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Output of vectors in print

Jan 19, 2012 10:36 AM

Just wanted to ask for clarification on this, as I always get conflicting arguments on this point.

 

For vector shapes, vector masks and type layers - is the only format besides PDF (negating EPS for certain reasons) the only format that will Output the vectors.

 

That is to say, will a PSD or TIFF with text layers will rasterise the vector data on output to the document resolution?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 19, 2012 10:42 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Yes. They will/ may retain the vectors in their own data, but other than PS or other Adobe apps for that matter, it cannot be used by programs from otehr vendors. Therefore rasterization is requirted for compatibility.

     

    Mylenium

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 19, 2012 10:35 PM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Technically, there is one more format thats kind of hidden. Photoshop can also export paths as illustrator files (ai) The problem is the stroke and fill are set to none, so if the 3rd party app has no way to apply a stroke or fill, you won't see the object.

    To my knowledge photoshop and illsutrator are the only apps that can see vector data, but I think I may be wrong, there is a strong possibilty that indesign and after effects can as well.

    Also I beleive fireworks is the only app that can see vector data in a png file. For some reason the code for the file import/export of the png format hasn't been shared with the other teams.

    Keep in mind some apps like indesign rasterise the file on import.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 6:00 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Eugene Tyson wrote:

     

    To be clear I'm talking about when the file is output in a printing house, for digital or offset litho/flexo.

     

    In the PSD or TIFF - are the Vectors preserved on output, or are they only stored for editing purposes?

    That's not being clear because print shops use different types of software and workflows. What software is your hypothetical print house using to process your files?

     

    Your best option here will always be PDF.

     

    Sadly, some print shops take a perfectly good vector PDF file and rasterize it in Photoshop. There have been people on this forum in the past month that have admitted to this silliness.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 7:25 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Eugene,

     

    never heard that a TIFF can contain vector data. Now let's see what Photoshop help tells us about

    printing of images with vector content:

     

    ---

    To print vector data

     

    If an image includes vector graphics, such as shapes and type, Photoshop can send the vector data

    to a PostScript printer. When you choose to include vector data, Photoshop sends the printer a

    separate image for each type layer and each vector shape layer. These additional images are printed

    on top of the base image, and clipped using their vector outline. Consequently, the edges of vector

    graphics print at the printer’s full resolution, even though the content of each layer is limited to the

    resolution of your image file.

    ---

     

    bold by me. 

     

    Best regards  --Gernot Hoffmann

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 7:56 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    InDesign rasterizes PSD/TIFF but will maintain vector in PDF.

     

    This is really an easy thing to test. Make a Photoshop document that is 5" x 5" at 10 PPI. Drop in a photograph. Add a type layer.

     

    Save a PDF, TIFF, and PSD file. Place each in InDesign. Export as PDF. Review the PDF file to see what happens to the vector type in each file format when you zoom to see the pixels in the photo.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 8:17 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Eugene,

     

    TIFF cannot contain vector information, as far as I know, and I checked it recently.

     

    Remains only PSD (in our discussion, EPS and PDF excluded).

     

    I'm interpreting the mentioned help text like this: if PSD is sent to a PostScript

    Device, then vector data are retained.

    Conversion into PDF uses a Postscript Device. Sending a PSD to a RIP, which

    is in my understanding always a PostScript Device, as well.

     

    In my workflow I'm using InDesign (years ago PageMaker) with ingredients from

    Photoshop (only raster images), Illustrator (vector graphics), programmed PostScript

    graphics (PSAlter). Text and lines etc. are added by InDesign.

    Finally the ID file is exported as PDF, either with RGB-images for large format

    printers or entirely in CMYK for offset. Any tests as well by PostScript toner printers.

    It's quite clear that this is the well proven workflow (nothing new, of course).

     

    The not answered question might be this: is vector data in a PSD retained after

    placing the file in InDesing, followed by export to PDF.

    No, it's answered by Marian!

     

    Please, can you give us a little more information about the background of you

    question?

     

    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 8:42 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Eugene Tyson wrote:

     

    ...so is it the PDF export that's rasterising the vector layers in the PSD?...

    I suggested PDF export to save a branch from a tree. But this effect is not limited to PDF export. If you created an insanely low resolution bitmap graphic (10 PPI) in that test, you can observe the same rasterization of TIFF/PSD when you print from InDesign.

     

     

    Eugene Tyson wrote:

     

    ...What I'm asking is, is the PSD layers for vectors accessible and printable only by Photoshop - they remain a hidden layer within the file. But the PSD itself has actually stored Raster data to be output from other devices?

    Yes.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 8:45 AM   in reply to Gernot Hoffmann

    Gernot Hoffmann wrote:

     

    ...TIFF cannot contain vector information, as far as I know, and I checked it recently...

    That is not entirely true. TIFF can contain vector info. That is how InDesign uses clipping paths created in Photoshop.

     

    This all comes down to what features of a file format a program can read in any given program. There is not much stopping Adobe from releasing a future version of InDesign that can use the vector data in TIFF/PSD in the same way that it uses it in PDF.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 9:16 AM   in reply to Marian Driscoll

    Marian,

     

    in a German doc I found indeed an enigmatic information, that a TIFF can

    contain 'paths'.  You're saying 'clipping paths'. Please, quote a reference.

