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A couple important shortcomings

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Ok,

 

I've been seriously tinkering with AD (for windows) for a few months as an alternative to my previous AI stock illustration workflow and have come across a couple serious deficiencies which I hope will get the attention of the development folks here.

 

1. First. As an artist who seeks to provide quality artwork to serious clients, an open paths and stray point detection feature is a must in my opinion.  This is important because an unclosed path can result in frustrating rejection of artwork for stock illustrators and serious issues for print prepress. Although AI did not have inherent abilities to do this, several third party plugins did.  It can be very frustrating trying to locate an unclosed path in a complex illustration and impossible to avoid them.

 

2. Secondly. The inability to export transparencies properly to EPS files is another frustrating issue for me and might be a deal breaker in the future. Currently, transparencies can only export properly to Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) with solid backgrounds.  Any transparent object over a gradient, or another transparent background results in rasterization of the transparent objects.  This is unacceptable for pro work which requires complete integration with the EPS format.

 

I hope something can be done with these shortcomings, they are pretty important.

 

 

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2. Secondly. The inability to export transparencies properly to EPS files is another frustrating issue for me and might be a deal breaker in the future. Currently, transparencies can only export properly to Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) with solid backgrounds.  Any transparent object over a gradient, or another transparent background results in rasterization of the transparent objects.  This is unacceptable for pro work which requires complete integration with the EPS format.

 

I hope something can be done with these shortcomings, they are pretty important.

 

EPS doesn't support transparency. EPS from AI also includes an embedded AI file that often make people think that EPS supports transparency but it doesn't. The AI file format is closed and private so not possible to us to support.

 

PDF does support transparency though.

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EPS doesn't support transparency. EPS from AI also includes an embedded AI file that often make people think that EPS supports transparency but it doesn't. The AI file format is closed and private so not possible to us to support.

 

PDF does support transparency though.

 

 

TonyB,
 
Does this go for gradients as well? I'm having a hard time exporting gradients to EPS.

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EPS does support gradients but only linear so no mid-point adjustment. 

 

 EPS will support linear, radial and elliptical gradients, but doesn't support conical gradients. Our EPS export will approximate adjusted mid-points by adding more points to the gradient.

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Just another linky for the whole EPS thingy from Monika Gause (who is one of the best and most helpful people on the Adobe Illustrator forum). Just read it this morning because something related came up in the ID forum recently.

 

https://forums.adobe.com/community/creativepipeline/blog/2016/09/15/eps-the-zombie-among-file-formats

 

Mike

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 EPS will support linear, radial and elliptical gradients, but doesn't support conical gradients. Our EPS export will approximate adjusted mid-points by adding more points to the gradient.

 

Not true as of right now for me.

 

​I have been going back and forth with support at Getty/istock  images for a while now after I began getting rasterization rejections for all my new submissions with gradients, from Afinity Designer for Windows.  Bellow is the reponse I got from the senior vector manager who has been reviewing my files containing simple radial gradients:

____________________

 

Hi George,
 
OK so I took a closer look at that cloud file and yes, there is something strange about that cloud gradient background now that I poke around more. I can select it but I can't edit it at all. It doesn't show me the fills or gradients, just a '?' in the swatch palette.
I could definitely see this being an issue for clients. I'm guessing it's just somethign about how Affinity handles radial gradients? I'm so sorry, but since almost all clients do use AI, every shape in a file will need to be editable for them.
Is there any chance you could just build any gradients in an old copy of AI after you've built your other shapes?
 
Thanks,

____________________

 

​So, at this point, Afinity designer has ceased being a viable alternative to Illustrator for professional vector work since I will need the extra step with Illustrator to avoid rasterization of gradients.  I think this same issue came up at another thread, it is a serious limitation for cross platform work.

 

​UPDATE:

 

​Tried opening EPS files with gradients in Illustrator CS2 and none of the gradients transfer over in an editable form.  So, it appears that there is simply no way to preserve editable gradients when exporting to EPS, unless the files are re-opened in Afinity. Designer.

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Not true as of right now for me.

 

The EPS will contain a vector gradient. Illustrator will  silently rasterise it on import. The fact that Illustrator can rasterise it shows that the EPS is valid and Illustrator has understood the gradient correctly. It is a limitation of Illustrator, not of the EPS format or of Affinity. There's nothing we can do about that. I suggest you complain to Adobe.

 

If your clients insist that you provide Illustrator files, then you will indeed have to use Illustrator.

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The EPS will contain a vector gradient. Illustrator will  silently rasterise it on import. The fact that Illustrator can rasterise it shows that the EPS is valid and Illustrator has understood the gradient correctly. It is a limitation of Illustrator, not of the EPS format or of Affinity. There's nothing we can do about that. I suggest you complain to Adobe.

 

If your clients insist that you provide Illustrator files, then you will indeed have to use Illustrator.

