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Old 02-08-2009, 10:50 AM   #1
Chris C
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Default PDF's with spot colors

I work for a printing company that uses Indesign direct to plates with every imaginable input source, including e-mailed PDF's from customers. Our CMYK and spot color work are different departments and I handle spot colors.

We drop the PDF's on the Indesign page, and check for proper spot color assignment. Many of them are CMYK, which we can print composite if they're one color jobs, but if there are more colors, we color break them in Photoshop and make tiffs. This can create trapping problems, and screens look better when the PDF is used.

Is the only solution for this the source application that makes the PDF? It seems to me that the customers have to be involved by either sending us PDF's with spot colors, or source files. Is there anything I can do with these CMYK PDF's, or am I really stuck as I suspect?
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:22 AM   #2
don Arnoldy
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Is the only solution for this the source application that makes the PDF? It seems to me that the customers have to be involved by either sending us PDF's with spot colors, or source files. Is there anything I can do with these CMYK PDF's, or am I really stuck as I suspect?
Having the files properly-created in the first place is the only sure way.

If you were working with single-page PDFs that contain vector objects, you could use Illustrator to go in and replace the process mix with spot color. This would be easy if the file contained a limited number of colors/tints. If the file contained lots of different tints or gradients, then the task would become unmanageable.

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Old 02-08-2009, 12:11 PM   #3
Chris C
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Thanks don. I'll try to get them to send me the original application files if they need a spot color fix.

Forgive my ignorance, I'm an old light table and film guy, how do I check for vector objects?
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:26 PM   #4
Howard Allen
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how do I check for vector objects?
Open the PDF in Illustrator. If the graphic objects show up as individually selectable, scalable objects (typically lines, circles, text, bezier curves, etc.) you should be able to change the stroke and/or fill colours as you see fit. Sometimes you might have to ungroup them, first.

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Old 02-09-2009, 12:53 AM   #5
don Arnoldy
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I'm an old light table and film guy
As are most of us here!

Vector objects are shapes that have a stroke and/or fill assigned--what Illustrator make. This is opposed to raster objects, that are a sequence of dots--What photoshop makes.

   
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:59 PM   #6
PeterArnel
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Chris - http://www.gwg.org/- It may seem a bit "nerdie" but I think it is a must for printers

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:41 AM   #7
Chris C
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I appreciate the tips and the link. This has been helpful, though I'm just scratching the surface.

Thanks, all.
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