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Hey guys, i'm trying to fix a pdf for print (Amazon KDP)  and need to get a PDF with sharp line art.

the original files (images in the affinity document) are high res and sharp. they's 600 dpi and have been converted to bitmap in past so sharp edges no greys etc.  but i've spent the last 6 hours trying every variation of PDF in the drop down menu  (print, flatten, export, and variations of each, altering all dpi, rastorization settings, compression etc. ) and once exported and opened the images when zoomed in all the way still have soft edges, and in some settings, slight variations in tone (white pixels, Black, and some grey)  

i've already submitted files and have gotten author proofs back from amazon of the novel and some of the images printed are pixelated.

I think this 'soft PDF' line art is the problem and I'm trying to get a sharp PDF to try resubmitting again. 

Thx for taking the time to read!

Adam 

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Welcome, Adam.

Affinity applications do not support monochrome bitmap images. They are aliases when imported. 

I don't know if KDP accepts 600 dpi or higher pdfs (and I always use 1200 dpi for bitmap line art), but if they are 600 dpi and you use 600 dpi for document dpi or otherwise do not allow down sampling, you might try.

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Hi mike, thanks for the response, and yup, i've have tried that too.

That might be the best way to describe it, the images are aliased when imported, but all pdfs i export are anti-aliased (blurry) and  i hope there's a way to output a sharp aliased PDF . that i think will fix the pixilization at the printer.  if anyone has experience with this it could solve an 8 year issue i've had with printing :)

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On 6/3/2020 at 2:40 AM, headlamp2 said:

if anyone has experience  exporting sharp aliased PDFs in affinity publisher it would mean a ton, thanks! 

But isn't Mike's advise still valid? Export (at least the affected pages) at the resolution of the source (600dpi if your bitmaps are 600dpi, or higher if their placed dpi value is higher) and disallow downsampling. Because monochrome is not supported even images handled by thresholding or monochrome dithering and saved as grayscales will get gray tones in export if downsampling is allowed. The only way I have achieved aliased output (just pure K100 edges) from Affinity apps is outputting at high enough dpi value and disallowing downsampling. 

Can you post any of the source images (even just a part of it that gets antialiased) on the forum so that we could run some tests.

UPDATE: Note that you must also disable JPG compression for the pages where you want to have fully aliased (=non-antialiased)  output

This is how it looks out in Publisher:

aliased_01.jpg.67f761cdb0ba130773f94887ddd3a551.jpgaliased_02.jpg.8d70371b5f7033818b0b1b1a595eda90.jpg

 

a) Default output using PDF/X1a:2003 (300dpi allowing downsampling and jpg compression):

aliased_pdf_01.jpg.b328b60e417cf262a70aebf3fff56ad0.jpg

 

b) At 705dpi disallowing downsampling but allowing jpg compression:

aliased_pdf_02.jpg.3668a4283530ede08669f60e3eea99c1.jpg

c) At 705dpi disallowing downsampling AND jpg compression:

aliased_pdf_03.jpg.f513e0f542da60a0a34e9d644a890523.jpg

UPDATE: In fact, the crucial setting for producing hard edges as in point c) above, is using "Nearest Neighbor" resample method. This setting has bearing even if downsampling is not allowed, even in this example where the placed ppi value of the image was same as the defined dpi setting for the export. 

 

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I suggest that you add your request for 1-bit artwork to one of the threads asking for it, such as this one.

John

 


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.8,5 Designer 1.8.5 and Publisher 1.8.5 (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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5 minutes ago, John Rostron said:

I suggest that you add your request for 1-bit artwork to one of the threads asking for it, such as this one.

I think I mentioned in one of the 1-bit threads that without the ability to have the ability of differing output resolutions for the different types of images, it's a moot point as far as APub is concerned. 

I agree APhoto should still have that capability though.

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3 hours ago, MikeW said:

without the ability to have the ability of differing output resolutions for the different types of images, it's a moot point as far as APub is concerned

Not only that but also lossless compression (InDesign has 4 different methods just for monochromes, in addition to "None", and has lossless "ZIP" and "None" as separate options for color and grayscale images):

monochrome_compression.jpg.c9b13e0e7b698788b62fae8c4836fe67.jpg

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Hi Lagarto,

first , thanks so much for taking the time to answer and post all the images, i really appreciate it.  everyone seems very helpful here

i’ll try and show what I’m doing here. (I just started using Aff pup. last month :/

i'll attach one of my drawings in the book, titled dark 20.tiff original file, 600 dpi tiff...

dark 20.tiff

when i  exported on this try I entered 600 for raster because that's the dpi most of the images are. (I’ve tried leaving at 300 etc.)

