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Images from Ilustrator blurry when saved as PDF

Jul 24, 2012 8:33 AM

Tags: #acrobat #framemaker_8 #illustrator_images_in_framemaker_blurry_when_saved_as_pdf

I am new to FrameMaker and am having trouble with graphics that originated in Ilustrator. When I save the FM file as a PDF, the majority of my Illustrator graphics have artifacts around the edges of them. This doesn't happen to all of them ... some are ok.


I have tried using the following file types: PNG, AI and EPS.


Based on what I read in another discussion here, I have also tried changing my Adobe PDF settings. I have tried using Press Quality as a Default setting. I have also turned off all downsampling of images.


In Acrobat, I have tried turning off smoothing. This helps, but doesn't clear up all the graphics.


Also, I am using FrameMaker 8.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 24, 2012 9:49 AM   in reply to za91

    > ... graphics that originated in Ilustrator.


    Vector or raster images (or mixed)?


    Vector graphics (.eps suggested for FM8) should get passed through unmodified.


    Georg's response (above) appears to have been intended for the FM11 discussion.

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    Jul 24, 2012 10:16 AM   in reply to za91

    One thing I should note: The graphics are relatively small. They are number icons I created to use to label screen captures - each one is approximately 13 pt. x 13 pt.

    Vector graphics are not affected by downsampling and probably unaffacted by other Acrobat job options. As Error states, for vector graphics, use eps.


    The artifacts you see may not be real. Acrobat does not take great pains to get  nice on screen renderings of vector graphics. Try using the magnifying too in Acrobat and zoom in on these small graphics. By bet is that the artifacts will go away. If they do, then what you see will not print. What you see is simply the result of viewing on screen at a low magnification.


    In my work, I have a vector drawing of a large piece of equipment that has two small gauges on the front panel. I have imported that drawing into a Frame document and scaled it down to something two or three inches wide. I open the PDF and zoom in on those gauges, and all the detail in the original drawing is there.



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    Jul 24, 2012 10:30 AM   in reply to za91

    > They originated as vector images.


    Keep them as vector through the entire workflow.


    > EPS does give me the best result, but it's hardly acceptable.


    Possible misunderstanding alert: when you import certain file types into FM (which includes EPS and PDF, less certain about AI or SVG), what you see in the edit session is a 72 dpi bitmapped or indexed color preview or thumbnail image. It is always horrible, and often unusable for precise work. See scaling hack below. What gets printed to .ps, or to a Ps printer*, or to PDF, is always the vector data, and not the raster preview.


    > When I export the vector images to PNG (making them raster, correct?), I get a worse result.


    Yep. You are degrading both during rasterization, and during subsampling during the Ps-to-PDF distillation. The target DPI at both steps is, however, under your control.


    > ... each one is approximately 13 pt. x 13 pt.


    Use the EPS scaling hack.

    1. In your vector application or editor, such as Illustrator, up-scale your final vector art by at least 4x. Be sure to scale strokes and effects.
    2. Save to EPS with preview. This causes the preview image to have at least 4x the normal size (effective res).
    3. Import the EPS into the FM document.
    4. Re-scale to 1/scale, such as 25% for a 4x hack. You now have a more or less usable editting image.


    There are limits to this hack, both due to the maximum size a preview can be in an EPS, and the maximum overall size EPS that FM can import. But this should easily work up to 10x 1/10 for icon-size things. Apparent image quality may not improve much at hack factors above 4x.


    * If you are printing, from FM, to a non-PostScript printer, such as an HP LaserJet in PCL mode, you are printing the preview. You'd need to render to PDF, then print that to the PCL printer, to see full quality.

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    Jul 24, 2012 11:56 AM   in reply to za91

    > 1. Can you explain what you mean by "Save to EPS with preview?" Are you referring to something different than saving the .ai to EPS from Illustrator?


    In Illustrator, in the secondary save dialog (as EPS), elect:

    [*] Include Document Thumbnails

    and also

    [*] Embed fonts, if that's what your text is (rather than just being outlines).


    > 2. In 4., should I rescale the graphic in Illustrator or directly in the FM file?


    You want it to be 4x or more too large when first imported into Frame.

    EPS import, at time of import, doesn't provide re-scale.

    You re-scale later, either via Object Properties or Graphics > Scale.


    That said, this hack just improves edit-mode quality and non-PostScript print quality. If you are importing vector EPS, at any scale, the quality is apt to be the same in the PDF, and any artifacts are apt to be limitations of Acrobat Reader and/or your display driver.

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    Jul 24, 2012 12:40 PM   in reply to za91

    The hack fixed everything. Just a note: my EPS's actually don't look the best in FrameMaker - they are speckled. But when I completed the hack and saved the FM file as as a PDF, all the artifacts were gone, and they were crystal clear. Not sure why, but thanks!

    The eps are speckled in FrameMaker because Frame is displaying the bitmapped preview, not the vectors themselves. InDesign, however, DOES display the actual vectors.


    I agree with Error, the artifacts are due to the way Acrobat or Reader is rasterizing the vectors. The larger the scale, the artifacts are occuring on a finer scale. That being said, MAYBE Acrobat is using the bitmapped preview to display the graphics at the lower scales, hence you see them disappear. But this is just a guess.



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    Jul 24, 2012 12:54 PM   in reply to Reviewer1066

    > MAYBE Acrobat is using the bitmapped preview to display the graphics at the lower scales, hence you see them disappear.


    Doubful. We routinely redact all the metadata in our production PDFs, which includes any preview or thumbnail images present.

    Examine Document in Acro Pro, then [Delete].

    We have to add the PDFinfo back in by hand.


    We have never seen any printing or viewing consequences from this, although it's possible that Acroread would notice the zero raster, and use the vectors instead.


    This metadata, by the way adds between 20% and 100% to the size of a typical PDF, and does not need to be there.


    Other forms of meta to remove are photo EXIF (small, but a privacy issue) and app Private Data (which AI and PS can save in PDFs, and that stuff can be off-scale huge).

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