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I am making tiff files in Photoshop out of designs I made in Illustrator. The designs contain a raw image with a masked border on top of them. When I copy the design onto Photoshop, there is a thin, almost transparent color around the design which I am unable to avoid. I save the tiff file with transparency, but when I paste it back to Illustrator, I can clearly see that layer around my design. My designs are to be printed, so I am scared that thin layer would show. How do I avoid that and have everything around my design transparent?

Here's what it should look like:

enter image description here

click for full resolution

Here's how it comes out:

enter image description here

click for full resolution

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    Hi Dana_15 and welcome to GDSE. First of all it would be nice to see some screenshots of your issue. It sounds familiar, but I can't be sure without seeing something visual. Secondly it sounds a bit strange that you have to copy things back and forth between the applications. Is there a reason why you don't just export a PDF of your design from Illustrator? Why must you make a tiff in Photoshop? – Wolff Dec 10 '19 at 22:33
  • YES for the screenshot :) – Adriano Dec 11 '19 at 0:17
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    Typically if you must use both apps, you use Photoshop and copy/paste vector content from AI or create shape/vector layers within Photoshop. Or conversely... you place raster images (psd) in an AI file and then stay in AI. It's actually rare that one would want to roundtrip from AI to PS back to AI. The "line" you are seeing is most probably due to raster anti-aliasing.... but without a visual sample it's hard to say for certain. – Scott Dec 11 '19 at 3:19
  • Thank you for your answers! Yes I should've provided screenshots, here they are: ibb.co/5B3X4Vb (what it should look like) vs. how it comes out (you see a thin white layer around the design: ibb.co/TWDSjcY – Dana_15 Dec 11 '19 at 17:23
  • Something's definitely there, but hard to guess why. Most likely a leftover from something you did in the process, which is a bit confusing in itself. Why paste things back and forth between AI and PS? Do your work in PS, bring any vector stuff from AI (try both pasting AND importing), generate the TIFF from PS. – Lucian Dec 11 '19 at 18:07
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Based upon this .. I can only assume you mean that slightly lighter grey area around the entire piece.

Circled in green here...

enter image description here

That would appear to be a black somewhere which fails to match a black in the "other" application. I.E. In AI it's 100%K.. in PS it's 10R10G10B which looks like black but is not the same as 100%K.

I'm afraid, in general it would take direct file examination to determine the cause of this area. That is, unfortunately off-topic here. However, if the lighter background area is being introduced after the image returns from Photoshop, then it is most probably introduced in Photoshop due to some method or mask not being actual black. So you may want to look there first.


It is not uncommon to paint in Phothsop with what you think is black only to see it's not true black later. This can be especially true of mixing RGB and CMYK colors. i.e. The AI file is CMYK, the PS file is RGB or vice versa. Or that a mask is not actually full black due sometimes to poor color calibration or a brush being inexplicably set to 99% opacity (which happens to me constantly.)


One thing I also thought of.. if you are using an Opacity Mask in AI, you'll want to ensure the black on the mask is 100C/100M/100Y/100K or 0R/0G/0B... anything less than these values will create a slightly less than opaque mask - resulting in the "scum dot"-like appearance in many instances. Other than targets and marks for printing.. Opacity masks are the only other area where using the "Registration" swatch for a black is a good idea. (note opacity mask, not "clipping mask" - they aren't the same thing.)

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  • Thank you so much, Scott! I will definitely check the blacks in both photoshop and illustrator – Dana_15 Dec 11 '19 at 22:53
  • @Dana_15 answer updated with another possible cause. – Scott Dec 11 '19 at 23:57
  • Yes, it was a clipping mask, all blacks used were 100% black. What I eventually did was flatten transparency on the entire group of the design (all the way on raster in the settings, not vector) copied it into Photoshop and it did the job. Thank you all! – Dana_15 Dec 12 '19 at 16:43
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.. there is a thin, almost transparent color around the design which I am unable to avoid ..

Without a screenshot, we can't know what you have there, but make sure the border in your AI file does not have a stroke or shadow or glow or similar effect applied.

Select that border in AI and look at the Appearance panel to check if there's anything applied to it, before pasting into PS.

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    I initially thought the same as you, but now I think the OP isn't talking about a thin stroke but the whole transparent area having a "thin" (= vague) color? – Wolff Dec 11 '19 at 12:48

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