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[ADe] Designer is unable to export to PDF for professional purposes!

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Affinity Designer is unable to export to PDF for professional purposes!
 
Guys, I created this file Campagnolo Reataurante.afdesign in version 1.5.0.36
 
Affinity Designer Export to PDF is unable to avoid convert gradients to bitmaps. It ALWAYS convert gradients into very poor quality bitmaps.
 
If I want to create a decent PDF, I must open EPS or SVG in Adobe Illustrator, then, export to PDF. 100% vectors, with no one bitmap!
 
My intention is avoid to use other software beyond Affinity Designer simply to do a single job, like this!
 
If I have to export to PDF as a bitmap then it is better to use GIMP, which is free and has more features than Affinity Designer.
 
Unfortunately, Affinity Designer did not meet my professional expectations!

 

 

 

 

Campagnolo Reataurante.afdesign

Campagnolo Reataurante.eps

Campagnolo Reataurante.svg

Campagnolo Reataurante by Affinity.pdf

Campagnolo Reataurante by Illustrator.pdf

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Did you set to export (menu File / Export) any of the PDF/x options -instead of regular pdf- and hit the "MORE" button, and there, set :

 

Rasterize: "Nothing".  

Downsample images put it unchecked, or if you checked, then --->  [Resample: "Bicubic". Above DPI: "400dpi" (but I would try to "use document resolution") ]  .  

Uncheck "Allow JPG compression" (you don't want that).  

Compatibility (same PDF/x version that you had chosen )

Color Space: CMYK if your print company uses cmyk. "As document"  if you are unsure.

ICC profile: The exact color profile your printing company is using.

 

And you can create a preset with those settings, once you prove that it works for you, so you would only need to load that preset next time.

 

Well.. I have just checked with the right settings, and all I see is a correctly exported PDF, with a gradient in it, with a test I did now in my own.

 

Anyway, the monitor can't be trusted for gradients... A non professional monitor can easily show like cuts, banding, and is due to very few monitors do have enough range to display that. But a test to see if is monitor's displaying only or not, import the vectorial file in a raster software (Photoshop can do it) and select a portion where you see a "cut" , a small rectangle. Copy that, and create a new small canvas, and paste that there. There will be no banding. (if there is, then the gradient was having real banding, in the file. )

In the elder days, cathodic monitors wouldn't have this problem, but true that they were quite less healthy...

 

Also, banding can as well happen in a CMYK file. As it has quite a reduced color spectrum, compared to a RGB file, as that's comparing pigment color light based color.  

 

The only way to know it for sure is...printing a sample. (if the printer is well calibrated, and the monitor was, as well)

 

Anyway, I believe it was not your problem, but probably in the settings of the pdf export... If not... Sorry, am trying to help, here.. just a user, like u...


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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The PDF export is one reason why I do not believe AD is ready for prime-time. I find it hard to believe so many have accepted this and Serif hasn't rectified it by now.

 

But do this. Change all the elliptical gradients to circular. One of them (I think the large red oval) has a stop at 70%, make it 50%. You'll slightly alter the drawing in the process (nice work, btw). But it may just do for the next job without needing to run through Illy.

 

I've attached a resultant PDF.

 

Mike

 

Campagnolo Reataurante-modified.pdf

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I am largely curious about what happened exactly there (and why) ?
Elliptical gradients not supported?  Gradients having more abrupt gradation than it should ? Simply random banding ?

I am mostly interested in painting (brush) behavior as to convert both apps in my main tools, but the reason of purchasing now is that the export/file preparation has no issues, and can serve as a last step from my Krita and other OS tools... So it's why I am essentially worried about any issue on this matter. Which other PDF export issues are you aware of, MikeW, that a designer (or any other person into graphic production for print) should be aware of? . I mean, I see all this from a positive / constructive POV, meaning that, if there are issues, they will be fixed sooner or later. But I'd rather prefer to know beforehand which ones they are (at least the more show stopping ones) to know and so be able to plan ahead in projects matters. Thank you in advance. :)


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I'm testing exports and all with this file...

