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Saving a 1-bit black & white graphic

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm mostly a newbie to vector editing, so I hope someone can point me in the right direction.

 

I've created a black and white vector graphic using Affinity Designer. The graphic will be incorporated into a printed book, and the printer needs it as a 600dpi 1-bit black and white file — I think a vector format is preferred.

 

My document resolution is already 600dpi, so that's covered, but I'm struggling to work out how to use Affinity's export options to save out my graphic as 1-bit. Any ideas?

 

Thanks,

Gabi

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On 7/23/2015 at 6:23 PM, MEB said:

Hi Gabi,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

I'm sorry but currently there's no support for 1bit B&W images in Affinity.

Any update on support for 1-bit B&W? This would be useful for lots of things.

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I would like to add my voice to the requests for 1-bit support. I run the design / pre-press department of a printing company. We do spot-color offset and letterpress. I absolutely need 1-bit support for our workflow. Please, folks! This is a very important part of print production!

Thanks!

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Literally the very first thing I tried to do with Affinity Designer was to drop a 1-bit logo file into a blank document. It was a bit disappointing to realize that I'd just bought a graphic design app that can't handle company logos or barcodes.

In InDesign or Illustrator you can just drop a bitmap logo / drawing into a document and change its fill to any color (very handy for designs that require spot colors). The bitmaps keep their crisp 1200 dpi resolution (and don't get anti-aliased) when exported to PDFs. It's a very hassle-free and effective way of working.

Am I just old-fashioned? Is there some new way of dealing with this stuff in Affinity Photo / Designer / Publisher that I'm just not aware of yet?

Every alternative suggestion I've seen on the forums has been far too complicated for what needs to be done. Following those suggestions would also lead to losing the benefits of working with 1-bit bitmaps anyway, resulting in downsampled and lossily compressed images in PDFs. Adobe's software offers separate downsampling settings for color, grayscale, and bitmap images, Affinity squashes all and everything with equal measure. That makes Affinity apps simply unsuitable for some print workflows, despite all the fantastic features they have. 

I'm aware that proper 1-bit color support might be technically more challenging to implement than it sounds, as it comes with the requirement to treat different image files placed in the same document in a different manner. That would probably pose new challenges for drawing the images on the screen too. And the PDF engine is probably a big hurdle too, since it is a third-party solution (as far as I know), and not flexible enough?

 

It would be nice to hear the developers' view on bitmap support. What's the reasoning for leaving it off the roadmap? Is it going to be added later (together with better tools to work with spot colors, maybe), or has the decision been made that it's simply not going to be supported and old-fashioned geezers like me should look elsewhere? Affinity Publisher's release is going to attract even more people fed up with Adobe's pricing model looking for alternative software. The lack of bitmap support might be a decisive factor for many, more critical than the design tools themselves. Some software can't deal with CMYK. Affinity stumbles with 1-bit images.

 

(I probably sound like a broken record at this point, having written many posts about this subject already. Sorry about that.)

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I need 1-bit support for my comics and illustrations. Currently I use PhotoLine for this, which surprisingly has perfect support for this, even better than Photoshop or any other image editor out there:

  • works with layers(!) Meaning, unlike Photoshop it's no problem to combine multiple 1bit layers.
  • can be combined in a single document with RGB or CMYK 300ppi layers and create a top 1bit 1200ppi layer
  • PDF output in PhotoLine keeps it all intact, and outputs a proper PDF file. The 1bit 1200ppi layer is retained, and the colour work maintains a 300ppi output.

InDesign also works well with this, but I no longer rent that software. The only other software I found so far (other than QuarkXPress) that supports a good 1-bit workflow is PhotoLine. And I know of no other image editor that supports a layer-based workflow with 1-bit graphics.

I am hoping that Affinity Publisher will support this workflow as well, but so far no cigar. I think all Affinity products ought to support a 1-bit workflow to make this work out properly anyway. (And an 8-bit indexed colour mode is missing in action as well in Affinity Photo, btw!)

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I need 1-Bit support for flatbed direct to plate UV-print and for Riso printing. Our layouts for the direct to plate print use complex white underprint which is set up via spot color. Currently we generate 1-Bit tif-files which get assigned with spot colors in InDesign. Same with the Riso print. Color separation for spot colors is a lot easier with colorized 1-Bit files.

