Quark and damn transparency!

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by MacBoobsPro, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I've asked this before but never really got a definitive answer and because I am determined to figure this out I am asking again in the hope that someone knows why Quark is so crap at working with transparency and how the hell you actually get it to work.

    So from the attached you will see a screen shot of what I want to achieve. i.e. a front cover with an image, some type and a 'free copy' sticker in the top right corner.

    Because I am limited to 3 colours I have created the sticker using 3 elements. The black bits (shadows) the red bits and a white element all using greyscale tiffs. Then simply added some text over it to create the illusion of a sticker.

    The problem comes when I try to proof the entire piece that as you can see from the photo taken from my phone that the main image disappears and that the sticker now has a weird outline which the background image seems to appear inside of.

    If I move the sticker so it encroaches the Gloucester text the red part of the sticker turns black and I still have no main image.

    I believe its down to the transparent aspect of some of the sticker elements but being greyscale tiffs why should it be any different to a bitmap tiff?

    What the hell is going on?

    I tried using an AI eps but I couldnt get rid of the white background no matter what I did and I know how to use Quark.

    I cant use indesign so dont recommend it. I mean cant as in I would have to redesign 10 years worth of quark docs to indesign not that I dont know how to use it, i do.

    This is quickly worded as im at work and probably not best described but hopefully someone will understand. :)

    Please help I'm tearing my hair out.

    Attached Files:

  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    What version of Quark are you using?

    And oh boy. It's a bit of a roundabout way to achieve what you want, layering and aligning all these greyscale TIFFs and colouring them up in luvverly Quark. I would have done the sticker element within Illustrator like a shot, there's no reason why an eps should have a white background to it and you can proof and check the separations and trapping for it before you even bring it into layout. It is the best way and to be honest, it would be far easier to walk you through your eps problems than this Quark construction.

    What's more, using transparency effects within a spot colour job is not recommended. They behave in unpredictable ways and your proofer is trying to interpret these transparencies interacting with spot colours.

    Anyway, with this sort of weird :D working, what you have to do is to not worry about transparency at first, it's two things: greyscale TIFFs have a solid background that needs checking, and trapping of the contents of the box, the box itself multiplied by three for each of your components.

    Also, to make things easier, there's no reason why the white type and solid red need to be greyscale tiffs. In fact, if you're going to PDF before press, if you're not careful with your PDF output, the white type will be downsampled to 300ppi meaning lack of crispness. You can make the red solid, white background and the white type bitmappped TIFFs at 1200ppi, they'll stay sharp through your standard press PDF output settings whether through Distiller or Jaws engine within Quark.

    For a complete transparency it's better to set the colour to 0% and then change the trapping for that element to overprint.

    If I had to do the job like this, this is what I'd do:

    1. Get everything else perfect, background image, title and strap. Make sure that title and strap are knocking out in the Trapping palette. Lock that layer.

    2. Create a new layer. Make the white background a 1200ppi bitmap tiff. Introduce and position the lowest element of the sticker in the stacking order which is the white background. Colour the content white. Make sure the content of the box is set to knockout and the background set to overprint. Then run out separations on a laser printer straight from Quark. Check that everything is as it should be. Lock that layer.

    4 etc. Import and place using the same routine for all the bitmap components. Check seps either by laser or by PDF at each stage.

    I know I've missed something here while trying to walk this through in my head. I'm not in Quark at the mo and I can't be arsed to create standins for these components to test this out with.

    But I would never have gone this route in the first place. The way to do this is by making an two spot colour eps of the sticker in Illustrator. I'm not sure why you're having problems getting a transparent background but if time was of the absolute urgency, I'd put a clipping path or even tweak the auto-clipping with Quark around the sticker to deal with the background using brute force. Problem solved.
  3. MacBoobsPro thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I know exactly what you are saying about the layered Tiffs but I just could not get the Illustrator EPS to work either. No matter what I did it brought the white background with it and I just could not get rid of it (it shouldn't of been coming through in the first place).

    By the way I'm in Q7.31.

    The reason I ended up using layered Tiffs was because I wanted a nice blurred shadow instead of an abrupt line (clipping path). I'm a sucker for subtle touches to enhance my work. Its the attention to detail that people seem to like.

    You may recall I had to redesign an entire 400 image catalogue in InDesign after the proofing stage in Quark proved a nightmare because of this very same transparency reason. I find it funny that Quark has a 20 page PDF on how to avoid problems with transparencies, it basically says don't use them.

    I know I havent given it much time since I posted this but I have since gone and created the sticker in Quark using simple solid shapes and no transparencies. Because the sticker will be used quite small no one will really notice the crap solid black shadow instead of a nice blurry, transparent shadow. :eek:

    Quark really is pants these days and 8 looks no better.

    Thanks for your help again BV but I am giving up on Quark transparencies from now on. Unfortunately I cant quite do the same for Quark itself (just yet). ;)
  4. dmz macrumors regular


    Jan 29, 2007
    Quark Masks vs Transparency

    Greyscale or colour TIFFs are opaque, whether you set the background to None or a colour, unless you use a clipping mask - which is not the same as transparency. Transparency allows you to see through an image, whether the image is already clipped or not, at various opacities - from 100% to 0%. And, you're right, Quark will let you "colourize" a greyscale or binary TIFF file, even set the image and background colours to any colour you like - helpful for creating "false duotones".

    Binary TIFFs, like your 1200 dpi B/W hi-res scan are "transparent" (i.e. the "white" areas are "see-through") if the background is set to None, opaque if set to a colour, even White.

    EPS files are always "clear" of image except where you have drawn something or placed an image, that's why it is being recommended for the opaque elements you are trying to create. The "preview" of the EPS you place in Quark may appear to be opaque, but that's because it's only a low-resolution proxy of the actual EPS. If you were to print it, it would indeed be transparent, even though it shows up in Quark's preview as having a white background. Turning on Quark's HiRes preview will force Quark to re-render the file and you would be able to see the transparency. Again, the background of the box the EPS is placed in must be set to None for that to work.

    If I understand correctly what you're trying to do, then the previous recommendation still works - create the type/circles in Illustrator with the same-name spot-colours as your Quark file and save as an EPS, but create the drop shadow either, a) in the Photoshop image in the background, or b) in Quark by creating a round box with a fill and stroke of None behind your placed elements and add a drop shadow to it directly in Quark.

    I think you're confusing the difference between transparency and masking, and the importance of the order of layers and how various elements interact when overlapping. Also beware that PDF proofing, depending on your workflow, can be misleading. To be absolutely certain everything is going to print properly on press, and to help you understand what is truly "hitting the plate", you should check your work by printing a separation PDF - each colour plate prints as one page, and you can better understand where you're having problems. By the way, you can print them as right-reading positives - it's easier to visualize what's happening when you don't have to think in negative, wrong-reading format!

  5. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    I'm puzzled why the EPS won't work though. The white background shouldn't appear. Can't you use a circular box and a Quark drop shadow?

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