 

Sorry, why is the file for a PDF print export in RGB mode ? I know several digital printers can take your files in RGB, but... 

Anyway, still really curious on the issues detected.

 

In the supposedly failed exports what I am seeing is a more abrupt end in the external border of the gradient, in the extremes. Sort of a slight line.


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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SrPx,

Vjsouza isn't the only one. I actually find RGB better to work with than CMYK. I just be sure to change it to sRGB when I export to PDF or PNG. Unless I have some major printing job ahead of me, I don't think I have too much to worry about it in regards to its quality.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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In my monitor, I can see as well in the original file a not super smooth border there (more noticeable in the right side), although, yep, less noticeable...

 

Ok, I've done several tests. I can -with latest beta- make it export keeping the gradients smooth, as vector (no rasterizing)) just configuring well the PDF export, and doing it as RGB, as is the mode your PDFs seem to be at. Problem when exporting as vector only, is that it seems the library used to export PDF wont support eliptical gradients... is that it? And so, the top and bottom borders wouldn't show the cool darkening. And then, I'd suppose it supports linear or circular only. (anyway, several print companies do require files very flattened (for example, no mesh gradients), with very basic features) . If you leave rasterizing on, but of course using a very high DPI for that rasterization, you would get exactly what you wish, but yep, much more desirable in vectors, as am suspecting this will be printed a quite big size. This as a whole is what would make me understand why it works the solution suggested by MikeW. (again, am just trying to really determine the specific issues, for my own usage... ;) )

 

In all my tests I've set OFF using JPEG compression, and in most cases, letting it use "document resolution". But forcing it to use RGB and the sRGB profile that it came with.

 

So yep, really interested in knowing deeply what happened...


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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I'm testing exports and all with this file...

 

Sorry, why is the file for a PDF print export in RGB mode ? I know several digital printers can take your files in RGB, but... 

Anyway, still really curious on the issues detected.

 

In the supposedly failed exports what I am seeing is a more abrupt end in the external border of the gradient, in the extremes. Sort of a slight line.

 

There area few reasons why RGB can be advantages to design in. One reason is that by late binding, a design can have several output intents--that is, the color can be output as is and the conversion can happen at the RIP being used where often the best conversion to CMYK for that particular RIP can do so best. I often design ads as RGB as they may appear on newsprint, a magazine, etc. If I design for say newsprint using CMYK, this will limit the usefulness of the resultant PDF for repurposing to a magazine. Same applies if I bake the output intent into a PDF for newsprint and then it is used for a print job I had not intended.

 

Another reason is it also allows for best color conversion to non-commercial printing for a PDF that is also produced for web consumption. Home printers will convert CMYK to RGB at the print driver, then convert back to CMYK for the actual printing and this double conversion leads to loss of saturation.

 

Mike

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SrPx,

Vjsouza isn't the only one. I actually find RGB better to work with than CMYK. I just be sure to change it to sRGB when I export to PDF or PNG. Unless I have some major printing job ahead of me, I don't think I have too much to worry about it in regards to its quality.

 

I have already done a bunch of projects in sRGB for print, as these days many pods prefer or even force to use that (even so, I often work fully in CMYK and convert at the end to sRGB, as this way they wont have to do some weird thing (and damage the whole thing) when a user wants neon light colors). IMO, is far from ideal for color accuracy. Years ago it'd be crazy to print like that, although I know the machines and workflows have evolved a lot...


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a design can have several output intents--that is, the color can be output as is and the conversion can happen at the RIP being used where often the best conversion to CMYK for that particular RIP can do so best.

 

 

Yep, this is very true (though in not all of the cases I have seen). I have experienced it lately with a pair of print companies that did an amazing job (that is, checking myself the photos of the printed product, it did seem to have made a better job than the usual graphic design software is at doing that conversion, which as we know, is quite limited, and ends better than when I give them the cmyk file. )  The only thing is not all are good at that or have the good machines, and in some occasions the color ends up slightly (or in a less subtle way)) out of control, while in CMYK I seem to get less bad surprises (most of what I do is realistic painting/illustration)

 

Maybe I need to start thinking of working more in RGB mode, am not tied to anything... 


