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Ben's picture
121 pencils

Online printer converts CMYK > RGB > CMYK

If the title alone gave you a good laugh then you will most definitely enjoy the following story. A while back I submitted some cards to be printed at overnightprints(dot)com. Keep in mind these cards were simple, all black type and a small color logo. I get them back fairly quickly. After closer review I notice that the black type is screened, therefore "fuzzy" to the average eye.

As you read the next part, keep in mind the file submitted was created using Indesign (CMYK obviously), output as postscript, distilled to a print compliant PDF, and Preflight'd using Pitstop.

I submit the following email:

...my clients have questioned the quality of the prints. They say that the black appears "fuzzy". After looking at the cards I have to agree. It looks as though the entire card was screened, including the type, and the blacks built with CMYK instead of a 100% black plate. Can you confirm whether screening type (black) is is a part of your printing process? or was this run a mistake? According to your website, your image setters are 4800 dpi. I have included a scan of one card. The top is simply a print off the laser printer. The bottom is the print from Overnight Prints. You can clearly see the screened type (black). According to your website, your image setters are 4800 dpi. I would assume that they can rip the black much cleaner than my office printer.

Print off our DocuColor

Print from overnightprints

I get the following response:

Please allow me to apologize for the error on your order. I have requested your files be reviewed. I have been informed that the file you submitted to us are in RGB Out-of-Gamut. Overnight prints prints in CMKY. When the RGB files are converted to CMKY there is a minor color shift. However, with RGB Out-of Gamut files there maybe a drastic color shift. In addition, The text and images are jagged when maybe a result of creating the file in a Publisher or Doc. Program then converting it to a pdf. We would suggest in the future to embed your files, as these files were not embedded...

I must have a different version of "Adobe" than what they are using because I can't for the life of me build a color in the CMYK color picker that gives me an out of gamut warning for RGB. I always thought it worked the other way around. When I go to Document Properties in Acrobat, it says "Application: Adobe InDesign CS3 (5.0.1)" instead of "Application: Publisher". On top of that, I must have forgotten to "embed" the "Publisher or Doc" files as well, and now my text is jagged.

After reading through the FAQ on their site, I think I may have found the problem.

For file submission via upload, we ask the files to be designed in CMYK, then saved as RGB for upload, as our system automatically converts the file back to CMYK for print. This will cause less color shift during print.

What is the world coming to when the printers tell you to save your CMYK file as RGB so that they can convert it back to CMYK to avoid color shift. Not only telling you, but taking your CMYK files and converting them to RGB automatically? Without you knowing?!? Thanks for the printing lesson overnightprints. So just to clarify: to ensure your text isn't jaggy, always remember to embed your Publisher or Doc files & convert your CMYK files to RGB so that they can be automatically converted back to CMYK, and always use a double space after a period when writing response emails to customers.

Just incase someone doesn't get my sarcasm throughout this entire story, I offer the following example. If an object has a fill of [ 0C 0M 0Y 100K ] and it is converted to RGB, then for some reason back to CMYK, the objects fill (based on what color profile you're using) will be approximately [ 70C 67M 64Y 73K ] thus producing a muddy faux black just like in the example photo above.

BENLEIVIAN.com

Commenting on this Forum topic is closed.

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

Yup! They do that.

The files are not being converted to RGB during upload as are leading you to believe. Judging from what you describe, I'm certain you submitted proper CMYK files.

What is most likely occurring is the files are being re-separated in an ICC Color Managed RIP that is creating the plates. There is little you can do about this unless the printer decides to spend some money/time creating a workflow that will keep black plate separations outside of CMY conversions.

This printer will send all files through the color managed RIP to ensure that every file will print properly on their presses without having to interface with the client to do so. No phone calls to say your TAC is over the limit. It's brillant actually...

I use overnightprints myself and consider the rich black type issue to be the price I pay for not having to pay much at all for business cards.

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

Ben's picture
121 pencils

THANK YOU. Your response is exactly what I was expecting the customer service email to contain. Instead it was a jumbled mess of buzz-words and incorrect information. Something I would expect form say.. a client?

As you said before, the price is right. But c'mon, at least put a footnote in there about refrying the files so that professionals like myself do not get surprised and get to hear "The type is fuzzy. I can do that on my inkjet" from our clients.

