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Affinity Designer: Exporting 6m project to 1:10 without quality loss for printing


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Hi peeps,

 

I just finnished a big wall artwork for a client that needs to be printed. The artwork contains text, vector illustrations and photo's. The issue is that the printer needs a 1:10 file with artwork embeded. In Adobe illustrator I can protect the photo's that they dont lose quality while scaling. I can not find this option in Designer. Like protecting the pixels as a smart object in Photoshop

The request is the deliver an 1:10 PDF. Any thoughts?

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Make the document 60 cm x ?? cm and put the picture with 300 dpi at least and make PDF.

All the latest releases of Designer, Photo and Publisher (retail and beta) on MacOS and Windows.
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3 minutes ago, NNN said:

Make the document 60 cm x ?? cm and put the picture with 300 dpi at least and make PDF.

Yeah, that is the workaround i am doing now. But it is not something i prefer. I want to images to be protected like a smart object. Than it doenst matter how you scale it, it keeps the information. Now i just upgrade it to 300dpi and scale it down. So when they blow it all up in the printer, it is still okay. I can not believe that this is the workflow to go in Designer. So if I mis something, please let me know for a other time.

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When they will scale it to 1:1 the image would be 30 dpi at least, which is OK for such a big print. I'm doing the same.

All the latest releases of Designer, Photo and Publisher (retail and beta) on MacOS and Windows.
15” Dell Inspiron 7559 i7 Windows 10 x64 Pro Intel Core i7-6700HQ (3.50 GHz, 6M) 16 GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600 MHz (8GBx2) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4 GB GDDR5 500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD UHD (3840 x 2160) Truelife LED - Backlit Touch Display
32” LG 32UN650-W display 3840 x 2160 UHD, IPS, HDR10 Color Gamut: DCI-P3 95%, Color Calibrated 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
13.3” MacBook Pro (2017) Ventura 13.6 Intel Core i7 (3.50 GHz Dual Core) 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1536 MB 500 GB SSD Retina Display (3360 x 2100)

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6 hours ago, Royk said:

The request is the deliver an 1:10 PDF. Any thoughts?

Caution: absolute sizes of rounded edges may be excluded from scaling. All images will have a higher resolution by a factor of 10. So pay attention to the resolution when exporting.

image.png.17de6f6321287e97f2078e1606a6a355.png

Thanks to DeepL.

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8 hours ago, Royk said:

The issue is that the printer needs a 1:10 file with artwork embeded. In Adobe illustrator I can protect the photo's that they dont lose quality while scaling. I can not find this option in Designer.

In Affinity placed images don't loose quality if scaled or if the document gets scaled or the resolution of the .afdesign get changed. The quality of an image (= "image layer") gets rather decided during export by export resolution and image compression setting.

Different to image layers scaling an object or the .afdesign document affects the quality if the image layer got rasterized before, which results in a "pixel layer". Those can lose quality if the document or pixel layer gets up-scaled but not when down-scaled.

As @Palatino pointed out, scaling an .afdesign can modify certain vector properties (e.g. strokes, corners, layer effects), if not set before to auto-adjust when scaled ("scale with object"). Thus it can be more useful in your situation to export the 6 meter layout as temporary 6 meter PDF (if wanted with only 10% of the requested output resolution to reduce file size) and place this resulting PDF as resource in a new .afdesign with the required width of 60 cm and the requested resolution. Keep the PDF layer mode set to "Passthrough" and scale it down to 60 cm. Then export another PDF with the required print resolution, it will have the required 60 cm.

7 hours ago, Royk said:

I can not believe that this is the workflow to go in Designer.

Actually the common workflow for media of large sizes is to layout in documents with scale (e.g. 1:10, 1:20, 1:100 etc). Consider that various applications may have limitations for the document dimensions they can open or create. For instance still a few years ago PDF was limited to 5 meter.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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5 hours ago, thomaso said:

Actually the common workflow for media of large sizes is to layout in documents with scale (e.g. 1:10, 1:20, 1:100 etc).

Yes. I don't like working in 1:10, but it has the undeniable advantage of being able to use "normal" font sizes. Also other sizes like shadows or radii are still in the usable range.

(I was just too lazy to write as much as @thomaso. 😉)

Thanks to DeepL.

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10 hours ago, Palatino said:

(I was just too lazy to write as much as @thomaso. 😉)

While both forgot to mention:

• A 6-metre page printed at 10% is equivalent to a 60-cm page printed at 100%. (= 1:10)

• A 6-metre page printed at 100% is corresponds to a 60-cm page printed at 1000%.

• A 6-metre page exported at 100 DPI corresponds to a 60-centimetre page exported at 1000 DPI. (= 1:10)

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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9 hours ago, Palatino said:

I don't like working in 1:10, but it has the undeniable advantage of being able to use "normal" font sizes. Also other sizes like shadows or radii are still in the usable range.

It's true concerning a simple shift of the decimal separator ( . or , ) … but it doesn't matter or help if you consider the different viewing distances: A 5-metre fair wall read from  1-2 metre distance may have a smaller text size than a 5-metre billboard read from 15 or 50 metre for instance.

1883876822_5mviewingdistance.jpg.11ec1af03f900152ac228ff3eeeca378.jpg

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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On 9/29/2022 at 3:24 PM, Royk said:

The request is the deliver an 1:10 PDF. Any thoughts?