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I often work fully in CMYK and convert at the end to sRGB, as this way they wont have to do some weird thing (and damage the whole thing) when a user wants neon light colors).

 

Hmm... I haven't tested this is Affinity yet because of my fear of losing color quality. When I used Illustrator, I could change the color mode from RGB to CMYK, and the color values update right away. However, if I changed the color mode from CMYK to RGB, the color values did NOT update. In a case like that, I was stuck with dull color values which couldn't be modified.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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Of course, CMYK has a limited spectrum, is a sort of a reduction, a loss (I never loved it). It depends though a lot on the type of file. A plain colors design, might or might not show you differences when converting to CMYK. But a flashy /spectacular "realistic" sci fi scene, with nebulae, explossions, some rich blacks, neon rays (some intense greens, magentas, or intense aqua tones) will definitely not be super transferable with the usual software, without some "dulling". One does some sort of compensation that is ok, as after all, the relationship among colors do affect a lot  in perception. Don't get me wrong, I'd love the day we could kick CMYK totally out of the debate, even...


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The thing I'm confused about is how you are able to convert your file from CMYK to sRGB without any issues. I would think the final result would look the same as the CMYK.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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Ehm... Did i say that? 

There are times when I have to do so, like when there's a new target the user wants even when told me that by all means it was only for printing ir A or B company. I am an illustrator. What i send them while in the process are like snapshots in sRGB even if i am all the time working in CMYK. In the digital painting i do, the tones they have been seeing are already non saturated, as been worked in a cmyk file. If you convert from a cmyk file to rgb, at least in my type of illustration, I don't tend to have any issues or strong visual differences in the export. There are more problems if I work in rgb, the customer forced me to have a neon bean, I kind of get carried on while painting too, and comes the moment to convert an illustration with flashy fx painted, to cmyk, having worked in n sRGB or Adobe RGB profile. Dunno if that can be undesrtood in English, though, sometimes my paragraphs read a bit like a bad dialect of Klingon...


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Ehm... Did i say that? 

 

lol Yes. I used that quote in Post 11.

 

If you convert from a cmyk file to rgb, at least in my type of illustration, I don't tend to have any issues or strong visual differences in the export. There are more problems if I work in rgb,

 

Well even though I've been doing graphic design for a long time, I never really had a printing job involved in it, so I guess the understanding gets very deep. From what you said here, it was always the exact opposite for me whenever I tried exporting in Illustrator.

 

Dunno if that can be undesrtood in English, though, sometimes my paragraphs read a bit like a bad dialect of Klingon...

 

 

No, it's not you. I do have trouble understanding language in general. I apologize that I'm still not getting it. It's just hard for me to keep track in what each export option does and what makes the two modes convenient and why. I originally thought CMYK was just for printing and RGB was for designing, but then I was introduced to sRGB, and now I'm learning it's okay to convert a file from CMYK to RGB. There is just a lot to take in, and I don't feel it was explained properly to me when I was in college.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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Well from my weak understanding, RGB has a larger gamut of colours than CMYK, so I always worked on the principle of using RGB as a working space right up until export for print (CMYK), etc. Not sure if starting with CMYK from scratch dumps or eliminates that extra gamut when working in Affinity or other apps? I'd imagine it would.

 

Then I read articles about Indesign actually not converting to CMYK on indesign secrets (<<<<<not sure if that's the article I remember or not) and that some printers accept RGB, and all sorts of scary mind melting things...

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I have been designing for print for 25 years and don't quite understand what the real issue is here.  ALL offset printing eventually has to end up as CYMK, no matter what you start with.  The only difference between using RGB and CYMK is that if you work in RGB, you will get a big surprise when the printed output doesn't look anything near what you client saw color wise on screen. 

