Adobe InDesign CC: Selection colour and responsiveness affected by transparency of linked PSD file

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 14th, 2013 • 9:05 am

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a new problem introduced in InDesign CC that involves the presence of a link to a PSD file on the page.

Thanks to the feedback of Betalogue reader and fellow InDesign user Lars P., I am now able to confirm that the problem is more specifically linked to the use of transparency. As Lars says:

As soon as there are transparent objects (placed images, drop shadows, …) on a page, InDesign renders the whole page using the transparency blend space. That is normally set to CMYK, so all colours get converted to your CMYK working space ICC profile for display. Most vibrant colours (like your green for highlighting) will look washed out then.

Sure enough, changing the transparency blend space to “Document RGB” as opposed to “Document CMYK” does change the selection highlighting colour back to its normal shade. It does not, however, address the responsiveness issue that is also associated with this particular problem. (And you also need to remember to change it back to CMYK before sending the publication to the printer, if that’s part of your process.)

As I indicated yesterday, removing the link to the Photoshop file from the page eliminates the problem altogether. But that’s not necessarily an option. I have found that, if you do not need transparency and can flatten the Photoshop document, this also causes InDesign CC to stop rendering the whole page using the transparency blend space. The selection highlighting colour changes back to its normal shade, and the responsiveness issue is solved.

In other words, both the change in the selection highlighting colour and the responsiveness issue appear to be due to the use of the transparency blend space by InDesign CC to render the page. According to Lars, that behaviour with transparency blend space and changing colours has been present in InDesign since version 2. But I certainly have never noticed it before InDesign CC on my machine with the kind of publications that I work on, so I suspect that Adobe did change something in InDesign CC that now causes the problem to surface in situations where it did not before.

I wouldn’t really care about the colour changes if the problem did not also affect the responsiveness of the application to mouse movements. But the responsiveness issue is very noticeable as far as I am concerned, and I will have to do everything that I can to avoid it. If it involves eliminating the transparency in the linked PSD file, that’s what I’ll do.

In this particular case, the transparency was not needed, as the background colour of the document was white, which was also the background colour of the PSD document involved once it was flattened. But I can easily imagine that I will soon encounter situations where I have no option but keep links to transparent PSD documents. And so that might force me to have to deal with the responsiveness issue.

Based on what Lars is saying, and the subjectivity of something such as responsiveness (it really depends on how fast you work with your mouse), I have little hope that Adobe’s engineers will notice the problem and do something about it. So it’s yet another flaw that one is going to be forced to live with… Sigh.

Thanks to Lars for his feedback!

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