 

a.png.5bd39d0e8f2891d352ddf53c32df0470.png

 

 

 

these are some of the changes i make in the ‘more’ menu. (i've tried a few dozen variations of everything i can think of)

 

 

 

b.png.3cfd2419baa1903440be6b6b32ecf376.png

 

and this is the original screen after i hit close

 

 

c.png.9449edf83c0526eabab7537adc73549f.png

 

 

the photo on the left is an extreme close up of the exported pdf from AFF Pub, the one on the right is of the original file. Both are opened and viewed here in Preview on my Mac.

 

1686614480_ScreenShot2020-06-03at11_49_25AM.thumb.png.a5f45762f69d0676cd9a114da1a3e275.png

 

 

some more info on the book, it's 187 pgs. the first 178 should be sharp (aliased?) , and the last are greyscale images of color covers of my other novels. These shouldn't be converted to the sharp line art though i'm not sure that can be done in the same doc. 

 

thx again for your time. 

adam 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If I place your image on an A4 portrait page, the placed ppi value of the image would be about 1200ppi. I exported at 1200dpi, disallowed downsampling and JPG compression EDIT: and most importantly, chose "Nearest neighbor" resample setting), and get this:

asliased_1200.jpg.0c202d1131529ad350391fc3f7dad79e.jpg

aliased_1200.pdf

It should stay sharpedged at lower resolution, as well, but 1200ppi is pretty standard for monochrome art. It does make pretty large pdf files, though, because compression cannot be used, and these are actually 8-bit images!

UPDATE: I used these settings:

aliased_settings.jpg.a5220b02f5d3e4480e61ac97fba726fb.jpg

It seems the max DPI value for export is 1024 (I entered 1200dpi but the app changes it to 1024).

Here is an export at 600dpi. Its size is oddly(?) exactly the same as that of the 1200dpi so obviously some packing is done, after all.

aliased_600.pdf 

UPDATE2: Yes, it uses lossless (ZIP) compression:

aliased_compression.jpg.8d382737d47b0978d32752024c0865a4.jpg

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24 minutes ago, headlamp2 said:

the photo on the left is an extreme close up of the exported pdf from AFF Pub, the one on the right is of the original file. Both are opened and viewed here in Preview on my Mac.

Preview blurs images in PDFs when you zoom in, and does not blur raster image files (such as TIFF) when you zoom in, so using Preview at extreme magnification will mislead you.

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17 hours ago, headlamp2 said:

and the last are greyscale images of color covers of my other novels. These shouldn't be converted to the sharp line art though i'm not sure that can be done in the same doc.

You can use these in the same document. If you like, you can export them as a separate document, but it does not matter even if you export the whole document at e.g. 600dpi. Affinity will not sharpen anything even if you prevent downsampling [EDIT: It could cause jaggedness only if you allow downsampling and use "Nearest neighbour" method, but you would not do this], or blur anything, if you do not allow JPG compression, so sharp edge images stay sharp edged, and antialiased images antialiased. But I think you should output lineart at least at 600dpi. Your placed ppi values are probably anyway larger than that, and as mentioned, 1200dpi is pretty standard. 

UPDATE: As it seems that the chosen resample method is used anyway (disregarding whether downsampling is allowed or not), it is clear that continuous tone grayscales should be produced with separate settings, otherwise they would get jagged edges. Pages that are wanted to be produced as aliased, should be exported choosing the "Nearest neighbor" resample method. JPG compression is not relevant in this context.

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I just tested this on macOS (Mojave), and Preview also does not let zoom in as close when viewing a PDF (created at 1200 as long as Affinity Publisher allows that on macOS) as it does when viewing a TIFF file. Note too that if you place a PDF in an Affinity Publisher document, it will get blurred if you zoom in close enough, but if you open the same document, it will not. So you could use your Affinity app to some extent to check the quality of your PDF exports instead of using Preview (but then again could not trust what you see fully because when an Affinity app opens it, it also rerenders it...)