BENLEIVIAN.com

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Other threads on cb about this company:
http://creativebits.org/search/node/overnightprints.com

----
Powerpoint is not a design application
My latest web design work

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Online printers get A LOT of files from A LOT of different people with varying degrees of print savvyness (is that word?) Caoimhgin mention the TAC conformance which may be the reason this printer does this. We can no longer assume a file will be handled one way or another so rather than making assumptions, ask, even if you feel you shouldn't have to. Printers have a lot of ways to set up shop and we have very few standards to work with. Had that print been in better register the type might have been acceptable, but the CM&Y being on non-0,90or45 angles is what causes the saw-toothed edge.

Odds are the cmyk was converted to LAB and then back to cmyk, so coming from a 4 channel space to 3 channel and back to 4 channel the black purity can get lost. At printplace we do honor pure black channels. An incoming 50% black may scale to 53% (on purpose) but your black text will stay in tact.

You may or may not find me on the list again but feel free to contact me about color inquiries, especially involving sheet-fed printing and I'll be happy to help. It's eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6d%61%74%74%40%70%72%69%6e%74%70%6c%61%63%65%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%6d%61%74%74%40%70%72%69%6e%74%70%6c%61%63%65%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')). Sorry about your job!

Ben's picture
121 pencils

Thanks Matt, I put in a request for some samples.

BENLEIVIAN.com

DesignDaddy's picture
14 pencils

I'm 100% sure what you are experiencing is the direct result of your files being printed on a digital press such as an HP Indigo. This matches perfectly my experiences printing to a local HP Indigo digital press. It has absolutely nothing to do with color conversions or gamuts or any other such nonsense. It's just the state of digital printing at this time.

If I'm wrong here then there truly is something freaky going on.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Agreed. If an Indigo has process primaries, cmyk, that are different in hue, pigment load or transparency than of a typical sheetfed offset press (Gracol7 or SWOP), then sending the press optimized file to the Indigo would make an ugly, or incorrect, print. Think of it like this. 50% cyan is a quantity of ink and NOT a color. This quantity of ink will look different depending the substrate, output device, machine operator and the ink itself. Color management can force a color match despite these odds but the 4 color text is an artifact that comes with in this case. Some systems preserve black purity and some do not.

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

The state of digital printing today is ICC color management.

This means color gamut, color conversions, rendering intents and a whole slew of new concepts for both the designer and the prepress professional (but mostly for prepress).

If you are printing to a digital press, the CMYK numbers of your file will be changed in the RIP to best match the Lab values of your file (as defined by the INPUT profile) and it really can't work any other way as printplace points out.

In fact, even traditional 'hard dot' proofing systems sold today like the Kodak Approval are color managed through a RIP to meet GRACoL and SWOP standards.

It really is freaky, but its fascinating as well. What tends to give people pause is the fact that your entire computer system (MAC/PC) and all Adobe programs are color managed. No matter how many times you hit the 'don't color manage' button, it's color managing it anyway.

Knowing how to make this work for you instead of against you can be a difficult task but working with a printer that knows ICC will help keep you safe and sane.

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

Ben's picture
121 pencils

Just to clarify, the text on the card is [ 0C 0M 0Y 100K ]. It is not a rich black.

BENLEIVIAN.com

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Right Ben. You input 100K and multi-color text was in the output. If you made 100%k text in a cmyk document and converted to profile to any other cmyk device, the new file would have multi-color text... .nature of the beast.

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Right Ben. You input 100K and multi-color text was in the output. If you made 100%k text in a cmyk document and converted to profile to any other cmyk device, the new file would have multi-color text... .nature of the beast.

DesignDaddy's picture
14 pencils

I understand that it is a 0C 0M 0Y 100K. The Indigo I've printed to will still create a screen. I suppose it's the trade off for high speed plate-less digital printing. I'll admit the quality of full-color digital printing has improved in the last few years but it's got a way to go to beat the quality of offset litho printing'.

I'll let you know if I've got any c-m-y added to my blacks the next time I run a print.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

Ben's picture
121 pencils

Thanks, I used to work in a small print shop and we mainly printed 2-color work. I guess i'm just used to being in control of the separations. I realize most people wouldn't even question this issue. I happen to know a local 2-color printer that should be able to help me out next time. I may stick to 1 or 2-color work as much as i can. BTW, overnightprints claims to use True Offset Lithography.

