Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Discuss PDF Export and Print functionality of QuarkXPress 2015, 2016 & 2017, including PDF/X workflows

Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby nagarj » 24 Nov 2015, 15:54

Just upgraded from Quark 9 to 2015. Very unsettling to see Quark changing placed PDF's upon output to postscript or PDF.

Specifically, I place flat PDF's (no transparency, verified by Pitstop) into Quark. Then export to PDF (doesn't matter if direct or via .ps file). Resulting PDF shows radical changes in those PDF's, e.g., now they contain transparency, fonts changed to outlines. I have job settings at the default to output transparency natively (even though there isn't any).

In my previous workflow with Quark 9 set the same way, placed PDF's output unchanged, as they should be.

Anyone know what's going on?

Thanks.
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby MikeWenzloff » 28 Nov 2015, 08:45

Since I read your post I tried several PDFs, both actual work PDFs generated from a few applications and just some test PDFs generated from both QXP and ID where Acrobat does not report transparency and none of them exhibited the issues you report (neither added transparency and fonts converted to outlines).

Would it be possible for you to upload here or to dropbox.com a sample that exhibits these issues?

Thank you, Mike
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby nagarj » 29 Nov 2015, 09:08

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your interest in this problem, which is driving me nuts.

Here is a folder containing a Quark 2015 file, a PDF image file placed into the Quark file, and the resulting .ps file and .pdf file via Distiller. Quark output is set to preserve native transparency, color output as is.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uptcg6yenc13 ... TZh-a?dl=0

Pitstop reports one font and no transparency in the image file I placed into the Quark file. However the PDF output from Quark via .ps shows no fonts and transparency and obvious changes to the page structure. Very unsettling.

I also exported a Quark native PDF, with the same settings. In this case, again the resulting file has transparency and the artwork has obviously been substantially modified, though for some reason the font is now present.

Perhaps this reflects some underlying change in workflow between Quark 9 and Quark 2015?

Thanks for any ideas.

Bill
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby MikeWenzloff » 29 Nov 2015, 13:08

Hi Bill--thanks for the files.

While there are no items using transparency on the page, using Native Transparency when generating the PDF will declare there is transparency in the PDF even though there is none.

I walked the publication back to version 9 via exporting the layout to version 10 then in version 10, exporting the layout to version 9. Using Native Transparency in version 10 also produces a PDF that declares there is transparency where there is technically none.

Using Native Transparency in version 9 does indeed create a PDF that does not declare there is transparency. So the change came with version 10 or at some point in its revisions.

I do note that if a PDF is produced using a profile that does not allow transparency or otherwise not use the Native Transparency setting, then QXP 2015 does indeed not include transparency. So it appears that the mere use of the Native Transparency setting is at fault.

I think this should be rectified, but I don't think there is an issue per se in that if there is no transparency to actually flatten there should be no action taken on the PDF at the rip. But hey, I only send PDFs to the service bureaus, I don't deal with the actual printing.

I haven't gotten back emails from the print establishments I use indicating there is an issue. But then I only had used Native Transparency when trying to emulate a PDF/X-4 type of file from QXP. Else I would use one of the other PDF/X types and flatten/strip (or just flatten) the PDF.

So question, has this change caused any issues on your end?

Mike
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby UtahLlama » 30 Nov 2015, 05:13

If you set up a Pitstop Preflight to warn for Transparency you should be able to identify where it is on the pdf.
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby MikeWenzloff » 30 Nov 2015, 09:02

The transparency is used on the two blocks of text and on the main image background. It should not be there. All three are reported as soft masks.

I can place a single jpg on a page and if Native Transparency is used, then there is transparency.
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby nagarj » 30 Nov 2015, 10:27

Thank you, Mike, for reproducing the problem.

Yes, Quark's inexplicable alterations to placed PDF artwork have caused major problems here. Ad artwork, previously preflighted and approved to print, has been ruined upon output—IF Quark is set to export transparency natively. Here is an example:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kbbwf0ungozpl ... 6.pdf?dl=0

When you output it, look at the top type on the right—ruined if Quark is set for native transparency artwork, but fine if Quark is set to flatten transparency. Native transparency is the default now, and is course necessary for many workflows.

I do not think I can trust Quark 2015 for any further production work at this point. Why does it alter placed PDF's without warning, radically changing document structure and ruining artwork (we have multiple examples on the current project)?

Does anyone from Quark monitor this forum? I believe this is an urgent matter for them to explain and fix ASAP.

Thanks again,
Bill
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby MikeWenzloff » 30 Nov 2015, 12:59

Hi Bill,

Yes, QXP doesn't like that pattern-filled text, does it? I myself would have built that text differently--like I would just push the T to the right with excessive positive kerning--this shouldn't blow up like that. To me, the real solution is for PDF pass-through, which I do not believe Q yet does.

Once upon a time I would just flatten every PDF ad that came in no matter what I was using for layout. I still am mostly in that habit. However, while the issue with your last example (different issue than what started this thread) are resolved with such an approach, it shouldn't be necessary.

Quark personnel do read the forum, though they do not always respond to each thread.

Mike
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby nagarj » 30 Nov 2015, 14:34

Thanks again, Mike.

To me all this really is the same issue: Quark is fundamentally changing the structure of placed PDF files even when set to output color and transparency as is. Quark 9 never did that and we almost never had unexpected output of placed PDF files. On this job, first time using Quark 2015, we had numerous ruined PDF's upon output.

Something about the way Quark is reprocessing these PDF's is damaging some of them. Of course that's why it shouldn't reprocess them at all, but should either pass them through (via direct PDF output) or simply create straightforward .ps with no tricks (via .ps output).

This is a huge step backward and, without a fix or workaround, makes Quark 2015 unacceptable for professional work, here at least.

We also flatten everything before placement. That's what's so galling here: despite doing that Quark decides inexplicably to add transparency back, create outlines, and make other changes to already approved artwork, often incorrectly. We've found that some files with lots of Quark-created transparency don't flatten reliably, so for a quite a while now we've been exporting transparency natively and telling Distiller to pass that transparency through to PDF. No problems at all, until now.

Bill
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Re: Quark 2015 changing placed PDF's upon output

Postby nagarj » 01 Dec 2015, 17:31

To add insult to injury, I just tried exporting our current book-length project to .ps with Quark set to flatten transparency. It is impossible, I believe because the .ps file exceeds a Distiller 2 GB limit on PDF files. So as far as I can tell there is no way to output this project in one piece without enabling native transparency output and thereby corrupting a large number of the placed PDF files.

To add further insult, I have found no way to log in to the Quark support site to submit a ticket on this awful situation.

If someone from Quark follows this forum, please respond here. Unless we're missing something, Quark 2015 has an unacceptable problem here. The sample files I've linked to demonstrate the problems.
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