 

The reason we word in CYMK (with calibrated monitors) is so we can get a fair idea what the final printed piece will look like in process color along the design workflow.  If you show clients artwork on screen only, it will mean trouble at the end.  I always tell my clients that in order to get true color accuracy, we need to do a press proof, otherwise the color is not completely guaranteed, there are way too many variables between screen and paper.  You can use swatches for reference, but there are further variables beyond that point as well.

​I haven't as yet encountered the gradient issue, but I'm struggling to deal with photo handing, which is a learning process, I'm a 25 year Illustrator user who just jumped on board with AD.

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There's no real issue, Zuki, just he was asking about the CMYK/RGB concept, mostly. Yep, I agree, is what you just described above. I tend to illustrate directly in CMYK, but at times, will instead in RGB, even specifically in sRGB, but being sure to go making checks and a final conversion to cmyk previous to sending any file. I have my monitor (not professional, but  has been doing the deal, a Nec Spectraview of 23 inches) calibrated by hardware (i1 Dispaly) , and always work with 6500k bulbs (tried 5400k or so, but didn't work for me) , neither having strong wall colors near the monitor (I have a book of CMYK samples to help me get everything working at least decently). And as I tend to check, if the print company is good, the later on printed sample do look like I exactly wanted. I know I could get more accuracy, with an Eizo, and a different workflow with customers, but it is what it is, and makes the deal...Often happens that the other person's monitor (customer or when working for a free project)  tends to be terrible, and almost never calibrated. Worse scenario in my experience is old laptops (ie, 40 -50 % of NTSC and so, horrible  uniformity, terrible contrast ratio (they wont see subtle blacks or whites)...). And if you ask them to print, most will try to do a proof test with their home printer, often is a even a worse solution, even (cr4ppy printers, no calibration in the whole process (not the printer, neither the  monitor, neither often using color managed applications and viewers ! ))

 

In all this nightmare, I just tend to tell people to trust me a bit. When that happens, stuff goes as expected, in a good range (digital printers is the most usual case, but even those tend to benefit if you used a sane workflow, even if deliberen just a sRGB based file ! ). Worst case: When the client trust his/her screen more than what i say. Some even will edit the graphics by themselves, changing colors horribly, darkening drastically the image, or over exposing it. resulting in a bad print. Happily, often is a proof first print with the company, at that point they realize my criteria was more convenient, but in many cases do the worse: instead of using my original file, they go back to their editor, and modify the colors or brightness themselves. That's a never ending failure when there is not even slight calibration. Yeah, i should never let a customer do that, damages  my work, blah blah   :D You know, one's gotta fill the plate of food.

 

That said, am obviously not a super expert in printing or offset. I am also an illustrator, 3D artist, and a graphic designer, and I do what needs to be done to get the results.

 

The thing is, in the stuff I tend to catch as a commission/gig, the target tends to be online digital print companies often even requiring that your file is not in CMYK mode, but a simple RGB file using most of the cases sRGB profile. In the past i worked with a single company, and could print in offset, in a local place, with proof tests and all. Not anymore.  :s


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If you show clients artwork on screen only, it will mean trouble at the end.

 

This makes fine sense to me since the printing result will always look different.

 

Something I think I might do when I start publishing and printing my work is to work in RGB but to make a copy of it to have as CMYK. I would show clients the CMYK version and print them the CMYK version. The reason I would hold on to the RGB would be for other printers with stronger compatibility. Once the quality is lost, it's lost. And who knows what improvements will come of printers in the future.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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This makes fine sense to me since the printing result will always look different.

 

 

Well, the basic thing behind it -if you were asking for that-  is that RGB is a color mode whose spectrum is quite wider, is created to represent colors based on light. When the colors are formed by the light of a screen. Which can be extremely intense, bright and saturated. On the other side, CMYK mode, in its several profiles, it covers a range of color which is printable, as are colors based on what a pigment can produce in physical supports. Of course, a full control of the cmyk process is impossible without knowing the paper, cardboard, cloth, etc, at where it is going to be printed. We often don't know fully well that data of the print company, and is not the good way to do it.

