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This is to follow up earlier questions about using Affinity Publisher documents for books printed via MagCloud. Making the template hasn't been difficult. The unknown information (so far) has to do with the PDF settings. MagCloud has instructions for InDesign but none for Affinity Publisher.

I see from other threads that there are people here with experience producing books on MagCloud. I would be much obliged for feedback about this if your time permits.

The rest of the post concerns MagCloud's recommendations for InDesign's PDF export settings. The comment I'll add below it contains my guesses about PDF export from Publisher.

Settings here are in order of their appearance in the MagCloud instructions. InDesign options for which there don't seem to be equivalents in Affinity Publisher are marked "**" below. (I'm using v. 1.8.2 for Windows.)

Pages: All
Spreads option: Disabled
** Created tagged PDF: Disabled  [But so far PDFs I've exported from Publisher don't seem to be tagged]
Export Layers: "Visible and Printable Layers"
Hyperlinks: Include [optional]
** Include interactive elements: Disabled

For both color and greyscale images:
Bicubic downsampling to 300 ppi for images above 300 ppi
Compression: JPEG
Image quality: High [presumably meaning 80+]

For monochrome images:
** Bicubic downsampling to 1200 ppi for images above 1800 ppi
** Compression: CCITT Group 4

The instructions draw particular attention to these next two options, which don't appear in the Publisher export dialog:
** Compress text and line art: Enabled
** Crop image data to frames: Enabled

Compatibility: Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4)

Bleed: Include

Color conversion: None
Profile Inclusion Policy: "Include RGB and all tagged S..."
[The screen shot does not display the full setting.]

Fonts: Subset fonts when percentage of characters used is less than: 0%

All security features appear to be disabled.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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Best guesses so far concerning Publisher's PDF export settings — in order of their appearance within the export dialog and its "More..." sub-dialog.

Raster DPI: 300
Include bleed: Enabled

Area: All pages [not spreads]
Rasterize: "Unsupported properties"
[But should "Everything" or "Nothing" be selected instead?]

Downsample images: Enabled
Above DPI: 300
Resampler: Bicubic

Use document resolution: Selected
Allow JPEG compression: Selected
Quality: at least 80

Compatibility: PDF/X-3
[Exporting from Affinity Publisher using the "PDF/X-3" setting produces the same compatibility setting in a PDF output file, per Acrobat Reader's "Properties" dialog, as MagCloud specifies in its instructions.]

Color space: "As document" [it will likely be CMYK]
ICC profile: "Use document profile" [likely the default that appears when you select CMYK color space]
[Above two selections automatically select "Embed ICC profile."]

The following 6 options are all disabled:
Convert image color spaces
Honor spot colors
Overprint black
Include hyperlinks
Include layers
Include bleed
[Neither the hyperlinks or layers option is accessible in this dialog; they cannot be selected at all.
Why is that?]

Include printers marks: Disabled

Embed fonts: "All fonts"
Subset fonts: Disabled

Allow advanced features: Disabled
[Is there a reason to enable this option for book publishing?]
 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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4 hours ago, MikeA said:

[But should "Everything" or "Nothing" be selected instead?]

Just leave it at default (forced rasterization is typically only used if there are problems, and forcing vector format might make rendering a certain effect impossible).

4 hours ago, MikeA said:

Downsample images: Enabled
Above DPI: 300
Resampler: Bicubic

I would use higher downsampling value to avoid a situation where near but above 300 dpi images get scaled down unnecessarily. 375dpi is the default trigger value when using 300dpi target resolution.

4 hours ago, MikeA said:

Neither the hyperlinks or layers option is accessible in this dialog; they cannot be selected at all.
Why is that?

The features are meaningful only in digital viewing conditions.

Honor spot colors and Overprint black are by default checked when using PDF/X3 and I would use them (the former of course is meaningful only if you plan to print with spot colors, but the latter makes at least K100 or close the compact black ink to overprint rather then knocking out underlying color, which is specifically useful with small type sizes, otherwise you may get misaligned white edges around characters).

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MagCloud requests no spot colors, so that will definitely remain unchecked. I will change the 'overprint black' setting in the output preset.

If I create a document from my test .aftemplate file and add a hyperlink, even then the Include Hyperlinks option in the PDF output dialog is inaccessible (and it is unchecked despite the presence of the link within the .afpub file).