     

    Practically spoken, I wouldn't expect anything like this in a TIFF.

     

    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2012 11:15 AM   in reply to Gernot Hoffmann

    Gernot Hoffmann wrote:

     

    ...Please, quote a reference...

    I can't locate references but it is indeed possible to pack a vector clipping path in TIFF (or even JPG) and then have that vector path recognized in InDesign, Pagemaker, or QuarkXPress. Try it.

    Eugene Tyson wrote:

     

    ...Also can someone confirm that Smart Objcts, Photoshop PDF or not, will rasterise to the image resolution on output?

    Isn't that something that you can confirm for yourself by placing a SO in a Photoshop image with insanely low PPI?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2012 5:15 AM   in reply to Marian Driscoll

    Marian, you're right:

     

    It's possible in PhS to define a path as clipping path and to save the

    image together with the path as TIFF.

    The clipping is not immediately shown, but placing in InDesign makes

    it obvious.

     

    Other programs, here Paint and the Windows Image & Fax system,

    ignore the clipping effect.

     

    My guess: it's not a generic feature of the TIFF format, but an 'abuse'

    of metadata fields for arbitrary purposes, here by Adobe.

     

    I'm not really interested to digest the file format specs.

     

    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
    7,038 posts
    Jan 11, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2012 5:50 AM   in reply to Gernot Hoffmann

    Gernot, (I don't know if other users were taunting you by using your Titles, I think remembering that you prefer to be adressed without them) with all due respect, this is not secret at all, I remember using it from Photoshop 4 with the infamous Quark 3.1: http://www.sketchpad.net/quarkpath.htm

    It is a very common practice in the print industry. (As long as it still exists.)

     

    As for Vectors in Photoshop, If you can send the same Letter size 4 ppi file with a vector circle to both a postscript laser and a non-postscript inkjet printers, you will see a big difference...
    I remember making the test long time ago.

     

    But the underlying question here seems to be what InDesign can do with Photoshop vectors, so the best place might indeed be the InDesign forum.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2012 8:17 AM   in reply to Pierre Courtejoie

    Pierre, conversations are expected without titles, please.

     

    I think we can clarify everything, step by step.

     

    From my post #7 it should have been already clear, that vector paths can be reproduced

    only by PostScript devices.

     

    I know TIFF as a professional raster graphics format. I didn't know that it can reproduce

    clipping paths. Now let's investigate this issue further:

     

    (1)

    http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=tiff%20%22file%20spec%22&source= web&cd=1&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpartners.adobe.com%2Fpublic%2F developer%2Fen%2Ftiff%2FTIFF6.pdf&ei=Yt0aT4f1A4-g-wbyk42uCg&usg=AFQjCN Gp5Fw5VVGmAJLTd2PCmR-Y7Rr2cQ&cad=rja

    (2) quoted from (1):

    "Some image manipulation applications support notions of transparency masks and

    soft-edge masks. The associated alpha information described in this section is different

    from this unassociated alpha information in many ways, most importantly:

    Associated alpha describes opacity or coverage at each pixel, while clipping-related

    alpha information describes a boolean relationship. That is, associated alpha can

    specify fractional coverage at a pixel, while masks specify either 0 or 100 percent coverage."

     

    (1) refers to the file specs for TIFF, dated June 3 1992. This version appears on top

    of the Google search results. Therefore I'm assuming that it is the actual version as well.

     

    (2) tells us, the clipping path information seems to be converted into an alpha channel.

    This is very different to a true clipping path - the 'clipping related alpha information' doesn't

    concern scalable vector graphics, but simply on/off transparency.

     

    I think there is no doubt, that TIFF cannot reproduce/maintain arbitrary vector paths, and

    now it seems, that the 'vector clipping paths' are simulated by alpha transparency.

     

    Personally I had never any doubt that TIFF can contain alpha channels.

     

    Objections with references are welcome!

     

    Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

     

    By the way: the word path appears in (1) only once: as a part of sympathetic.

     

    Message was edited by: Gernot Hoffmann

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
    7,038 posts
    Jan 11, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2012 8:47 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    Gernot, I should have drawn a line after my first paragraph, as I was replying specifically about the "secret" mention, noting that the biggest competitor recognized clipping maths. Sorry for the confusion. I can't check the specs on this small screen. But I trust your analysis, and guess that we will have to fait for Chris Cox or another employee for à definitive answer.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2012 12:10 PM   in reply to Gernot Hoffmann

    Gernot,

    Some things I can speculate on and some things I consider fact - they can be demonstrated.

     

    Fact 1: Photoshop can save paths in jpegs  -  multiple paths and they need not be "clipping" paths

    Fact 2: Photoshop can save paths in tiffs     -  multiple paths and they need not be "clipping" paths

    Fact 3: These paths data can be read and used by Indesign (usually for clipping masks) and possibly other Adobe products  as well as any other app that  wants to do the binary detective work.

     

    Speculation 1: Adobe includes these data in similar ways in both formats.

    Speculation 2: The methodology used is not a standard extension of either format.  While I would not label this practice as format "abuse",  it is certainly not part of the standard and I suspect the data are also not part of the official metadata nor are they alpha channels. I believe they are stored in image resource blocks.

     

    Paulo

     
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