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Color conversion and ink management (Acrobat Pro)

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    11. Add comments to videos (Acrobat Pro)
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview (Acrobat Pro)
    2. Printer marks and hairlines (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Previewing output (Acrobat Pro)
    4. Transparency flattening (Acrobat Pro)
    5. Color conversion and ink management (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Trapping color (Acrobat Pro)
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files (Acrobat Pro)
    2. Preflight profiles (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Advanced preflight inspections (Acrobat Pro)
    4. Preflight reports (Acrobat Pro)
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Output intents in PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions (Acrobat Pro)
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    11. Preflight libraries (Acrobat Pro)
    12. Preflight variables (Acrobat Pro)
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management

About color conversion

Colors must often be converted when they are displayed on a monitor or sent to a printer. Conversion is necessary when the color models do not match (for example, when CMYK color is displayed on an RGB monitor, or when a document with images in an RGB color space is sent to a printer).

Acrobat uses the source color spaces of objects in a PDF to determine what (if any) color conversion is required, for example, from RGB to CMYK. For images and objects that contain embedded color profiles, Acrobat uses the information in the profile to manage the appearance of the color. For files that comply with the PDF/X family of standards, the OutputIntent is used to manage the colors in the file. Unmanaged colors, however, do not use profiles, so a profile must be temporarily used for conversion. The Color Management panel of the Preferences dialog box provides profiles for converting unmanaged colors. You can also select specific profiles based on local press conditions.

Convert Colors dialog box overview

If you output your PDF to a high-end device or incorporate it in a prepress workflow, you can convert color objects to CMYK or another color space. Unlike other Acrobat features that temporarily convert colors during printing or viewing, the Convert Colors feature changes the color values in the document. In the Convert Colors dialog box, you can convert the colors of a single page or an entire document.

Note:

The Convert Colors dialog box converts all colors in the document or all colors for specified object types to the destination color space. To convert only the colors of a selected object, use the Edit Object tool.

Convert Colors dialog box
Convert Colors dialog box

A. Conversion Attributes B. Document Colors 

Open the Convert Colors dialog box

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors.

Convert colors to a different color space

Depending on the color spaces you select, color conversion preserves, converts, or maps (aliases) color values from the source color space to the destination space as follows:

  • Objects with untagged (Device) data are converted to the destination space using the working space profiles as the source. This conversion is applied to all untagged spaces, RGB, CMYK and grayscale, whether stand-alone or as alternate value for spot colors.

  • Objects in device-independent color spaces (CalGray, CalRGB, or Lab) can be preserved or converted. If converted, Acrobat uses the device-independent object information.

  • Objects set in spot colors can be preserved, converted, or mapped (aliased) to any other ink present in the document. Objects include Separation, DeviceN, and NChannel color spaces. Spot colors can also be mapped to a CMYK process color, if the process color model of the destination space is CMYK. Spot colors mapped to other inks can be previewed in the Output Preview dialog box.

Note:

If you want to convert specific spot plates, use Ink Manager in combination with the Convert Colors tool. To convert only specific spot plates to process, map them to process in Ink Manager. Otherwise, all spots in the document are converted to process if you have selected Spot Color as the color type.

Convert document colors

  1. In the Convert Colors dialog box, select a conversion command. If the list contains no existing commands, click Add to add the default conversion command.

  2. Select the conversion command that you want to edit, and then select an option from the Matching Criteria:

    Object Type

    Specifies if you want to convert the colors for all objects or for a specific type of object within the document.

    Color Type

    Specifies the color space of the objects to be converted.

    Text Size

    Specifies the minimum and maximum text size for text objects to be converted.

  3. Select one of the available convert commands:

    Preserve

    Keeps objects in the selected color space when the document is output.

    Convert To Profile

    Uses the destination space profile to convert color objects to a common ICC profile for an output device.

    Decalibrate

    Removes embedded profiles from the matching objects.

  4. Specify the conversion profile.
  5. Select the rendering intent to use for conversion. The default is Use Document Intent. If you select any of the other intents, the selected intent overrides the document intent for the conversion.
  6. Select Embed to embed the profile. Selecting Embed tags all objects with the selected conversion profile. As an example, a document can contain five objects: one in grayscale and two each in the RGB and CMYK color spaces. In this case, you can embed a separate color profile to calibrate the color for each color space, for a total of three profiles. This process is useful if your RIP performs color management of PDFs or if you are sharing PDFs with other users.

  7. Select Convert Colors To Output Intent and specify the output intent profile to be used instead of the document’s current output intent. An output intent describes the color reproduction characteristics of a possible output device or production environment in which the document is printed. This choice is not available if the document does not have an output intent. (PDFs that don't comply with standards, such as PDF/X or PDf/A, often lack an output intent.)
  8. Specify the pages to convert.
  9. Select any additional conversion options:

    Preserve Black

    Preserves any black objects drawn in CMYK, RGB, or grayscale during conversion. This option prevents text in RGB black from being converted to rich black when converted to CMYK.

    Promote Gray To CMYK Black

    Converts device gray to CMYK.