BENLEIVIAN.com

xdsceo's picture
1 pencil

I noticed the same issue when I received my first batch of printing from them. I was under the assumption that they use standard presses and not digital. Not only did they convert your black by converting CMYK-RGB-CMYK, it looks like they RIPed your text at 300 dpi and not 1200 dpi. I've since gone back to my tried and trued press houses. You get what you pay for.

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

Our newspaper printers went to a digital press two years ago (stochastic type printing) BUT they told us they still have to use plates. . .?

Ok Then we asked "well why doesn't our black overprint?"

The guy in charge of the press said: "What's an overprint?"

I am serious.

What happens (I think) with this particular press is that you CANNOT send 100% k as you usually do as the RIP ALWAYS converts it to rich black. so in this case of setting an overprint (for us at least) makes no difference as they have set it up to NOT overprint because it has already been converted to CMYK (rich black) B4 it even hits the press!

am I making any sense here? :P

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

. . . Wht they do with our files is interesting. They request PDFs (send us a PDF an NOTHING else and make sure its distilled! lol) only for our text to come out "fuzzy".

Why?

The PDF is just so that they can get a smaller file. They are opening it up in either PS or AI and RESAVING IT. . .lol to a TIFF. Well if you do that in PS then your blacks WILL become CMYK rich blacks by default right?

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

printplace's picture
9 pencils

wow and i thought this was a design forum;) I am glad to hear the design communities perspectives on file handling.
Some comments in response to above postings:
1.Saving to a Tiff does not create multi-color text unless the text is over a tint and multiply mode is selected, and then this makes transparency behave like an overprint. When rasterizing the file is interpreted usually correctly based on the files actual content.
2. Statistic screening if in near-perfect register, which is more likely on a card stock than a text weight, would have looked ok as multi-color text because, without screening angles, the C&M would not have contributed to the saw-toothed edge.
3. Ben's job is unacceptably out of register. I wish I knew the pt. size.
4. The dot structure on Ben's job looks very much like conventional offset printing. Typical offset screening is also available on some electrostatic presses such as the Indigo. Overnight could not offer low prices at high quantities unless they print offset. QTYs under 100 would have to go digital to be affordable.
5. Overnight per the FAQ "Overnight Prints uses the US Sheetfed Coated V2 color profile.", so if the submitted cmyk was tagged with this profile there should not have been a reason to reseparate the job.
6. Many printers have different overprint policies. It would be nice to honor incoming overprint instructions, but many people who design files are not very good at it and do things like overprinting a light object or even white.
7. If you want text to overprint, then do not convert it to outlines, because if you do Trapping software wont know text is text and will not be able to make it overprint.
8. Presses are either digital or they are not. If a press is labeled as digital yet it uses offset plates, then it is a hybrid press, since it prints with an offset plate and the file is images directly on press via a tethered computer. These plates are typically polyester but not always.
9. I hope you guys are ok with a printer chiming in. I am not a designer although have a history as fine artist and photographer, and later failed as a designer. I am very interested in the design communities thoughts so we can try to be accommodating where we can. I am new to this forum and have never seen a thread that dynamically changes subjects, which seems to invite tangent discussions.
10. Reseperating files is typically a good thing but we don't like the artifacts that might come with. It conforms all incoming cmyk files to potentially be more suitable for printing than they otherwise might have been. With a re-sep we can control ink limits, stabilize gray balance and increase ink dry times to name a few examples.
11. If you are sensitive to how production is handled, ask your printer from a person within the company who knows the scoop. If the printer has the "wrong" answer go somewhere else. Printers are often asked to meet expectations they didn't know the client had at the time of file submission. A typical example is "the color is wrong" when in fact it may be right. I am not saying the re-sep was right or wrong,only that is can be a viable solution in many cases. If possible try to go over your needs before purchase or approval.
12. Overnight might have appreciate the opportunity to reprint this job for no other reason that it is out of register. They can re-sep a job but they should be held accountable for the actual printing quality.
13. Pdfs are not requested solely to make a smaller file. That pdf can be multi-page is a great reason to use them, so a book's page sorting order can be communicated. Smaller files increase upload times but trust me we will squeeze the file on our end, but will not sacrifice noticeable quality to do so. PDFx files are specified by ISO as the kosher way to submit files to a printers. Read this pdf to learn more about it: http://www.pdfxreport.com/downloads/pdfx-faq.pdf

Thx
- Matt

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

I think you just won my next print job! ;-) It's hard to find a printer who will use color management much less talk intellegently about it Thanks for jumping in.

