Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings

From: InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings

As we saw in the InDesign Essential Training title, whenever you have transparency in your documents, it has to get flattened somewhere along the line. In a best-case scenario, you could export an unflattened PDF file, like a PDF/X-4 file, and send that directly to a printer's RIP. This is how the Adobe PDF print engine works, and it's great. The RIP does the flattening and we humans never have to think about it again. But the vast majority of printers on the planet don't support this yet. So we are back to square one. It's got to get flattened somewhere. If you are exporting Acrobat 4 file, like a PDF/ X-1a or PDF/X-3, or you are printing directly from InDesign's print dialog box, or you are making EPS file, then InDesign is doing the flattening. In the majority of cases you could just choose the High Resolution flattener, and you are good to go. But some output providers will want to create there own custom flattener settings for their own particular devices, and there are even some good reasons for designers to sometimes make custom settings. So let's see how it's done. I'll go to the Edit menu, and choose Transparency Flattener Presets. Then I'll pick one of the Presets, the one that I want to base my New Preset on and I'll click New. I am going to make three custom flattener presets just so you get an idea of how this all works.

Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings

As we saw in the InDesign Essential Training title, whenever you have transparency in your documents, it has to get flattened somewhere along the line. In a best-case scenario, you could export an unflattened PDF file, like a PDF/X-4 file, and send that directly to a printer's RIP. This is how the Adobe PDF print engine works, and it's great. The RIP does the flattening and we humans never have to think about it again. But the vast majority of printers on the planet don't support this yet. So we are back to square one. It's got to get flattened somewhere. If you are exporting Acrobat 4 file, like a PDF/ X-1a or PDF/X-3, or you are printing directly from InDesign's print dialog box, or you are making EPS file, then InDesign is doing the flattening. In the majority of cases you could just choose the High Resolution flattener, and you are good to go. But some output providers will want to create there own custom flattener settings for their own particular devices, and there are even some good reasons for designers to sometimes make custom settings. So let's see how it's done. I'll go to the Edit menu, and choose Transparency Flattener Presets. Then I'll pick one of the Presets, the one that I want to base my New Preset on and I'll click New. I am going to make three custom flattener presets just so you get an idea of how this all works.

The first think I do is I adjust the Raster/Vector Balance. If I move the slider to the left, it means more stuff is going to get rasterized. If I move it all the way to the right, it means InDesign is going to try as hard as it possibly can to make sure all Vector objects stay as Vector objects. So all my type will stay as type and so on. For high quality output, I really want Vectors to be all the way at a 100. But what if some Vector object, or a graphic, or text does need to get rasterized? Turned into pixel. That's what rasterize mean. Turned into pixels.

Do we want it at 1200 ppi, or maybe even higher? I am going to set this at 2400 ppi, which means really high resolution graphics, and we'll definitely not see a jaggy edge around the corner. The Gradient and Mesh Resolution setting has to do with how will the flattener handle things like Gaussian Blurs, or drop shadows, or anything that's blurry. 300 is really too high for a blur. I mean there is no detail in a blur. You don't need anything that high. I am going to change this to maybe 200. You could probably even go lower to 150 if you want. But let's just set that to 200. I'll leave the other settings alone for right now, and I am just going to give this a name. I am going to call this High, High, High res flattening.

Basically I'll use that when I really want super high resolution. Let's go ahead and click OK, and I am going to go back and create a new one. This one is going to convert all the text to outlines, and some printers just really want you to send them PDFs where all the text is converted to outlines. I mentioned in an earlier movie that you don't want to use to create outlines feature to convert your text outlines, because it's a bunch of stuff that will get lost in the process. Instead, use a Transparency Flattener Preset, and here's what you do. I am just going to call this one, convert all text to outlines, and I am going to turn on the Convert All Text to Outlines check box.

When that's on, any spread in the document that has any transparency will automatically have all the text converted to outlines. I don't have to do anything special myself. It will happen automatically when I flatten the document. I am not going to turn on Convert All Strokes to Outlines, because I don't want just regular stroked objects to be converted. I don't care about that, it's already stroked. So I'll leave that one turned off. Let's go ahead and click OK, and make one more. Now this one is going to be based on the low resolution, and it's actually going to be something that rasterizes everything. I am going to call this, Turn it all to Pixels, all right? And I am going to set my Raster Vector Balance all the way to the left.

This is basically going to rasterize everything. Turn everything into a bitmapped image. Now I can control the Line Art, and the Gradient and Mesh Resolution for those objects, and I probably need this to be a little bit higher, maybe 600 pixels per inch. Not too high because the PDF would get way, way, way too big. But I'll set this to about 600, and the Gradient and Mesh Resolution 144 ppi is just fine. Click OK, and InDesign warns me that if I rasterize the entire page of the output files, the PDF files, it might be really, really huge, so do you really want to that? Yes, I really, really want to do that. I'll click OK, and I am going to click OK again, and I now have three Transparency Flattener Presets that I can use whenever I make an EPS, PDF, or print directly out of InDesign.

Let's check one of them out in the Flattener Preview panel here. I am going to set my highlight to All Outlined Text. I am going to find out what gets outlined, what is going to be converted to outlines when I use a particular Flattener Preset. Click Refresh, and I can say, nothing is red, so nothing is being converted to outlines. But if I change my presets to one of the presets that I just created. For example, Convert All Text Outlines, well, then I click Refresh and I can see, there we go, all the text has been converted to outlines. So it worked, it's terrific.

