Jump to content
wonderings

Why can't a PDF just be placed without option to edit?

Recommended Posts

+1 for pdf pass-through -

the whole point of the pdf format is that it looks the same on every device, regardless of platform or fonts installed. There are many pdf apps beyond adobe's and none of them display a pdf with the fonts missing because they're embedded in the pdf. Yes, the option to edit the pdf is very nice, and I wouldn't take that away, but for the only option in Publisher to be placing a pdf and have it replace a missing font with a default one, and not even tell you it's done that, will make Publisher unusable for many designers. If you can't understand why: imagine laying out a magazine, with adverts being supplied as pdfs from a variety of design agencies, which you need to place in your magazine.. and all the fonts turn to Arial.

I realise this is only version 1 (effectively) and this may take longer to implement than some suggestions - perhaps there'll be some sort of roadmap announcement again before too long so we know it's definitely on the horizon.


MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2015), macOS 10.14.3 Mojave
Affinity Designer Beta: 1.7.0.14,  Affinity Photo: 1.7.135,   Affinity Publisher Beta: 1.7.0.371

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Additionally, to be fair, the programmers have to consider the complexity of the PDF-specification. There are many PDF-versions/standards and the feature-set of one file needs to be checked upon import/placing to give the right error-message.

Some files still have to be exported using the older pdf 1.3 (Acrobat 4) version. Basically they are flattened for compatibility with printer-RIPs. So shadow-effects ("transparency") are rasterized. If you import and edit that, you get embedded "shadow-images" with fixed resolutions which do not scale well. Sometimes the fonts are not even embedded in the source-file.

Other files are written as the newer 1.4 or 1.6 format, which supports transparency and therefor blending effects (and other features), which can be cpu-intense for the app to check for every problem upon placing...


  • Production-System: iMac (21,5-inch, Late 2013), 16GB RAM, 2TB nvme-SSD, running on 10.14.4 Mojave;
  • Display Setup: 27" Thunderbolt Display primary + 21,5" iMac-Display secondary for palettes;
  • Keyboard-Layout: German apple extended keyboard (aluminum);

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/18/2018 at 6:43 PM, postmadesign said:

Yes, we definately need pdf-passthrough, which is reliable and does not create the problems shown above. Perhaps publisher should simply distinguish between opening a pdf, which makes it editable, or place it into an existing file as is, without the ability to edit.

 

Implementing pdf-passthrough has two problems. The first is we still need to draw something so we read and render the PDF exactly the same way as we edit them. The second is the pdf-passthrough usually fails because the PDF is not a press-ready PDF with the exact spec version, colour space, transparency flattening, compression, bleed etc. as the destination PDF. The only way to correct these is to read the PDF file and interpret the contents the exact way we do to edit them.

Adobe do the same but are just better at it than us as they created the spec and even sell the tech. You can even licence the tech from Adobe but the cost per copy would be n-times the cost of Publisher. I believe Quark licensed from Adobe but also use another RIP with varied results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, TonyB said:

...Quark did license from Adobe but now also use another RIP also costing n-times the cost of Publisher with often poor results.

I may have some facts wrong...

Before QXP, there have been two technologies for reading/writing a PDF. Though I cannot really recall what as used prior to version 9 and I don't have those prior versions installed.

First it was a PDF library from callas for reading and distilled PostScript for output behind the scense. I am unsure of whether the distill part was licensed from Adobe or whether it was licensed from callas, but I believe it too was licensed from callas.

Second I believe it was callas end to end but direct to PDF, skipping the distiller part.

Beginning with version 2018 I believe PDFs use the licensed Adobe tech via callas (who provides the preflight & other tech under license to Adobe. There's always been a symbiotic relationship between Adobe and callas and callas and Quark). QXP uses the Adobe tech via the callas tech for the actual reading/generation of the end PDF.

At least I think that's how it all hangs together.

As this is the first version of Q using the present technologies, I have run into few problems. Each iteration (interim and full releases) will be improved upon. No different than Serif's Affinity line-up. 

But do remember that few issues of using placed/imported PDFs to unusable placed PDFs is still a better outcome for production work.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, MikeW said:

I may have some facts wrong...

Before QXP, there have been two technologies for reading/writing a PDF. Though I cannot really recall what as used prior to version 9 and I don't have those prior versions installed.

First it was a PDF library from callas for reading and distilled PostScript for output behind the scense. I am unsure of whether the distill part was licensed from Adobe or whether it was licensed from callas, but I believe it too was licensed from callas.

Second I believe it was callas end to end but direct to PDF, skipping the distiller part.