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

Ben's picture
121 pencils

I second that. Thanks for your help Matt.

BENLEIVIAN.com

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

I never heard of this though:

"7. If you want text to overprint, then do not convert it to outlines, because if you do Trapping software wont know text is text and will not be able to make it overprint" can you elaborate?

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

printplace's picture
9 pencils

It is common for printers set up their trapping software to overprint black text unless the pt. size is greater than "x" (eg. 24 pt.). If text is very large and bold, overprinting might be undesirable because the hue in the overprint might look undesirable. It needs to be text or else it's simply a vector object and the rip wont know it's text. Typically the text should be 100% black for this to work (not 99%k or 100%k + some % of cmy).

Different rips have different options and different shops choose to use them differently but I think it is safe to say that overprinting black text is a great idea so many printers force this regardless of the way the incoming file is set up. The alternative to knock out underneath the text can lead to fit problems on press and make text that is less dark that the surround.

Some rips allow for overprinting all black objects and this could lead to some weird outcomes on some files.
Some rips can be configured to honor or to not honor incoming overprint instructions.
Some workflows are so flexible I can't begin to list the all the features.

Tangent:
Overprinting and transparency don't mix well and trying to make them work together can lead to unexpected results. Read Adobe's whitepaper "A Designer's Guide to Transparency for Print Output" for more info on this. It's a CS2 related doc but should either remain valid or might have been updated for CS3.

Outlines don't rip to screen in a pdf as well either. They look too bold and they bloat file size and add complexity which slows processing time..

The only thing good about outlines is you can't forget to send your fonts. And of coarse design make outlines on purpose to manipulate the shapes, make masks, etc., but that's a different issue altogether.

Ever since the onset of pdf, which allows for embedding fonts, outlines are dead.

- Matt

ireid's picture
1283 pencils

But outlining GUARANTEE'S our press ads come out the way they are supposed to!

SIGH

I can't embed the fonts anyway. . . some of them are *ahem* 'free"

if you catch my drift.

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

printplace's picture
9 pencils

some vendors require outlines, especially the folks who print on tee-shirts, pens, golf balls, etc.. I forget the needs of other companies at times. Do what you have to to get the job done, right? Those free fonts, usually truetype, are tagged to not allow embedding so the pdf maker has no legal choice but to honor the instruction. Does fontographer still exist? That program zapped all fonts it touched so they wouldn't embed.
- Matt

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

2. Statistic screening

Great thoughts, though isn't it 'stochastic screening'?

----
Powerpoint is not a design application
My latest web design work

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Yes. It is stochastic, often referred to as fm screening. Statistic screening exists only on the Greek island of Typos ;)

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Touche!

----
Powerpoint is not a design application
My latest web design work

DesignDaddy's picture
14 pencils

Excellent post by the way.

It highlights an issue the design community in general needs to be aware of.

Thanks.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

Ben's picture
121 pencils

Yes! I never really thought my rant would turn into a very informative post on commercial printing. Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience.

