I have placed a greyscale TIF on a spread. When I place another PNG image on the same spread, the brightness of the previously placed graphic appears to change. The graphic appears more bright/less dark (see below). Pay attention to the graphic on the right and watch how it brightens up once the PNG is placed.

My questions are: Does anyone know why this is happening / what is happening? Is this only effecting the way things appear within InDesign or is it going effect the print?

Brightness Changing

  • Have you tried outputting a PDF before and after, to check if there is a difference in the output. If not then it's probably some glitch you can ignore.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 31, 2017 at 14:37
  • What happens if you stick to image formats designed for print production - tif, psd, eps? Maybe it's the mix of a web format (png) and a print format (tif) that causes the issue?
    – Scott
    Mar 31, 2017 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


InDesign shows a low-quality preview on screen, to speed up performance. It's not intended to show a pixel-perfect print preview.

Use 'View → Display Performance → High Quality Display' if you want to view a high quality preview.

  • Interesting to know if this helps
    – alexh
    Apr 4, 2017 at 23:18

It comes from how the transparency is flattened. Have a single pixel of transparency (as an effec or photo) on the spread or the pasteboard, the flattening is needed. Grayscale TIFs get lighter if transparency flattener's colorspace is CMYK. I assume due the PNGs that you compose for onscreen. Select the transparency flattener to work in RGB (Edit > Transparency Blend Space > Document RGB)

If you compose for printing, then selecting RGB surely causes something unwanted. I do not know what and why. Hopefully someone that has true underhood knowledge about the internal color mixing and the handling of black and transparency, makes a better answer.

  • I suspected that perhaps the rendering mode behind the scenes was changing. An easy optimization for fast redraw would be to limit to greyscale when circumstances allowed, and the "before" appears to be one color for both spreads.
    – Yorik
    May 11, 2017 at 18:21

It also happens in my copy of ID, so it must be the way it behaves when placing different formats. Probably a preview issue. Never had any issues with PDF exports however.

  • Yes, it is a preview issue. Apr 5, 2017 at 16:04
  • It's not just a preview issue. I actually had the pages printed and they were lighter when a png file was used. When I removed it the photos then were blacker and back to normal....
    – spfxted
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:19

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