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The book I am working on has hundreds of graphics for children along with text for each of those graphics. The graphics have soft edges for the clouds, walls, etc. that ends up in pure white. The text is supposed to flow around those shapes.

A month back, when I searched the Adobe help pages and a few other tutorials, it seemed like a good idea to create a vector mask around a .psd file in Photoshop itself, and then have it imported into InDesign; turn-on the text wrap to the clipping of Photoshop, so that the text will automatically flow around the graphic shapes.

However, now I realise that this causes 1px artifacts around the wrap path when the book is exported into PDF for web viewing (for ebook purposes). Further search online shows that the best solution is to NOT USE Photoshop transparency but rely on methods like placing .tif instead of .psd!!

That seems counter productive and a waste of time and disk space.

So, I want help in deciding if the following workflow is better:

  1. open the .psd and delete the vector mask, thus leaving the original white background graphic

  2. place it in InDesign without text wrap

  3. with the pen tool in InDesign draw a shape over the graphic around which I want the text to wrap

  4. turn on the text wrap for that pen tool shape to wrap around object shape

This doesn't leave any 1px artefacts around the web PDF.

Also, grouping the text wrap shape to the imported image doesn't seem to work, it distorts the text wrap to a bigger area.

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One solution is to avoid creating vector masks and just stick to paths.

The secret is to name the path on Photoshop (give it any name, dont leave it on the default "Work path"). After that, InDesign will be able to load the path directly from the psd file (menu Object > Clipping Path > Type: Photoshop Path).

You can further configure Text Wrapping as well if needed, just make sure its set to Counter Options: "Same as clipping".

This method absolutely clears the ugly thin line.

Tested on Indesign CS6.

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Rather than a clipping path, you can use InDesign's built in "Detect Edges" (it's under Contour Options in the Text Wrap panel, which defaults to "Same as Clipping"). InDesign will then ignore the Photoshop clipping path, most likely, but it won't hurt to remove it from the PSD.

Once InDesign has created the path, you can tweak it if you need to using the Direct Selection (white arrow) tool and the various Pen tool options.

TIFF is not a good option. InDesign handles PSDs much more adroitly than it does TIFFs.

  • The "detect edges" option, in my opinion, creates too many control points, thus editing them becomes a task as compared to manually created paths. :) However, thanks for increasing my confidence in using PSD with InDesign as opposed to TIFF. – LWTBP Dec 9 '14 at 6:19
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Try it first with disabling Smooth images in the Acrobat page display options. It sometimes fixes issues with transparancies and clipping paths.

Disable Smooth images in InDesign PDF Export

If this doesn't help: Your workaround seems like a stable alternative, but it will take you a long time to do so, if there are many images.

  • I am aware of that option, but it beats the purpose because we can't tell every customer to follow that instruction if they want to see the ebook properly. They would expect it to work well out of the box. – LWTBP Nov 26 '14 at 9:50
  • Of course, I didn't think of that. Maybe you could batch convert all image files to TIF and replace them in InDesign. – theyve Nov 26 '14 at 10:00
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I couldn't replicate your problem, but I had two thoughts that might help & be easier than your workaround.

  1. It could be your problem is with the vector mask in Photoshop but not with the path imported to Indesign. So I'd try saving the path from the vector mask (as Path 1 or something) before deleting the vector mask. You'll still be able to use the path as the clipping path in ID whether or not it's "doing" anything in the PS file.

  2. By the same token, you could try converting the vector mask to an alpha channel and using that for the clipping path.

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