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Which PDF setting renders body type the best? I regularly produce a 26 page brochure using Affinity Publisher. NONE of the AP PDF settings would render really crisp small type. The closest I got to an acceptable result was creating my own custom settings with No Downsampling. It is acceptable, but not really crisp (see the page sample I have attached to this question). I hate to say it, but the PDF renderings I used to get with InDesign were always crisp. I think that is because InDesign PDF's included a setting option to "Include All Fonts". What can I do to make sure all fonts are included with my AP PDF's? Is there something I am not understanding? Can anyone help me please? — FYI, I am using a MacBook Pro with 27" Apple display.

WW wText Sample.pdf

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On 11/19/2020 at 9:49 PM, ABHULtheELF said:

NONE of the AP PDF settings would render really crisp small type.

An interesting and important observation. I think what happens here is that you have a CMYK document with K100 text which you then export to RGB for digital viewing. Affinity apps seem to convert K100 to something like RGB 30 30 30 (dark gray), depending on the underlying CMYK profile, while Adobe apps will produce pure black RGB 0 0 0.

It is obvious that dark gray text will look less crisp than pure black. Here are screenshots from regular and retina displays when outputting to digital use PDF from a CMYK document with K100 text:

smallprintrendering_rgb_regular.thumb.png.1cd589731a38cc1ae0b1a3f848243a74.png

smallprintrendering_rgb_retina.thumb.png.9e321f9b2f0f44263bc2fa0a5892b5b2.png

 

smallprintrendering_rgb_apub.pdf

smallprintrendering_rgb_id.pdf

 

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On 11/19/2020 at 3:27 PM, anon2 said:

Is the problem in the printed document or is it when the PDF is viewed in an app? If the latter, with which app are you viewing the PDF?

The problem is the latter (It only happens viewing the PDF on a computer screen. The printed copies are fine.) The problem is, most of the people who receive the 26-page document will most likely view it on their computer, rather than printing it out. To answer the other part of your question, I am viewing the document in Adobe Acrobat Pro (which is the default app that converts all my Affinity docs into PDF.) However, the entire 26-page document is emailed to WintersWilden's potential clients so they can view it on their own screens or print the document out on their own printer.)

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On 11/19/2020 at 7:15 PM, Lagarto said:

An interesting and important observation. I think what happens here is that you have a CMYK document with K100 text which you then export to RGB for digital viewing. Affinity apps seem to convert K100 to something like RGB 30 30 30 (dark gray), depending on the underlying CMYK profile, while Adobe apps will produce pure black RGB 0 0 0.

It is obvious that dark gray text will look less crisp than pure black. Here are screenshots from regular and retina displays when outputting to digital use PDF from a CMYK document with K100 text:

Yes, it is a CMYK document, and here is the thing—The body type in this document is not 100% Black, but rather is supposed to render 70% Gray tone. So, If I understand you correctly, then the problem started when I selected K70, instead of rendering the type in CMYK numbers that would equate to K70. Is that right? And if so, what CMYK setting would render a 70% Gray tone?

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4 hours ago, ABHULtheELF said:

Yes, it is a CMYK document, and here is the thing—The body type in this document is not 100% Black, but rather is supposed to render 70% Gray tone. So, If I understand you correctly, then the problem started when I selected K70, instead of rendering the type in CMYK numbers that would equate to K70. Is that right? And if so, what CMYK setting would render a 70% Gray tone?

Hmm, no, I do not think that this could explain it in that case. My explanation was based on assumption on using K100 = ({Black] swatch) in InDesign, as only 100% of black would be interpreted as unmanaged RGB 0, 0, 0. Any percentage of [Black] would be interpreted according to the underlying color profiles also in InDesign, and as I tested this, Adobe apps and Affinity apps produce equal color values whenever anything else than solid black was used. 

Would it be possible for you to provide a sample .afpub document of a page that experiences this problem?

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On 11/27/2020 at 2:52 PM, Lagarto said:

Would it be possible for you to provide a sample .afpub document of a page that experiences this problem?

YES!—I have attached a single page that shows it best. Note in particular that the lower-case letter "a" in the body type probably reveals the problem best when converted to PDF.

WintersWilden_Brochure_ONE_PAGE.afpub

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I tried with this but cannot see any difference when producing a PDF with identical specs. Could this be related to color modes, though, because there are differences between InDesign and Publisher when they output text. As mentioned, InDesign can keep K100 as RGB 0, 0, 0 when converting CMYK documents to RGB for digital viewing, and it also keeps RGB defined colors as RGB when exporting to PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4 (as in your sample document which had the text defined as RGB 102, 102, 102), while Publisher always converts text to CMYK even if the export mode (like PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4) does not require it.

But with your example file, where body text had RGB 102, 102, 102 defined as fill color, and when exporting to PDF/X-4, I could not see any rendering differences (either when viewing at 100% zoom rate, or zoomed in closer) between Publisher and InDesign created PDFs even if Publisher had made the color conversion to CMYK and InDesign kept the color as RGB (after all, when using an identical profile, both definitions produce the same RGB values when rendering on screen).

It would be (marginally) different if the original text had its color defined as RGB 0, 0, 0 (pure RGB black) as then Publisher created PDF would convert the color values to CMYK while InDesign created would not. On a color managed app like Acrobat Pro, which would read the rendering intent in case the file has one, both files would produce identical rendering (as Acrobat would show the internal RGB 0 0 0 values using the color profile based adjustment), but in non-color managed PDF viewer the InDesign created text would show as pure RGB black (0, 0, 0) while the Publisher created CMYK black would be rendered as dark gray. The difference is not big, though, but can be measured. It might show if the font has very thin lines (as Helvetica Neue can have), and when viewed at certain zoom rate and certain srceen resolution.  

But as said, in addition to these color differences, I could not produce any difference in rendering of text between Publisher and InDesign created PDFs when using the same source file, same color profiles and same viewers.

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Lagarto — The attached magnified screenshot will show you what I am seeing. It seems to be happening only with the lower case letter "a" and only in the PDF file. The funny thing is, if I magnify this type in my viewer, (like you saw) everything looks normal. It is still a real puzzle to me. Maybe I have one or more incorrect settings either in my Affinity Publisher document or in Acrobat Pro?

screenshot_93.png

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This is an odd problem. Can you reproduce this with the attached PDF files which have letter "a" typeset in each font of Helvetica Neue family in various point sizes and shades of black and RGB gray, exported from Publisher and InDesign.

I do not experience any rendering difference between these two files (viewed with Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020).

Does this happen with other fonts, as well? If so, do the fonts use the same technology (TrueType, OpenType TrueType or PostScript flavor, Type 1, etc.)? Does this happen with muliple PDF viewers? Are there differences if you convert fonts to curves either by using Layer > Convert to Curves, or by using the Export setting ("Text to Curves" option selected for the setting "Embed fonts")?

Font_rendering_id.pdf

Font_rendering_apub.pdf

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