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I used 'Save a copy' in Illustrator to export *.ai as PDF files, only to find the color changed unexpectedly. Original color is CMYK(0,0,0,95) but it has a red hue when viewed in Acrobat.

I have read this question: CMYK colours wrong on export in Illustrator. However, my Illustrator file is already in CMYK mode and I did choose not to convert the color in export settings (actually enforcing CMYK color in configuration made no difference).

Same problem exists when I open the PDF with Foxit Reader or Windows in-built reader.

I'm wondering, does the problem affect printing or only result from a screen glitch?

In Illustrator:

What is shown in Illustrator

In Acrobat:

What is shown in Acrobat

Thanks to @GoofyMonkey, I understood the problem was because Illustrator displayed the inaccurate color.

By the way, I am sort of curious about why 100K appears slightly red, instead of slightly blue or other color? Is that an intrinsic characteristic of CMYK or only some problems relating to showing CMYK colors on sRGB screen?

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Illustrator is not exporting the colours incorrectly. And Acrobat is displaying the colours correctly. The issue is not a problem with the colour, but rather with how you are displaying the "Appearance of Black" in Illustrator.

To a printer, K black (100% Black Ink) will display as yours does in Acrobat. In order to achieve the Dark or "Rich Black" as you see it in Illustrator, you will need to create a swatch colour for your black. I use a mixture of 60/30/30/100 (60 cyan, 30 magenta, 30 yellow, 100 black) when I am producing something in process (4 colour) black.**

Try this:

In Illustrator, Open your preferences and then drill down to the "Appearance of Black" panel. Here you can choose to display all blacks as Rich black (Like your example) or to have them displayed accurately (as Acrobat displays them)

Appearance of Black Pref

If you choose to display All Blacks Accurately, it will give you a better visual representation of what your output should look like.

All of this is of course only relevant when you are working in a CMYK colour space.

** I think every printer and designer has they're own favorite rich black formula (check with your printer).

  • Thanks! By the way, I am sort of curious about why 100K appears slightly red, instead of slightly blue or other color? Is that an intrinsic characteristic of CMYK or only a problem relate to showing CMYK colors on sRGB screen? – Keyu Gan Jan 6 '17 at 20:06
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    Honestly, it's probably your monitor and how it is displaying the converted colour. But it may have a bit of a colour cast to it. Your monitor probably isn't calibrated perfectly. That said it could also just be the way your eye sees that colour as represented on your monitor. I tend to see K blacks as a little more yellowish. Test it out, open the pdf on different monitors, it may show up differently. – GoofyMonkey Jan 6 '17 at 20:25

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