3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 7, 2012 3:37 PM by Jacob Bugge

    Retaining sharpness on imported objects

    swhinck Level 1

      I am putting together something for print and will be doing a lot of skewing similar to this ad:



      I would like some opinions on how best to approach this for print.

      I am creating all of the objects in Illustrator, then importing into Photoshop to skew and add details.

      I have tried a few techniques and had semi decent results but want to make sure I am not missing something here.


      What I have tried:


      Import vector at exact size as it will be on printed document, convert to smart object, then skew.

      Results are ok, text is slightly fuzzy and edges as well.


      Import image at 2x the size it will be on final artwork, convert to smart object, then skew.

      It appears as though everything is a bit sharper, but still not sure if it is as good as I can get.


      Import at several times the size it will be on final artwork, converto to smart object, then skew.

      Not sure that I see much of an improvement on 2x version, but some edges actually become "pixely" as though there are TOO many pixels there, the anti-aliasing begins to not look so good...



      Import at 2x size, rasterize, then skew.

      Pretty decent results here, but I lose all ability to edit after the fact...


      One final note, I did most of the skewing within Illustrator, then imported the skewed object into Photoshop. This resulted in quite sharp results. But in the skewing process, the object loses some of its details. But I think this may be the best approach so far...

      Can anyone confirm that?


      Could someone give me their opinions on this based on experience?


      Thank you so much!

        • 1. Re: Retaining sharpness on imported objects
          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

          The problem with the workflow you describe is that with some very limited exceptions, all output and exported content from Adobe Photoshop is raster imagery at a particular resolution, specifically the resolution of the Photoshop image file itself. These exceptions are:


          • PDF output (save as PDF directly from Photoshop, not PDF created via distillation of PostScript) – Simple text and shape objects appear in the resultant PDF file as text and vector objects respecitively.


          • EPS output (save as EPS directly from Photoshop) – Both simple text and shape objects appear in the resultant EPS file as vector objects (text is vectorized, unfortunately).


          In both cases above, “simple” implies that only limited Photoshop effects are applied to such text and shape objects.


          Unfortunately, for vector smart objects (including both the text and vector elements within same), although Photoshop maintains a vector representation of same internally for purposes of allowing subsequent end-user editing of same in Illustrator and for high quality manipulation of same in Photoshop, the output of these objects is totally raster.


          As such, if you integrate very clever artwork in Photoshop containing text and vector via vector smart objects, you are subject to the fact that you have very little flexibility in terms of repurposing such content. Assuming that the Photoshop artwork is at 300dpi at full magnification and that you place that artwork 1:1 in your InDesign document, the display of the placed content will be a very downsampled version of that imagery. Content in that image from your vector smart objects will likely be fuzzy-wuzzy and/or pixellated compared to native live text and vector objects in your InDesign document or even true text and vector objects in placed PDF from Adobe Illustrator. For most printed output, under these conditions, this scenario should produce acceptable text and vector output, but not nearly as good if it was live text and vector.


          If you do either magnify, shrink, or even rotate that Photoshop artwork within the InDesign document, you will lose even more quality due to the need to fully resample the Photoshop raster image, an inherently lossy operation.


          When I have needed to mix text, vector, and raster imagery and my needs are relatively simple, I try doing that mixing in either InDesign or Illustrator. In the latter case, I save as PDF and place the resultant PDF into my InDesign document. I recognize that for very sophisticated blending of content, the capabilities and flexibility of Photoshop may be required, but care must be taken to deal with the raster resolution issues and to plan very carefully.


          Hope that this is some assistance at least in terms of providing some technical background.


                   - Dov

          • 2. Re: Retaining sharpness on imported objects
            swhinck Level 1

            Very detailed reply that helped me a great deal. Thank you so much for taking the time to type that out for me.

            I have not used InDesign much but think its something that I need to stop avoiding.


            Technically for this specific document, it could be created entirely in Illustrator. All (or most) artwork is vector created in Illustrator anyway. But there is something very strange happening which I have only been able to get around in Photoshop.


            When I use 3d transform on my grouped objects in Illustrator, they end up having "artifacts". Subtle lines here and there around certain elements. However once I move them into Photoshop, these artifacts disappear.


            My concern is that these artifacts will remain in the final PDF if I stay in Illustrator till the end.

            This worries me and I dont know of a way around it.


            Other than the fact that I am using a few Photoshop specific layer styles, I dont HAVE to use it...

            • 3. Re: Retaining sharpness on imported objects
              Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional



              Different issues of troublesome artifacts are regularly discussed and usually solved in the Illustrator forum. I would suggest your posting there:


              http://forums.adobe.com/community/illustrator/illustrator_general?view=discussions#/?per_p age=100