I've noticed that if I place a photoshop PSD image into an InDesign file and then export that InDesign file as a PDF the resulting image in the PDF has its colours washed out or its contrast looks off.

If I export the image from a PSD to a JPEG first, then place the JPEG into the InDesign file and export the InDesign file as PDF the resulting image in the PDF is much truer to the image when viewed in photoshop.

Both the JPEG and PSD are saved as RGB, and the PDF is CMYK, but i wouldnt have thought this would have mattered as the PDF export settings in InDesign ive set "convert to destination (preserve numbers)" in the colour output tab.

Why is this and is there anything i can do to use the photoshop files in indesign instead of having to export them as JPEGs first ?

  • 1
    What are youd color management settings for the files
    – joojaa
    Jan 8, 2023 at 18:37
  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Did you save the PDF as a CMYK document for printing? If so, that could be the problem. If the Photoshop document is in RGB, then conversion to CMYK can often lead to washed out colours, because some of the colours in RGB are not possible to be printed properly in CMYK. This is only a guess though. You should check what colour format the image is in.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 8, 2023 at 19:07
  • @BillyKerr ive updated the question to add that info
    – sam
    Jan 8, 2023 at 20:08
  • @sam preserve numbers does not do what you think it does but especially from rgb to cmyk what exactly is it supposed to preserve?
    – joojaa
    Jan 8, 2023 at 20:38
  • @joojaa im not sure.. never really considered it. Whats the best workflow for me to acehive a print ready CMYK PDF given that most of my image assets are PSD and JPEGs currently saved as RGB. Note i also use the same image assets for digital so ideally dont want to have to keep separate CMYK and RGB copies, was hoping inDesign would sort this for me at export.
    – sam
    Jan 8, 2023 at 20:51


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