Eliminating YDB (Yucky Discolored Box) Syndrome
Steve Werner has posted an excellent solution to the Dreaded White Box (DWB) syndrome, wherein you see white boxes around shadows and other transparency effects interacting with spot color content. The answer, as Steve points out, is for your print service provider to turn on PostScript Overprint at the RIP. (And, for correct viewing in Acrobat, turn on Overprint Preview.)
But there’s something similar to the DWB syndrome that occurs on many digital printers, from our in-house laser printers up to the big boys like the Xerox iGen3. This is YDB: Yucky Discolored Box syndrome, wherein, well, yucky discolored boxes appear under shadows when printed.
The discoloration is due to the printer’s RIP not correctly exercising overprint. Even a gen-u-wine PostScript Level 3 printer such as my beloved Xerox 8400 can’t pull this off.
I’ve tried converting all my inks to process, and turning on Simulate Overprint, and I still get the YDB syndrome. Previously, I’d been resorting to using Acrobat’s “Print as Image” as a solution, but Adobe engineer Matt Phillips opened my eyes to an easier method during the Seattle Master Class, right there in InDesign. Thanks, Matt! I have to say “Duh! Why didn’t I think of this”? The answer is to have InDesign act as a RIP.
Create a Transparency Flattener Preset that completely rasterizes everything:
- Edit > Transparency Flattener Presets, click on High as a starting point, and then click New.
In the ensuing dialog box, yank the raster/vector slider all the way to the left. Set the linework resolution to the printer’s res (say, 600), and set the gradient/mesh resolution to, oh, 150. (I think you’ll find shadow appearance satisfactory at 150. If not, go to 300.)
Save as a new Flattener Preset.
- File > Print, and under Output, choose Composite CMYK, and CHECK the Simulate Overprint checkbox. Under Advanced, select your all-raster flattener.
InDesign creates a conglomerate sheet pixels vector and text will be rasterized at the linework resolution, and shadows and feathered edges are generated at the gradient/mesh resolution. There’s good news and bad news, of course. The good news is that your output will look correct — no YDB syndrome. The bad news is that an exceedingly complex page could take some time to process, and could generate a big honking print file to clog up your printer.