19 Replies Latest reply on Nov 29, 2012 8:55 AM by Larry G. Schneider

    Image gets altered in output

    [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

      I have an image that comes out different from how it goes in -- only when printing.

       

      The PDF (you can download it here) displays fine in Acrobat 9, Illustrator CS4 and CS6, Photoshop CS4 (after rasterizing, of course), and in InDesign CS4 and CS6. It looks like this on screen:

       

      in.jpg

       

      However, this is what comes out of our printer:

       

      out.jpg

       

      .. the data lines get converted into closed polygons ..

       

      I say "our" printer, but of course I would never think of testing each and every image this way. It was the client who warned me of this issue; fortunately, he printed his document on his own printer, rather than checking it on-screen. Wouldn't he have done that, it would probably gone off to the presses and not be noticed until signature proofs (which has happened before, with a very confused client hanging on the phone) or even not until after binding and delivery (which also has happened before, but then the client usually was steaming mad).

       

      I've fiddled with opening-then-saving in Acrobat, opening-then-saving as AI with Illustrator, re-frying the PDF, toggling "send all data" and "crop image data to frames" in InDesign, and pasted the image "into" a rectangle to act as clipping mask, on both Mac and PC, with CS versions 4 and 6; all with the same result. The image looks good on screen but it comes out wrong when printing.

       

      The only thing that did work was rasterizing the file with Photoshop, which is of course just about the worst thing one can do with a vector image.

       

      Anyone?

        • 1. Re: Image gets altered in output
          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I've printed it both from Acrobat 10 and InDesign and it works fine for me.

          • 2. Re: Image gets altered in output
            [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

            Thanks for checking, Eugene. What printer/driver do you use?

             

            "Print as Bitmap" makes it work on my printer, but I don't really count that as a "solution". There is something fishy going on.

            • 3. Re: Image gets altered in output
              jmlevy Adobe Community Professional

              If it can help, it prints perfectly on a Xerox WorkCentre7545 with EFI rip.

              • 4. Re: Image gets altered in output
                MW Design Level 4

                Try this file:

                 

                http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/temp/problem.ai

                 

                Exported the pdf image to eps, saved out of AI. But I first trimmed the graph lines off at the clipping mask right edge. The graph lines run out to infinity.

                 

                Take care, Mike

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Image gets altered in output
                  [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                  Eugene, jmlevy, I just had a horrible thought. What if the common factor in these printing mishaps is that it's me, Jongware, who created the PDF? Perhaps I've changed something extremely important setting in the export PDF settings (both here at work and in my ID at home).

                   

                  Can you test how this file comes out? http://www.jongware.com/binaries/problem-test-doc.pdf

                  This file shows the problem on a last year's model HP M602, using Windows 7 as necessary intermediary, printing either directly from InDesign or, using Press-Quality Export settings, through Acrobat.

                   

                  ... What are the chances this client has the exact same printer model?

                  • 6. Re: Image gets altered in output
                    Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    I was using a postscript driver I'll try it on the other printer

                    • 7. Re: Image gets altered in output
                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Indeed - printing with a non-postscript driver repeats your result.

                      • 8. Re: Image gets altered in output
                        [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                        Mike, I noticed that as well. But surely the clipping mask ought to have taken care of that? I tried both "Crop image data to frames" and even an explicit paste-into into a new rectangle.

                         

                        Anyway, it's not something as straightforward as "the clipping mask gets ignored". The lines suddenly decided to join as a polygon, with some random points added on the edge of the clipping mask.

                        • 9. Re: Image gets altered in output
                          MW Design Level 4

                          I don't know if the non-problematic images also exhibit the infinity problem. If they do not, there is something about those lines and or masks. If they do...then there is something else about the graphs causing the problem.

                           

                          The issue acts similar to an unclosed path(s)

                           

                          Take care, Mike

                          • 10. Re: Image gets altered in output
                            [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                            MikeWenzloff wrote:

                             

                            Exported the pdf image to eps, saved out of AI. But I first trimmed the graph lines off at the clipping mask right edge. The graph lines run out to infinity.

                             

                            "Infinity", or something close enough to it for InDesign ... Your file works for me. It's a shame one can't really see it until you print it out, as the screen representation is exactly as it should be.

                            • 11. Re: Image gets altered in output
                              MW Design Level 4

                              If I open the PDF in Xara, it shows that the double line near the bottom is are unclosed rectangles. I don't know if that is an artifact in the PDF or "originals." All other graph lines are, well, lines.

