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- View Offline
- Why spot colors are necessary
- Making a decision between spot and process colors
- Choosing a spot color
- Understanding the effects of stock on color
- Printing spot colors digitally
- Using varnishes
- Creating a multi-tone image in Photoshop
- Adding Pantone color swatches to Illustrator
- Creating spot varnishes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
- Using preflight profiles in Acrobat
Skill Level Intermediate
This is part of a larger project that we're doing for Roux Academy, and the entire project is supposed to print in two colors, PANTONE 187 and black. And, this PDF that I've just received doesn't look quite right. You'll notice that the word Graphic is a little brighter than the other text, and the duotone of the photographer doesn't look right either, so I'm going to find out what's really going on. And for that I need the Print Production tools. When I click Tools and wake up the Tools pane, that doesn't show up by default. You have to go and find it, and you do that by clicking on this little icon at the upper right, and then choosing Print Production.
Now, you know that there is a limit to what you can fix in a PDF, but this is something I probably can fix. First of all, I need to find out exactly the nature of the problem. When I click Output Preview, my suspicions are confirmed. I have three spot colors where I really ought to just have 187. So let's find out what's going on where. I'm going to turn off my Process Plates, and then one by one, I'm going to check to see which components use which colors. So 187 is my correct color, well at least, most of my components use that 185 for the word graphic, that's why it looks so much brighter, and the 202 has been used in the Duo Tone for the photographer.
This is one of those problems that I actually can fix by using Ink Manager. And if you're an InDesign user, that rings a bell with you, you might have used Ink Manager in InDesign, and it works just the same here in Acrobat. Although, I will point out that on the Mac, there's a little bug. You had a little idea of what 187 and 185 and 202 look like now, but you notice this little set of rectangles doesn't look right. It's just one of those things. It's a bug in Acrobat 10 Pro and Acrobat 11 Pro on the Mac. But we're working from the number anyway so, you know what? We'll just ignore that.
So I want everything that uses 185 to actually image on the 187 plate. And when I select 185, you can see that the rest of the dialog wakes up. And I'm going to use what Ink Manager calls Ink Aliasing. I'm going to tell everything that's currently 185, go out the door on the 187 plate. And you can see the little arrow that confirms that it's going to do that. Anything that's 202 is also going to go out on the 187 plate. When I click OK, it looks like everything's just fine. And you can see now, it's been consolidated into just the one spot color.
If I turn off that color, everything travels together, that's great. But watch what happens when I close out Print Preview. Well now it's back to the way it was. What does this mean? Well, this is just one of those things. Ink Manager, as it is in InDesign is a non-destructive process. Acrobat's thinking is, well, if you image directly out of Acrobat, I'll fix this on the way out the door. But we almost never work that way. This PDF is actually going to go into an imposition program. And it's going to ignore that, it's not going to see that set of instructions. Only Acrobat sees that and exercises it.
So what we have to do to sort bake that Ink Manager instruction is use Convert Colors. What you do is chose Preserve, because you want to preserve what's in there, but down at the bottom, and this is something that's easy to overlook. It does recognize what I've asked it to do in Ink Manager. So I check preserve to make sure that it doesn't convert any spot content to process. I'm going to click OK. I get this little message, and there's a lot of stuff that you can do in Acrobat for which, you're not going to have an Undo, at least it's polite enough to tell you.
And in this case, I don't want an undo, I want it to fix it. So I'm going to choose Yes. I'm going to double check, and back there, you can see that everything looks okay. When I turn off the Spot Plates, everything travels together, and when I close Output Preview, look the colors have really been converted. So if you have this kind of a problem, this will actually fix it. This PDF is actually safe to send on down the line. It will image correctly. It will just generate that one Spot Plate and black. You know that there's some things that you can't fix, but this is one of the things you can.
But, do remember that it takes two steps. You use Ink Manager to set up the instructions how you want Acrobat to handle those colors. And then you bake it in, if you will, by using Convert Colors. So just remember the Print Production tools give you a lot of ability to fix problems with PDFs.