I am not sure if I understood you question but if you place high-res images and export without allowing downsampling, the placed images will retain their native resolution, and accordingly allow upscaling to benefit from the high-res images placed in the job. Below a high-res image is placed in Publisher but the behavior is exactly same in Designer (when upscaled 10 times the effective PPI of the image would be about 300dpi, which means this image could be looked at close range when upscaled to 50 x 50 cm):

image.jpeg.1bc474090bdb997ada47a836fbb4b1a6.jpeg

image.jpeg.1f0411543bdd63b68e8dc5beef333c3b.jpeg  nodownsampling_03.jpg.d7e3f27b47146d9afb35accb40f40bff.jpg I

Note that when you export, the default quality of JPG compression is 98 in Affinity apps. It produces huge sizes, compared to the same document exported from InDesign with exactly same settings (InDesign using "Automatic (JPEG)" and image quality "Maximum" compression settings):

compressionfilesizes.jpg.cb76edff57c6ac04cc8a3e9a6cf0f11a.jpg

I had to decrease the compression quality to 70 until I got the same file size InDesign created with "Maximum" "Automatic". Examining the results in this specific situation showed no significant differences in quality but I have tested the compression quality settings sometimes earlier extensively and 70 is not a setting that can be used uncritically as a general setting so it works perfectly fine in situations like this when there are lots of pixels in the source images, and no resampling, but would produce all kinds of artifacts in many other situations. Not having an automatic analysis of the most suitable compression / quality rate for each image to be exported is a big time waster. It means that to be on a safe side, it is probably wise to use the default (98) compression quality if the document contains multiple images of different sizes and properties.

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40 minutes ago, lacerto said:

Not having an automatic analysis of the most suitable compression / quality rate for each image to be exported is a big time waster. It means that to be on a safe side, it is probably wise to use the default (98) compression quality if the document contains multiple images of different sizes and properties.

To me it appears sufficient in Affinity to export with 85% without a visible change in image quality (for images with export document resolution of 300 dpi).

I'm not sure how the Affinity JPG export algorithm differs from Lightroom, but there is at least a rough comparison (with various images) that shows that, for example, at 98% - 93% the compression to file size ratio is not as efficient: http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/jpeg-quality

ps: Interestingly there seem to be just 10 steps, no fluent increase/decrease of compression vs size. (while the Photoshop UI offers 12 steps, right?).

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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20 hours ago, thomaso said:

To me it appears sufficient in Affinity to export with 85% without a visible change in image quality (for images with export document resolution of 300 dpi).

JPG compression is complex. Just to illustrate how it can be, here is a 2000px x 2000px TIFF as a pure grayscale with only black color and transparent background, and colored 8-bit version of it:

Fineliner Scribble Lines_gray.tif

Fineliner Scribble Lines_color.tif

These files have then been exported as RGB JPGs with 85% quality from Photo and Press-ready PDFs from Publisher using Bilinear and Nearest Neighbor JPG compression (downsampling not needed) both to RGB and CMYK. Files with "ID" show exports from InDesign using "Auto" and "Maximum" JPG compressions.

image.jpeg.c4cfa052f42a06bbd7edbac749b2b68b.jpeg

As can be seen, Affinity Publisher does just well exporting JPG compressed PDFs when exporting without color conversions, since both CMYK conversions and handling a true grayscale file or composite grayscale as a composite gray result in big file sizes. This is because solid colors, including transparent (or white) parts, are kind of dithered disregarding the resampling method, similarly as when exporting from APhoto. It should be noted that Photoshop does the same unless legacy Save for Web with maximum quality is used, but then the file sizes also become massive (over 7MB, when 85% quality produces sizes in the same category as Photo above, about 3.5MB), and the original lossless ZIP packed TIFF only takes about 200KB.

It is strange that when the same files are exported from Publisher (in RGB or pure grayscale), or from InDesign also in CMYK, the JPG compression produces such small file sizes.

Fineliner Scribble Lines_ID_Auto_Max_gray.pdf

Fineliner Scribble Lines_ID_Auto_Max_rgb.pdf

Fineliner Scribble Lines_ID_Auto_Max_cmyk.pdf

As can be seen, there is no impression of "dithered" colors, and transparent/white space does not contain stray pixels.  

EDIT: I did not examine the contents of the PDFs but it could of course be that JPG compression does not happen at all with the small PDF export file sizes but the apps just pack the original slim TIFFs whenever they can.

EDIT2: JPEG Compression quality certainly does have an effect:

image.jpeg.9b5e636cfa874bd40756269c8c5bc4b0.jpeg

Here is the Publisher file in case someone is interested in testing this more (it consists just of an embedded Grayscale TIFF colored with a gradient rectangle):

Fineliner Scribble Lines_Screen.afpub

--and here is the CMYK export made from the equivalent InDesign file:

Fineliner Scribble Lines_Screen_ID_auto.pdf

Note that Publisher created PDF exports are much better when CMYK conversion is not performed, but still not even near the 38 KB file size achieved by InDesign. So clearly it is not just brute force compression that matters but analysis of the files to be exported and choosing the best method depending on this.

EDIT3: InDesign seems to be able to retain the grayscale bitmap and the vector gradient colorizer as separate elements when exporting. But it does a good job also when just compressing with JPEG (Auto) and Maximum image quality the same image as a flattened bitmap (260KB):

 Fineliner Scribble Lines_Screen_ID_bitmap_auto.pdf

This file, when compression is set to none in InDesign, will have the same file size, about 21MB, that Publisher produced with JPEG quality set to 100. As shown, exactly the same quality can be achieved with 260KB.

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