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Adobe Illustrator - Saving Transparency and Blending Mode Issue

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  • Adobe Illustrator - Saving Transparency and Blending Mode Issue

    I am new to this forum, or any forum ever. This is my first post. I am a Graphic Designer,and i am currently having problems with a logo I designed in Adobe Illustrator. The logo is a rather complicated logo with transparencies and blend modes. When I try to save it, the beautiful design saves horrible and blotchy. How can I resolve this? I have tried saving it as: .JPG, .PDF, .ESP, and .PNG they for the most part all saved bad. I Google it, and it mentioned flattening which I have also tried and that too alters the image unattractively. Flattening chops up the logo leaving visible white strokes around the image. Someone HELP please. This logo is due soon and it's giving me a headache. I just want to save the file to be able to give to my client as well as use it in the business cards i am also designing. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Hello Nikziner, welcome to GDF

    We ask all new members to read
    very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.


    Are you using spot colours? if so they don't play nice with transparencies and effects. If you must include the transparencies, try converting all of your spot colours to CMYK values. this can be accomplished via the swatch palette
    Design is not decoration.


    • #3
      Sounds like you may have also used some of the 3D effects that will leave visible and printable stitching on flattening.
      Ah, you said blends. Those'll do the same thing. Blends also produce jaggy progressions which I bet are being covered by other elements in the design. That's always fun to make a CNC file for.

      When you say "due soon" is this a class piece or a paying client?
      Because I'm going to point out that the troubles you are now having are exactly the same troubles your client is going to have every time they submit this wonderful piece of art for production. And guys like me charge extra to fix those issues when going to print. And most of us are not shy about what is charged for this time because it has become pervasive over the last several years and progressively more so as time goes on.

      Transparency effects, blends, 3D effects and any of the Raster effects that Illustrator has available should not be used on logos. For one thing, they don't interact well with spot colors as Kem mentioned, and secondly, they cause color matching and other production issues on submittal for print.

      If this is for a class... I'd be interested in the grade it receives.
      Last edited by PrintDriver; 03-20-2015, 09:55 AM.


      • #4
        Thank you for your responses. I can tell you, no spot colors were used or 3d elements. So it must be based solely on the blending modes. Is there any way to create a blending mode effect without actually using those modes? As nice as the logo came out (and my client is already all attached to it) I would hate to have to change it so drastically. What processes would I need to go thru to correct a problematic situation like this? I took illustrator in school, but never learned it to its full potential due to a slacker teacher that disappeared mid semester (crazy right?) So I am illustrator self taught. Didn't know about the blend mode issue (Does it also apply to transparency layers). Eps files, flattening, etc... I'm guessing none of these would resolve or help with this issue?

        printdriver: it's not for a school project, it is for an actual client. And I would like to get it to him by today if possible. He has events coming up that requires him to have business cards and such, but this logo needs to be corrected first. Thanks


        • #5
          If you haven't used spot colors, or any kind of standard, how's the printer gonna know when they print it right?

          Anyway, it depends on how you've used the blend. Is it shape to shape or color to color? Is it something that can be replaced with a gradient rather than a blend? Gradients in logos aren't any better than transparency but they help avoid the stitches (though you might have issues with "banding" at larger sizes instead.) Read the Illustrator help sections if you need to bend the gradient.


          • #6
            Can you mimic your transparencies using pathfinders divide (if necessary) and gradients or solid fills to achieve the same look?

            It sounds like you've gotten in over your head and your lack of knowledge is going to end up costing your client. I sure hope your design isn't dependent on colour for your clients sake.
            Design is not decoration.


            • #7
              I attached two files to get an idea of the blends. I know that the rules say about images and not being able to take them down. I did not post my clients logo, but rather a messy version of the logo using different shapes but tried to copy the blend modes as best as i can. Trust me, it looks like crap (hence the file name. lol) but look at the saving differences. the [JPG] file saves more or less how it is seen on the screen the [PDF] which i would normally give the client for print is blotchy, messy, colors don't fade as they should etc... and the [EPS] file cuts it up horrible leaving visible strokes which I'm guessing would be the flattening process. again, don't judge the design harshly, it was slapped together. i assure u the actual logo looks nothing like this.
              To gt an idea of why i even used so many blends and transparencies, my client is a photographer and i was using the blends and transparencies in a lens i designed. It was useful to add subtle tones of color to the lens with blending modes.