Cheers

Benny


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13 minutes ago, thomaso said:

To me in v330 it does work for .tiff & .bmp & .png

– to colorize an imported bitmap
– and to export it in spot color

170330-2 bitmap & spot-color X4.pdf

What do you mean and request for actually?

- I request

- to be able to create 1-Bit tif files with either AF Photo or AF Designer.

- white needs to be zero instead of white color


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4 minutes ago, thomaso said:

To me in v330 it does work for .tiff & .bmp & .png

– to colorize an imported bitmap
– and to export it in spot color

170330-2 bitmap & spot-color X4.pdf

What do you mean and request for actually?

According to my Adobe Acrobat, the original images in that PDF of yours are grayscale, not 1-bit.

Help docs for Photoshop describe 1-bit bitmaps like this:

Quote

Bitmap mode uses one of two color values (black or white) to represent the pixels in an image. Images in Bitmap mode are called bitmapped 1‑bit images because they have a bit depth of 1.

It is a color mode that is entirely different from grayscale. And last I checked, none of the Affinity apps know how to deal with images in that color mode correctly. It's simply not supported, which is a major bummer.

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14 minutes ago, BennyD said:

I request to be able to create 1-Bit tif files with either AF Photo or AF Designer.

In the AF Publisher forum?

14 minutes ago, midsummer said:

According to my Adobe Acrobat, the original images in that PDF of yours are grayscale, not 1-bit.

Interesting, haven't noticed before. So, however, apparently AfPub is actually able to handle 1-bit images but treats them as 8-bit.

Nevertheless: your approach ...

3 hours ago, BennyD said:

I need 1-Bit support for flatbed direct to plate UV-print and for Riso printing. Our layouts for the direct to plate print use complex white underprint which is set up via spot color. Currently we generate 1-Bit tif-files which get assigned with spot colors in InDesign. Same with the Riso print. Color separation for spot colors is a lot easier with colorized 1-Bit files. 

... can completely be done in AfPub:
import 1-bit,
• colorize with spot-color,
• export as 1 print plate only.


macOS 10.12.6,  Macbook Pro 15" + Eizo 24"

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Well, in Publisher it works partly. Would be useable, if the white inside the bitmap had zero information. Or if objects could be set to overprint not just colors.

Imagine you had a dark object and you want to print a lighter color on it. You need to underprint white first. Usually, you put an extra spot channel into the pdf which you set to overprint. This channel is printed white. And then you can print another color on it.

First picture AF Publisher, second InDesign

Additionally, the final pdf file size is far too big.

 

Bildschirmfoto 2019-05-20 um 12.41.47.png

Bildschirmfoto 2019-05-20 um 12.51.01.png


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1
2 minutes ago, thomaso said:

 

Interesting, haven't noticed before. So, however, apparently AfPub is actually able to handle 1-bit images but treats them as 8-bit.

 

Yes, that seems to be the problem. So when 8-bit is used, white is white not zero. To use multiply doesn't work because then the spot color get's lost since of transparency flattening

 


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1 hour ago, BennyD said:

Imagine you had a dark object and you want to print a lighter color on it. You need to underprint white first. Usually, you put an extra spot channel into the pdf which you set to overprint. This channel is printed white. And then you can print another color on it. 

That works so far: Use the 1 spot-color print plate for both: 1. white and 2. color.

1 hour ago, BennyD said:

 multiply doesn't work because then the spot color get's lost

Sorry, I don't understand yet your additional approach with transparency/ color mode "multiply" in that case.
And what does the gray rectangle represent in your screenshot?


macOS 10.12.6,  Macbook Pro 15" + Eizo 24"

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40 minutes ago, thomaso said:

That works so far: Use the 1 spot-color print plate for both: 1. white and 2. color.

What's this feature and where do I find it? Can you have both channels in one pdf file together?

 

 
 
 
39 minutes ago, thomaso said:

Sorry, I don't understand yet your additional approach with transparency/ color mode "multiply" in that case.
And what does the gray rectangle represent in your screenshot?

the grey rectangle symbolizes a physical piece of metal for example. It's just for checking the final look in this case. Not really necessary for the print file here. But it shows the problem, that if you want to put just the 1-bit-information on top of your artwork to mark the white print areas it doesn't work.

The spot color channel for white needs to be set to overprint to be put together with your artwork into one single file. I tried to mimic that with the multiply option. But it doesn't obviously work. I attached two pdf files. Skull 5b would be the final print document. 

