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SeparationDetails keys

This page applies to Harlequin v13.1r0 and later; both Harlequin Core and Harlequin MultiRIP.

The values of keys in the SeparationDetails dictionary are treated as atomic when merging. As an example, if the Ignore dictionary includes ImageContents and SuperBlacks, and then setpagedevice is called again to set just Registermarks in the Ignore dictionary, the pre-existing ImageContents and SuperBlacks entries are not retained.

Abort in SeparationDetails


If true, this flag means that the RIP will abort the job with configurationerror if the input is not appropriate for composite output. For example, if the RIP is separating then the input must be composite and cannot be either monochromatic or pre-separated. In general, you can set this flag to false and use Ignore and Omit keys to define the behavior more tightly.

Add in SeparationDetails


Set this flag true to enable the addition of new separations as they are encountered. 

When the /Add key in /SeparationDetails is set to true, the RIP automatically turns off HVD (Harlequin VariData) Internal Mode, as this is incompatible with dynamic spots (regardless of whether outputting to separations or in composite mode).

CompositeColorNames in SeparationDetails

array of colorant names

Default: [/Gray]

The fixed color channels available and the order in which they appear in the output raster. These color channels can be given as strings, names, or a mixture of both. For example, an imagesetter would always have the value [/Gray], whether separating or not.

Devices that print separations (for example, platesetters), commonly only have one Gray color channel on the device. Each separation has its colorant mapped onto this during rendering. Therefore there is no need to change CompositeColorNames from the default value for such devices.

To change the order of the color channels, change the sequence in /CompositeColorNames from:

/CompositeColorNames [ /Cyan /Magenta /Yellow /Black ]

to (for example):

/CompositeColorNames [ /Black /Cyan /Magenta /Yellow ]

Previous versions of this document listed a CompositeOrder key; this key has been removed and the functionality described should be requested by adjusting the order of color channel names in CompositeColorNames.

ColorantRender in SeparationDetails


Each key in this dictionary is the name of a color channel, either a name or string (for example, /Cyan, (Magenta)).

The names of the color channels should match an entry in CompositeColorNames, or it will be ignored.

The value is combined with the Presence entry from the Colorants array; see SeparationDetails keys affecting colorant families to determine whether the color channel is rendered. Allowed values are:

0: This color channel should not be rendered unless it is marked as required in the Colorants array.

1: This color channel should be rendered, unless it is blank and separation omission is turned on. If separation omission determines that the color channel can be omitted, but the color channel is marked as fixed in the Colorants array, an empty channel is presented to the output device.

If a color channel is not present in ColorantRender, it is treated as if it had a value of 1.

Ignore in SeparationDetails


Set the keys of this dictionary to have the RIP ignore or consider particular constructs when assessing the need to produce a separation. (Even if ignored here, the marks are drawn if the separation is produced because of other rules.) If all marks are ignored - which would otherwise result in no output - then the Black separation is output anyway.


A value of true means ignore all marks drawn in a BeginPage procedure. Set this to false if the marks are always required.


A value of true means ignore all marks drawn in a EndPage procedure. Set this to false if the marks are always required.


A value of true means examine process color images for marks in each separation.

The image is always tested if there are look-up tables (LUTs) present in the image. The ImageContents key only determines whether the data is tested in full. Non-omitted channels appearing in images are assumed to be marked. There is no distinction between process and spot images.

In all versions, the RIP treats images drawn in the /All separation in the same way as other /All objects. See The All separation and separation omission.


The default value of false means no special treatment for superblacks. If true, then objects whose colors are superblacks are ignored (in the CMY planes). For example, this could be used to ignore CMY separations in a mainly text page where the text was imaged as a superblack.

A superblack is a color in which the CMY components are all less than or equal to the K component (that is, C <= K, M <= K, Y <= K).

With N-color support, a superblack is a color where all channels are less than or equal to the black channel. See Note 2.

Both the SuperBlacks and RegisterMarks controls may fail with some PostScript-language usages. For both keys, we suggest that you use true only with output from applications where this setting has been proven to work.

RegisterMarks and SuperBlacks are not detected in some colorspaces where they do not make sense. (For example, they are not detected in DeviceRGB, where there is no black separation.) Additionally, images are never RegisterMarks or SuperBlacks.

Shadings may be treated as SuperBlacks or RegisterMarks, if they fulfil the required criteria at every single point in the shading.


The default value of false means no special treatment. If true then objects whose colors are the same in each separation are ignored. There are some jobs where you can set this value to true to ignore register marks (or other marks) drawn using 1 1 1 1 setcmykcolor. (See Note 1 for Superblacks.)

RegisterMarks are colors that have all process colors the same. (See Note 2 for Superblacks.)

Applications may draw their own crop marks, color bars, or register marks in ways that lead to non-blank separations, even when using these keys. To avoid this problem but retain equivalent marks, disable such features in the application and use the Crop Marks page feature, or some variation on it, to accomplish the same thing. These page features draw marks in the BeginPage or EndPage procedures where they can be ignored efficiently, using the similarly named keys in the Ignore dictionary.