              I heard that the upside to using spot colors would be that the printer would have exact colors and the printouts would be exactly the same in color even if it were dot be printed 1000 times. However, i have heard that the downside to that would be that it is expensive to use spot colors, if the client were to print it in a commercial/regular printer, the printed colors would be unexpected as the cmyk colors would then have to mix to approximate color tones, last but not least, in the above posts, it was stated that transparencies don't work with spot colors so i don't understand how using them in this regard would help. Should CMYK colors just not be used at all in logo design?

              I haven't tried using pathfinder tools, i will try that now, but I'm worried that cutting them would counter the effects placed on them which would alter the look. same idea when using the blends that were mentioned. its the blends and transparency that make up the look. But hey, i won't know unless i try. thanks for your help btw. i will let you know if these suggestions helped.

              Actually, now that i think of it, my client have a version of the logo online on fb here:


              (I'm not sure what he did to it, he made edits to this so the color looks stronger here than my original file, but looking at it would give you a better understanding) He had an earlier jpg i had sent to him. i since made slight changes to the company name at the bottom. i figure showing you a link that was posted was safe... it would be as if you stumbled upon his fb on your own.
              Just so you know... i had troubles saving this original file too. Had to go thru back alleys just to get this jpg to come out right. That worries me.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Two examples of companies who used transparency. If it can't be done, how did they achieve this and save it?


                • #9
                  I'm not saying it can't be done. I've done work in the past for a very large company that uses transparency in their logo. A couple of them in fact. But it's done in such a way to avoid production nightmares. The workarounds on one involve Photoshop and a LOT of different files for different output sizes due to the resolution issues involved. They had a brand standard book about an inch thick. They also had alternatives for non transparent usage that did not involve photoshop, gradients or transparency. They calibrate "spot color" using LAB values but they do also have Pantone callouts for their corporate colors (as well as paint RAL numbers and other standards)
                  But most important of all, they have a marketing and branding department, with execs and lawyers, that stays on top of all of their various vendors keeping the colors and logo intent true to brand standards.

                  My favorite example in the wild is the Ebay logo. After years of a transparent overlapping letter logo that was, in reality, 7 spot colors for production, it is now a simple separated 4-spot logo with no transparency.

                  To simply hand a labor intensive logo over to a new client is bordering on malpractice. Your job is to make money for your client by selling their product, not make them spend money on production issues that's better spent elsewhere

                  As for spot color over CMYK over whatever, what you've "heard" depends on your experience. For instance I print Pantones in CMYK all the time but it's digital wide format, and the inks have a much wider color gamut than the press CMYK inks. I can hit a good 80% of the pantone colors in one process or another. I also use what are called ICC profiles where the RIP program takes the CMYK numbers of the Pantone callout and match them to a pre-formulated version that is much closer to the Pantone color based on the machine I'm using, its inkset, and the media I'm printing on. The ICC profile changes if the machine or ink or media changes. Or I can spot match them by charting, which costs a little extra, if you need it closer than the profile can provide.
                  Press runs don't always do this unless you specify they do so and pay extra, or they are G-7 or Iso certified.
                  You want the smallest delta-e possible across print media.
                  That may mean specifying CMYK values in your brand standard that are different from the CMYK values of the Pantone swatch.
                  Plus supplying LAB values for those that can use those (more and more every day) would alleviate most color matching issues.

                  Production concepts aren't taught well in school. It's something learned from several years of experience by doing right under the tutelage of someone who knows how. You can learn them on your own but you have to ask questions and implement the responses.
                  Last edited by PrintDriver; 03-21-2015, 01:25 PM.


                  • #10
                    Oh, and looking at that facebook page, there is nothing in that logo that requires blends for color usage. You could do it with gradients or a gradient mesh. You will most definitely see banding at larger print sizes. Gradients in Illustrator are limited to 200-some-odd steps and the steps get bigger as the gradient gets bigger on output. Different print processes will output those color combinations differently. Some may even be muddy. You could do a stopgap with a photoshop link in multiple sizes and resolutions but do your think your client could manage his brand assets adequately for that solution? Your job is to make his job of selling his business easier.

                    The only economical way to make this as any type of business establishment sign is to print it. Any type of paint-on-3D solution would be prohibitively expensive. I'm guessing your black and white version just removes the color elements to white.


                    • #11
                      Hello again, I just wanted to say thank you you all your help. I dont want to be one of those people to seek help and don't give updated feedback or at least thank my rescuers. lol. I ended up scraping the blending modes all together and using gradients to get a close match to what i originally had. Didn't look 100% the same, but i have to say 95% there isn't that bad either. my client liked it as well as the business cards i designed for him. thanks again for helping me out. For my first try at using a forum, I'd have to say my first experience was a success.






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