problems with RGB colors I imported with documents created on the Mac.

However, I might have understood your test incorrectly, so I apologize for misunderstanding.

As for the Name of color bug, I can see that my document created on the Mac has a name assigned to the Pantone color I'm trying to convert correctly, so I wonder if there is some different cause for it.

Paolo

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Contributor ,
Nov 16, 2009 Nov 16, 2009

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While experimenting with Acrobat's settings and carefully reading the documentation of FM, Acrobat Pro and Distiller, I could see that there might be at least two ways to fix things (even if, as of now, I couldn't fully fix my problem, but only go nearer to a solution):

A) When editing the Adobe PDF print driver, apply a Color > Settings File that is similar to the system you are workin with. This means choosing a color system for the GDI (Win) or ColorSync (Mac), ranging from generic systems on Win ("Prepress Euro"), to precise printer settings under Mac (ISO standards and so on).

B) Still editing the Adobe PDF driver, choose None as the Color > Settings File, and then use the following manual settings:

- Color Management Policies: Convert All Colors to CMYK. This should trigger the new FM9 internal CMYK manager, about whom I found a few sparse information in third-party reviews.

- Document Rendering Intent: Preserve. This incorporates color matching intents, by leaving thir use to the printing device; so, FM color intents should be non-mandatory for Distiller (or any printing device).

- Working Spaces: RGB should not be intereseting for the internal matching of a document's color; a preferred CMYK space should be selected for the internal matching to work, and this is the same chosen with option (A).

- Preserve CMYK values for calibrated CMYK color spaces: Uncheck. This should convert device-independent color settings to CMYK.

- Device-Dependent Data > Preserve under color removal and black generation: It should be indifferent whether you check or uncheck this, since it is only a way of saving ink without changing color, so it should be only useful when printing (and not for PDF generation).

- When transfer functions are found: It shouldn't matter, unless you are looking for special effects.

I could go near to color matching, but I'm still not there. And I don't know if these settings are also good for other colors, apart the one I'm trying to reproduce.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 16, 2009 Nov 16, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

- Color Management Policies: Convert All Colors to CMYK. This should trigger the new FM9 internal CMYK manager, about whom I found a few sparse information in third-party reviews.


Paolo,

no, this triggers nothing in FM. FrameMaker uses the "FM9 CMYK manager", as you call it, if you don't enable "Convert all colors to RGB" in the PDF output dialog. What you get with the Distiller option as seen above is: Spot colors converted to CMYK.

Bernd

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Contributor ,
Nov 18, 2009 Nov 18, 2009

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Try this:

Close FrameMaker. With Notepad, open the file maker.ini, which should be in the FM installation directory. Look for the line

GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK=Printing

and change it to read

GetLibraryColorRGBFromCMYK=None. Save the file and restart FrameMaker.

It should make on-screen display of colours in PDFs made from FrameMaker closer to what you expect. I don’t know whether it has any impact on printing.

[Read also the first few lines of the maker.ini file about the “personal copy” of maker.ini stored in the user profile. You may need to know this in a networked environment where people work on different machines.]

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Contributor ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Bernd,

Thank you very much for your directions. I'll try them. In the meantime, I've gone further with my own attemps, together with Adobe's Support. What I've found, as of now, is that CMYK Spot colors translate well to PDF, if the document has been originally created with FM9. They do not translate well if the document was originally created with FM6, and then edited with FM9.

And yes, the Ink name is there in the color's name. I also created new colors, without editing the name, and applied them to the problematic objects - at no avail. Maybe I should try with converting my FM6 documents to MIF, cleaning out all custom colors, and then redefining colors in FM9.

The tech at Support ended up with my same results, and found that the problem is only there when converting files from FM6. He is not sure Adobe will fix it.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

What I've found, as of now, is that CMYK Spot colors translate well to PDF, if the document has been originally created with FM9. They do not translate well if the document was originally created with FM6, and then edited with FM9.

The tech at Support ended up with my same results, and found that the problem is only there when converting files from FM6. He is not sure Adobe will fix it.

