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A Designer's Guide to Transparency for Print Output, Adobe

A Designer's Guide to Transparency for Print Output, Adobe

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Published by Thomas Grant
Transparency features in Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 let designers and publishers easily create, display, import, export, and print transparency effects—drop shadows, feathering, blends, and layered see-through artwork. It’s easy to design transparent effects in Adobe Creative Suite 3 that print as intended—accurately, with minimal processing and press time.
Transparency features in Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 let designers and publishers easily create, display, import, export, and print transparency effects—drop shadows, feathering, blends, and layered see-through artwork. It’s easy to design transparent effects in Adobe Creative Suite 3 that print as intended—accurately, with minimal processing and press time.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Thomas Grant on May 20, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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ransparency eatures in Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 let designers and publisherseasily create, display, import, export, and print transparency eects—drop shadows,eathering, blends, and layered see-through artwork. It’s easy to design transparenteects in Adobe Creative Suite 3 that print as intended—accurately, with minimalprocessing and press time.Te transparency eatures built into Adobe Creative Suite oer these benets todesigners and publishers:Freedom to easily create transparency eects in Adobe® Illustrator® CS3 and Adobe®InDesign® CS3, including eects that blend multiple images or text with images.Ease o using transparency eects created in Adobe® Photoshop® CS3 with Illustrator CS3and InDesign CS3—all o which share similar transparency capabilities.A exible workow that allows working across CS3 components to create the desiredeect: Use Photoshop CS3 or Illustrator CS3 to create press-ready graphics withtransparency eects; import graphics generated by Photoshop CS3 or Illustrator CS3that include live transparency into InDesign CS3 layouts; or use the transparency eatures in InDesign CS3 to apply transparency eects to placed graphics or to nativeInDesign objects and control the output o graphics, type, and transparency eects.opics covered here include best practices or creating transparency eects inPhotoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3, InDesign CS3, and Adobe® Acrobat® 8.0 Proessional.Also included are suitable le ormats or saving, exporting, and printing transparency;relevant transparency issues and solutions; and how to prepare les or low-resolutionproong and high-resolution output, and or hando to a print service provider.
New transparency eatures in CS3
New in Illustrator CS3, creating a new print document automatically assigns to thedocument a high raster resolution o 300 ppi and the CMYK color mode, suitable or viewing and printing transparency eects, such as eathers and gradients.New in InDesign CS3, you can create eects that generate transparency—such asdirectional and gradient eathers—and set their blending modes and opacity. o createeects, use either the Object > Eects menu or the Eects panel (Window > Eects todisplay the panel, previously called the ransparency panel).
Customers o Creative Suite 3 and Adobe Acrobat 8 Proessional will soon be able totake advantage o print workow systems and RIPs powered by the Adobe Print Engine.Tis technology allows PDF documents and jobs to remain unconverted and independent o printing devices throughout a print workow. Te technology, or example, eliminatesthe need to atten transparent artwork and eects to ensure accurate and consistent reproduction o complex artwork, in all stages o the production process—print preview, proo, and print. For the rst time, prepress and print production tasks now can be doneusing the same technology in Adobe applications—such as PDF rendering libraries and color management systems. Licensed to Adobe print OEM partners and not availableo-the-shel, products based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine will be available beginning mid-2007. For more inormation on the Adobe PDF Print Engine, visit www.adobe.com/  products/pdprintengine/ .
A Designer’s Guide toTransparency or Print Output
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  Pn op
Introduction to transparency
ransparency is the simulation o show-through when objects in artwork overlap. Photoshop CS3,Illustrator CS3, InDesign CS3, and Acrobat 8 Proessional oer built-in transparency eaturesand controls or print and web publishing—a ar cry rom the early days o desktop publishingwhen only opaque objects could be created, or the early days o transparency-creation thatrequired “attening” Photoshop layers and transparency, exporting les to non-native ormats(EPS and IFF) that PostScript® printers could output, or costly manual prepress work.Adobe recommends keeping transparency live as long as possible. Flattening should be doneby your print service provider. o design with transparency most eectively, however, it helpsto understand how transparency will be handled at print time and how attening aectstransparency. For more inormation, see the
ransparency in Adobe® Applications: A Print Production Guide,
available atwww.adobe.com/designcenter/andwww.adobe.com/studio/print/. As a designer, your goal is to maximize the value o transparency and minimize any changes to aattened le, or the best quality print or web output. o help you achieve your goals, this guideincludes recommendations or printing to PostScript Level 2 and older RIPs and printing tech-nology, which require adjusting transparent objects to be able to print them. We recommend thatyou check with your print service provider about the technology used to image your les.
