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026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space

From: InDesign FX

Video: 026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space

The magic of InDesign's effects all happens via Adobe's transparency technology, which allows us to blend colors and detail from different objects. In order for it to all work there has to be a consistent color space for InDesign to use when it blends colors. This is called the transparency blend space and it's really important that you understand it in order to get the most out of InDesign's effects. Let's see how it works. So when we use transparency effects, InDesign compares different objects and combines their colors and detail. In order for objects to be blended, they have to be in the same color space.

026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space

The magic of InDesign's effects all happens via Adobe's transparency technology, which allows us to blend colors and detail from different objects. In order for it to all work there has to be a consistent color space for InDesign to use when it blends colors. This is called the transparency blend space and it's really important that you understand it in order to get the most out of InDesign's effects. Let's see how it works. So when we use transparency effects, InDesign compares different objects and combines their colors and detail. In order for objects to be blended, they have to be in the same color space.

So when you apply transparency, InDesign converts everything on a spread to the transparency blend space, regardless of whether that object is actually involved in the effect. And it's important to note that when I say things are converted, I don't mean that InDesign goes out and alters your Photoshop or Illustrator files; they are left completely alone. What I mean is that InDesign is using a different method for interpreting the colors in those files. It simulates as if you change the colors in those documents, just to give itself a reliable method for blending.

It's a totally nondestructive change. So let's see some of that change. Here I've a placed photo with a big flower and several small versions of the flower and I've overlaid each one with a blue swatch and I've set the blending mode to each of InDesign's 16 different blending modes. This one's set to the Normal blending mode and it completely knocks out the flower, and all the other ones blend with the flower. So they blend some aspect of that blue color with the color and detail of the flower photo underneath.

So you can see Multiply makes it darker, Screen makes it lighter, Overlay increases the contrast, so on and so forth, and things like Difference give you a really special effect, where it inverts the colors and mixed blues into orange and so forth. If I go up to my Edit menu and I choose Transparency Blend Space, I can see that this document is using Document RGB. So everything on this spread would be converted to RGB transparency blend space for the sake of this transparency effect. But if I choose Document CMYK, you'll see a change.

See that? Several of these different blending modes have a very different effect when we use Document CMYK, instead of Document RGB for our transparency blend space. I mean, for example, just look at that Difference blending mode. I'll switch back to RGB for a minute and keep an eye on that. So that's a pretty dramatic difference there. What exactly is going on? Well, we don't really want to get entirely into color management. That's a really deep topic but we can sort of explore a little bit using a utility that I have on the Mac called the ColorSync utility.

I'll switch over to that and one of the things I can do with the Mac's ColorSync utility is I can look at color profiles and I can look at RGB ones and compare them to CMYK ones to see the different colors I can represent in each color model. For example, I'll click on Adobe RGB and it gives me this graph of all the colors that can be represented in the Adobe RGB color space and it's a really neat thing because I can click and drag them around and it's a 3D map of the color space. So I can see all the dark colors by turning it upside down and I can see all the light colors by looking at the top, and I can spin it around and really get a sense of what colors are in Adobe RGB.

Now if I look at a different color profile like U.S. Web Coated (SWOP), I can see it has a much narrower range. Look at those reds and those greens, how far they got pulled in from the Adobe RGB space. What I can also do with this is I can compare the two different color spaces. So I'll switch back to Adobe and I'll click on this little triangle and I'll say Hold for comparison, and that's going to keep that on screen, and now I can click on a different color profile and compare the two. So I'll click on U.S. Web Coated (SWOP), and I can see the Adobe RGB ghosted around the outside of U.S. Web Coated (SWOP), and I can see the difference.

So the greens of Adobe RGB are way out here. I can represent all these kind of greens in Adobe RGB that I cannot make in U.S. Web Coated (SWOP). And when I switch to the Transparency Blend Space in InDesign, green colors that are out here will be converted to those colors down here, and that explains the color shift that we saw when we changed the Transparency Blend Space. Let's go back to InDesign and see some more of that. Again, I'll check my Transparency Blend Space and I'm using Document RGB.

Let's change that to Document CMYK. So now if I apply any transparency on this spread, everything on the spread will be converted to the Document CMYK blend space. So I'll just select this black square and go to my Effects panel and I'll just change the Opacity from 100% to 99%. And look at that. See all the color shift? That's really interesting because they're not even touching that black square. So you might not think they would be involved or have any kind of change with it. But just because they're on the same spread, InDesign will convert them to the transparency blend space.

