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477 Views 2 Replies Last post: Dec 4, 2017 2:45 PM by walton RSS
Level 0 65 posts since
Jan 23, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 4, 2017 9:43 AM

How to flatten transparencies on Photoshop?

I'm using PS3 on Windows 95 to create my cover and still having trouble with CS not accepting my pdf cover. Two more questions.


1. In Photoshop PSE, Doesn't "flatten layers" also flatten all transparencies or layer masks? Is there any other way to flatten them?


For visible layers, does the order matter as long as I can view the correct image?  Also wondering if I should forget about my layer masks and edit the image directly. I will do this if that's what it takes. (Clutching at straws here?)


2.  more on Saving Pdf.

Under compatibility, My options go from Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) through Acrobat 8 (PDF 1.7)

Which one should I check?

(Failed effort had Acrobat 5 PDF 1.4)


Thanks to all trying to help. Don't know what I would do without this community.

Level 5 12,995 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
1. Dec 4, 2017 1:28 PM in response to: bitbybug
Re: How to flatten transparencies on Photoshop?

No, transparency in a raster image is not the same thing as transparency in a PDF file.


CreateSpace requires no higher than Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) compatibility. You can simplify your PDF export by choosing either (a) the PDF/X-1a preset if you're working in CMYK colorspace, or (b) the PDF/X-3 preset if you're working in RGB colorspace and have assigned an RGB color profile to the images(s). By default, both of these settings flatten PDF transparency and are Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) compatible.

Level 5 19,170 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
2. Dec 4, 2017 2:45 PM in response to: bitbybug
Re: How to flatten transparencies on Photoshop?

Separate from why CS won't accept your cover . . .


I believe that you can use Layers > Flatten in Elements or Layers > Merge.  I can't open Elements at the moment, so I can't check.  Also . . . Save as JPG will flatten an image.


The orders of the layer stack matters, but if what you see is correct, then that's what is right.


Layer masks are great, like Adjustment Layers, they let you work and rework an image forever, or until your patience wears out. Other than avoiding some innate discomfort with masking, which many people have, working directly on an image has no advantages that I can think of.


Always keep a master file with all the layers.  As often as not, the minute you flatten a multi-layer image you'll discover why you needed those layers.


As for the PDF, I generally prefer PDF/X-3 or even HighQuality (this is quirk of mine).  I don't think PSE supports working in CMYK, but if you make a PDF/X-3 PDF and it still causes problems, try PDF/X-1a.  Yes, it will convert RGB to CMYK, but it is the most conservative of the graphics/print related presets and will often solve all sorts of odd problems.  I would recommend printing out your cover to see how it looks in color.


Did you use a template?  I recommend the Bookow template.  It will help insure that everyting is where it should be.  If you did not, you can download one, they're free.  Then copy and paste it into your cover file.  See if everything is right.




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