Transparent PDF background in inDesign

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by BillyBobBongo, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. BillyBobBongo, Sep 9, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011

    BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #1
    Hey there,

    I'm producing something in inDesign, normally I have a coloured background, but this time I want the PDF when exported to have a transparent background.
    The problem is I always get a white background after exporting. I've checked my imported graphics and they are all transparent still (where necessary).

    Am I missing a setting somewhere, is it it just not possible to push out a PDF with a transparent background in inDesign? :confused:

    Edit: I've actually managed to get it transparent by using the High Quality Print settings. The only problem is that I have to send the file as PDF/X-1a:2001 which defaults back to Acrobat 4 thereby buggering up my transparency once more. Anyone know a way around for this? I have to use PDF/X-1a:2001 otherwise my files are rejected by the upload programs used by the printers etc.
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #2
    The most certain way to generate a PDF file is to first print your document as a PostScript file and then to use Adobe Distiller to generate the PDF from the PostScript file. Distiller can produce a PDF/X-1a:2001 format PDF directly. Other methods of generating PDFs tend to produce minor glitches in my experience.
     
  3. BillyBobBongo thread starter macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #3
    Thanks for the advice, I'll run through that with my file when I'm back in the office on Monday! :D
     
  4. jamietshaw macrumors member

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    #4
    I’m pretty sure that:
    • Text always has a transparent background (unless over the top of a coloured item, of course)
    • Images with transparent backgrounds will be given white backgrounds if transparency is flattened when making a PDF.

    I assume you’re talking about images. The PDF/X-1a:2001 standard does flatten transparency.

    Is this a problem though? In normal CMYK printing, white = no ink on none of the plates = transparency.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #5
    It is not a problem if the PDF is going directly to print. Although, he did not say how the PDF will be used, the OP left me with the impression that he wants to import the PDF into a document with a non-uniform background. If this is the case, then white and transparent are very different.
     
  6. BillyBobBongo thread starter macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #6
    Yes, this is the case. The image will be placed over a coloured background, of which I have no control or knowledge of. Therefore the image has to maintain transparency otherwise the white colour will override the background colour.

    I do however have another question.

    I've tried your steps and they work (not that I doubted you), however how can I can control the size of the document being created when I generate the postscript file. The only options that I have are for standard paper sizes and I'm unable to tell it to use the settings in the document itself. What am I doing wrong here?
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #7
    It would be better if you acquire a copy of the PPD file for the output device--typesetter, printer, whatever. Lacking that, then you may create a custom paper size that matches the paper on which your documents will be printed.

    Having said that, if you are sending this document out to be printed, then you need to work closely with the print shop. By "working closely," I don't mean sending it a PostScript file that you think is the right size. Printing on professional equipment is an art, not just another node in your workflow. The staff in these shops often have to completely recreate jobs submitted to them. This is because a PostScript file that prints just fine on a PostScript laser printer may not work on the professional equipment used by the shop.

    So, if indeed your job will be sent to a print shop, then you need to call or email the staff at the shop. Ask them how to prepare the job, and then do exactly what they say.
     
  8. BillyBobBongo thread starter macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #8
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, MisterMe. It's appreciated.
     
  9. RebelScum macrumors 6502

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    #9
    PDF is an imperfect format for delivery and workflow that is not locked when you release it. It's problematic and anything but user friendly. X1A is standardized because it's written for print. Personally I would avoid it in this case.

    I would get in touch with your client and ask if it HAS to be a PDF or if you can supply an .EPS instead (assuming you want everything to stay vector. If not, see if you can supply a .PNG.)

    My 2¢
     
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #10
    The OP's situation does not call for "Fun with Formats." ESPF is a good format. My own experience with it, however, leaves me convinced that time has passed it by. Its biggest issue is finding the software tools that produce a preview so that I don't have to work in the blind with placed graphics. Several years ago, I gave up on EPSF, switched to PDF, and have not looked back. As for PNG, this raster graphics format is primarily intended to replace the GIF raster graphics format. It is not intended for printing.
     
  11. RebelScum macrumors 6502

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    #11
    If the PDF is going into a project with a non-uniform background, I'm assuming this isn't necessarily a print project. But it if is, then yes, agreed, png ain't the way to go.

    Being said

    PDF is a native EPS format anyway. So it shouldn't be an issue. Unless the end client is all thumbs.

    Fun with Formats is a cute saying tho.
     
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #12
    Um-m-m-m-m, no. PDF is an ASCII-only proper subset of PostScript. All PDF files are viewable in whichever viewer or editor on whichever platform is used to open them. EPSF, Encapsulated PostScript File, is a specially crafted PostScript file. EPSF (often shortened to EPS) files usually include a binary (non-ASCII) graphics preview. Unlike PDF, EPSF files are platform-dependent. For Windows-format EPSF, the preview is a TIFF or WMF file. For Mac-format EPSF, the file has a resource fork that includes a PICT preview file. EPSF files may also have no preview at all, which means that you must print your document to see the image.
     
  13. RebelScum macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I stopped reading right about there.

    However

    I made the mistake of confusing postscript with encapsulated post script.

    The shame.
     

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