Adobe Acrobat Reader might let you zoom in closer and more realistically than Preview. 

UPDATE: Yes, it does, this is the max closeup (6400%) of the PDF exported from Affinity Publisher:

1530229970_Screenshot2020-06-03at21_45_18.png.b4f16408421f90b081ddf0c993a28ae4.png

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I am not sure if i is worth the trouble to try to coax sharp lineart output from Publisher. It just cannot do maximum sharpness. You can probably get close but that is too labour intensive and inefficient.

I would almost recommend to try to vectorize your art (if it is even remotely simple enough for it), or try to use an older copy of InDesign.

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14 minutes ago, Fixx said:

I am not sure if i is worth the trouble to try to coax sharp lineart output from Publisher. It just cannot do maximum sharpness. You can probably get close but that is too labour intensive and inefficient.

I opened the PDF export made by Affinity Publisher in Photoshop and placed it on top of the original TIFF, and did the Difference Blend, and the images appear to be identical:

difference_pdf_original.jpg.d9d0b4a4804740b4edb344a603d21733.jpg

So if one sees the trouble of producing a monochrome-like 8-bit grayscale from Photo, it seems that Affinity Publisher does not ruin it (provided that you use correct export settings)!

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hey guys, thanks so much for the help and comments, especially Lagarto  🤘😑🤘    a great forum.

 

i was able to beef up the dpi, and now i know preview doesn't allow for a clear view in extreme close up (used Adobe acrobat to check) thx anon 2.

files sent to Amazon. will see how things turn out on THEIR end  :) 

 

i'll shout out the program again and the benefits of the forum on my instagram 'my story' later...

https://www.instagram.com/adamarcher11/

 

do you guys work for the company? how can i thank you back?  can i click anything to give good reviews? 

 

thx again for all the help, screenshots and guidance. 

Adam 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I opened the PDF export made by Affinity Publisher in Photoshop and placed it on top of the original TIFF, and did the Difference Blend, and the images appear to be identical:

But when you print it, does it print halftoned? That is, edges are built with raster dots, not device pixels? I am not sure.

Anyway, quality may be good enough. Glad if it works this way.

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1 hour ago, Fixx said:

But when you print it, does it print halftoned? That is, edges are built with raster dots, not device pixels? I am not sure.

I must admit that I do not know enough about print technology to be able to answer. I always produce this kind of artwork as 1200ppi monochrome and the results have been as expected.

But how could equal amount of equallly positioned 8-bit K100 pixels cause different output on plate than 1-bit K100 pixels? Wouldn't they get equally screened as there are no tones? I cannot for some reason upload an image at the moment but I created a PDF exported from InDesign of a monochrome and a grayscale (no compression, no downsampling) version of the same image, and when viewing prepress information, the former is said to be "treated as mask", and neither is said to be allowed "perform interpolation". I'd assume that they produce equal results, but honestly do not know.

That much is clear that monochrome support is "badly missed" (odd omission and  much required) in Affinity apps.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Lagarto said:

It does make pretty large pdf files, though, because compression cannot be used, and these are actually 8-bit images!
(...)
Its size is oddly(?) exactly the same as that of the 1200dpi so obviously some packing is done, after all.

In your PDFs you have an ISO profile assigned, these profiles always increase the file size in such an amount to me.
And why a CMYK profile – is it requested by KPD?

I get visually the same result with a different profile but a smaller file size (847 kB).
(APub > preview.app > Acrobat) 
(preview.app appears to always show antialiased)

216809850_lineart1200dpi.thumb.jpg.04118368a99383d1ed80fe97ce01add6.jpg

 

Also it appears even with JPG compression activated + set to 0 % the exported PDF will contain a ZIP compressed image:

1628745522_lineart1200dpicompressionZIP.thumb.jpg.ab933388eb38496e82a54f301fabf32f.jpg

A different compression setting in APUB did not make a difference in my exported PDFs, neither visually nor in file size.

Here two examples: (setting + pdf)

1027281276_lineart1200dpiv1.7jpgq0.jpg.b50da80b632939c0257f1f63a4f81349.jpg  >  dark 20_b%w_1200_jpg0.pdf

1086855793_lineart1200dpiX-1auncompr.jpg.fefe37255e7a476f1082981b4069a8ef.jpg  >  dark 20_b&w_1200_X-1a.pdf


 

15 hours ago, Lagarto said:

It seems the max DPI value for export is 1024 (I entered 1200dpi but the app changes it to 1024).