                               

                              If I open the EPS file in AI, the double lines appear closed compound shapes. It appears in Xara the problem appears in two places, at the start where the doubled "lines" are, it is broken in two places where the turn takes place. And then another place down one of the paths.

                               

                              Dunno what any of that means. Other than it can be corrected.

                               

                              Take care, Mike

                              • 12. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                David W. Goodrich Level 3

                                However, it looks like a closed path, judging by the apparent rightward shift in the intended line for SA6 in the scan of the closed polygons.  By the way, both PDFs print fine from Acrobat 9 under 64-bit Win7 through the Postscript driver on a Xerox Phaser 6180 (i.e., old, but "genuine" Postscript).

                                 

                                David

                                • 13. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                  MW Design Level 4

                                  As a test, you could just delete the double line and reclip the remainder. If that prints correctly on your printer, it likely would on their printer and you would know what is causing the issue. Then just a couple lines would need redrawn, the whole clipped and replaced.

                                   

                                  Take care, Mike

                                  • 14. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                    I downloaded the PDF file in question and very successfully printed it to all of my PostScript devices using Acrobat XI Pro. No problem. I tried printing to a FAX device. Likewise, no issues at all. Output matched display.

                                     

                                    Examining the PDF file using Output Preview's Object Inspector, I do note that all the vector objects are DeviceGray as expected (better than R=G=B grayscale which often yields oddball rich blacks and grays with color casts), but they each appear as a Non-knockout Transparency Group with Blending Color Space: DeviceRGB. In reality, there is no good reason in the world why these objects should be using transparency. They are all opaque. Furthermore, using an RGB blending color space can only be a source of problems.

                                     

                                    You might try using Preflight to remove transparency in this PDF file and see if that solves the problem. (Note that since there isn't anything that flattening the transparency will change, the quality isn't compromised at all!)

                                     

                                    Also note that the PDF file was produced using Microsoft's save as PDF feature. Does the same issue occur if you use the Acrobat “save as PDF” feature from Excel?

                                     

                                              - Dov

                                    • 15. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                      Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      I see the same thing as Mike and that's why I always release the clipping masks and trim the data to the graph area. I sometimes have to work with data records taken hourly for 30-40 years. Excel uses the entire record when making the graph and just hides the extra data. With that many points it can slow both AI and ID. Below is the file with the clipping mask removed in AI.

                                       

                                       

                                      Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 9.45.45 AM.png

                                      • 16. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                        [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                        Cool! Dov, all I got are the PDFs to work with ..

                                         

                                        Larry, can the clipping mask in AI be used directly to cut off the excess? I'm not much of an Illustrator user :)

                                        Unfortunately, today the client sent me *new* files 'cause he spotted an error. So I have to start all ovah again.

                                        • 17. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                          Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          The real problem with this whole deal is the choice to make the line for SA4 as a composite line in the originating software. To reproduce this in the PDF, the line becomes a Compound Path which is a series of filled paths and not a Bezier line like the others.

                                           

                                          What I did was just Select All, use Cmd-Opt-7 to release the Clipping paths, the Direct Select tool and drag selected the first set of anchor points to the right of graph and then hit delete. Using the Direct Select tool drag select the rest of the lines to the right and delete. You can redo the clipping paths but they are not needed.

                                           

                                          If you want you can use the direct select tool to select the line for SA4 in the explanation and zoom in to see how it was constructed.

                                           

                                          Sorry to take so long getting back to you.

                                           

                                          Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 9.08.01 PM.png

                                          • 18. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                            [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                            Larry G. Schneider wrote:

                                             

                                             

                                            Sorry to take so long getting back to you.

                                             

                                            No sweat, there is a huge time lag between you an' me and the client sent new files anyway.

                                             

                                            I'm always careful to open PDFs into Illustrator, because there are just too many things going on in the background. Fortunately, we have Enfocus Pitstop over here!

                                             

                                            Using the White Arrow and Select All I can see the same thing as in your Illy screenshot. I had to zoom out to the extreme to get to the rightmost points, but then I could use the Delete Anchor tool to send them to the digital afterlife.

                                             

                                            Next time an author sends original Excel files, I will try Dov's suggestion of using Adobe's Save to PDF rather than Microsoft's apparent quick-hack, and see if it makes a difference.

                                            • 19. Re: Image gets altered in output
                                              Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              One of the thing I've been finding recently is that thick lines coming in from Excel in a PDF are really a series of filled polygons as a Compound Path rather than a Bezier line. If there's a of movement in the data there's no way to easily convert it to a single line.