26 Replies Latest reply: Jan 21, 2012 12:13 PM by Eugene Tyson RSS

    Output of vectors in print

    Eugene Tyson MVP

      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?

        • 1. Re: Output of vectors in print
          Mylenium ACP/MVPs

          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

          • 2. Re: Output of vectors in print
            Eugene Tyson MVP

            What about direct from PSD or TIFF to a printing device.

             

            Compared to placing in another Adobe program and then outputting either directly say InDesign or Illustrator.

             

            Then also what about creating a PDF from Illustrator or InDesign.

             

             

            I've been under the impression for years that Photoshop PDF is the only format that will retain vector data on output to a RIP or digital device. A psd or tiff is rasterised at the document resolution (say 300 ppi for arguments sake).

             

            I know this is a lot to ask. Get as technical as needs be

            • 3. Re: Output of vectors in print
              Silkrooster MVP

              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.

              • 4. Re: Output of vectors in print
                Eugene Tyson MVP

                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?

                • 5. Re: Output of vectors in print
                  Community Member

                  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.

                  • 6. Re: Output of vectors in print
                    Eugene Tyson MVP

                    Hmm... ok I can see the ambiguity in the question.

                     

                    It's hypothetical basically, so it can be any device or RIP. I've been saying for a long time that a PSD or TIFF always rasterises vectors to the native resolution of the document, whether that's 72, 150, 300, 600, 1200 etc.

                     

                    But a PDF will retain the vectors and the resolution would be dependent on the device, i.e., if sent to a desktop printer it might be 250 ppi, a hi res digital printer say 600 ppi, or a lithographic RIP at 2400 ppi.

                     

                    Do PSDs or TIFFs output Vectors, ever?

                     

                    Is the rasterisation done within the file at the native resolution of the document - or at the RIP stage?

                     

                    Say I have a 300 ppi image with text layers, vector shapes and vector masks.

                     

                    Will the PSD or Tiff send that information to a RIP to be RIPed, therefore vectors would be rasterised around 2400ppi, for example.

                     

                    Or will it use the 300 ppi in the document settings?

                    • 7. Re: Output of vectors in print
                      Gernot Hoffmann Community Member

                      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

                      • 8. Re: Output of vectors in print
                        Eugene Tyson MVP

                        Thanks Gernot.

                         

                        I've read the help files before on this - I agree that printing from Photoshop will yield the vectors as described.

                         

                        I guess I have to find out if they are printing directly from photohsop - or using third party software to step up the prints, or something else.

                         

                        In the case of placing within InDesign or Illustrator - would a PSD or TIFF retain the same vector data for output?

                        • 9. Re: Output of vectors in print
                          Community Member

                          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.

                          • 10. Re: Output of vectors in print
                            Eugene Tyson MVP

                            Thanks Marian - I have done that before. And I had expected that PSD and TIFF behave this way when exported or output from InDesign.

                             

                             

                            But that test - hmmm, how to put this, the file is being output to PDF, so is it the PDF export that's rasterising the vector layers in the PSD? Or is it actually the PSD giving the instruction.

                             

                            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?

                             

                            If that makes sense?

                            • 11. Re: Output of vectors in print
                              Gernot Hoffmann Community Member

                              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

                              • 12. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                Community Member

                                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.

                                • 13. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                  Community Member

                                  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.

                                  • 14. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                    Gernot Hoffmann Community Member

                                    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

                                    • 15. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                      Eugene Tyson MVP

                                      Gernot Hoffmann wrote:

                                       

                                       

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

                                      question?

                                       

                                      Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

                                       

                                      Thanks for the reply, that's nearly the same sort of workflow I would have. And what you said about formats is what I know to be true too.

                                       

                                      Basically the background is, I often frequent several creative, graphic design etc. forums, and I often see people give the advice of sending a PSD to a printers.

                                       

                                      I often inform them that if it has text layers, vector shapes or vector masks to send a Photoshop PDF with Photoshop editing capabilites, as a RGB with PDFx4... which would give it a greater flexibility, in my opinion.

                                       

                                      The reason being is the vectors would be maintained.

                                       

                                      I can't imagine a printers pushing a PSD through their RIP especially large format... not sure if that happens I am not a large format printer or designer, I design books and mostly for litho. But I can imagine the downtime on a 1gb PSD file would be huge.

                                       

                                      I just want to get my head straight on the facts rather than hearsay. Where I normally reside in the InDesign forums, I thought I'd pop over to visit the photoshop gurus to get their take on how the formats work.

                                       

                                      It's been a long time since I was in college, and a long time since I ran a RIP or did impositions of any sort.

                                       

                                      I'm just getting all my ducks in a row for myself.

                                      • 16. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                        Eugene Tyson MVP

                                        That's what Dov Isaacs said over on the InDesign forums a while ago

                                         

                                        InDesign could be "taught" to deal with the vector and text data within a PSD file. Such a feature would need to be prioritized with all the other features users request. Note that what is fairly problematic would be retaining as layers any of the adjustment layers.

                                        • 17. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                          Eugene Tyson MVP

                                          Thanks everyone for your input. It has certainly cleared things up, it's been a while since I went through it in depth. And over time things get foggy.

                                           

                                          I appreciate everyone's thoughts, and I know I haven't totally lost my mind yet

                                          • 18. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                            Eugene Tyson MVP

                                            To be clear - I was talking specifically about Vector Text, Vector Masks, Vector Shapes.

                                             

                                             

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

                                            • 19. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                              Community Member

                                              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?

                                              • 20. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                Eugene Tyson MVP

                                                Tis - and I have. But others claim otherwise and I'm baffled. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong.. I doubt it.

                                                 

                                                I do know Smart Objects are rasterised to the image file res - it was more for a peace of mind sorta thing.

                                                • 21. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                  Gernot Hoffmann Community Member

                                                  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

                                                  • 22. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                    PECourtejoie ACP

                                                    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.

                                                    • 23. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                      Gernot Hoffmann Community Member

                                                      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=0CCgQFj AA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpartners.adobe.com%2Fpublic%2Fdeveloper%2Fen%2Ftiff%2FTIFF6.pdf&ei=Yt0 aT4f1A4-g-wbyk42uCg&usg=AFQjCNGp5Fw5VVGmAJLTd2PCmR-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

                                                      • 24. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                        PECourtejoie ACP

                                                        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.

                                                        • 25. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                          Paulo Skylar Community Member

                                                          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

                                                          • 26. Re: Output of vectors in print
                                                            Eugene Tyson MVP

                                                            Can we go back on topic please. The topic is not about what format stores clipping paths.