So again, just like we saw in that ColorSync utility, the reds and the greens that were really rich and saturated in RGB are now kind of dulled and flattened when they are converted to the CMYK blend space. Let's try another example. Here are CMYK colors in a placed CMYK Photoshop file and I'll choose RGB blend space. So now these CMYK elements will be converted to RGB if there's any transparency on this spread. So again, I'll click the black square and I'll reduce the opacity to introduce transparency to the spread, and you didn't see very much of a change, and if you think back to that graph, that kind of makes sense because the RGB blend space has a much wider gamut of colors that it can represent.

So it can represent both those supersaturated reds and greens and these more dull reds and greens. So there's not going to be much of a change here. Now there is one more aspect to transparency blend space that's worth explaining. If I look in the menu, it just says, Document RGB and Document CMYK. Well, that doesn't really tell me exactly which flavor of RGB and CMYK I'm talking about. What is this document using for RGB and CMYK blend space? Well, I can look in my Color Settings and I can see my Working Spaces, but that's not necessarily the same as the document color spaces,and in fact, it's kind of annoying.

There's no real easy place to go to see which color spaces a document is using. These Working Spaces only apply to newly created documents, not necessarily documents you already have opened. So one way you can tell is by using either this North American Prepress 2 settings or your own custom settings, but just make sure you have this option checked, Profile Mismatches: Ask When Opening. That way if the RGB and CMYK working spaces are different from the Document CMYK and RGB working spaces, you'll get an alert.

Let me show you what I mean. I'll open another document that uses different RGB and CMYK spaces. This one called Profile Mismatch, and because I have that setting turned on, I get this dialog box and it will tell me the working spaces for that document. So in this case, this document is using Apple RGB as its document RGB space and U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated as its CMYK working space. So that's just a way you can know exactly which flavor of RGB and CMYK a document is using to blend with.

The color space you choose as your transparency blend space will determine a lot about the look of your effects. You can achieve a wider variety of effects using RGB blend space because some of the blending modes just work better there, but be mindful of what's happening when you apply transparency. Remember, everything on a spread is converted to the blend space. Keep an eye out for color shifts when you apply effects and know what color spaces your document is using. Make sure they are appropriate for your final output. That way you won't get any unexpected color changes at the end of your workflow.