Paolo,

the oldest FM version I currently have on my computers is 7.2, so I can't test it with FM 6 documents. Well, sure some things have changed since then, but I doubt that anything having to do with colors has changed between 6 and 8.

I also doubt there's any meaning in the statement "He is not sure Adobe will fix it". They will have to fix it, because the current incarnation of this CMYK construction site is simply a mess. It doesn't work as expected, and it doesn't work as promised. The list of currently known bugs gets longer and longer, among them:

- the Spot color problems discussed here

- problems with several OTF/TTF fonts

- different font spacing/kerning in RGB and CMYK

- wrong output of rotated pages

- ...

So there's a lot left to do until this feature is what it should have been. And once it is, I could imagine that even FM6 documents work again. Given the fact that I'm working with FM since version 3.1, there are several documents that have a looooong history, being created in FM 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and having been updated to 9, where they don't show different behaviour to files created in 9.

Cleaning your documents via MIF is a good idea anyway. As my tests have shown, custom spot colors (not taken from the Adobe library)  currently only work with the respective name entries in the MIF file.

Bernd

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Contributor ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Bernd,

I agree with you that bugs will have to be sorted out. But I wouldn't bet it will be done. I'll be among the ones who will keep insisting they will be, though.

In the meantime, I did my MIF cleaning, trying to remove all custom color definition and their various occurrences. Well, when opening the MIF back in FM9, one of them was still there in the list of available colors. And its name did not appear anywhere in the MIF file. What a mistery.

Probably this means that color definitions are also saved somewhere else than the Color definition, and can interfere with other colors. As a result, opening the cleaned-up MIF file resulted in the color still not being correctly printed to PDF, even when created as new in FM9.

Not only: when deleted from the Color Definition catalog, it reappears in the newly exported MIF file. O my. Since it does not appear in documents created as new in FM9, my guess is the color should be somewhere in the FM6 file, hidden somewhere.

If someone has the due patience, I'm attaching a MIF file exported from the latest edit. Maybe he/she can discover something that I'be not been able to catch out for a whole week now.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

Probably this means that color definitions are also saved somewhere else than the Color definition, and can interfere with other colors. As a result, opening the cleaned-up MIF file resulted in the color still not being correctly printed to PDF, even when created as new in FM9.

Paolo,

if the color you're talking about is the Pantone 5285: it's correctly saved to PDF as a spot color. See attached PDF.

Is this the color in question?

Edit: by the way... color definitions can come in via imported graphics.

Regards,

Bernd

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Contributor ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Bernd,

You are right, this Pantone is saved correctly with Save as PDF.

Unfortunatly, by Saving as PDF I see there are some problems (dirty characters in the EPS, as you might not notice not having the original EPS file), and lines thinner than in the original.

If you Print (either letting FM9 generate a PDF, or a PS file then processed by Acrobat 8), you'll see the lines are fine, but the color is wrong again.

I would love to have both things done right! 🙂

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:


If you Print (either letting FM9 generate a PDF, or a PS file then processed by Acrobat 8), you'll see the lines are fine, but the color is wrong again.

Paolo,

printing (instead of saving) always writes FM spot colors as RGB (while spot colors from EPS files are written correctly). This is the way Windows and the Win PS driver work and always worked. This is no bug… as long as you don't call Windows a bug 😉

For getting Pantone colors from FM objects, you have to use the "Save as PDF" route.

Bernd

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LEGEND ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Paolo,

When FM creates PDF files, you are always using a postscript file and Distiller in the process. It's just that the SaveAsPDF step does these things in the background (and applies some post-processing to the intermediate postscript .tps file).

In FM9 the Print route skips the FM post-processing functions (which is why you won't get the CMYK functionality showing up this way). This is the old, standard RGB route that you would get if you check the "Convert CMYK Colors to RGB" option in the SaveAsPDF (except for post-processing options to optimize the PDF and generate Acrobat data).

With EPS files, FM always passes these files through, so regardless of which option is used, the EPS file should render the same. If it also uses CMYK or Spot colour spaces, then this will also be preserved regardless of the output method. If your EPS is not coming out as expected, then simply distill the .eps file to see what it should be rendering as. FM shouldn't be touching this file (unless they've really done something dumb with the CMYK post-processing - if that's the route that you are using when you see the problems with the fonts and line-weights).