BENLEIVIAN.com

Overnight Danny's picture
4 pencils

My name is Danny and I am in Marketing/Public Relations at Overnight Prints. In my travels thru the sites of graphic artists, I came across this thread. I wanted to clear up some of the misinformation you have heard on here about us and answer any questions. We want our customers to be happy, and I hope some of these answers will help. To start off with we are not a digital printer. Other than our greeting cards we still use offset lithography. Also incorrect is that we use an Indigo or other digital for small run cards. We do all our cards, brochures, stationery on offset (including 100 count). We are a 4 color CMYK printer using a gang run process (this means we apply 4 colors to a sheet containing MANY different orders on the same sheet. Instead of putting your card on a large sheet 100 times, we put 100 cards on the sheet and print it 100 times to get everyone their cards.) This is different from what PrintPlace does as they focus on a different market. We are faster and cheaper but we ARE gang run which the reason we can be faster and cheaper. Because we do a 4 color gang run job, we do not use spot colors or accept custom jobs. It's just not in our business model :) We use an ICC profile that often can change a designed CMYK to a different hue, and we hope that professional designers use our FAQ to find our profile (just for kicks, its US Sheetfed Coated v2) when designing their products. One of the things designers often wonder about is why we have an RGB uploading process. Our company not only focuses on technologically saavy people but also the mom and pop startup companies that just need 100 cards. As novice designers, they may not know how to make sure they are in CMYK format and in the correct gamut, so we allow them to upload in RGB and have built a renderer that can do those conversions. If you are a professional designer and know the difference between CMYK and RBG, we are happy to accept CMYK designs (preferably in our color profile) which will print according to the values uploaded. I saw rich black mentioned above. In CMYK printing, 0,0,0,100 will only leave you a dull black color. It is black ink but it has little depth to it. We suggest for our presses you use a percentage of 60, 40, 40, 100. This will allow the other colors to embolden the black.
In regards to Ben's card, the problem with your card is actually a vector/raster problem. Your card was likely designed using vector text, and in order to get to our presses, we have to rasterize the text. We are investing time and money to developing vector preservation renderers, but we don't have them yet. As of now only one printer in our industry preserves their vector images but they are able to output through their digital press. We have found that our customers prefer the offset printing, so there has been no push to follow this printer into that field. I hope I cleared up some of the misconceptions out there about us. You guys have a lot of choices out there, and some really GREAT local printers, so if amazing quality and manual color checks are something you have to have, you will likely want to stick to local houses. Kind of a bummer I know, but we do the best we can to get people their products quickly, at a great price and with the best quality in our field. As for Ben, if you would like a reprint, feel free to call us and ask for Danny in Marketing or email me at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6d%61%72%6b%65%74%69%6e%67%40%6f%76%65%72%6e%69%67%68%74%70%72%69%6e%74%73%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%6d%61%72%6b%65%74%69%6e%67%40%6f%76%65%72%6e%69%67%68%74%70%72%69%6e%74%73%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) and I will be glad to take care of you! If you guys have any other questions, post back on here and I will answer as soon as I can. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Danny

printplace's picture
9 pencils

Danny.

Nice reply. I need to clarify your perceptions about printplace.com. We are a gang run printer just as you are. We both target the same market, people with credit cards who need printing. We offer one day turns just as you do. We don't offer spot colors either. We accept rgb for the same reasons you do. There must be two online gang-run printers who preserve vectors; we do. We also assign a default profile to incoming cmyk but decided against us sheetfed coated v2 because it is based on Matchprint and we feel Gracol7 to be the appropriate way to standardize, since it is an implementation of ISO12647-2. I strongly feel all printers should print the same way and this is the best way to do it in my opinion. The Adobe route is smart because it comes with CS suite while Gracol is still obscure to too many designers. The two cmyk spaces are visually similar in any case. Your online FAQ is very clear about your cmyk policy and when you use digital instead of offset -it's the client's choice. I really like your site and offerings. I look forward to being your friendly competitor for a long time to come. Isn't it a bummer when a disgruntled client rants on the web, when your CSR department isn't able to resolve a problem job for whatever reason? It has happened to us too.
Best,
Matt

Overnight Danny's picture
4 pencils

Nice to hear from you Matt. I do apologize for my misconceptions. I believed that you were a two color spot printer based on the articles above. I completely agree with you about Gracol7 and I do believe its something we will be implementing in the near future. Currently the ICC profile we use is something we have to do as it really encompasses our current customer base. I think as more and more people really become aware of Gracol7, we will push to make it a priority. It's always nice to hear from a competitor who knows what they are talking about. It takes a lot for us to battle the misinformation that places like Vista spew about our industry and I am glad to see you took the time to help intelligent designers like these. I also look forward to some friendly competition.
It does suck when a CS rep gives incomplete information, but to be honest, while I understand the complete ins and outs, not all of the CS reps have the same level of training. They do the best they can, but of course they aren't printers. If we had printers answering the phones, we would never get any work out the door! So it is what it is, and they do a great job.

