adobe cs — colour #02

adobe cs — colour #01 started looking at colour management in adobe creative suite — specifically, how images no longer need to be converted to cmyk in photoshop. this post continues the indoctrination — colour management can be left to InDesign.

HOWEVER, you really need to get (and keep) your shit together.

let’s continue by following two documents converted to two different common colour profiles — fogra 27 and web swop. again, we are using the exact same rgb psd file in those two documents :
screen grab of two documents showing different breakdowns for red and black
the separations preview panels show the breakdowns for the red text and the black background for both documents (as indicated by the white circles).

now, when you export to PDF you get a few different options for colour conversion — no colour conversion, convert to destination, and convert to destination (preserve numbers) :
screen grab of export PDF dialog showing colour conversion options

if you choose no colour conversion for either of those documents you’ll get exactly the same numbers in the PDFs as are shown in the separations preview panels above. what does this mean? it means that if you want to control your output you need to make a decision about which profile to use for your InDesign files. because images will produce significantly different results under different export conditions and unless you take control, you’ve got no idea what’s going to happen to your imported images once it’s time to export for print.

if you take either of those documents and export it to the opposite profile using convert to destination (preserve numbers). you’ll get exactly the numbers of the opposite profile. that is, if you take the fogra document and export it to swop using “preserve numbers” you’ll get the swop numbers in your pdf. however, if you use convert to destination without the preserve numbers option you’ll get a different set of numbers entirely — neither the swop nor the fogra ones.

what does THAT mean? it means, again, the choices you make (or fail to make) have an impact on your final output — both your indesign profiles and your export protocol will affect the finished product and if they don’t match, the effect is going to be unpredictable. or, more simply, if you don’t take control of your workflow you’re going to get unexpected results.

so, you have to get your shit together when it comes to colour management — don’t get pushed around by the software — you have to be the one doing the pushing.

ok, so that’s a demonstration of the problem. next up we’ll start looking at the solution.

• related post : InDesign tip : #24 : checking the black plate in separations preview.
• related post : adobe cs — colour #01 : you don’t need to convert images to cmyk.
• related post : adobe cs — colour #03 : what’s the best colour profile?.

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