This would matter to people who make MagCloud books: MagCloud provides customers who buy a book on the site an electronic copy along with the printed copy. Any thoughts on what is needed to make the Include Hyperlinks option become available in that output dialog?

Thanks again.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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20 minutes ago, MikeA said:

This would matter to people who make MagCloud books: MagCloud provides customers who buy a book on the site an electronic copy along with the printed copy. Any thoughts on what is needed to make the Include Hyperlinks option become available in that output dialog?

You need to choose PDF 1.4 (Acrobat 5) or higher for your Compatibility Level if you want hyperlinks. Assuming that Affinity does not have a bug, that would indicate that PDFs at the lower compatibility levels simply don't support hyperlinks.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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54 minutes ago, MikeA said:

This would matter to people who make MagCloud books: MagCloud provides customers who buy a book on the site an electronic copy along with the printed copy. Any thoughts on what is needed to make the Include Hyperlinks option become available in that output dialog?

You would typically create a separate PDF for digital use. E.g., if you use bleed and/or crop marks in your print version you would not want them in the digital version. Resolution of digital version is also typically lower and the color space should be sRGB. PDF/X based documents probably do not allow hyperlinks even if all Affinity supported standards are at least PDF 1.4 versions. (EDIT: PDF (press ready) allows you to include hyperlinks but you should probably use the digital preset as the basis for the digital version.)

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1 hour ago, walt.farrell said:

You need to choose PDF 1.4 (Acrobat 5) or higher for your Compatibility Level if you want hyperlinks.

You are right. I'd started using PDF/X3, which produces PDFs that Acrobat Reader's "Properties" dialog describes as compatible with PDF 1.4 (Acrobat 5). But that setting in the Publisher export dialog disables hyperlink creation. The one you're recommending supports it. Thanks once again.

 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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You're welcome.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.650 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641 and 1.8.4.651 Beta.

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1 hour ago, Lagarto said:

You would typically create a separate PDF for digital use. E.g., if you use bleed and/or crop marks in your print version you would not want them in the digital version.

As I recall, when you upload a PDF for printing by MagCloud, they automatically create a digital version for you from the same PDF. They don't want crop marks that I know of. I've just gone to my account on MagCloud to have a look at the electronic (PDF) version of the print book I bought there a few days ago. It looks a wee bit dull compared with the print version, but that's likely my monitor, which is not what I'd call sterling and is left at 75% brightness (the setting recommended by the software I use to profile it). If I were to crank it up to 100% the PDF version of the book would probably look much better.

Thanks.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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Note that all PDF export options in Affinity Publisher use PDF 1.4 or later version (ncluding all PDF/X standard based exports) so whether hyperlinks are grayed out or not is not related to PDF version, at all, but they are just disabled if you choose any of the PDF/X print standards. You can have them enabled in all other export methods, so if you really need them included, you would choose PDF 1.4 from the compatiility list (PDF/X-1a:2003 and PDF/X-3 are based on PDF 1.4 as well). This also disables PDF/X based routines, but I had a look on the MagCloud instructions and they are not PDF/X based

Note however that the MagCloud instructions (at least those I found) do not have hyperlinks included:

magcloud.jpg.82f10ab2bfd78a8b1c598265e34e123a.jpg

An important thing to notice is that i.8.2 release version of Affinity Publisher has a bug that forces CMYK conversion of images in all print export setting so they do not honor "Convert image color space" setting.. If you need to have a setting where photos are left in RGB color mode with their internal profiles / RGB tags included, you need to use the latest beta version.

The MagCloud settings in Affinity apps could be achieved with the following settings (here I have enabled hyperlinks, too):

magcloud_apub.jpg.d8c36b6bafa177c5b97a12c138ed64cb.jpg

Note that the instructions that I found specify non-symmetric bleeds, 0.125 in top and bottom and 0.25 outside and 0 inside, which means that you would get the following format:

 magcloud_bleeds.jpg.3c14550c4036dcfdae3e8c7adc64f651.jpg

They might indeed trim off the bleed and create digital versions on the fly, which would explain why they want images in RGB format (and possible recommendation of including hyperlink option in the print PDFs).

Here is a PDF that should be produced according to specs given in MagCloud instuctions, using Affinity Publisher beta 1.8.3.627.

magcloud.pdf

The instructions cited here did not mention anything about the color profile to be used in production. That would be important information so please check this and make sure you have the correct profile selected already at the start of the project.