 

So, one system is for color based on light (RGB), the other, in pigments, as would be the oils and acrylics of a painter, or the inks of a home printer.

 

What I do more often than I realize later on when speaking about it like now, is I often start in RGB (I don't need the plugins and other operations -mostly- that allows RGB and usually not CMYK, that's not one of my motivations, I do stuff with very core operations in any 2D package) , usually even sRGB, then do a first conversion to cmyk , the target profile, too (I do realistic or detailed humoristic illustration) to check what colors are not safe, and then keep blocking, painting, just having in mind in what gamma I'm going to stay, but in RGB. From that point, converting to cmyk is only a check which after it I go back in history, to not loose quality, several times, but I never do the rgb -> cmyk->rgb unless there was some problem or customer requests changes after saying it was only for print, as mentioned.

 

Yes, working in RGB kind of give you a global export solution as is the more rich version. Even so, can be a lot of problems when not working from start in cmyk, in a project or customer that extremely loves over saturated tones. But then also, the file preparation has a ton more things to care about. specially, attending the particular specs and guidelines (bleed, profile, etc) of the company that will be printing.

 

Art Rage, Corel Painter, MyPaint, a lot work in RGB  mode only !, and seems they rely on a second package for serious workflows: Be it Adobe suite or whatever. That's where AP and AD can come extremely useful for that user base ! If they want to print in offset. (which is a lot of the serious, massive publications)

Even more, if they get the brushes behavior revamp, they can be one stop (like PS actually is) for illustrators, comic designers, etc,  not needing any other tool.

 

About compatibility is "lost" ...hmmm... noot really. I mean, not so bad. Unless we speak of flat design (corporate logos, etc...but there you might surely need Pantones' support, etc) and in the process you are not maintaining the exact cmyk mixes and etc. Done with care you can do the two ways, just knowing you are probably loosing quality each time. Again, it depends a lot in what you are doing and how are you doing it. In painting, you might need to do image adjustments, to over paint and fix things, but nothing dramatic.


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Back to topic, so I guess the issue here is that the PDF parser or whatever it is internally, is not able to export elliptical gradients (only linear and radial).  If is only that, would be fine for me, for now....What I don't know is if there are more issues in mostly PDFs, but also TIFFs or EPS / psd exports..

 

Edit: Because in my tests, with certain settings, the gradients were smooth, and selecting what's to be rasterized and other things like jpg compression, resample images only if above certain dpi, setting well all that, the quality seems good, here.


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I understand the concept of CMYK obviously. I was just surprised that some modern printer RIPs are capable of converting to CMYK themselves. The issues I refer to are the pdf file export with rasterizing gradients,etc where it shouldn't need to.

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Thank you for starting this conversation. I await the replies and solutions with great anticipation.


------
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I understand the concept of CMYK obviously. I was just surprised that some modern printer RIPs are capable of converting to CMYK themselves. The issues I refer to are the pdf file export with rasterizing gradients,etc where it shouldn't need to.

 

Was indeed more directed to a question made by Bleduc.  :)

 

They can convert to cmyk themselves, yep, and often do a better job than the usual Photoshop or whatever. (imo, not always well, or that's what I experienced...) 

 

The gradients should not rasterize if you set up well the export settings. If you trust it to a preset, well, you don't know what settings each have, in a first time. I prefer the manual thing and create my own preset, if anything. Several of the standard for print I think they had "rasterize" in "unsuported features" , while I don't want rasterization, at all. Just deactivate that.  IMO it does not rasterize if you set it in advanced, but is clear that it does not support elliptical gradients, only circular ones. Which seems was the problem here, and also maybe a different gradation in the intermediate stops in the gradient... I made a test considering all the above, and I did not see any rasterization or bad gradient IF doing exactly so. But the clear issue is it was not doing the eliptical  gradient.. I'm even not fully sure that it does actually radial of any form.  But because I should do more tests to check that.


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