[scribus] PDFX3, CMYK and opacity

Gregory Pittman gregp_ky at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 14 17:10:00 UTC 2012

On 02/14/2012 11:41 AM, JLuc wrote:
> Hello,
> I have been struggling for the last days with generating the right PDF
> for the big printer company that shall print it.
> I have accepted the fogra27 color profiles in the document settings.
> Fogra27 is also the color profile requested by the printer.
> The printer requests PDF X3.
> But when i set PDF output to be PDFX3, the "color" pane in "export to
> PDF" dialog
> becomes grayed out and inactive.
> As a consequence, I cannot choose anymore "printer" as a direction
> ("printer" means "CMYK").
> As a result, printer says "some pictures are CMYK and some are RGB in
> your file".
> That would probably lead to a color disaster.
> X3 is a subset of PDF 1.3 and "color" pane is well disabled with PDF1.3.
> So why is the "color" tab of "export to PDF" disabled
> when "PDFX3" is choosen ?
> And how to get a correct PDF ?
> This is the most crucial question i have now.
> Another problem / question i have is about opacity.
> The first time i sent a PDF of that file it was PDF1.4
> and there was a 70% opacity frame in it.
> I choosed 1.4 since opacity or transparency is not available before 1.4,
> but the printers cromalin (preprint trial) printed the 70% layer
> with a 0% opacity that is : it wasnt printed at all !
> So i decided to change the image so as to be able to include it with
> 100% opacity
> but that would not have been possible if i had lots of pictures with
> opacity.
> And what about backgrounds and texts ?
> When i ask a PDFX3, that is a subset of PDF1.3, how do Scribus treat
> opacity ?
> Does Scribus compute the equivalent colors points (rasterizing) at a
> 100% opacity ?
> Or it includes the opacity instruction as it is, without caring that PDFX3
> cannot handle this ?

Is this a problem with the PDFs or a problem with your printer?

When a PDF 1.4 doesn't show transparency, one has to wonder if the 
printer's software is handling it properly. (I am presuming you looked 
at your 1.4 in Adobe Reader to make sure the transparency was indeed 
there.) And if that's the case, then they may not be handling PDF/X-3 
properly either.

We have seen before situations where printers seem inflexible, perhaps 
related to licensing costs, and blame their customers for their own 


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