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This video is part of

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InDesign FX

109 video lessons · 36844 viewers

Mike Rankin
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8h 7m
    1. 000 Welcome to InDesign FX
      2m 42s
    2. 001 Blurring Objects with Drop Shadows
      6m 26s
    3. 002 Creating Interlocking Objects
      3m 46s
    4. 003 Exploring the Effects Panel
      8m 43s
    5. 004 Creating Long Text Shadows with Type on a Path
      4m 23s
    6. 005 Making Shiny Effects
      4m 46s
    7. 006 Producing Slime
      6m 22s
    8. 007 Exploring Bevel and Emboss Settings
      5m 34s
    9. 008 Exploring Inner Glow Settings
      2m 9s
    10. 009 Building Better Bevels
      3m 16s
    11. 010 Punching Holes
      4m 26s
    12. 011 Exploring Basic Feather Settings
      2m 52s
    13. 012 Exploring Directional Feather Settings
      5m 15s
    14. 013 Getting Effects into Print
      8m 10s
    15. 014 Getting Effects into Ebooks
      4m 32s
    16. 015 Simulating a Polaroid Effect
      3m 15s
    17. 016 Creating Metallic Strokes
      3m 18s
    18. 017 Exploring Inner Shadow Settings
      3m 50s
    19. 018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings
      6m 15s
    20. 019 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 1
      3m 59s
    21. 020 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 2
      3m 29s
    22. 021 Creating Metallic Chrome Effects
      3m 56s
    23. 022 Creating Glass and Plastic Effects
      4m 49s
    24. 023 Exploring Satin Settings
      6m 57s
    25. 024 Exploring Gradient Feather Settings
      3m 51s
    26. 025 Simulating Carving and Chiseling
      6m 42s
    27. 026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space
      8m 2s
    28. 027 Drawing Extrusions, Part 1
      5m 25s
    29. 028 Drawing Concentric Shapes
      3m 17s
    30. 029 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 1
      5m 29s
    31. 030 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 2
      4m 6s
    32. 031 Drawing Star Bursts
      6m 7s
    33. 032 Scaling effects
      3m 0s
    34. 033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks
      9m 10s
    35. 034 Learning Transform Again Tips and Tricks
      6m 39s
    36. 035 Creating Cast Shadows, Part 1
      5m 27s
    37. 036 Exploring Outer Glow Settings
      6m 45s
    38. 037 Understanding Perspective Drawing
      4m 38s
    39. 038 Drawing 3D Banners
      3m 23s
    40. 039 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 1
      6m 41s
    41. 040 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 2
      6m 20s
    42. 041 Simulating a Ripped Background
      1m 53s
    43. 042 Creating a Breakthrough Effect
      2m 10s
    44. 043 Creating Spotlight Effects
      2m 22s
    45. 044 Backlighting an Object
      6m 8s
    46. 045 Simulating Stickers and Tape
      4m 23s
    47. 046 Creating Burnt Edges
      6m 26s
    48. 047 Creating Seamless Patterns
      8m 39s
    49. 048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes
      6m 40s
    50. 049 Simulating Liquid
      2m 48s
    51. 050 Creating Editable Knockout Text
      5m 52s
    52. 051 Making Peeling Stickers
      5m 42s
    53. 052 Tips for Text Stroke Effects
      6m 44s
    54. 053 Creating 3D arrows
      3m 37s
    55. 054 Creating personal buttons
      4m 22s
    56. 055 Simulating leather with bevel and emboss
      4m 17s
    57. 056 Creating the effect of a magnifying glass
      4m 20s
    58. 057 Simulating a college notebook
      6m 11s
    59. 058 Using multiple effects to create plastic type
      3m 58s
    60. 059 Achieving a rough-hewn look
      2m 28s
    61. 060 Creating speech bubbles
      2m 41s
    62. 061 Creating buttons for interaction
      4m 37s
    63. 062 Creating wraparound headings
      5m 46s
    64. 063 Creating picture frames
      3m 24s
    65. 064 Customizing stroke styles
      5m 19s
    66. 065 Creating photo corners
      3m 44s
    67. 066 Making new shadow effects
      3m 19s
    68. 067 Making 3D type
      3m 15s
    69. 068 Making a 3D object
      5m 13s
    70. 069 Making translucent objects
      3m 10s
    71. 070 Mocking up a film strip
      4m 53s
    72. 071 Showing graphics as tiles
      3m 41s
    73. 072 Simulating chalk
      3m 7s
    74. 073 Using drop- and inner-shadows to create a cutout effect
      4m 30s
    75. 074 Applying multiple strokes with layers
      7m 1s
    76. 075 Enhancing design with skewed text
      3m 59s
    77. 076 Creating and revealing hidden objects
      3m 33s
    78. 077 Setting text vertically
      2m 51s
    79. 078 Achieving a developing Polaroid effect
      3m 38s
    80. 079 Creating ornamental frames
      5m 54s
    81. 080 Framing photos in letters
      4m 19s
    82. 081 Creating effects with paragraph rules
      3m 30s
    83. 082 Putting curved shadows on paper
      2m 40s
    84. 083 Building a puzzle
      2m 16s
    85. 084 Applying a gradient to text
      2m 2s
    86. 085 Creating a theater marquee
      4m 38s
    87. 086 Centering type on a curve
      2m 33s
    88. 087 Creating looks without fill
      2m 31s
    89. 088 Creating spiral patters from random lines
      3m 11s
    90. 089 Creating highlights at top and bottom
      3m 24s
    91. 090 Combining stroke styles
      2m 11s
    92. 091 Making a bottle cap
      1m 47s
    93. 092 Creating a 3D bevel effect behind a cover
      3m 30s
    94. 094 Making trading cards
      4m 43s
    95. 093 Creating custom frames
      2m 11s
    96. 095 Revolving an item around an object
      2m 44s
    97. 096 Creating old-fashioned spotlights
      2m 12s
    98. 097 Creating a rust effect
      1m 44s
    99. 098 Creating sparkle
      1m 54s
    100. 099 Double beveling text
      2m 24s
    101. 100 Creating a 3D pocket with bevel and gradient
      3m 2s
    102. 101 Creating metallic text
      3m 7s
    103. 102 Creating stained glass
      2m 53s
    104. 103 Bobbling a photograph
      4m 47s
    105. 104 Creating a lighted sign
      3m 9s
    106. 105 Creating a blue ribbon NEW
      12m 58s
    107. 106 Putting items on a shelf NEW
      6m 11s
    108. 107 Creating a shredded-document effect NEW
      4m 12s
    109. 108 Simulating a train-station display board NEW
      9m 54s

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