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1 bit TIFF/Bitmap support please


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I used to use the 1 bit bitmap tiff an awful lot as an Adobe user. I can't find a simple way to drop a bitmap into a document and colourise it within the document, and also have a transparent background. I know I can create a png with transparency and drop that into a designer or publisher file, but this is no good when working with line art. You simply can't do it with the same quality.

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This has been asked many times and several users have listed various use cases fro 1bit images; However, the developers have ruled out that this is "ever happening" -- search the forums for the according threads and posts, here's two to get you started:

 

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There is another important issue regarding the lack of 1-bit support.

That is, 1-bit art should have the resolution at 1200 dpi or higher as placed size and export as such to pdf. As Affinity applications do not have the capability to export any resolution other than their document resolution it presents a problem. 

As for coloring, select the image and on the context toolbar, choose K Only. You should then be able to colorize it.

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21 minutes ago, MikeW said:

As Affinity applications do not have the capability to export any resolution other than their document resolution it presents a problem. 

Is that really true?

If it is true, why does the Export dialog have these options under More... for PDF exports?

image.png.44765f78cb4708743ede96335f601c0a.png

-- Walt

   Desktop: new:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090  (old: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970 )
   Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
    Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1282 Beta
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  Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.280) and 1.10.2 (.266) Beta / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.21) and 1.10.3 (.19) Beta 

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1 hour ago, walt.farrell said:

Is that really true?

It was poorly stated. Affinity applications do not have the capability as per other applications to have different export resolutions depending upon the type of image.

In QXP and ID, for instance, one can set the export resolutions for full color, grayscale and single bit images independently. One reason this can happen is they are resolution independent, there is no document dpi.

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1 hour ago, MikeW said:

Affinity applications do not have the capability as per other applications to have different export resolutions depending upon the type of image.

Thanks.

But that would seem to indicate that if one had a 1200dpi line drawing as a linked or embedded document, and another linked or embedded document that was the overall document DPI (say, 300 DPI), that everything could work fine in Affinity, with appropriate export settings. It might be easier in QXP or ID, but it should still be possible in Affinity with the existing support.

-- Walt

   Desktop: new:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090  (old: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970 )
   Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
    Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1282 Beta
 iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 15.4.1, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

  Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.280) and 1.10.2 (.266) Beta / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.21) and 1.10.3 (.19) Beta 

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Sure. If the document dpi was 1200 or greater and one resized continuous tone images to approximately 100% of placed size at 300 dpi effective resolution, then one could do it to pdf and maintain respective doi...if Affinity applications could handle monochrome images. 

But they (Affinity  applications) convert monochrome images to aliased rgb images and a RIP will convert them to whatever the max dpi or line screen is set at the RIP or processing application had.

All that aside from the onerous amount of work that would be for all but a 4 page brochure. 

Affinity applications are not suitable for certain types of work. It's that simple. 

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10 minutes ago, MikeW said:

If the document dpi was 1200 or greater

I don't understand why that would be required. The Export options available seem to imply that one could have a document DPI of 300, with an embedded image with a higher DPI (1200). But you're right, of course, that the lack of monochrome support is a showstopper.

-- Walt

   Desktop: new:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090  (old: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970 )
   Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
    Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1342 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.10.5 (.1342) and 1.10.5.1282 Beta
 iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 15.4.1, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

  Affinity Photo 1.10.5 (.280) and 1.10.2 (.266) Beta / Affinity Designer 1.10.5 (.21) and 1.10.3 (.19) Beta 

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15 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

I don't understand why that would be required. The Export options available seem to imply that one could have a document DPI of 300, with an embedded image with a higher DPI (1200)...

Try it and upload the pdf. They never use to, but it's been a while since I last tried.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm going to go ahead and +1 this topic.

I started in prepress-land in the mid-90's. And I can tell you unequivocally that 1-bit TIFF support is crucial for production purposes.

First, there is the need for "copy-dot" operations where you have a halftone that you don't want to rescreen. You'd scan this at 100% at a resolution of at least 1200dpi, but preferably 2400-4800dpi. When saved as a bitmap 1-bit TIFF, it outputs at the max resolution of the output device and is not rescreened, and hence, no moire pattern.

Second, and similar to the First, is doing a "copy-dot" on engravings and lithographs. Again, you want those fine detail lines output at crazy-high resolution and not screened.

Third, there is the need for "line art" illustrations. Again, once scanned at a high dpi and placed in the page layout or illustration program as a 1-bit TIFF, it outputs at the max resolution of the device. This yields nice, razor-crisp illustrations for things like instruction manuals, B&W catalogs, and cartoons.

Fourth... this is a curve ball... there was a program waaaaaay back in the MacOS 8 days that I've never seen replicated. (And the name of which I can't remember.) You'd import your 1-bit TIFF, then you could colorize it: either paint the black or else "color inside the lines" in solid colors. It would then be saved as an EPS that would output at... you guessed it... the max resolution of the output device. It was phenomenal for super-crisp catalog work where you are given a hand-drawn lineart that needs colorized, not vectorized. (An example)

Regardless, 1-bit TIFFs, when exporting as a PDF, the data becomes part of the vector data, as opposed to raster data, even though it's technically raster data. The RIP then processes it as part of the line file and it isn't halftoned (unless, of course, it's set to a tint of a spot color, or a CMYK color.) Either way, it's still output at ultra-high resolution. Which is the point. 