MaxExtraSpotColorants in SeparationDetails


Default: 100000

The maximum number of extra arbitrarily named spot colors that can be included in SeparationColorNames. If the number of separations the plugin can handle is unlimited, set this field to a very large number. Set this to zero ( 0 ) if spot colors are not allowed at all as is often the case for a composite color device.

MinExtraSpotColorants in SeparationDetails


Default: 0

The minimum number of extra arbitrarily named spot colors that can be included in SeparationColorNames. This value is often zero, and must always be less than or equal to MaxExtraSpotColorants.

Omit in SeparationDetails


This dictionary controls separation omission, a feature to output only non-blank separations. More precisely, it omits non-relevant separations as opposed to strictly blank ones, because the default settings ignore marks likely to be page ornamentation. Relevant separations have non-blank page content.

Omitting blank separations requires the Presence key of the colorant in the colorant family to be 1 (the colorant can be omitted); for more information see Specifying color output capabilities. In HMR, that is equivalent to marking a channel as Not Blank in the CSS dialog.

Set the boolean keys of this dictionary true to allow the RIP to omit separations drawn with colors in the related categories. There are two groups of keys: the /Monochrome and /Separations keys define which jobs are acceptable, while the /Process, /Spot, /ExtraSpot, and /Colorants keys define which separations are omitted.


boolean: Set this key to true to prevent the RIP separating monochrome jobs.


boolean: Set this key to true to prevent the RIP separating preseparated jobs.


boolean: Set this key to true to suppress blank process color separations. The definition of Process and Spot can be complex. For standard colorspaces, ProcessColorModel implies the Process colorants and Spot colorants are all the others in SeparationOrder. ( ExtraSpot colorants are always and only dynamically-added separations.) This distinction can be configured - and for DeviceN spaces,  needs to be defined - by the ColorantFamilies settings, which are supplied by the output plugin (HMR) or the configuration (Core).


boolean: Set this key to true to suppress blank spot color separations. See Process.


boolean: Set this key to true to suppress blank dynamic spot color separations.


array: Specific colorants to omit, as an array of colorant names (given as names or strings). All of these colorants, which appear in the initial SeparationColorNames or implicitly in the ProcessColorModel, are omitted. This provides no control for dynamic separations.

The page background is painted using the erase color set by the EraseColor procedure, see EraseColor in the page device. The erase color is typically white, but may be set otherwise by using the EraseColor procedure and color management. Setting the erase color to non-white is common when color management is used; for details see Simple emulation of one device on another. Note that EraseColor is subject to input color interception, which means that it may mark separations that are not explicitly listed in the color definition.

Technically, Omit ignores objects painted in the erase color when determining whether a separation is blank or not.

If the erase color is configured to be non-white, using Omit may result in the output having an unexpected background color. This is because the backend or the plugin that renders the separations is likely to assume (for the lack of better information) that the background is white, and substitute a clear color for the omitted separations. The only backends that know the erase color are those using Harlequin Varidata in external mode.

You should not turn on Omit if you are using an EraseColor that contributes a significant change to the visible color. When using the RelativeColorimetric rendering intent, most colors painted in EraseColor to emulate an underlying media color are probably sufficiently close to 0 that using Omit is acceptable. If using AbsoluteColorimetric it is much more likely that using Omit with EraseColor can change the background color of the page.

Remove in SeparationDetails


Set this flag to true to enable the removal of new separations after they have been encountered, added, and imaged.

SeparationOrdering in SeparationDetails


The flexibility with which separations or composite colorants can be ordered.

The possible values are one of these first two values, together with an optional bitwise logical OR with the other optional values describing the order of spot colors. The meanings of the uncombined values are:

1 The separation ordering is fixed.

2 The separation ordering is variable.

Optionally, you may include in the logical OR, one of:

4 Spot colors must occur after fixed colors

8 Spot colors must occur before fixed colors

12 Spot colors may occur before or after fixed colors

For example, a value of 6 means that the separation order is variable and that spot colors must occur after fixed colors.

SeparationStyle in SeparationDetails


When separating, this indicates the way in which separations should be rendered. See Composite and separation color formats. The values 0 (zero) and 4 override the setting of the /Separations key. (If /Separations true is given without any entries in SeparationDetails, the possible defaults are 1, 4, or 0, depending on the interleaving; see InterleavingStyle in the page device.)

The possible values and their meanings are:

0 Monochrome output.

1 Black separations. If a device does not have a black colorant, an arbitrary colorant will be chosen for the separations to be rendered in.

2 Colored separations on a color device. The device must be capable of rendering the colorants requested by SeparationColorNames.

3 Progressives on a color device. The device must be capable of rendering the colorants requested by SeparationColorNames.

4 Composite output. The colorants are specified by CompositeColorNames.

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