Note that I have intentionally unchecked "Embed ICC profile" box in the settings above. The InDesign setting that is referred to in the MagCloud instructions ("Include All RGB and Tagged Source CMYK Profiles") does not have direct equivalent setting in Affinity apps but the PDF produced without the "Embed ICC profile" still embeds image ICC profiles. Checking this option only causes confusion because jt embeds the document CMYK profile without color intent, so it would cause showing of incorrect color information in any PDF viewer without manual selection of the correct target CMYK profile (it would be equivalent of choosing "Include All Profiles" setting in InDesign, and this setting is specifically skipped in the MagCloud instructions). 

 

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33 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

Note however that the MagCloud instructions (at least those I found) do not have hyperlinks included:

Interesting. The InDesign-related instructions I downloaded for a MagCloud 8"x8" book show the Hyperlink option checked. (I'd include the screen shot, but this forum isn't allowing me to attach images. I dunno...maybe it doesn't like the browser I'm using — Vivaldi for Windows.)

 

33 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

An important thing to notice is that i.8.2 release version of Affinity Publisher has a bug that forces CMYK conversion of images in all print export setting so they do not honor "Convert image color space" setting

Oh. That's a bit frustrating. How stable is beta 1.8.3 at the moment? Then again perhaps the Publisher document (for now) could be RGB, with certain colors set (using the CMYK sliders) as you recommended in the other thread—to avoid setting "full" black—for example, if a page's background is black. Then again I don't know if colors set that way would be sufficient in a document whose "native" color space is RGB.

They do say that during production the whole business is converted to CMYK, anyway.

I'm not finding specs in the instructions I downloaded (InDesign template, 8"x8" book, perfect binding) that pertain to the color profile for the document, overall. They do say: For the best output, we recommend using images that are 300 dpi with the original color profiles embedded in the PDF. Text should be CMYK with the fonts embedded.

 

33 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

Note that the instructions that I found specify non-symmetric bleeds

Yes, true at the least for the 8"x8" perfect-bound book format. I haven't looked at instructions for other formats yet.

 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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Viewed locally in Acrobat Reader, the flower in the "magcloud.pdf" file has extremely vibrant color. Viewed online here, though, it's quite drab—likewise the green patch. I'm using the same monitor to view both. (Acrobat Reader doesn't seem to display any information about the color space or embedded profile, if any.)


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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2 hours ago, MikeA said:

Viewed locally in Acrobat Reader, the flower in the "magcloud.pdf" file has extremely vibrant color.

The image is in RGB color space while other elements are not. I seem to have forgotten to embed the color profile in the screenshot so what has happened there is that the initial AdobeRGB color space is mapped to sRGB color space and accordingly the colors look less vibrant. This version has the color profile embedded:

  

magcloud_colorspaces.jpg.6ddf942a4d86f2b84929772ac2faaaab.jpg

2 hours ago, MikeA said:

The InDesign-related instructions I downloaded for a MagCloud 8"x8" book show the Hyperlink option checked.

Yes, I found it. Then if you need to have them included, just use the settings mentioned above.

2 hours ago, MikeA said:

Oh. That's a bit frustrating. How stable is beta 1.8.3 at the moment?

It is a "release candidate". Recent release versions of Affinity have actually been kinds of "alphas" that were very buggy and never even tested features, so whatever has been released thereafter has been a step towards a more stable version.

The recent changes only in export features:

Export
PDF Export was not honouring  gradient map's colour space
PDF Export images downsampling to the wrong DPI under certain circumstances
PDF Export was failing with placed documents in LAB colourspace
PDF Export of placed images makes more effort to preserve their colour space
PDF Export fix for export of objects  with empty clipping paths

 

 

 

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Thanks for the link. I guess I should try the beta.
The unknown remains whether this export-to-PDF for MagCloud should be done with

•  An RGB Affinity Publisher document converted to CMYK during export with images left in RGB color space
•  An RGB Publisher document whose color space is left as-is during export (in which case MagCloud does the entire conversion to CMYK)
•  A CMYK Publisher document with images in RGB color space that are left in RGB during export

MagCloud's tech support seems a bit wobbly in its replies about color spaces, and the one guy I know who's actually made such a book said he just dragged and dropped stuff into InDesign and didn't pay much attention to any tech specs (so not much info there). It's all b&w images and MagCloud did an excellent job with it. But what are the bloody settings he used. This stuff could make a person crazy...