Bottom line, this is a crucial missing feature in Affinity Photo, and I sure do hope that it's addressed sooner rather than later.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

+1024 for direct 1-bit editing and export, but…

On Mac, there is an easy workaround using built-in MacOS tools:

  1. in Affinity, paint directly with b/w pixel brush
    or convert an existing image via Adjustments > Threshold to undithered bitmap (nondestructive)
    or via Filters > Colors > Monochrome Dither (destructive)
    etc., whatever brings the best preview
  2. Document > Resize Document > "DPI": 1200 (you need to type the value) > Resample: OFF
  3. export as PNG > Grayscale 8 > Nearest neighbor > Matte: white > ICC: Black & White (don't embed) > Palettized > Palette: Black & White
  4. open your exported PNG in Preview.app
  5. Save As > Format: TIFF > Depth: 1-bit > Compression: none or Packbits

Voilà.
Upon checking in Photoshop CS5.5, the resulting file is a genuine 1-bit TIFF @ 1200 ppi

PNG-to-TIFF conversion can be automated using Folder Actions and Automator workflows/apps/services, albeit "out of the box" it runs without the compression option, as far as I can tell. (note to self: check out if TIFF compression is scriptable)

Example from this very thread, with Posterize and Brightness/Contrast adjustments, Monochrome Dither, the exported PNG then converted to TIFF using a "quickie" Automator droplet that I made on the fly:

Capture_000658_1b.tif

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18 minutes ago, loukash said:

(note to self: check out if TIFF compression is scriptable)

Alright, apparently not via Image Events or Preview AppleScript libraries, but it could be done via System Events UI scripting as outlined e.g. in this example:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8001519?answerId=31945214022#31945214022

So the complete export up to the 1-bit TIFF file can be automated.

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3 hours ago, Fixx said:

the real problem is how to use 1-bit art in Designer or Publisher.

Convert to vector?
Oh, wait… :/
Sigh.

Seriously though, in the past, say, 20 years I would only produce 1-bit @ 1200 ppi if a client needed such graphics like logos or pictograms for use with their office apps – like the one which rhymes with Schword – which couldn't import and place simple b/w PDF files thereof. (No idea if the current Schword incarnation finally does import PDF?)

On the other hand, if I am given a 1-bit artwork for use in a layout, the first thing I always do is to trace it to vector in Ill-frustrator and paste it as an editable path object to ID/APu/AD, you name it. All problems solved. But that's just me, of course, your mileage may vary.
So in such cases, for the time being, a 3rd party vector tracing app to the rescue. In my case still AI CS5 while it more or less still works on El Capitan. And at least for me, such a workflow is nothing new: I'm old enough to remember Adobe Streamline. :) It's been in use – even in OS X "Classic" mode – until I upgraded from AI10 to AICS3…

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4 hours ago, loukash said:

Convert to vector?
Oh, wait… :/
Sigh.

Seriously though, in the past, say, 20 years I would only produce 1-bit @ 1200 ppi if a client needed such graphics like logos or pictograms for use with their office apps – like the one which rhymes with Schword – which couldn't import and place simple b/w PDF files thereof. (No idea if the current Schword incarnation finally does import PDF?)

On the other hand, if I am given a 1-bit artwork for use in a layout, the first thing I always do is to trace it to vector in Ill-frustrator and paste it as an editable path object to ID/APu/AD, you name it. All problems solved. But that's just me, of course, your mileage may vary.
So in such cases, for the time being, a 3rd party vector tracing app to the rescue. In my case still AI CS5 while it more or less still works on El Capitan. And at least for me, such a workflow is nothing new: I'm old enough to remember Adobe Streamline. :) It's been in use – even in OS X "Classic" mode – until I upgraded from AI10 to AICS3…

In the study we bought 4 licenses of AD, APu and APh some time ago. We work in packaging design and for us it is important to be able to work with images of 1bit at 1200dpi that we can color with pantone in AD or APu.

Has no sense:

a) Use 8-bit images at 1200dpi as if they were 1bit (An 8-bit image occupies 8 times what a 1-bit one and has no transparent background).

b) vectorize complex images

For now, unfortunately, we will leave those licenses in the drawer

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4 hours ago, puntdepica said:

for us it is important to be able to work with images of 1bit at 1200dpi that we can color with pantone

Would you mind to share an example? I'd be seriously interested to test how complex an image has to be so that it cannot be vectorized e.g. by Illustrator CS5 – which is what I still have and use for this very purpose, as noted previously.
Thanks

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A complex image, such as an old-style pen illustration when vectorized, can not only have inaccuracies but also generate a multitude of nodes.

For Illustrator or InDesign, depending on the illustration, it is lighter to move a lineart at 1200 dpi than the same vectorized image.

For example, it also happens with works in which a lettering with rough contours is digitized, its vectorized version contains many nodes. Obviously it can be simplified and fine tuned, but it is a job that you save if you simply scan it or it already arrives as a 1bit image.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, puntdepica said:

simply scan it

… which reminds me:
One workflow where I'm still using 1-bit images are document scans for OCR:

  1. scan in grayscale
  2. adjust contrast & threshold, clean up junk pixels
  3. save as compressed 1-bit TIFF (until now in Photoshop, obviously)
  4. open in Acrobat
  5. OCR
  6. save as PDF

That gives the most compact PDFs. File size matters here.

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Yes, each job have different situations.

There are times when it even happens with a pattern (for example on a wrapping paper for shops), in those cases the multiplication of nodes is even a bigger problem, whereas a linked 1bit image is not.

I also remember streamline, at that time it was fine ;-)

In our case we work with cs6, and we stay in Mojave to avoid making monthly payments. That prevents us from updating equipment and that is the reason why the Affinity proposal seduced us. There will be no more new computers that can run Mojave natively.

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