Colour Management and PDF Export

Discuss QuarkXPress color management functionality including DeviceN workflows

Colour Management and PDF Export

Postby alecchin » 17 Feb 2011, 02:14

Hi,I've been using Quark 6.5 for years and have finally upgraded to 8.5 for Mac and need some help with Colour Management and PDF exporting. I use to save a postscript file using Adobes virtual printer from Quark and then distill using Acrobat but because of moving to Quark 8 and upgrading to Snow Leopard I've lost that ability. I've been looking around at the resources available to work out the best way of exporting CMYK jobs for Litho print from Quark as press quality PDFs similar to the Adobe standard and become a bit confused as there seems mixed feelings. Firstly is Quarks built in export PDF function any good? In the past I was told it was the worst thing to use but now I've seen a lot of resources which seem to use it. Secondly, if I want to stick with a virtual printer how would I go about it?? I've read some resources which say you can still do it but not to let Acrobat Distiller embed any colour tags but I've always let it do this in the past without any issues, is this true?? In both cases whats the best practice for setting both up from start to finish (i.e.: all the Quark settings that need to be altered). Another issue is the colour management side. I've read a lot on this too and I'm not quite sure where Quark 8 takes it's colour management settings from when it produces its PDFs?? WIth Adobe products it's very clearly laid out but Quark seems to have so many custom settings for colour that it has become a confusing subject as to what settings control the colour for the screen or for what imbeds into a PDF. Finally, AsIs or DeviceN?? I've always used DeviceN with Quark 6.5 but there seems to be mixed messages telling me it's not the right way to go if I want to keep the ICC profiles from the embedded images and not let Quark strip them out or replace them. Is this correct and if I use AsIs will this keep the existing ICC profiles for imported graphics but still embed a ICC profile for the native colours used in Quark 8??Sounds like a lot of questions but there seems to be so many varied answers that its hard to find a definative solution so I hope someone can help me.Thanks in advance.Alec
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Colour Management and PDF Export

Postby max.peter » 17 Feb 2011, 06:00

First of all, congrats for upgrading.
For some years I was obliged to leave MacOS and to adopt Windows. So, certain color management setting specific to Snow Leopard are unknown to me.
Since Quark 6.5 a lot of things have changed in color management. First, I'd advise you to read the User guide, there's a chapter related to color management. From my experience, the resulting jobs made by XPress are as good as those made by Adobe softwares (and sometimes, even better).
Check the Window menu, there is a palette (Profile Information) concerning the color profiles of the images placed in your layout. You can manage them quite well.
Check also the settings in Edit > Color Setups and try each available option to see what's happening (I'm not able to tell you step by step, 'cause I don't know how you're working).
Check also View > Proof Output to manage how colors are shown on your screen.
The Export to PDF facility is very good. Export some layouts, then open the resulting PDF files in Acrobat and apply a Preflight.
You have two options in exporting to PDF (look in Edit > Preferences > Application > PDF and choose the option appropriate to your needs: exporting directly to PDF, or creating a PS file (which can be later converted to PDF via Adobe Distiller).
The AsIs or DeviceN options are related to the mode in which the process/spot colors are kept in the resuting file or during printing. You can realise what's all about exporting the same layout with different options, then opening the pdf's in Acrobat and examine them.
I've tried to answer to (all?) your questions. If you need further explanations, please let us know (there are other members better than me on this forum).
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Colour Management and PDF Export

Postby alecchin » 18 Feb 2011, 11:13

Thanks for the advice, it is a little vague, which I understand as you don't know my setup. I setup my PDFs generallu for CMYK output to Litho printers and need a generic setup using my calibrated monitor profile and profiles and profiles for the other elements using the standard Adobe Europe Prepress workflow. As for AsIs and DeviceN, I'm still a bit confused as I basically want to make sure my embedded tags, which are in the graphics, are taken through in to the final PDF and not striped out and replaced and that the native Quark colours are embedded with the tags setup in Quarks colour management. I use to use DeviceN but comments from other users say AsIs is the actual one to use as it keeps the tags but I thought DeviceN did this to so am not sure who is right. Most of my images are CMYK and in rare ocassion I do the odd 2 colour spot job but that is rare but would like to have either one setup which would work across the board or one for CMYK and one for spot colour.Is there anyone who could spread anymore light?Thanks.A
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Colour Management and PDF Export

Postby max.peter » 18 Feb 2011, 20:56

For a good output, the best thing is to have a word with your printer and to ask for their requirements. I've learned that each printer has his own rules.