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

Glad to see you post on this thread. I have used your company before and was pleasantly surprised with your color. I'm very picky about color reproduction and I have to say your guys are very good by any standard. Kudos to you!

There are some issues with your post I'd like to address which I am happy to see printplace did not bother correcting. However, these issues may help your company improve quality and give us all the benefit of having our cake and eating it too.

You mention that the problem with Ben's cards is that it was built in vector/raster and that this forced a rasterization of the text for output to your presses. Of course, all vector data will be rasterized eventually. The real question is WHEN it is rasterized.

In a typical PostScript print environment, (color managed or otherwise) the rasterization of vector data is performed at the RIP. If I send a PDF with vector data to a 600dpi laser printer then my vector type is rasterized at 600dpi when the laser printer receives the file. If the same PDF file is sent to a 2400dpi plate maker then the vector data will be rasterized at 2400dpi.

So, rasterization of vector isn't a bad thing, so why does overnightprints claim this is a negative? What dpi is overnightprints rasterizing vector data if it's not the same as the dpi of the output device? I'm afraid the 'vector preservation renders' technology is something of a red herring since digital print technology has had that capability since PostScript level 1 (early 1990's). If we are using PostScript, then we have vector preservation capability.

As far as RGB conversions occurring on upload is concerned, I'd have to say that is pretty silly and I'd like to submit a CMYK PDF with embedded profile (U.S. Sheetfed Coated) and the RGB converted file emailed back to me.

I believe the RGB conversion isn't actually an RGB conversion on upload, but a CMYK input to a CMYK output conversion via L*a*b space at the plate RIP. In either case, it would be interesting to see how the RIP/Upload process is deciding to convert CMYK files.

Lastly, as for your recommendation regarding 60,40,40,100 CMYK for a rich black there are several valid reasons where this is undesirable and black type on paper happens to be the most important reason.

However, the rich black recommendation becomes especially ludicrous when the user is unable to spec any CMYK color with reliability due to the 'RGB' conversion upon upload. It is interesting to note that US Sheetfed Coated profile maxes out at 85% black (which really explains the jaggy type that began this thread), so if overnightprints is using a straight input to output ICC workflow as I suspect then overnight prints will never be able to print a 100% black ANYWHERE in the process as all L:0 black values will be reseparated to a 95,85,85,85.

I totally understand and support the need for ICC workflows but I'd feel better served if my CMYK files were left unmolested provided I embed the proper profile and my TAC is within spec. In other words, if the RIP is expecting US Sheetfed Coated and my CMYK PDF that is tagged US Sheetfed Coated and my TAC is within specs, I see no reason for any RIP to reseparate my files.

Thanks! Hope that will be helpful in some way.

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

Overnight Danny's picture
4 pencils

Hello caoimghgin,
That was a great post. Its always nice to converse with designers (I'm assuming thats your profession, if I'm wrong I apologize) who understand the printing process. Thank you for your kind words and I hope we continue living up to your expectations. Let me dig into what you are saying so you get a better understanding and hopefully print saavy designers out there can get a read on what we are doing.
In regards to the rasterization process, I don't think its a bad thing per se, but I do think it would be better if we could preserve vector for those people who design in it. I don't have Ben's invoice to look at his original file, but I imagine that was the issue at hand, although as you mentioned it could also be the black percentage in our ICC profile. I would have to look more deeply into the file than just a posted jpg on the web. So to clarify, I am not down in any way on rasterization, I would just like to have the ability to really do both well.
The rasterization process on our site occurs right after upload. We accept so many files and with only one system to render we are forced to do them in this manner. We are looking at dedicating more renderers to certain file types which should ease that process. Its hard to grow so fast and keep up with the technology and equipment but we are chugging along getting as much as we can. I'm sure Matt can understand!
We do convert RGB to CMYK and apply the profile and when we get CMYK upload we also apply the profile. Its not that the renderer decides to convert some and not others, it converts all of them. Our entire prepress system is automated, hence our prices! Less headcount means less overhead which means better prices. While we do convert many of our files from RGB, we dont change CMYK to RGB and then back, more aptly we apply the CYMK ICC profile to all images that come in, whether they be CMYK or RGB. I hope that made sense.
We do use an ICC profile to accept and convert files, however I think in my last post I failed to mention that we do not have presses set to print solely on a specific profile. Our printers use a generic profile which allows us to hit many colors. As you can imagine our varying customers and wide range of design skills forces us to be as open as possible for these things. Our internal designers stated that by using those specific values for rich black you will get the best product. You may indeed be right, but who I am to argue with designers. This is what they tell me. :) The key to our color is really the paper. We special order a really high density quality paper stock and it really makes the colors stand out. You can also feel it in the the thickness and sturdiness of the paper. A lot of our funds go to offering this paper.
As for your last paragraph, I understand your frustrations with the process. Its built for large amounts of people, 99.9 percent of which would have no clue what you just said in your last post, and while I would love to tell you that we can separately pull "correct designs" from the process and throw then on the press, that isn't likely to happen in our business model. We are looking into another company we may purchase would certainly handle those needs for you. But until then, I hope that our product would satisfy your needs for the most part!
Thank again for posting back, it honestly makes my day to discuss processes intelligently without people being completely misinformed and upset. Great thread guys!