 

Dave,

 

It's not that clients want files in AI, it's that they want to open files from other software with editable basic components, and a simple linear gradient is as basic as it gets.  This is a compatibility issue not a software preference issue.  I like AD in many ways better than AI, but if I designed a logo or illustration for a client who needed to handle it in AI, he should be able to.

 

I can open AI files with gradients into AD, but not the other way around.  I should be able to do that with basic gradients at least.  The stock and micro-stock market is huge, I've been part of it from the beginning, there are tens of thousands of contributing illustrators, it shouldn't be brushed off in the typical software rivalry fashion.

 

​Furthermore, the gradient does not get rasterized, it's there but its simply not recognizable by the software.

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The EPS will contain a vector gradient. Illustrator will  silently rasterise it on import. The fact that Illustrator can rasterise it shows that the EPS is valid and Illustrator has understood the gradient correctly. It is a limitation of Illustrator, not of the EPS format or of Affinity. There's nothing we can do about that. I suggest you complain to Adobe.

 

If your clients insist that you provide Illustrator files, then you will indeed have to use Illustrator.

 

Me thinks there is a sensitivity to this subject.

 

There are applications that can export AI-supported gradients to EPS. They just use Illy 8 format. Linear and circular--and oval are translated to circular.

 

The attached is from another application, Illy 8 format, no masks. But I believe Serif knows this. In the end, I believe at least part of the blame--maybe most of it--belongs to the stock image companies.

temp.eps

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Me thinks there is a sensitivity to this subject.

 

There are applications that can export AI-supported gradients to EPS. They just use Illy 8 format. Linear and circular--and oval are translated to circular.

 

The attached is from another application, Illy 8 format, no masks. But I believe Serif knows this. In the end, I believe at least part of the blame--maybe most of it--belongs to the stock image companies.

 

Mike,

 

Getty and istockphoto accept EPS level 3, in AI 10 or lower, or compatible, but that shouldn't matter for the EPS 3 file as long as it meets those parameters.  It's evident, at least on my end that there's a downward compatibility but not an upward one.  I also did a test by exporting to SVG from AD and then opening the test file in Inkscape and the gradients were imported just fine.  My next test will be to then upload the Inkscape file as an EPS submission and see if it's accepted.   If it is, then there's an issue with AD's export function, if it's not, it would confirm (somewhat) Dave's explanation. It would also allow me a conversion path for the time being.

 

​By the way, I couldn't open your test file in AD Windows.

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​By the way, I couldn't open your test file in AD Windows.

But it does open in AI with gradients intact and no clipping paths. Which was my point.

 

The InkScape route for submission should be fine if it will open in AI intact. If you don't have AI I can try later.

 

Mike

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But it does open in AI with gradients intact and no clipping paths. Which was my point.

 

The InkScape route for submission should be fine if it will open in AI intact. If you don't have AI I can try later.

 

Mike

 

Is it possible for me to send you a file which contains the gradient I have been having issues with and have you open it in your AI?  What version of AI do you have?

 

​If so, here's the link to two files, the EPS test file and the JPEG reference.  There is a center radial gradient and a linear gradient.  Remember that the gradients have to be fully editable in AI, so you should be able to go into AI's gradient editor and see the color points in the gradient and be able to change the color and position.

 

http://www.artchest.com/342312/

 

​Also, are you on MAC or WIN?

 

​I'm still a little confused as to your attached illustration, I should be able to open it in my latest version of AD if it's exported as an EPS file, all I get when I open it is a blank page.

 

Thanks,

​George

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Your EPS file was made from AD and opens in AI as clipped bitmaps.

 

I tried the two extensions available for InkScape exporting to AI-compatible gradients and at least on Windows, they fail to produce vector gradients. The extension that is the updated one for newer versions of InkScape, I get a Python error and nothing is produced.

 

Until such time as Serif fixes their PDF and EPS importing/exporting, I do believe you are out of luck unless you have AI.

 

I mention the PDF exporting as well in the above because with a circular gradient, the PDF can rasterize that element on a whim. One of the tricks people have used in the past was renaming a PDF to .eps and have successful submissions to stock places. But going this route with AD one still needs AI to check.

 

Mike

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+Mike

​Yeah, well, it doesn't seem that Serif is willing to put any effort into this which is a huge shame.  I know the stock industry very well and as long as there is any type of export incompatibility, AD will not be a viable option for serious stock artists, or design work with cross platform collaboration.

 

As it stands, I can only use AD for flat illustrations.

 

Thanks,

 

George

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Until such time as Serif fixes their PDF and EPS importing/exporting, I do believe you are out of luck unless you have AI.

 

 

We currently do not know of a way to export an EPS or PDF files that AI will honour transparency and gradients. If there is a way then we will have a go but nothing we have tried or read about leads us to a possibility of doing it successfully.

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For the PDF, the updated version of PDFLib seems to now allow multiple stops in a PDF.

 

Transparency is technically not allowed in an EPS (well, in PostScript). There is a means of making this happen, but it isn't worth the effort and only flat transparency can be rolled in anyway.

