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Crop marks and separations

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Erik Youngren:
OK, here's a question.

I have cropmarks placed in an XPress 6.x document within the image area. We PS to PDF to print seps because XPress always seems to choke on our workflow. The cropmarks are colored Registration. They printed out fine a month ago on our spot color plates (the only color pages we use them for). Now the cropmarks are only printing on the Black plate.

Some background.

Xante 3G Accel-A-Writer set to print at 75lpi/600dpi. A month ago we were printing at 85lpi/600dpi. No issues with the cropmarks. Now that we have changed to 75/600 no cropmarks on the spot plates. The crop marks APPEAR on the spot plate and I can see them in the PDF. They just don't PRINT when I send the spot plate to the printer! I strongly suspect it has to do with the linescreen being changed from 85 to 75, but I don't know how to force the cropmarks to print on the spot plate. Any ideas?

Mac OSX 10.3.9, G5 with XPress 6.52, and Acrobat Professional 6.0.4.

Glenn:
total guess here but it sounds like your Xante is producing your crop marks.

I'm guessing this way because you say the marks are correctly coloured on the pdf, so either you are changing them in the print dialogue of acrobat or the Xante is ignoring them and creating its own.

Erik Youngren:
OK, here's a better explanation.

Page size is 11 inches (66p) x 16.667" (100p). Image size is 10.333 inches (62p) x 16 inches (96p). We have a 2p margin all the way around. Since our page size is very close to our paper size (11x17 Tabloid) I can't print registration marks from XPress because they won't show up. So we have a template for spot color pages which has reg marks manually placed within the 2p margin between the image size and the page size. These print just fine on a composite print from XPress or a composite print from Acrobat (after making a PDF).

The problem is when I try to print separations from the PDF. The manually placed reg marks will print on the black plate but not on the spot plate even though Acrobat shows that the reg marks are present in Separation preview. This did not happen when we had an 85 line screen.

I did come up with a workaround which is essentially to print seps from XPress to PS. I then get a 2 page PDF, page one with the spot plate and page two with the black plate. A Composite print then prints my manually placed reg marks on both plates.

Since I have found a workaround I'll use that for now, but I would like to find out what's going on here so I can fix it.

Thanks Glenn for the input.

chardonnay:
Erik, does it make a difference between using DeviceN or composite CMYK when outputting it to PDF, or even PS? A workaround may be to copy the cropmarks and paste in place on top of those in reg.color, then manually set them to the needed spotcolor.

Glenn:
It may be that the 'Registration' color created by Quark gets converted to 'All' by Distiller, then 'All' is treated wrongly when outputting the spot.
Why this would stop working when you changed your line ruling is a mystery.

Our RIP sometimes can work the other way, a spot colour (only) pdf Exported from ID, Acrobat still previews the CMYK slugs and marks, but the RIP only creates 1 separation. I guess this proves that these objects/colors have a sort of special status in the PDF.

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