    Preserve CMYK Primaries

    When transforming colors to prepare CMYK documents for a different target print profile, preserves primaries. For colors with just one colorant, Acrobat uses that colorant. For colors with more than one colorant, Acrobat finds the color with the smallest color difference.

  10. Click Document Colors to see a list of color spaces and spot colors in your document.

  11. Click Ink Manager to specify the ink settings and create an ink alias. If an alias is set up in the Ink Manager, the alias name is next to the Ink Manager button in the Convert Colors dialog box.
  12. Select a command from the list of Conversion Commands, and Move Up or Move Down to change the order of the conversion.
  13. To create a preset based on your settings, click Save Commands. You can later import the settings by clicking Load Commands.

Convert object colors

If certain objects in the PDF don’t match the color space of the document, you can use the Edit Object tool  to correct them. The Edit Object tool can change the color space of selected objects. For example, if you place an RGB image in a CMYK document, use this tool to change only the RGB image and not affect the other PDF colors. You can embed the profile with the object.

Note:

The Edit Object tool doesn’t let you change the output intent, because that affects the entire document.

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Edit Object.

  2. Select the objects you want to convert.
    Note:

    If you are having trouble selecting an object, try using the Content tab (View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content). The Content tab lists all the elements of the PDF in the order in which they appear on the page.  

  3. Right-click the selection, and choose Properties.

  4. Click the Color tab.

  5. From the Convert To menu, choose the profile that will be the new color space of the object. The current color space of a single object (or identical color spaces for multiple objects) appears at the top of the Color tab for reference. Different color spaces for multiple objects aren’t shown.
  6. From the Rendering Intent menu, choose the translation method appropriate for the object.
  7. (Optional) Select any of the following conversion options:

    Embed Profile

    Embeds the color profile with the object.

    Preserve Black

    Preserves any black objects drawn in CMYK, RGB, or grayscale during conversion. This option prevents text in RGB black from being converted to rich black when converted to CMYK.

    Promote Gray To CMYK Black

    Converts device gray to CMYK.

    Preserve CMYK Primaries

    When transforming colors to prepare CMYK documents for a different target print profile, preserves primaries. For colors with just one colorant, Acrobat uses that colorant. For colors with more than one colorant, Acrobat finds the color with the smallest color difference.

  8. Click Convert Colors.

Remove embedded profiles from individual objects

You can remove the embedded color profiles from images and other objects in the PDF. Without the embedded profile, Acrobat uses the working space profile of the object to determine how to handle the appearance of the color.

  1. Choose Tools > Print Production > Edit Object, and select the objects you want to convert.

  2. Right-click the selection, and choose Properties.

  3. Click the Color tab.

  4. Click Decalibrate Colors.

Ink Manager overview

The Ink Manager provides control over inks at output time. Changes you make using the Ink Manager affect the output, not how the colors are defined in the document.

Ink Manager options are especially useful for print service providers. For example, if a process job includes a spot color, a service provider can open the document and change the spot color to the equivalent CMYK process color. If a document contains two similar spot colors when only one is required, or if the same spot color has two different names, a service provider can map the two to a single alias.

In a trapping workflow, the Ink Manager lets you set the ink density for controlling when trapping takes place, and it lets you set the correct number and sequence of inks.

Note:

InDesign and Acrobat share the same Ink Manager technology. However, only InDesign has the Use Standard Lab Values For Spots option.

Ink Manager in Acrobat
Ink Manager

A. Process ink B. Aliased Spot ink C. Spot ink 

Open the Ink Manager in Acrobat

Do one of the following:

  • Choose Tools > Print Production > Ink Manager.
  • Choose File > Print, and click Advanced. In the Output panel of the Advanced Print Setup dialog box, click Ink Manager.
  • Choose File > Save As Other > More Options > Encapsulated PostScript or PostScript. Click Settings, and then click Ink Manager.

Separate spot colors as process

Using the Ink Manager, you can convert spot colors to process colors. When spot colors are converted to process color equivalents, they are printed as separations rather than on a single plate. Converting a spot color is useful if you’ve accidentally added a spot color to a process color document, or if the document contains more spot colors than are practical to print.

  1. In the Ink Manager, do one of the following:
    • To separate individual spot colors, click the ink-type icon to the left of the spot color or alias ed spot color. A process color icon appears. To change the color back to spot, click the icon again.

    • To separate all spot colors, select Convert All Spots To Process. The icons to the left of the spot colors change to process color icons. To restore the spot colors, deselect Convert All Spots To Process.

    Note:

    Selecting Convert All Spots To Process removes any ink aliases you’ve set up in the Ink Manager and can also affect overprinting and trapping settings in the document.

  2. (InDesign only) To use the Lab values of a spot color rather than CMYK definitions, choose Use Standard Lab Values For Spots.

Create an ink alias for a spot color

You can map a spot color to a different spot or process color by creating an alias. An alias is useful if a document contains two similar spot colors when only one is required, or if it contains too many spot colors. You can see the effects of ink aliasing in the printed output, and you see the effects onscreen if Overprint Preview mode is on.

  1. In the Ink Manager, select the spot color ink you want to create an alias for.
  2. Choose an option in the Ink Alias menu. The ink type icon and ink description change accordingly.
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