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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25 minutes ago, MikeA said:

A CMYK Publisher document with images in RGB color space that are left in RGB during export

This is the choice, with the settings I mentioned, with Publisher beta. If you start with RGB document color mode and use other than PDF/X-based settings, all your objects will be in RGB mode even if defined as CMYK. And black text will convert to four-color black.

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Then I'll go with that for now (CMYK / images left in RGB).

It's been interesting using both the RGB sliders and the CMYK sliders for black text. This monitor being what it is (alas), I don't see the subtle changes on-screen as I cycle through the various color settings that MagCloud recommends (and some it suggests be avoided). This surprised me: if the RGB sliders are set to 0,0,0, the CMYK sliders show 74C, 68M, 67Y, 90K. And what MagCloud suggests for black text — 100K and CMY=zero — becomes RGB 35,31,32.


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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25 minutes ago, MikeA said:

Then I'll go with that for now (CMYK / images left in RGB).

In inDesign you could well start with document set up for "Web" or "Digital Publishing" and default color mode accordinly set as RGB, and the color definitions would be kept, when using Export settings, but unfortunately not in Affinity Publisher.

26 minutes ago, MikeA said:

This surprised me: if the RGB sliders are set to 0,0,0, the CMYK sliders show 74C, 68M, 67Y, 90K. And what MagCloud suggests for black text — 100K and CMY=zero — becomes RGB 35,31,32.

This is natural. RGB 0, 0, 0 would be converted to four-color black according to the selected CMYK profile, and K100 to dark gray according th selected RGB profile. The profile to be used would be primarily the document color profile, and if that is not the same as "convert to profile", then I think that the one that is specified in the Preferences would be used (but it may be that for documents where color modes have been switched, recently used profiles might be saved).  

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Well. This is curious. I'm talking about book publishing in a Facebook group and someone who's been using Blurb as his printer says they request PDFs that are in RGB color space, not CMYK. MagCloud is a division of Blurb but is not Blurb "proper." Could their processes be that different? I suppose it's possible.

 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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Their InDesign templates are Print document based which means that all color definitions assigned for text and objects are by default in CMYK. Export routine does not involve conversion of colors which also means that RGB is not forced. If all data is in RGB, text will be four-color black.

I think their routines basically just accept all in RGB which explains why you get so vague answers. What seems to be important for them is correct format and bleeds and PDF 1.4. and no spot colors nor overly large images, and no font subsetting. They just try to avoid problems but otherwise it is quite free.

EDIT: I just visited their home page. They mention Word as a valid authoring tool. Which basically means that they accept anything so what is said above is true.(That is, they accept all RGB job because Word cannot produce anything else; but in the InDesign instructions at least for the 8" x 8" book they recommend CMYK text, and probably mean then K100 text, as using four-color black in small print is not sensible.)

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23 hours ago, Lagarto said:

but in the InDesign instructions at least for the 8" x 8" book they recommend CMYK text, and probably mean then K100 text, as using four-color black in small print is not sensible.

The instructions I downloaded (one of their KB articles, not the documentation that comes with the InDesign template) gives sundry recommendations for black type and expanses of black. They definitely warn against CMYK=100 across the board.

More mail from them today notes: ". . . I can let you know that our instructions for other programs such as InDesign state that whatever color space you choose to use will need to be embedded into the file."  [emphasis theirs]


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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Thanks. I don't recall seeing that referred-to in any of their messages. They must have forgotten about their own blog post. Unfortunately, the link in the post to a profile for soft proofing the PDF on-screen is no longer working (it's in one of the comments). I'll see if I can get an updated link from them, along with instructions on just how users should apply the profile to a PDF.

Yes, I plan to set both text colors and black backgrounds using the CMYK settings they have supplied in one of their KB articles. These seem like ideal situations for Publisher's swatches or even its Styles feature (for assigning a color quickly to, say, a large black rectangle).

 


Affinity Publisher and Photo 1.8.3 (Windows). Lenovo laptop with decidedly sub-optimal monitor. At least it works.
“The wonderful thing about standards is that you can have as many of ’em as you want.”
– Anonymous cynic

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