Now let me show you one other flattening feature that you should know about, and that's in the PAGES panel. Let's go ahead and close this panel here. In the PAGES panel I can select a page or spread, and then go to the flyout menu, and at the very bottom of this menu, there is something called Spread Flattening. Now you might want to use this if you are a print provider. For example, and you are having trouble printing one page in a document, and you think I had something to do with the Transparency Flattening for that spread. So you can go over here and choose None (Ignore Transparency) and it basically turns off transparency for that one spread. It's rare that you would need that, but it can be a nice troubleshooting technique.

Another option here is Custom and Custom actually lets you dial in a specific custom spread flattener just for this spread, just this page here. So I could say I don't care if everything is Vectors, give it a little bit more wiggle room here, bring it down little bit. Or maybe I really care that it's Vectors, but I want to have Higher Res, or Gradient and Mesh or Lower Res, or whatever you want here, or on this page convert everything to outlines. You have choices here and it will only apply to this one page. Ultimately it's pretty rare that you need to worry about making a custom transparency flattener setting, but isn't it cool that the folks at Adobe opened this black box up and let you tweak it in so many ways?

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics
InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

90 video lessons · 24833 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 25m 16s
    1. Reviewing Control panel shortcuts
      8m 34s
    2. Managing panels
      6m 14s
    3. Letting InDesign do the math
      2m 52s
    4. Using Selection tool clicks
      1m 39s
    5. Using Quick Apply shortcuts
      3m 2s
    6. Setting up context shortcuts
      2m 55s
  3. 23m 51s
    1. Using column guides
      3m 42s
    2. Formatting and positioning guides
      5m 15s
    3. Setting first baseline options
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Document grid
      3m 13s
    5. Setting bleeds
      3m 3s
    6. Using slugs
      3m 8s
  4. 48m 2s
    1. Shuffling pages (or not)
      2m 47s
    2. Scaling objects to a specific size
      2m 32s
    3. Aligning objects to a page
      4m 41s
    4. Using advanced libraries
      4m 5s
    5. Using advanced anchored objects
      11m 21s
    6. Setting non-printing objects
      3m 10s
    7. Creating notes
      5m 23s
    8. Using Data Merge
      10m 41s
    9. Creating templates
      3m 22s
  5. 39m 32s
    1. Creating polygons and starbursts
      2m 35s
    2. Setting custom stroke styles
      5m 15s
    3. Using advanced effects
      8m 46s
    4. Making masks in InDesign
      4m 10s
    5. Integrating InDesign and Illustrator
      4m 59s
    6. Setting compound paths
      5m 4s
    7. Using advanced clipping paths
      6m 6s
    8. Using advanced image transparency
      2m 37s
  6. 55m 26s
    1. Using advanced text formatting
      5m 37s
    2. Using other languages
      4m 22s
    3. Setting advanced paragraph numbering
      3m 12s
    4. Using GREP to find/change
      6m 54s
    5. Managing glyphs
      5m 6s
    6. Finding and changing glyphs
      2m 39s
    7. Adding footnotes
      7m 57s
    8. Creating outlines
      3m 39s
    9. Setting conditional text
      9m 16s
    10. Creating cross-references
      6m 44s
  7. 33m 3s
    1. Advanced text importing
      7m 49s
    2. Using Apply Next Style
      5m 4s
    3. Advanced text styling
      6m 9s
    4. Setting load styles
      2m 58s
    5. Linking to text files on disk
      4m 1s
    6. Understanding GREP styles
      7m 2s
  8. 1h 4m
    1. Building a multi-document book
      4m 42s
    2. Setting page numbering across books
      7m 53s
    3. Setting chapter numbering
      6m 7s
    4. Using the Section Marker feature
      6m 53s
    5. Creating "Continued On..." numbers
      4m 44s
    6. Synchronizing documents in a book
      5m 41s
    7. Creating a table of contents
      11m 24s
    8. Indexing documents
      7m 24s
    9. Generating an index
      6m 47s
    10. Printing or exporting a book
      3m 10s
  9. 46m 4s
    1. Creating hyperlinks
      12m 53s
    2. Setting bookmarks
      6m 7s
    3. Creating buttons
      11m 16s
    4. Making movies
      8m 24s
    5. Creating sounds
      4m 51s
    6. Setting page transitions
      2m 33s
  10. 25m 59s
    1. Setting up swatch and style defaults
      3m 24s
    2. Using mixed ink colors
      6m 16s
    3. Working with duotones
      4m 23s
    4. Overprinting
      2m 10s
    5. Ink aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Using the Kuler panel
      4m 56s
  11. 50m 27s
    1. Creating the transparency blend space
      4m 6s
    2. Understanding InDesign color settings
      9m 8s
    3. Assign Profile and Convert to Profile
      3m 26s
    4. Working with RGB images
      7m 54s
    5. Working with CMYK images
      6m 28s
    6. Soft-proofing
      5m 18s
    7. Managing color at print time
      7m 25s
    8. Managing color in a PDF export
      6m 42s
  12. 42m 1s
    1. Embedding preflight profiles
      5m 1s
    2. Using the Transparency Flattener preview
      3m 23s
    3. Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings
      6m 30s
    4. Setting print presets
      3m 35s
    5. Setting PDF presets
      3m 21s
    6. Exporting to XHTML
      7m 42s
    7. Exporting to SWF
      6m 45s
    8. Exporting to XFL
      5m 44s
  13. 25m 58s
    1. Understanding XML and InDesign
      6m 51s
    2. Structuring InDesign content
      4m 17s
    3. Importing XML
      6m 57s
    4. Exporting to XML
      7m 53s
  14. 34s
    1. Goodbye
      34s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.