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

I should have mentioned earlier that my business card uploaded to your company was formated 4 over 1 as a PDFX-1A with embedded US SHEETFED PROFILE and this 4C digital file was transformed into a rich black just like Bens. Apparently OvernightPrints is transforming CMYK files (not just RGB files) into another CMYK space. The internal designers are correct in theory about using some CMY inks for a 100% black background but this technique would never be appropriate for small type on white background. However, if the designers use the same upload server we customers use, I believe they would find their 60, 40, 40, 100 tranformed into the CMYK numbers 95,85,85,85 and there won't be much they can do about that.

Would love to see your shop someday. I'm all about systems automation in AppleScript, databases, color management and printing. Sounds like a blast.

Cheers!

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

Overnight Danny's picture
4 pencils

You added a lot to the conversation and I''m sure its beneficial to other people as well who are trying to figure this crazy industry called "online printing." I will go to my designers and ask them about this. Maybe they have a good reply or maybe they will just have to listen to you! Thanks again!

Tiffany in Pre-Press's picture
1 pencil

Hey. I'm new to this site, and I realized I'm responding a couple years later here. ha!
I was trying to do some research on color matching hoping to get some relief and I came across this.

Some of these posts are just absurd! In my opinion at least.

If that printer did in fact print it on press, they would not want it in RGB. That is ridiculous!
If they printed it digitally you still could have had 0 0 0 100K and it still should have been crisp. If they converted it to RGB before they put it on their digital printer (which I don't know why they would) then it should STILL build black and sharp just as in your image you have from the DocuColor.

If it did print on press like I'm reading it was, then someone was very lazy in pre-press and did not want to fix your work. At my company, and other company's I've worked for, we always take the extra step to correct blacks. For a business card that is only 3.5"x2" I would not recommend building a black. 100% black will do just fine. The only time you MAY want to start building a black type is if it is a large point.

Also, no matter what type of rip they have it should be ripped a LOT high than 300 or 600 dpi. Who ever installed their RIP either had no idea, or someone changed those settings. We run our new CTP at 2400.

Once they got your card into their RIP they knew right away the black type was all of a sudden built, which is a big nono if it is that tiny of a point. It should have been corrected then, and if it did get through to the printing department they should have made pre-press correct the files to get a new plate.

I don't understand how these types of companies that truly don't care about people's artwork are still in business. If something ever slips that I miss I end up having guilt on my shoulders for a day or two knowing I messed up someone's job!

The world would be a little better if everyone had more integrity.

These overnight printers. You should really try your local printers, because you could be amazed that they could probably get it to you in the same amount of time, plus they are in town if there are any problems, and they will either bring them to you, or you can pick them up yourself that afternoon. That's the advantage to working with a company locally.

We constantly rush jobs even for small things like 250 business cards if that's what the customer needs, even though we aren't making money off that at all. Just to keep people happy... I'll say again.. Integrity.

Sorry this post is a couple years late! haha

digitalgraphics's picture
3 pencils

Hi Tiffanny,
I am also a couple of years late but we stil struggle with this problem,would it be enough to keep the small black print in 100k or if when sending it to rip to tick on always owerprint black.
You seem to know your stuff

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