Maybe it's easier to understand if you think in terms of glossy coating on particular parts of an image. You would put a spot color channel like in Skull5.pdf on top of all and set it to overprint. How would you do that with AF Publisher and finally have one single PDF with all spot color channels and CMYK together?

Skull5.pdf

Skull5b.pdf


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Actually, it's a bit off topic after all, because our problem of not being able to save 1-bit-tif-files in the first place doesn't let us create images which could be used in this very practical way.


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@BennyD, I can't access your pdfs, same for your text. If I try to select your text or click the pdf the cursor gets placed in the large empty space of quotes you had posted above. As if s.th. went wrong with the quote element. (see screenshots) – Can you try another way to quote?

1154731966_quoteissue1.jpg.9701e5cceff0b838066bc8cc234c389a.jpg         444130618_quoteissue2.jpg.7a2c254765e4edb34764ec6eecd359a5.jpg

 


macOS 10.12.6,  Macbook Pro 15" + Eizo 24"

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I scan a black-and-white image using VueScan using the B/W Text mode and save as a Tiff. If I open this in Corel Paint X7, it identifies the image as being 1-bit. If I open the same image in AP 1.6, it automatically converts it to 8-bit sRGB. I have to convert it to an 8-bit greyscale to do anything useful before export. Even if AP will not deal with 1-bit images, I think the least it could do is to treat it as an 8-bit greyscale rather than RGB!

It does the same in 1.7 beta.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.7 and Designer 1.7, (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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4 hours ago, BennyD said:
5 hours ago, thomaso said:

That works so far: Use the 1 spot-color print plate for both: 1. white and 2. color.

What's this feature and where do I find it? Can you have both channels in one pdf file together? 

There is no feature – you simple use 1 print plate twice: 1x as White background & 1x as spot-colored graphic. If wanted you also can use it a third time for the transparent varnish.

Yes, you can have all channels in 1 PDF: Either on separate pages (p.1 background White / p.2 color graphic / p.3 varnish) – Or on 1 page, but then one needs to activate/deactivate channels before going to print.

What is the reason that makes you request using 1-bit images for such spot color plates?


macOS 10.12.6,  Macbook Pro 15" + Eizo 24"

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1 hour ago, John Rostron said:

I scan a black-and-white image using VueScan using the B/W Text mode and save as a Tiff. If I open this in Corel Paint X7, it identifies the image as being 1-bit. If I open the same image in AP 1.6, it automatically converts it to 8-bit sRGB. I have to convert it to an 8-bit greyscale to do anything useful before export. Even if AP will not deal with 1-bit images, I think the least it could do is to treat it as an 8-bit greyscale rather than RGB!

It does the same in 1.7 beta.

Have you reported that as a bug? At a minimum I would expect it to apply your chosen greyscale profile, if VueScan has not supplied an ICC profile within the image.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.239), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.471 and 1.7.2.464 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.2.471 and 1.7.2.4464 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.2.471 and 1.7.3.475 Beta

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@thomaso The problem is that 1bit tiffs lose their original high resolution when exported to PDF, and cannot (as far as I am aware) keep their original resolution and overprint.

For example: I create 1200ppi 1bit ink drawings, which are then overprinted on top of 300ppi full colour renderings. InDesign and PhotoLine have no issues with this. Publisher cannot handle 1200ppi 1bit TIFF files and when exporting to PDF downsamples the ink drawing to whatever document ppi is set (max 400). Which is useless for comic work. We need at least 600ppi 1bit line art for acceptable print quality.

Same problem with 1bit 800-1200ppi artwork that must be printed in other circumstances, such as printing on metal (example above). It won't work in Publisher, and always downsample and convert to 8bit art and lose the actual resolution.

 

 

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Here a sample PDF with a so-to-say 1-bit graphic, in 3 spot colors, 1 is overprinting.

The graphic resource (.tiff) contains only 1 layer, Black + White only.
The transparency + white text is in an alpha channel.

170330 spot color & varnish.pdf

bitmap-testbild alpha.tif

 

21 minutes ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

The problem is that 1bit tiffs lose their original high resolution

Oh!, very bad, indeed. – For what reason do you prefer 1-bit only?
 


macOS 10.12.6,  Macbook Pro 15" + Eizo 24"

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15 minutes ago, thomaso said:

For what reason do you prefer 1-bit only?

Sharpness – 8-bit images will be halftoned, 1-bit images do not. I just hate seeing halftoned b&w comics in our n:o 1 newspaper. Text and all.

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