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Contributor ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Thank you everybody for the great help. To summarize:

- I must convert all CMYK Process colors of the original files to CMYK Spot colors.

- I should go the Save as PDF route to preserve colors.

Line thickness is a different problem, that I will start investigating now.

At least, part of the problem is gone. Only the conversion work of thousand of files is still here! 🙂

Cheers,

Paolo

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Advisor ,
Nov 19, 2009 Nov 19, 2009

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Paolo, I'm not 100% clear on what line thickness differences you're experiencing, is it on-screen or when printed out on paper? Are the lines created within the EPS files or are they from some object in FM? If in FM, is it table rules, ruling lines, or ... ?  If on paper, what printer are you printing to?

You may already know about this, but line thickness differences in on-screen display are a known problem with Acrobat; I believe there are some Adobe knowledgebase articles that explain the convoluted calculations and how the Acrobat display sometimes (often) gets line widths messed up.

I don't know if this same with other PDF viewers or it's only with Acrobat; maybe somebody else areound here can chime in with their experience with other PDF viewers.

Sheila

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Contributor ,
Nov 20, 2009 Nov 20, 2009

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LATEST

Sheila,

The lines whose thickness is wrong in the PDF generated using Save as PDF, are Reference page objects added before and after a paragraph with Paragraph Designer > Advanced. They are colored line with a defined thickness. They translated perfectly when printed from FM6 Mac, marginally wrong when Printed as PDF fro FM9 Win, wrong when Saved as PDF from FM9 Win.

I looked at them with both Mac's Preview, Adobe Reader 9, and Acrobat Pro 8, and this is evident in the same way in all viewers. I'll check the Adobe documentation, even if this is another of those things that I've been accustomed to expect to work as they should.

Paolo

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 20, 2009 Nov 20, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

Thank you everybody for the great help. To summarize:

- I must convert all CMYK Process colors of the original files to CMYK Spot colors.


Uh... no. That's a misunderstanding, sorry if I haven't been clear enough. It only depends on what kind of colors you need:

In FM9, without enabling "Convert CMYK color to RGB", the following rules apply for colored FrameMaker objects (not: imported images):

- CMYK colors (= process colors) are written as CMYK colors, all is well

- Pantone and other Spot colors are written as CMYK colors, if they don't have a name in the "name of color" field. If the name is missing, this can currently only be fixed via manual editing of the MIF file, there's no other entry method

- Pantone and other Spot colors are correctly written as Spot color, if they do have a name (see my screen shot in one of the previous postings)

The second part about the "Save as PDF" route is correct.

Bernd

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 16, 2009 Nov 16, 2009

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Paolo Tramannoni wrote:

However, It seems to me that in both tests, the Pantone swatch on the left is different than the swatches shown in the corresponding PitStop screenshots. Checking with the Mac's Color window's magnifying glass, it seems that my impression is confirmed (shown values in both RGB and CMYK measurements are different).

[…]

However, I might have understood your test incorrectly, so I apologize for misunderstanding.

As for the Name of color bug, I can see that my document created on the Mac has a name assigned to the Pantone color I'm trying to convert correctly, so I wonder if there is some different cause for it.

Paolo,

you can't compare the colors of the two different items. The one on the left side is a FrameMaker object, written as a Pantone color to the PDF file. If any, then THIS object color/display is correct. The colors as seen in the PitStop screen are just what they are: an RGB screenshot of a dialog window, with absolutely NO color reliability. It means nothing. The only interesting thing in the PitStop screens is the declaration of the color as CMYK or Spot.

Regarding the name of a color: Are we talking about the same thing? I've attached a screenshot of the name entry I'm talking about.

Edit/correction: In the first PDF I've linked, the swatch you show in YOUR screenshot has been converted to CMYK. It's not a Pantone color. In the second PDF I've linked, it is a Pantone color, which was achieved by giving the color a name (in the MIF file).

Bernd

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