Preserving Screen Opacity in Ai for Print

Ok, my fellow design and print gurus. How do I preserve the color created by a vector image in Illustrator with “screen” as the opacity?

Is the best option to just save the entire background as a high resolution tiff and place vector text over it?

I was hoping to only rasterize the gold swirling vector at the very least but that particular option removes the transparency completely - top of image is screen and bottom image is rasterized.

What version do you want?

Why rasterised it?
Just put text over it?

Is it stock image? If so those things are rarely usable in print. Depends on how it’s setup in the first place.

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Rasterising the image will always nerf the transparency effects. Save it as an Illustrator file.

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I’ve gotten vector objects like this that have RGB effects on them. Often with lightning on Halloween executions or moons or stars. I don’t know if thats part of the problem here. Those have always been sticky to work out for me in production (our printers kicked back anything in RGB, even if it was a linked asset.)

The trick with rasterizing it is that you have to include the background. Those screen effects have to mix with the background color.

Anyway, as a last resort I brought those vectors into photoshop and created my background there. You have to include the bg color though. Nest them in a smart object and convert. Link it into illustrator and add text or whatever. It was not an ideal approach but I could maintain the appearance.

Save as PDF/X-4 and handoff to a printer whose technology is up to date.

I want the top version that is lighter. I just don’t trust bringing the file with a screen opacity to the printer my client is using since I am already feeling a slight resilience to really work with me on the other issues I was having. I think I need to get this just right on my end. And yes, there will be an image and vector text over it.

The image you’re seeing is vector with a screen opacity (the top version). I just want to find a way to simplify this asset by retaining it’s appearance and removing it’s opacity to a normal state so that I don’t have surprises in the print process. Because the vector is on the complex side, it is significantly slowing down my software and I think the printer said sometimes he does this with files.

Wouldn’t saving as an Ai file vs PDF have the same result - which is it looking the way I want but possibly causing issues during the print process? The printer wants PDF anyway, I believe.

Can you share the asset that you have and I can take a look.

These things can be a mess.

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Exactly. I do have to convert this to CMYK eventually and that makes the appearance of the swirly vector washed out completely. I already rasterized the entire background with the swirly vector over it and then brought it back to Ai and converted to CMYK - it’s tolerable. That’s Plan B for me. I had hoped there was a better way to do this as the blue in the background is an event branded color that needs to follow their style guide. So if I wind up converting that background to an image, I would have to do it for all the retractable banners and the fliers as I’m worried there might be a shift in that color from one media to another.

What is “bg” color?

I’ll send you the file with the asset and the blue background but in a smaller size so you can see.

I’m not familiar with PDF/X-4 – what does that do for the file?

It preserves transparency, as opposed to flattening and potentially rasterizing it (at a resolution you didn’t expressly choose).

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