I'm a Graphic Design major. I have to work with a lot of text and with InDesign, obviously. On a non-Retina display, I can't trust my computer's screen to display text at print-quality. This means that I have to potentially print dozens of pages while working with text to be sure the kerning and adjustments I've made will print correctly.
I'm considering purchasing MacBook Pro the Retina version, but I need to be sure it's a good investment. I know Retina is suppose to "rival" the printed page. But are Retina and CS6 compatible and designed well enough that I can trust my computer screen to display text at the exact same quality as I would see on the printed page?
To give an idea of what I have to deal with on a normal computer screen: If I have InDesign open on a non-Retina display and I type out a line of text, if I then zoom the screen in and out and watch the text closely while doing this, it will appear as though the relative width of some lines and the distances between letters are changing. (You should easily be able to confirm this on your own computer.) For example, the stem of one letter might appear to become fatter than the stems of others at one moment, and then may appear skinnier than others at another moment.
Obviously this means I can't trust what I see on the computer screen when I'm working with text. And that's a serious issue for me.
I assume this occurs as a consequence of the conversion process between vector-to-pixel format for OpenType text combined with the low resolution of the computer screen I'm working on. Going to Retina display may help eliminate one of those issues, but if InDesign CS6 was not designed to take full advantage of the Retina display, then this problem may still persist on the higher resolution screen.
I've never used a Retina display (and there are some issues with crashing on ne Mac hardware that Adobe has just addressed, so if you but a new machine, be sure to check out InDesign Help | InDesign Crashes with Blank Dialog Boxes on MacOS 10.7.4) but NO computer screen that I'm aware of can approach the quality of reproduction available on a press where the film is typically prepared at 2800 dpi or more.
As you zoom in, things shoud improve on any screen, but you are always still looking at a screen preview in ID.
Dendrek, would be curious to learn what your findings were in regards to this post. I am myself considering purchasing a Retina Macbook Pro, and one of my primary motivations was to be able to view "print-quality" renders of my documents with the full spread/page in view.
Unfortunately, my local stores (in India) do not have any Retina Macbook Pros, and even when they do arrive here, I doubt they will have CS6 installed on them - so your observations could prove extremely helpful.
I ended up getting Retina. I can say, unfortunately, that CS6 is not optimized for Retina display. Pixilation is pretty bad for anything with a point size of less than 18. It appears to have the same default resolution that it would have on a non-Retina display. Programs optimized for Retina look very crisp (even up close, the task bar is pristine). Adobe hasn't come close to taking advantage of these enhanced qualities. And this is with the display settings for ID set to max.
Photoshop, of course, looks amazing. I'm disappointed in Adobe's InDesign development team.
Sorry for the bad news.
Thanks for that quick response Dendrek.
It is so hard to convince myself not to give in to the expensive temptation of the Retina MBP when I have all but completely convinced myself that I really need it! I probably will go for it anyway - since I am upgrading from my mid 2007 17" Macbook Pro which is currently at Apple Service, awaiting final verdict on whether I will need to pay for a new display, the decision seems to be a lot simpler for me. Will buy the rMBP and hope that the Adobe team catches up soon enough (and that an update to InDesign is part of their "make CS Retina optimized" plan for later this year). Like you said, it is just a matter of ID pixel-doubling everything.
On a side note - Until such an update arrives I was thinking of trying to use my (3rd generation) Retina iPad with Air Display as a second "preview display" for InDesign documents - using the document in "New Window" feature of InDesign, which allows you to have a duplicate view of the same document at its own zoom settings, with live changes. Am not sure if this configuration works as logic dictates it should (since the latest version of Air Display is apparently Retina optimized and should therefore show the document at full resolution), but will give it a shot as soon as I have access to a Mac again. Have you ever tried this setup to achieve the "print-quality" preview that you and I (and many others) want to see? Would need a Retina iPad of course.
Thanks again for your input.
Your question made me consider something that I *now* feel foolish for not having tried before: exporting a working document to PDF to preview it. The PDF save does display at high pixel quality.
I was stubbernly relying on (or hoping to rely on) the active document to preview the image. At least now I know I have a reliable previewing option. (I decided to test out a Adobe Caslon at a point size of 6, 5, 4 and 3 -- it was completely legible at all of those point sizes in PDF! Of course it was completely illegible in ID at those point sizes.)
I'm so glad you made me think to do that. I was actually getting ready to trade this rMPB for the higher grade non-retina version. But now I have no need to!
[Edit] Just to be clear: PDF works like a charm but there is still some small amount of pixilation. At those small point sizes I mentioned, line thickness is not consistent throughout the font. You can still clearly see the counters and the spaces between letters, it's just that the letters begin to get a little fuzzy when you get that low. It's obviously not a huge deal (unless you work with a lot of small text). I just didn't want to advertise Retina as being "print quality" (didn't want you having false expectations).
Oh yes, PDF is something that I rely on for a more accurate representation of kerning, etc even with a normal screen. Glad you found that a good alternative, and that this thread sparked the thought! In the absence of a rMBP (in my case), viewing these exported PDFs on the Retina screen of the iPad (available immediately on it through Dropbox) is also very helpful.
Of course, the ideal solution would be where we could preview these changes live, while working on the document/layout itself. Pity that one has to rely on this workaround even with such amazing hardware at one's disposal. I hope Adobe is listening.
Am still hoping that display extension through Air Display will enable a live high-quality preview - I keep assuming that you have the new iPad - please do give it a try if you do.
Oh, and thanks for the clarification on the small text - I guess we can hope to get results only as good as a 200-odd dpi will allow us to achieve instead of the 300dpi one gets on offset, and even more on inkjet.
(I decided to test out a Adobe Caslon at a point size of 6, 5, 4 and 3 -- it was completely legible at all of those point sizes in PDF! Of course it was completely illegible in ID at those point sizes.)
Are you comparing relative zoom levels? The two programs use different anti-aliasing, but if the relative zoom levels are the same there's little difference—I think ID is more legible at 6pt actual size. CS6 vs AcrobatX 100%:
I'm disappointed in Adobe's InDesign development team.
I just bought a retina—it's nice but not $800 extra nice. Apple only has 10% of the OS market and the retina will probably be 1% of that, so I'm not expecting a revised interface from Adobe anytime soon.
That's a fair question. To answer it, I took a screen shot of InDesign and the exported PDF side by side. (Left is InDesign, Right is PDF)
When I turn off anti-alaising, the type look like stick figures. Are you saying there's a different type of anti-alaising I can use to get better results?
[Edit] On my screen your tests both look identically pixilated.
Are you saying there's a different type of anti-alaising I can use to get better results?
No, but the two programs don't use the same anti-aliasing strategy—you're still up against the same screen resolution. Photoshop let's you choose different aa styles-- sharp, crisp, strong smooth.
On my screen your tests both look identically pixilated.
Right I don't think one or the other is a better prediction of print output
I've only had the retina for a few days but the first thing I noticed is the display is a mashup of resolution and anti-aliasing—it's not just ID. If you look at this in a browser you can see the Apple UI and Safari's tool bar get the retina res while some of the web elements and ID's interface don't:
I took my same SS test, zoomed in, then captured the 12s to see a closeup of how they're being rendered. Anti-aliasing is definitely part of the problem, but as you'll see in this SS, it's not all of it.
As I claimed initially, ID uses half the pixels available to it (it uses the resolution of a non-retina display). Notice that the pixels in the left 12 are twice the size of those on the right.