If you need to maintain the color profiles of your pictures, you can also turn off color management in QXPress. But this depends also on how you're making the final pdf's (exporting from QXPRess, or printing to a ps file then distill it), because of the different steps for setting the preferences (only in QXPRess or both in QXP and Adobe Distiller).
The "AsIs" option can preserve the percentages of the colors (process and/or spot) with accuracy.
As I said in my precedent answer, you might want to try to make pdf's using different settings, then open each pdf in Acrobat Professional (I assume you have it if you're working for print) and examine them for fitting to your needs. This is the very best method of learning.
HTH
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Colour Management and PDF Export

Postby Glenn McDowall » 03 Mar 2011, 02:38

alecchin wrote:Hi,


I've been using Quark 6.5 for years and have finally upgraded to 8.5 for Mac and need some help with Colour Management and PDF exporting. I use to save a postscript file using Adobes virtual printer from Quark and then distill using Acrobat but because of moving to Quark 8 and upgrading to Snow Leopard I've lost that ability. I've been looking around at the resources available to work out the best way of exporting CMYK jobs for Litho print from Quark as press quality PDFs similar to the Adobe standard and become a bit confused as there seems mixed feelings. Firstly is Quarks built in export PDF function any good? In the past I was told it was the worst thing to use but now I've seen a lot of resources which seem to use it. Secondly, if I want to stick with a virtual printer how would I go about it?? I've read some resources which say you can still do it but not to let Acrobat Distiller embed any colour tags but I've always let it do this in the past without any issues, is this true?? In both cases whats the best practice for setting both up from start to finish (i.e.: all the Quark settings that need to be altered). Another issue is the colour management side. I've read a lot on this too and I'm not quite sure where Quark 8 takes it's colour management settings from when it produces its PDFs?? WIth Adobe products it's very clearly laid out but Quark seems to have so many custom settings for colour that it has become a confusing subject as to what settings control the colour for the screen or for what imbeds into a PDF. Finally, AsIs or DeviceN?? I've always used DeviceN with Quark 6.5 but there seems to be mixed messages telling me it's not the right way to go if I want to keep the ICC profiles from the embedded images and not let Quark strip them out or replace them. Is this correct and if I use AsIs will this keep the existing ICC profiles for imported graphics but still embed a ICC profile for the native colours used in Quark 8??
Alec

Quark's built in Export to PDF is good in most cases, especially with version 8.1 and 8.5 it offers native transparency in PDFs. It does this by writing special code into the Postscript file called PDFMarks, which either JAWS (which is built into Quark) or Distiller will recognize and process when making a PDF. If you use Export but set Quark's Prefs to write a postscript for later Distilling (and you need to text Edit a Distiller Setting to allow Transparency) you can drag the postscript file over Distiller the old fashioned way. Distiller and JAWS handle some color management differently so its worthwhile knowing both methods.
Quark 6 I'd recommend [b]DeviceN but Quark7 & 8 I'd choose AsIs. My reasoning is that [b]AsIs with quark 6 used to give rgb Marks so it was a bit of a non starter for cmyk work. Quark7 tried to force [b]everything to DeviceN and combined with an [b]always on approach to color management it occasionally gave some weird results. [b]AsIs and Quark8 still are a long way from perfect in my opinion but its the best one to start with, my main dislike is that PANTONEs end up as Lab in PDF's and PANTONEs in placed EPS end up as something else in PDFs, quite often in the same PDF! If you use DeviceN (or as it's now called Composite CMYK and Spot) with quark 7 and 8 be aware that the cmyk is subject to the Quark Document's Color Management settings.
Quark (6 7 or 8) can not pass ICC profiles through to PDF. Furthermore postscript does not support ICC profiles so unless there is a future workaround using PDFMarks (which technically I'm unable to even say would be possible or not) as soon as the workflow hits the postscript stage (which it does in the background of Export to PDF) they have to be stripped or actioned. When you Export to PDF using InDesign there is no interim postscript stage so ICC's can be passed straight through.
Quark can set up an [b]Output Setup for [b]AsIs with [b]Use Device Independent Colour checked, which sounds like ICC and behaves a lot like ICC but it's not quite the same and some RIP's class objects with [b]Postscript Color Management(Quark converts ICC to this) as something different so you may get different colors in the end.
Quark does understand ICC profiles and can do a good conversion from one space to another it's just that you can't get precisely the same results as you can with the Adobe applications because it uses different CMM, its not particularly worse or better just different. If you are presented with documents with lots of placed RGB with different ICC's attached you could use quark to do the conversion to cmyk (you wouldn't select [b]AsIs) With InDesign you could do the conversion as you place or Export or pass the RGB & ICC through to PDF and do the conversion in Acrobat, you have the choice and you can get the same result because they share the same color management enines.I've still not seen a comprehensive guide on Color Management do's and don'ts from quark, we requested it on the forum with version7 and am still waiting.[:'(]
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