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Dynamic VDP Expansion does not handle soft masks correctly.


Some soft masks can be lost or shifted during expansion to PDF/VT. Soft masks are typically created in Adobe® Illustrator® by using Transparency window and assigning a grey scale picture as mask for another object. Soft masks need to be flattened prior to expansion.

This can be done by exporting the static part of the design from Adobe® Illustrator® to PDF/X1-a and using it as linked image in the variable design.

It is also possible to flatten transparencies directly in Adobe® Illustrator® by using menu Object > Flatten Transparency.... However, this approach can generate a high number of rasterized images which may slow down both expansion and ripping.

After the transparencies are flattened, it is possible to safely expand to PDF/VT directly from Adobe® Illustrator® and to export a VDT template for expansion on Automation Engine and DFE servers.

Expansion of objects with soft masks is supported in DeskPack 16.1 A5 (16.1.1) and Automation Engine 16.0.2.

Article information
Applies to

Dynamic VDP all versions up to 16.1.1

Last revised22-Aug-17
Case Number 


1 Comment

  1. The first version of VDP plug-ins reports a soft-masked object is 14.1.1 (b127)