16 Replies Latest reply on Dec 31, 2011 4:59 AM by Peter Spier

    Blurry pdf on Output




      I've googled this question, read others posts on a number of forums, but none gave me a solution. I've placed images in frames using psds, and both Jpgs...the psds, and jpegs look fine..they even look good in indesign as I'm viewing on highest quality, but when I export the pdf for some reason it gets a little blurry. Nothing major, but it's not right, haha.


      The pds are are at 72 dpi in photoshop (I'm not very education in resolutions or dpi stuff..just stuck with the default after playing around with it a bit trying to fix my problem..


      my indesign doc is 160.87 X 234.95...I think I got such a strange number in the process of playing around trying to get the blurryness to go away, but as far as I know it doesn't really matter because I'm not printing anything, I just want a pdf file..


      oh yeah,


      when I export I have it set on high quality doc, no compression on anything that I'm aware of...


      not sure what's casuing..


      if you need more info to help let me know..


      Thanks for reading

        • 1. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
          JabesMan Level 1

          sorry for the bad grammar, and tyos. I can't seem to find the edit button. lol.

          • 2. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            72 ppi would be considered "low resolution" if that, in fact, is the resolution being used, but by itself the number is meaningless. Resolution only becomes "real" when an image takes on a physical size, such as being placed on a page in ID. In Photoshop, if you go to Image > Image Size... and uncheck the reample box, you'll see that any changes you make to the dimensions of the image have an inverse effect on the resolution, and vice versa, but the number of pixels remains constant. What you are doing is changing how large or small those pixels will be drawn on paper.


            InDesign will show you two values for resolution when you select an image and check the Info panel or the link information in the Links panel. Actual Resolution is the value saved in Photoshop and corresponds to the the theoretical 100% size (I say theoretical, becuase the size doesn't really exist until you put the image into a layout -- 100% just corresponds to the last saved dimensions listed in Photoshop). Effective Resolution is the value that is important and corresponds to the resolution of the image at the size you are actually using it on the page -- remember, scaling an image in ID does not alter the number of pixels in the image, it just changes how large or small they will be drawn, like blowing up a ballon or letting the out, and watching what happens to what is printed on it.


            If you are using the High Quality Print preset to make the PDF, your images are probably not being downsampled during export, so loss of quality is probably coming from scaling in ID, or from the printer itself, if you were printing, which you say you are not. Please select one of these images in ID, then open the Info panel and tell us what the effective resolution is.

            • 3. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
              JabesMan Level 1

              Hey, thanks for the reply. The effictive, and actual ppi is 72.


              I haven't been doing any scaling. I like making the pages in photoshop so I made sure the dimensions matched the indesign page dimensions.


              I noticed you said something about down sampling..under compression when exporting I have color images set to do not down sample..is that a bad thing?

              • 4. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Downsampling is used during export (or in Photoshop) when the effective resolution of the images is much higher than needed for the quality output you've chosen. It's a way to reduce processing overhead and file size, Not downsampling is not a problem (and they probably wouldn't be downsampled from 72 ppi in any case -- you'd need to set some pretty low threshold and target numbers).


                What application are you using to view the PDF? What is your OS and the version of ID?


                I suspect the issue is one of display and the low resolution of the images. Does it get any sharper if you zoom in or out in the viewer?

                • 5. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                  JabesMan Level 1

                  version is 7.5 at the moment...


                  viewing in pdf vista..for some reason ,lol. I haven't installed the new acrobat reader on this system yet..running windows 7..


                  It looks a bit sharper when I zoom out, but gets too small at 50%...looks best at 80% that's what it goes to automatically when I select fit to page.. at 100% it gets just a little bit blurier..


                  It's not terrible blur, it's just not matching the cripsness of the psd, or jpeg.

                  • 6. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    Make sure you update ID to 7.5.2 to fix a few bugs. It won't make a difference, as far as I know, in your PDF output.


                    I don't know anthing about PDF Vista, so I can't make any recommendations for settings changes, but this really does sound like an issue with various zoom values and interpolating the image pixels to fit in the number of screen pixels alotted.


                    I also supect that your PDFs will look better if you start with higher resolution images. Are thes photographs that you took, or something else? How did they get to be the size they are now? Upsampling in Photoshop to make an image larger almost never makes the quality better.

                    • 7. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                      JabesMan Level 1

                      nah, I never resize images upward, but I did free transform a few down, holding shift to keep the aspect ration (or what ever it's called, lol)..The images are from another site. I'm working on a magazine for indie game development. Their game was the first project to go in.


                      I could always try acrobat reader and see if it's a viewer software issue...personally I never used vista viewer before. I think it was already on the pc when I bought it, or something..lol..


                      I'll download acrobat, and see if there's still a problem, lol.

                      • 8. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                        John Hawkinson Level 5

                        Especially at low resolutions, JPEG compression is not designed to deal with hard edges and fails catastrophically.

                        Use a file format with lossless compression, such as PNG, TIFF (with LZW or ZIP compression, not JPEG!), PSD, etc.


                        You don't specify the units of "160.87 X 234.95"; is that millimeters?


                        Designing for the screen, rather than for print, can get tricky quickly.

                        • 9. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                          JabesMan Level 1

                          Yeah, it's in milemeters.


                          the problem I'm having doesn't chage from psd to jpeg though..I started with psd, and tried jpeg second.

                          • 10. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                            John Hawkinson Level 5

                            Ah. Well, you should try with Acrobat, as discussed.

                            Seeing screenshots of the image, both looking properly (in InDesign or Photoshop) and the problem (wherever) might be instructive. Visual degredation can be tough to describe in words.

                            • 11. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                              JabesMan Level 1

                              hmm I was about to attach some screen shots, but when I put the screen capture of the pdf in the pdf viewer into photoshop it looked better than it did in the viewer...


                              I tried downloading acrobat though, and it didn't work. I got the downloader onto my computer but while the downloaded downloader was downloading it timed out..timed out the second time too..


                              Too bad they didn't have a direct installer..or do they have one I don't know about? lol

                              • 12. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                Try a different browser...

                                • 13. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                                  JabesMan Level 1

                                  It was the adobe downloader that timed out..

                                  • 14. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    Try a different browser. The Adobe downloader works better in some than in others.

                                    • 15. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                                      JabesMan Level 1

                                      I don't understand what you mean..isn't the downloader its own software? It runs from the pc once it's been downloaded.

                                      • 16. Re: Blurry pdf on Output
                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                        Ah, they've changed to an AIR app, even worse. Servers are probably down temporarily so you should try again later.