Technology advances in transparency support
It’s important to use the latest versions and updates o Adobe technology, as well as the mostcurrent version o PDF that allows or live (unattened) transparency, such as PDF 1.4 and later,PDF/X-4 or both. Newer technology has minimized handling o transparency at print time andprint issues—such as undesired color conversions o color and type, rasterization o elements,artiacts, slow print and processing time—not to mention time and materials wasted in trouble-shooting, proong, and reprinting in the production process.Other advances in technology that support transparency include:Support or transparent artwork and eects, as well as layers, is built into the PDF/X-4 standard,incorporated into the Adobe Print Engine—enabling technology available rom third-party  vendors. Print workow systems based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine will be able to processPDF/X-4 jobs natively, without attening artwork and converting the le to PostScript.Te CS3 product amily eatures improvements in the core technology that handles transparency across the CS3 components.PostScript Level 3 raster image processors (RIPs), with built in support or the PDF 1.4 speci-cation, can print transparency without requiring additional changes. Many newer desktoplaser printers are equipped with PostScript Level 3 RIPs, and many print shops are upgradingtheir RIPs used with imagesetters and platesetters as well—precluding the need or designersto adjust transparency in their artwork.But the issue o handling transparency at print time remains or PostScript Level 2 and olderRIPs. Because PostScript Level 2 and older RIPs don’t support transparency and require convert-ing vector art to rasters, Adobe applications include ways to “atten” or transorm transparentobjects into a orm suitable or these older RIPs. For these devices, it helps to understand howbest to create transparent artwork that will print as desired, and what happens when transparency is attened.
Photoshop has always been capable o printing artwork with transparency. A raster-based application, Photoshop’s eects are already in pixel orm that are easily digested by printer raster image processors (RIPs). Tese same pixel eects could be applied as transparency to vector art inIllustrator and InDesign, but printing them required converting vector art to rasters.
Create transparent overlays. A blend-ing mode is applied to the top object and an opacity value o 30% is applied to the bottom object. Add sof drop shadows.
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Creating transparency
Adobe publishing soware applies transparency in a number o dierent ways:In Illustrator or InDesign, lowering a selection’s opacity to less than 100% using theransparency panel.Using blending modes other than Normal on one or more overlapping objects (such as ordrop shadows) to vary how the colors o objects blend with the colors o underlying objects.With eathering that soens the edges o an object by smoothly ading the object rom opaqueto transparent over a specied distance, into the page background or any objects behind it.Feathering can also be used to create halo and backlighting eects.As a side eect o using live eects or styles and brushes that contain live transparency; or by incorporating previously created content that contains live transparency, either by directly importing it or via the Clipboard.
Transparency: live or attened
ransparent content in les can be either
(editable and interactive with underlying objects)or attened. Live transparency can be edited and can interact with underlying objects; attenedtransparency cannot be modied using the source application nor any application into whichthe le is imported. Flattening transparency accurately reproduces—by using opaque objects—the visual eect o transparency on printed output or in exported le ormats that don’t supportlive transparency.You can open les that contain live transparency, such as native Photoshop, native Illustrator,Illustrator EPS, native InDesign, and Adobe PDF 1.4 or later les, and edit the transparentobjects in the source application.ransparency is attened on exporting to a ormat that doesn’t support live transparency (suchas PDF 1.3, PostScript, and EPS) and on printing les. Formats that don’t support live transpar-ency include PostScript, EPS, Adobe PDF 1.3, DCS, GIF, JPEG, BMP, and IFF images createdprior to Photoshop 6.0. Because Acrobat Distiller consumes PostScript les as it creates a PDFles, PDF created by Acrobat Distiller® also don’t support live transparency. For best resultswhen designing with transparency, let your print service provider atten live transparency whenneeded. I your service provider is using the latest technologies that support PDF 1.4 and higher,or one that is based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine, attening may be unnecessary.At its simplest, attening converts all overlapping areas in a stack o transparent objects, plus alltext and graphics that interact with transparency, into opaque objects that retain the appearanceo the original transparent objects. Flattening cuts apart transparent art to represent overlappingareas as discrete pieces that are either vector objects or rasterized areas. As artwork becomesmore complex (mixing images, vectors, type, spot colors, overprinting, and so on), so does theattening and its results.
Te Illustrator EPS ormat is actually two concatenated les: a native Illustrator ormat that only Illustrator can open, and an EPS ormat that other applications can import or place. I youopen an Illustrator EPS le in Illustrator, all transparency remains live and editable. However, all other applications use the attened artwork in a placed Illustrator EPS le.
Feathering, 12 point sharpBlending mode (Screen)50% opacityDrop shadow

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