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Topic: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images (Read 1681 times) previous topic - next topic

AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Odd title but I wasn't sure what to call it.

Since starting at my new workplace and using Esko Automation Engine 14.1 (currently installed) I noticed that clients would supply us .ai files with images (on transparent backgrounds) linked in [.tiff, .psd, .jpg(ugh)] the issue I have is when I run these files through our trap ticket  it always omits trapping the images to the background.

It gets worse when the .psd files have drop shadow layers in them.
Usually I end up just setting a clipping path around the image (and not the drop shadow) then going into the file, duplicating the image, and relinking the top most image to my clipping path applied image. (basically sandwiching the images ontop of one another, with he original image and its drop shadow in tact) 

Is this method risky?  totally crazy?  ... seems to work and beats  sandwiching 3+ images to get one that will trap in esko: just the shadow.psd / middle image with clipping path applied.psd / top most image with clipping path applied.psd ))

One particular graphics house does not use clipping paths (well I'm sure they do when creating this knockout) and instead creates a white ko behind the image that is contracted about 4pixels, then sets their main images to darken, thus creating a trap.. tho one thats more difficult to edit if the need arises]
I have used this method as well but finding the right pixel contraction to use on the images so you do not get too much or too little trap is tough as it tends to vary on the overall images size.
4 pixels on a tiny image 1x1 inch is too much but seems ok on an image thats 3x3 inch

I ran through some requested help cases which the old prepress operator had submitted to Esko support.
In one he mentioned that the images in his files were not trapping to the process background / pantone background in his files.

The help desk had assisted him and then closed his case.  Unfortunately they do not leave good notes on what the resolution of the case was.
I can tell by what is in the notes that they had told him:

Esko Support:
"The transparent bkgd does not provide any pixels to extend in order to create the trap.
The only way I could get it to Trap was to increase the Trap amount for the images and the trap direction for the spot to go into the image.
It is a file issue, if there is not data (transparent pixels around the image) then there is nothing to spread into the spot color. It would be better to actually have a tight clipping mask around it."

Which lead me to always having to create a tight clipping mask around the images in the files supplied to us (by almost every customer, and we have many)
Normally, not a huge issue but when certain customers supply 10 to 30 files with 2 to 4 different images in each it can take hours and hours of extra time spent creating a close clipping mask (1200%to 1600% zoom level) around the art for Esko to then realize there is a path/edge and trap the file/images properly.
Without this path Esko will not trap the image(s) to the background.

I have tried setting the ticket to how the support suggested and it does not work. 
I have set the trap to 1pt just to see and it fails to trap.

So is there any way to get images to trap to process or pantone backgrounds without having to spend extra time creating clipping paths in photoshop?

I have suggested to the artists (and it is within our spec sheet) that this step needs to be done on their end. (haha)  quick selection tool and/or lasso tool...beyond sloppy (or just not done at all as it takes too much time...."go figure"
Of course, when we try to charge them for this extra time it's an issue
(one which we end up on the losing side of)

If i send the files back nothing would ever get done file wise as it occurs with 90% of our customers.

Sorry turned into a bit of a rant there at the end : )


Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #1
the reason I say that, Esko has always trapped images to anything. As far as I know, I think they were the only ones years ago that would trap a 4 color image. I have used Esko since V9 (command line interface) but never got a chance to use Automation Engine (owner didn't want to upgrade $$$). But, I would assume it works the same as the other versions as far as trapping is concerned.

If you have a 4 color image on top of a colored background that has 2 or more shared colors (image has magenta, background has magenta, etc), then there is no trapping needed as it is welded color at this point. No chance of mis-register showing white due to the colors touching (i.e. "welded).
Esko should trap a 4 color image to a pms background, it either will spread the pms into the image or it should generate a mask, place the image into the mask and set it to overprint for traps. We used this function quite a bit.

If you have a service contract with Esko I would think you can place a call and get one of their engineers to set you up. They can usually dial in and check it out for you.

Are you are importing the .ai file or making a pdf file to import?
Prepress guy - doin' jobs one at a time

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #2
Do the raster images contain at least 3 of the primary colors (C, M, Y or K?) I have always been taught than when dealing with raster images if two raster pieces contain at least 3 pieces, trapping is not necessary because there is enough color in common. Then again, I can see where it depends on what the images actually are. If your images are 4-c and sitting atop a single color or Pantone, then yes, a trap is necessary,.

I only have experience using the i-cut suite, so all I've really done with it is create dielines or imposed and output files for digital printing. You may be able to manually or create a false trap in AI prior to import to Esko.
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #3
Does a "good image" on a spot background trap?
Like you say it may be the way the customer is putting their images in illy.

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #4
We have never had issues with that using Esko’s Nexus. We see lots of psds that use transparent backgrounds and drop shadows too with no issue. I wonder what they did differently with AE.
Sweet FA right now.

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #5

Guess I should have been a bit clearer but my post was getting long :)

If the image(s) are 4 colours process or at least 3 process colours and are on a process background then there is no need for trapping to occur you are correct.
I think our old prepess operator was more mentioning something like if the image is built out of cyan + black only and is placed on a magenta, yellow background then using our trap ticket these colour traps would not occur?
(at least that is how I took the statement made to Esko)

It was more a images (with a transparent background) placed onto Pantone backgrounds
These never trap without first creating a tight clipping path around the image(s) in Photoshop.

"Does a "good image" on a spot background trap?
Like you say it may be the way the customer is putting their images in illy."

If the image(s) had a clipping path created in photoshop then it traps just fine.
Unfortunately I do not know what a "good image" is if I am basing that off the Esko supports answer, as I have never had an image trap to a pantone background without having to create a clipping path first in photoshop.

"Esko should trap a 4 color image to a pms background, it either will spread the pms into the image or it should generate a mask, place the image into the mask and set it to overprint for traps. We used this function quite a bit."

It should but without that clipping path created first it doesn't.  It does not recongnize where the edge of the image/pixels are to where the background is I guess? I really don't know.  At least not from what I have seen over and over.
I have tried every setting I can think of in our trap tickets, and the settings suggested by the Esko support tech
(suggested to the old prepress operator who opened the ticket 2 years+ ago)
It just ignores the trap that should occur.
If I try to trap the image to the background in Illustrator using the Esko Deskpack plugin trap objects tool it comes up with the following: ' no common edge could be found for trapping'

I would be creating a .pdf prior to import into AE

Creating a clipping path around the image (without including the drop shadows) & filling this path with white that is 4-6pixels contraction.
Then going into illustrator, placing this contracted white KO behind the original image and setting the original image to darken or multiply
works sometimes for creating my own trap and it keeps the drop shadows the artist used in their original layered photoshop image.

Needless to say its time consuming due to still having to create the clipping path in the first place to create the KO for each image. : (

I suppose I will have to open another ticket and see if they will assist.
I find Esko support... not that helpful and are VERY quick to close a case regardless if the suggestion they gave works or not for the issue(s) stated.
** Ticket Opened, they are looking into it.  If they find a solution then I will be sure to post it as a reply to my long winded post :)

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #6
Is there image behind the desired image in Photoshop? If not, it should be easy to mask and remove and leave atop a transparent background layer to save and place as a .psd. Easier than creating a clipping path unless you get luck with the magic wand.
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #7
It depends on how they supply the file.

for example:
In some cases no, its just a spoon image with ice cream on it with a drop shadow on the spoon sitting onto of a solid pantone background colour.
Other times its spoon image, then a scoop of ice cream image, then berry images on top of that (all  with drop shadows on the spoon, ice cream scoop and berries)

Would the mask be a defining edge?  or just mask in a few pixels and leave a few on the transparent background in order for Esko to trap with?
Photoshop is not my strong application truth be told.

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #8
Have you thought about converting the Pantone background to a multichannel spot layer and saving as a .psd or DCS .eps?
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #9
No I have not, if its ever built in photoshop I'll give it a shot.

Right now the backgrounds are built in illustrator (built' aka: one giant rectangle)

I ended up just creating clipping paths around the images in each item, the creating a knock out file thats 2-4 pixels constricted.
Placing them both in illustrator and being done with it.
Not THAT time consuming if its 8 images, but once the other 28 items (112 images to create paths on.....) ..that is another story.

Once we send these 2 items out I am going to email the designer and  try to get them to follow what I did but...its a crap shoot as you all know.
(since the customer is no longer using the best graphics house and settled for someone/some company whom is much cheaper and ... it shows) as is adds a lot of extra non chargeable time on my end.. story of prepress right? :)

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #10
I would try creating the background in indesign and placing the image on top, create a pdf and see 
if you have the same problem, maybe you can narrow down the problem to illustrator.

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #11
Good idea.
I will give that a shot  : )

Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #12
Still going over these 2 files with Esko Support.

They have the files and after a very quick look they suggested I take an advanced trapping class so they can better assist me on how to trap these files.

I know how to trap these files if it comes down to it, it may not be pretty or fast but it works.
It just takes a large amount of time and the suggestions they have made do not work great.
They will trap the images in question but over trap the rest of the file or mess with trapping totally.

My intent was to try and save time / not bill our customer (or eat the cost) for the extra hour(s) of clipping paths / masks and relaying of their files in order for our workflow to trap their files when other workflows  (prinergy and rampage for example) would trap this files images without all the extra steps..

Still waiting on their reply on if they even tried to trap the file sent to them using the methods they suggested to me and info on how much their advanced trapping class costs. Every little bit of information helps! 

I am still set on that this is a Esko issue where the trapper will not trap images to pantones without a defined edge being present in either /both of the objects its trying to trap.
They won't comment on my thoughts and seem to dance around it in their replies which makes me suspicious.
(We had opened a ticket in 2015 regarding the same issue and it seems its never been resolved)

Time to play the wait for a reply game :)
Thanks for all the assistance and messages regarding this post and these files.  :)


Esko got back and mentioned they trapped these images by separating the photoshop image into 2 parts:  (1) Image & (2) drop Shadow then  layering them in illustrator.   Then using the White Underprint tool to create a path around the image (which is a MESS initially) then using the smooth tool they smoothed out and manipulated the path to fit the image (in illustrator)
Then sent the file through a trap ticket.
It traps, but its not a super clean trap/edge (not as clean as using the pen tool in photoshop)

I had mentioned to them if I need to edit paths why not just create a smooth one in the first place in photoshop?
(and as a added bonus the White Underprint tool will follow that path and be nice and clean!..in case I needed to use it)

So it looks like there is no efficient/quick way to create a path that AE recognizes to trap process images to pantones.
this seems like a major hole in the software when there are other workflows that do not need paths and trap images to pantones just fine.

Time to speak to the boss about billing more per file based on the need to create paths per image supplied & try to educate the artist/designers about clipping paths and layering of images in their source files.  (ha, good luck right) : )


Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #13
So it worked in Prinergy? Just curious.
Hope it works out! Keep us updated!


Re: AE, Workflow Trap Tickets & Images

Reply #14
I haven't ran it through Prinergy (as we do not have it here) but I worked with Prinergy for years  and can count on one hand how many files i had to create a path around images in order for it to trap the image/background.  (maybe 3 times in 5+ years)

I am assuming it would trap just fine :)