I don't get this reset limitation of 1024 dpi in APub – but I also get for your PDF the info of 1200 dpi (47 per mm) in Acrobat, so your 1024 may be a buggy glitch in APub?


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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1 hour ago, thomaso said:

A different compression setting in APUB did not make a difference in my exported PDFs, neither visually nor in file size.

It seems that the thing that made a difference in visual outlook was NOT allowing or disallowing the JPG compression, but the kind of resampling method chosen. I had chosen the (non-default) "Nearest Neighbor" method "just to be sure", but had erroneously assumed that when downsampling is disabled this setting would not be critical, but it is. The compression method (lossy JPG or implied lossless ZIP, if JPG is not allowed) would have significance with a continuous tone image but not with these kinds of images. 

So the critical setting for getting 8-bit line art exported without losing anything of the original is using "Nearest Neighbor" resample method. One would expect that the correct method is automatically chosen so that there will be no quality loss (so when basically just packing -- as no downsampling is allowed --  a hard edged mere K100 pixels containing lineart no gray tones would be produced), but this does not happen. I have not tested the effect of other methods but the default Bilinear does produce grayscales, as shown in the screenshot of my post. 

The export settings should really be documented somewhere!

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8 hours ago, headlamp2 said:

hey guys, thanks so much for the help and comments, especially Lagarto  🤘😑🤘    a great forum.

You're welcome, but please note the mistake I made in assuming that the critical setting for producing aliased lineart would have been disallowing JPG compression, when in fact it is the chosen "Resample" method. With these kinds of images, it needs to be "Nearest Neighbor", so this setting has effect even when the source images have the required amount of pixels and one would expect that the existing image is "saved" so that as little as possible is lost of its nature and quality. This is the burden of assuming that things behave similarly in Affinity apps as they do in Adobe apps. In InDesign "Do not downsample" makes resampling method irrelevant (it can only be selected if downsampling is allowed, so whatever method is used to "save" the image, will not cause problems), but not so in Affinity apps.

Please note that if you produced your print file using "Nearest Neighbor", this does have effect on the images that you wish to be antialiased, so please check and create a corrected version of these pages if necessary. 

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15 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

I had chosen the (non-default) "Nearest Neighbor" method "just to be sure", but had erroneously assumed that when downsampling is disabled this setting would not be critical, but it is.

I also first assumed "Nearest neighbour" as conflicting when I had read your response about dpi limit – and therefore I used it, too. But I did not experience an issue, neither in dpi setting nor in export quality or file size. (see my 2nd screenshot + pdf above)

So I wonder whether your documents color space (or ISO profile) may be involved somehow. As far I can see this is the only different setting between your and my test (I used Grayscale + B&W profile).

Another culprit might be compression issues I recently experienced and posted. Gabe confirmed some found issues with my test afpub which seem to be related in a strange way to in vs. out resolution ...:

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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25 minutes ago, thomaso said:

So I wonder whether your documents color space (or ISO profile) may be involved somehow.

Who knows!

But I can now verify that when "Downsampling" is disallowed and nothing else changes but the resample method (between the default "Bilinear" and "Nearest Neighbor"), I get the following export pdfs of a test 8-bit grayscale image which is thresholded in Photo and placed at 709ppi on a page of an Affinity Publisher document:

threshold_nodownsampling_bilinear.pdf  

threshold_nodownsampling_nearestneighbor.pdf

These PDFs have otherwise PDF/X1a:2003 settings (EDIT but their DPI setting is 1024; I originally used 705dpi which was the placed ppi value of the image then). But I have not tested this with other presets so cannot tell if there is really some connection that causes this behavior with the resample method chosen.

The kind of compression used (JPG or the implied lossless ZIP) does not have effect on the output with this specific image, but would have with a continuous tone image.

I think this is a bit disturbing, this kind of a change should not happen when there is a good ground to assume that the included images are basically just "saved", when downsampling is disallowed. I think there is a similar issue in a thread related to exporting TIFF images: users are confused when seeing that exporting to TIFF requires selection of "resample" method when they basically just want to save, that is, keep the original image without losing a pixel.

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