White Box Around TIFF - Adobe Illustrator


New Member
Hello all,

This is probably a common issue with you experienced designers, but it's got a relative novice confused.

I'm putting together a book cover in Illustrator CS4 and my intention was to place an illustration onto a coloured background. The illustration, saved as a TIFF in Photoshop, has a transparent background which can't be seen in illustrator, or in the exported print ready pdf. However, my first proof is showing a white box where it should be transparent.

I'm sure I'm missing something here. The bleedin obvious probably.


I’d say try a PSD file, failing that it could be something to do with transparency options when you created your PDF. Double check the separations in the output preview section of Acrobat to see if there are any clues there.
Thank you both for the advice.

I thought a TIFF supported transparency too. Does anyone know if this isn't the case?

I had a look at the Separations in Output Preview, but I'm not sure what I'm looking for. I've attached a screengrab of it anyway, in case I'm missing something.

Is there not a way of flattening the artwork in a pdf, in a 'what you see is what you get' kind of way?
Sorry, here's the attachment!


  • Picture 8.jpg
    Picture 8.jpg
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Have a click through the different colours (CMYK etc.), see if there’s anything glaringly wrong. Failing that, and I should have asked this to start with, what PDF preset are you saving it as (X-1a:2001, X-4:2008 etc.) - maybe one of these doesn’t support transparency? How’s it being output to get your proof? Hopefully an expert will stumble on this post in a minute!
Thanks David. Strangely, when I hover the Output Preview's crosshairs over the area that was printed white, it shows the same CMYK settings as the background colour. So it doesn't indicate any change there.

Could one of these pdf settings hold the answer?

Preset = Illustrator Default
Colour Conversion = No Conversion
Compression = Do Not Downsample

I’d use one of the other PDF presets for printing rather than Illustrator defaults, either one of those I mentioned or this is an industry standard:

PPA : Pass4press

Give that a go and see what happens maybe?
I'll have a good read through that link you sent and give it a go. Really appreciate the time and advice David. Thanks.