Creative Cloud glitches, crashes and quits and what to do about them

We’ve been noticing an increase in screen redraw glitches, specifically in InDesign, since the last few updates to CC. While they’re pretty cool (if you like random distortions) and can produce effects like the above, they’re actually a sign of bigger issues and something you should check out.

Screenshot of image glitches in an InDesign preview

The glitches are caused by compatibility issues with the GPU Performance function which Adobe started introducing to Creative Cloud applications In around 2014. The idea was to enhance performance by enabling applications to access the GPU processor on video cards, thereby boosting screen redraw, animation and video. You may have noticed when Photoshop started to do that dizzying animated zoom effect.

Screenshot of image glitches in an InDesign preview

The problem is, not all GPU chips are compatible or supported. This can present as interesting and intriguing screen redraw glitches, such as the ones illustrated here, but can have more serious effects such as random quits and crashes, documents appearing in black and white, jagged artwork and pop up error messages about “GPU Performance Features are not available”.
The immediate solution is to turn off GPU support by clicking the GPU icon

Screenshot of GPU Performance icon in inDesign

or by selecting GPU Performance in the application preferences. Turning GPU Performance off should solve the issues right away though you may also notice a slowdown in application performance.

Screenshot of InDesign GPU Performance Preferences
GPU Performance Preferences

You can then try Adobe’s suggested troubleshooting steps to see if you can restore the GPU functionality.

More information on GPU performance is available in these Knowledgebase articles for Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom.

We’d be interested to know if you’ve had any issues related to GPU performance and how you solved them, so get in touch in any of the usual ways.

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When should I convert images to CMYK?

This is a question we’re asked regularly and it causes some confusion. Images are generally captured using the RGB colour mode but, for printing, they need to be defined as CMYK mode. Think of it as the difference between screen viewing and printing.

Image of screen and printer icons

The initials RGB represent the primary colours of the screen mode – Red, Green and Blue, CMYK represents the primary colours of printing – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Black being represented as K or the Key colour).

In the early days of desktop publishing, images were converted to CMYK using Photoshop before they were placed into a design application like Illustrator, QuarkXPress or InDesign. This process can be time consuming and creates a variety of inconvenient side-effects. The CMYK colour mode is adapted for specific printing processes and machinery and has a reduced colour range compared to RGB so CMYK images so are not suitable for reuse in many other media. A further benefit from leaving images as RGB is that much of Photoshop only works in RGB mode so, if you convert an image you’ll find a substantial amount of Photoshop’s editing capabilities are disabled.

The good news is, this process is no longer necessary, as long as you are exporting your  document to a PDF using a preset which includes a colour conversion.

Screenshot of Photoshop Convert to CMYK mode

 

Let’s explain that further. The typical way to change colour modes in Photoshop is to manually select Image>Mode>CMYK Color, however,  as all Adobe applications use the same colour engine, you can perform an RGB to CYMK conversion at any point in your workflow using any Adobe application. If you are sending print-ready PDF’s to your print provider, you can automate the conversion by placing RGB images into InDesign or Illustrator and creating a PDF using choosing a preset such as PDF/X-1a2001 or Press Quality. These presets contain a built-in conversion which will convert any images to CMYK automatically. The original pictures will remain untouched, leaving you free to reuse them for output in other media without making duplicates.

Screenshot of InDesign Export to PDF

SCreenshot of second step of InDesign export to PDF process

This does not automate creative processes such as colour correction, retouching or sharpening and these should be carried out in Photoshop in conjunction the various soft proofing tools such as Proof Colours and Gamut Warning.

In cases where you intend to send open InDesign files and links to your print provider this approach is not suitable (unless you’ve agreed that your print provider will perform the conversion). For most people, however,  converting on export to PDF offers a much quicker and more efficient way to ensure images are correctly adjusted for print.

To learn more about working with colour with Creative Cloud, contact us.

 

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New Year, New Skills: Colour Management

New year new skills, colour management illustration

 

Do your images print too dark? Does your logo look the wrong colour? If you’re baffled and frustrated by colour issues, creativelab offers training and troubleshooting in colour management. Most people are unfamiliar with the complexities of colour and the rules their software packages use to describe it, this can create unpredictable and expensive results.

Image of calibration sheet and loupe magnifying glass

creativelab can show you how to set your software up to manage colour correctly, make sure your colour output is predictable across your design workflow and make sure your colours work predictably in all media.

Image of print swatch book

We’ll explain:
Colour profiles
Colour conversions
Monitor and printer calibration
Soft proofing
Measuring colour output

We can also carry out a colour health-check on your systems, identifying potential problems and recommending solutions.

To find out more, email us or call 07834 237 133

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Five Tips For Making Accessible PDFs

Collage of accessibility screenshot

It’s becoming more and more important to ensure that electronic documents are accessible. A set of Internet standards already exists to ensure assistive technologies (such as screen reader applications) can identify and navigate content online but this is increasingly becoming a requirement for standard desktop documents too. The good news is that you can create accessible PDF documents using a variety of applications including Adobe InDesign, Acrobat Pro and MS Office.

At creativelab we’ve been spending some time investigating current approaches and tools, here are our top five tips for creating accessible PDFs.

1.It’s much more effective to make source documents accessible than to make subsequent PDFs accessible. Acrobat has a full set of accessibility tools as well as a thorough accessibility checker but it’s much faster to set up good practices using Word and InDesign.

2. When working with source documents, do use built-in features such as Paragraph and Character Styles, Table styles, Tables of Contents, Bookmarks they make formatting faster but they also add accessibility functions automatically.

 

Screenshot of InDesign Paragraph Styles

InDesign Paragraph Styles

3. Metadata is important in accessibility so make sure you understand how to add it (MS Office and Adobe applications have built-in metadata fields) and also what terms to use. You may need to develop an organisational taxonomy if you have a large number of users and documents.

 

Screenshot of MS Word metadata panel

MS Word metadata panel

4. Do use Acrobat Pro’s accessibility checker to verify your document’s compliance but don’t expect it to pass first time. Even the best configured document will normally require some manual remediation (even if it’s just a visual check), you can use Acrobat’s accessibility tools to complete the process.

 

Screenshot of Acrobat accessibility checker

Acrobat accessibility checker

5. Do get some advice on what accessibility standard you are trying to meet so you can be sure the adjustments you make are the right ones. Acrobat Pro uses the current w3c standards in it’s accessibility checker. In the UK, the Web Accessibility Guidelines are the commonly used reference.

Creativelab offers training and support in creating accessible documents from both MS Office and Adobe applications, contact us if you’d like to know more.

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