Following Conversion from RGB to CMYK loses mesh gradient transparency , I replaced the mesh gradients with simple transparency gradients in Illustrator CS5.1. Note that the blue and red emojis have white spots on the eyes and a gradient in the face color:

emojis in Illustrator

When I save as a PDF with Uncoated FOGRA 29 color profile, those two emojis lose the white spots and the gradient in the face color. Here is the result in PDF, which is also missing those nuances after I upload to the manufacturer's website:

enter image description here

I used an ellipse and then the gradient tool with white color on the stop points and different opacity values:


When I change the stop colors to solid colors, then the gradient renders similarly in Illustrator and in the PDF. I would rather avoid changing all my gradients to these colors.

Is it possible to make the opacity gradients work in CMYK with FOGRA 29?

  • Can you reproduce the problem in other documents? I mean both when making a drawing from scratch and when copying the emojis to another document. Any change if you change some color and export settings?
    – Wolff
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


Select the white objects... look at the Attributes Panel in Illustrator (Window > Attributes) are they set to overprint?

Apparently Adobe, by default, may configure objects that contain white in a gradient to overprint. Don't ask me to explain the Adobe logic.... I really can't. They report something along the lines of... it's done intentionally so that "appearance remains consistent for gradients." Or something to that effect - I can't remember the exact explanation.

However, if you overprint white.. you end up getting.. well.. nothing. White doesn't print.

Ensure your white objects/gradients are not set to overprint in the Attributes Panel.

Note if you were to use 1% of any color, this issue is generally not present. It's only a problem when using 0% of all color (white), and more commonly with white in gradients or meshes.

  • 1
    I'm upvoting this because I suspect the issue does indeed have to do with the overprint setting. I can't however reproduce the problem. I've tried in both RGB and CMYK mode to turn on Overprint Fill on a white to transparent gradient on top of a red object and I can't make the white gradient disappear in a saved PDF! (In Acrobat I've previewed both with and without Simulate Overprinting). Does it indeed disappear if you save such a PDF?
    – Wolff
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:07
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    There's some voodoo that takes place @Wolff -- It's not a guarantee that white object will always be set to overprint or will always merely vanish. It has a great deal to do with profiles, conversions, etc. I don't know the exact configuration of artwork that causes this to trigger (Adobe won't share it). But it's a common enough issue that checking overprint is generally the first place to look.
    – Scott
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:10
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    For the record, I've only seen it a few times over the years and it's always been in files I've received from someone else (or purchased stock vectors). I've never seen it triggered in my own work. So I don't know what steps users may be taking to actually cause it.
    – Scott
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:14
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    I agree that that one should always avoid overprinting white objects but also that problems are rare (I see a lot of client PDFs). There must be some logic to it. But we don't know all settings in the user's document.
    – Wolff
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:17
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    Adobe simply won't share the "why" this happens.. :) .. or at least they wouldn't when the issue was brought up years ago. Best I can figure is New Art Has Basic Appearance is NOT ticked and the white object is drawn... remnants of overprinting are carried over.
    – Scott
    Apr 8, 2022 at 21:26

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