 

As for gradients in an EPS, one either needs to include an AI-language dictionary in the EPS or has to reference AI's internal dictionary. Look at the EPS/AI file I attached above.

 

I don't know if y'all are rolling your own EPS code or using a library. If rolling your own and haven't done the following yet, I would recommend placing a single rectangle with a gradient on an AD page. Export to both an EPS and SVG. Open the SVG in AI and export a Illy 8 EPS file. Run a diff on the two EPS files.

 

The EPS code that AD produces is nice PostScript--and that's the problem. AI will always rasterize PostScript code. There is nothing in the EPS file that tells AI what to do with it, how to map it and that's what the dictionary & defs are for.

 

If using a library, hammer on the creators of it.

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If you include a standard PDF gradient then Illustrator will rasterise on loading the file. We just don't know how to get around this problem.

 

We created our own EPS export code. When you look at an Illustrator EPS 10 file, the content seems to be the EPS plus an embedded AI file that isn't documented anywhere. Again we don't know how to get around this.

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EPS/AI file types...Roll it like the sample EPS I provided. It's a simple example and has simple language defs (unlike AI), but is compact and opens in AI just fine.

 

PDF. I can, using another software, produce a PDF with gradients and flat transparency (any transparency AI supports) that AI opens with one caveat. For an object with a circular gradient that is defined as a Smooth Shade in the PDF, that will open--still as vector--but is identified as Non-Native Art. Which means AI cannot edit it even though it is a vector object still. Using an older version of that software pre-Smooth Shade I can produce a PDF that the circular gradient is editable.

 

I'll leave this alone now...

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But isn't the example you gave a Illustrator 8 EPS. As far as I know v8 EPS was basically EPS with extra stuff but Adobe moved to EPS + AI embedded because the v8 format didn't support things like transparency. Is this your understanding as for stock vector work - transparency is also a requirement most of the time?

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But isn't the example you gave a Illustrator 8 EPS. As far as I know v8 EPS was basically EPS with extra stuff but Adobe moved to EPS + AI embedded because the v8 format didn't support things like transparency. Is this your understanding as for stock vector work - transparency is also a requirement most of the time?

 

That is also my understanding of the EPS format changes. I don't submit to stock sites. So I am mostly ignorant of them. I do know some have moved on to also allowing SVG.

 

As for transparency being a requirement--only if the design calls for it.

 

What application did you use to create PDF gradients that can be edited by AI?

 

XDP. It's what I use most every day even if I eventually need to supply the client with an AI file. I take a design somewhere between the entire way and use AI as a glorified file converter, to as much as I can do in XDP and then port it to AI for finishing it.

 

This route is what I recommend, even for Zuki. Adding transparency to objects, if needed, isn't onerous once one ports a design. And if one uses SVG out of AI, most of the file contents is 1:1 when AI opens it, including gradients and transparency as long as one limits oneself to those types of effects that AI supports.

 

Mike

 

EDIT TO CLARIFY: Only the linear gradients hit AI that are editable due to the "unknown shading" with smooth shad circular gradients in a PDF from newer versions of XDP. It takes an older version if I recall--like version 8 or 7 and below--for the PDFs to come into AI that contain a circular gradient without the "unknown shading" error (though do note at least it is still a single vector object, i.e., not banded component parts like CD).

 

It was the EPS/AI file I had attached earlier that I was referring to where the gradients come in intact and with no clipping masks nor grouping.

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I did stock art stuff some years ago... (not many years). And several important, key sites did not want transparency gradients or anything not fully opaque (it was a matter of flattening the gradients, but anyway there was a whole list of tasks to prepare the file for those depots, so, just was one more...). But even while they tend to be conservative and keeping always a very "safe" standard to even allow you to upload anything, things might have changed in 4 or 5 years... It was a pain in its day with one of them, as they even wanted to match certain very specific graphic style ! I agree that any improvement and fix to be able to export correctly and with gradients to stock sites is more than desirable (and probably, expected....)... In case that it is possible, of course.


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 have been a stock illustrator for quite a while as I said before.

​It used to be AI EPS 8 ONLY, no transparencies (must be flattened), no open paths (must be closed), no fonts, NO rasterization of any kind, Gradients OK.  Now, it's up to AI EPS 10, fonts are OK but must be converted to curves, all else is the same.

​The reason for having the older version as a standard for so many years is backward compatibility as edit ability is the core purpose of stock illustration.   These are designers who are purchasing these files, and they want the ability to retain the look of the illustration while having the ability to tweak it.  They don't care which program created it, as long as they can open it intact.

​It doesn't matter if you are doing illustration for print or web since in the end, it will all be flattened and rasterized.

​I know there are artists who are uploading to Getty/istockphoto EPS files with gradients from Inkscape and they are having files accepted.  But, I don't like Inkscape, I never liked the interface.  I like AD.  I also know stock artists who tried AD and abandoned it because of this limitation.

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