Effects in Illustrator not saving as .pdf

Hi There,

I’ve hit a snag with an image i made in Adobe Illustrator CC.

The brighter image I have attached is a screenshot in Adobe Illustrator. The duller one is a .pdf I saved of that image.

I created some glowing effects in IIlustrator around the figure, I’m not sure if I used an outer glow or a feather.

Before I saved it as a .pdf I selected the image and went to edit> edit colours> convert to cmyk.
I did this because a print provider I used told me to do this to flatten my effects. It’s what she did before printing my work in the past.

I’m just wonder what to do to keep these glowing effects so that I can print the image.

Image has been censored so as to not offend anyone.

Thanks, Maria

Sorry Maria … that image is going to have to be A LOT more censored than that.

If you still need to show it … show the upper portion ONLY.

Thank you.

1 Like

And now I’m curious :rofl:


So is the question for real or is it porn-spam?

You don’t “flatten effects” by converting to CMYK.
The first question I ask when effects vanish is “are you using any spot colors?”
If the answer is yes, you may need to do one of a number of different things depending on your print vendor.

1 Like

I’ll post them back … heavily cropped :wink:

They were just extremely NSFW






Thanks for that! I’m sorry!

I used pantone solid coat but I had transparencies as well over the top, and I used either the feather or the outter glow tool to make that halo effect around skin her.

I already google searched how to fix spot colours and the video tutorial I saw said to do what I had already done - and select the image and convert to cmyk, but that didnt help.

Have no idea what video or what you did you change the colours.

Can you please send me a private message of your original image - and I’ll see if I can do a conversion here. I know you can’t post the image to the forum.

I tired to save it as an eps in Illustrator just to see if it worked and it gave me this message


Woa yea def NSFW :sweat_smile: Your design concepts are interesting though!

Anyway, a couple quick ideas for your problem based on some google searches:

  • Make sure you open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat Pro and not in another default pdf reader program. For some reason it will change the hues in the pdf.

  • You can also try going under InDesign settings: Export - Output - Color: No color conversion

  • I also read that if your client says they’re seeing the pdf as odd colors then you can export the pdf with these settings.:

1 Like

C’mon @Ouvraairam … Again with the nudie shots? I’m pretty sure you know how to crop better.


This is your last save. Post a nude again and you won’t be posting anymore.

I hope I’ve made myself clear this time.

1 Like

In Illustrator, converting the CMYK doesn’t flatten anything. In Photoshop, there’s the option of flattening during the conversion, but not in Illustrator.

Flattening in Illustrator (through the layers panel) doesn’t do the same thing as Photoshop. In Illustrator, flattening just consolidates all the layers into a single layer, but it still preserves the stacking order of the objects without changing the objects themselves. In Photoshop, flattening merges everything into a single bitmap. Whatever was behind something else on another layer is gone in a flattened Photoshop file.

Why were you using all those spot colors? Unless you’ll be printing in spot colors, there’s no need for them, and a 27-color spot job would be horrendously expensive to print. If you’re outputting CMYK, just build the color in CMYK.

Will your printer be printing these on an offset press or with a digital printer. If digital, it’s likely best to build and leave the file in an RGB format to take advantage of the larger color gamut that most digital printers have, which will help preserve your brighter colors.

I don’t know what your printer was asking, but I have a feeling you misinterpreted it. I’m not even completely sure of the problem you’re having, but you might consider trying to open the file as an RGB document in Photoshop at a high resolution (maybe 300ppi), then just sending a flattened version of that to your printer. If there’s black type on your image, consider placing the RGB Photoshop file into InDesign and adding the type there. This will keep the type in its vector format while flattening and simplifying the illustration into a standard RGB raster image.

If Photoshop balks at opening all those spot colors, you’ll probably need to go back into the Illustrator file and convert some of them to RGB to get them below whatever threshold Photoshop might have in dealing with them.

I still think this is porn spam and not worth the time to answer. But I did. And the answer was what I suspected. Spots and transparancy.

I too believe that someone is misinterpreting the printer’s instructions and we can only guess why your file is doing dumb things when done wrong. Ask your printer.

Oh damn, I’m sorry, I genuinely did not think those would be problematic or even noticeable! I will def be super careful next time!

Not spam. Thanks for feedback.

Ok, I never use Acrobat. I’ll have to try this after my morning coffee. Thanks so much !

1 Like

I was using pantone colours. I had some transparencies and effects and I thought that doing so maybe ‘created spot colours’ because I am not consciously using spot colours.

It’s for a digital print, a poster.

I already outlined the type in illustrator so it wont be affected.

ok, ill try opening in photoshop.

Thanks for your suggestions!

If you are using Pantones your are consciously using Spot Colors. Pantone colors are spot colors. And being such, Adobe has never ever believed they should/could be printed with transparency. I don’t know why they think spots and transparency should break their software but it has been a known issue since somewhere around 2001.

Have you tried saving as a PDF/x1-a?

Or if you have Indesign available, try placing the art in there and going to Swatches, and in the little hamburger upper right, select Ink Manager and change your spots to process there, then try your PDF (you may still need the x1-a format)

It may be too that your selected Pantones have really crappy CMYK conversions.

So the Spot limit is down to 27 eh? Used to be 32 or 36. Still way too many…

©2021 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook