transparency with PDF/X-1a

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Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if there is a limitation inside scribus or PDF/X-1a. Attached an example with a half-transparent scribus text box. Exported as PDF 1.4 everything looks like expected. Exported as PDF/X-1a the transparent box is completely black. Is there a workaround to get the same result as with PDF 1.4 if the print shop expects X-1a?

Other discussions in this forum do address problems with transparent pdfs or pngs, but I found no topic about problems with a simple scribus text box.

The attached sla ist created with scribus 1.5.3svn r21422, but scribus 1.4.6 seems to show the same results.

Many thanks,

[attachment deleted by admin]


hi mauder

.pdf/x-1a and .pdf/x-3 are based on .pdf 1.3, and .pdf versions lower than 1.4 don't support transparencies – so there is a limitation!

depending on the desired effect you have to:

  • search for a print shop with appe (able to deal with .pdf/x-4) and export your files with scribus 1.5.x
  • split your artwork to 'flatten' your artwork manually
  • produce the parts wich use transparencies with an image processor and import them as images
  • export as .pdf1.4 and convert it later with a tool like ghostscript or acrobat pro
  • ...


hi utnik,

thank you for your answer. I think it will amount to the first or second point.

The fourth point may be interesting too. If I understand you correctly: I can save the pdf as version 1.4 from scribus and afterwards load that pdf into Acrobat pro and do the conversion to PDF/X-1a there. The result will be the same as when I save it directly to X-1a but Acrobat pro is able to flatten the transparency?



hi mauder

Quote from: mauder on July 27, 2016, 12:21:21 PM...load that pdf into Acrobat pro and do the conversion to PDF/X-1a there...

...Acrobat pro is able to flatten the transparency?

yes! – go to 'file' → 'export' → '.pdf/x' then you can set the desired version (x-1a) and the output profile.