Beginning with version 2018 I believe PDFs use the licensed Adobe tech via callas (who provides the preflight & other tech under license to Adobe. There's always been a symbiotic relationship between Adobe and callas and callas and Quark). QXP uses the Adobe tech via the callas tech for the actual reading/generation of the end PDF.

At least I think that's how it all hangs together.

As this is the first version of Q using the present technologies, I have run into few problems. Each iteration (interim and full releases) will be improved upon. No different than Serif's Affinity line-up. 

But do remember that few issues of using placed/imported PDFs to unusable placed PDFs is still a better outcome for production work.

Thanks for the Quark 2018 info. I believe they started with Adobe tech then used Jaws and now look like they have changed again.

The problems for Affinity are still the same though. I believe the best way forward is to improve our PDF rendering and therefore our editing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It'd be good if you could use some of Iceni's Infix technology but I'd guess they would might see you as a competitor. It might not be transferable anyway.


Windows 7 Pro, I5 3.3G PC 16G RAM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MickRose said:

It'd be good if you could use some of Iceni's Infix technology but I'd guess they would might see you as a competitor. It might not be transferable anyway.

There isn't any reason we couldn't be better the Infix. The only problem is being as good as Adobe.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TonyB said:

The problems for Affinity are still the same though.

Am I correct in thinking that the big problem with licensing the preflight/passthrough/whatever technology from Adobe (or callas or whoever owns it) is the per seat license cost is too high to offer it in Affinity Publisher without substantially increasing the app's purchase price?


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Embedded fonts seem to be the biggest issue. The only reliable way to place a pdf in publisher would be to outline every typeface in the document, which is not really what you want. When EDITING the PDF the embedded should not be accessible, as this would mean a breach of the fonts URL (in almost all cases). I know it sounds simple but it is difficult to implement, but basically what you would want is a "read only" mode, which keeps fonts and everything intact, and "read and write" mode, which will only have the fonts available if the user has these installed.

As long as this is implemented, we need a better dialog to see if fonts need are replaced, to make sure no changes occur.

In addition to this, i wonder how publisher will handle Photo or Designer files with included fonts? Can they be embedded so that even when I don't have the fonts activated or installed, Publisher will show a correct version?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, postmadesign said:

Embedded fonts seem to be the biggest issue. The only reliable way to place a pdf in publisher would be to outline every typeface in the document, which is not really what you want. When EDITING the PDF the embedded should not be accessible, as this would mean a breach of the fonts URL (in almost all cases). I know it sounds simple but it is difficult to implement, but basically what you would want is a "read only" mode, which keeps fonts and everything intact, and "read and write" mode, which will only have the fonts available if the user has these installed.

As long as this is implemented, we need a better dialog to see if fonts need are replaced, to make sure no changes occur.

In addition to this, i wonder how publisher will handle Photo or Designer files with included fonts? Can they be embedded so that even when I don't have the fonts activated or installed, Publisher will show a correct version?

Embedded font support will be added for PDFs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, R C-R said:

Am I correct in thinking that the big problem with licensing the preflight/passthrough/whatever technology from Adobe (or callas or whoever owns it) is the per seat license cost is too high to offer it in Affinity Publisher without substantially increasing the app's purchase price?

The cost of Publisher would have to be close to the cost of Quark. We would also need to rewrite the whole PDF pipeline causing a delay of probably a year.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TonyB said:

There isn't any reason we couldn't be better the Infix. The only problem is being as good as Adobe.

I think people would accept that an Adobe license is not a price worth paying for a perfect system. Handling embedded fonts + Ghostscript sounds like a good combination. Until that happens I would suggest the place PDF command should bring up the same dialogue box as opening a PDF, i.e. info about missing fonts.


Windows 7 Pro, I5 3.3G PC 16G RAM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not convert the PDF into a rasterized format such as TIFF, etc. You'll need to manage each page exported from the PDF as individual files which is annoying but it gets the job done. I for one have to agree that editing PDFs in Publisher is an added bonus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

...or just add Ghostscript support. PhotoLine uses the Ghostscript DLL to load PDF files with an option to convert fonts to outlines. That's what I use to convert a troublesome PDF to outlines only.

As does CorelDraw. At least if the user installs it either when CD is installed, or runs the installer a second time to get at it  or simply installs GS itself as CD looks for the registry entry at startup. 

Being able to convert text to curves is pretty standard when placing ads in a publication here. I normally use pdfToolbox for that, though.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, TonyB said:

 

Implementing pdf-passthrough has two problems. The first is we still need to draw something so we read and render the PDF exactly the same way as we edit them. The second is the pdf-passthrough usually fails because the PDF is not a press-ready PDF with the exact spec version, colour space, transparency flattening, compression, bleed etc. as the destination PDF. The only way to correct these is to read the PDF file and interpret the contents the exact way we do to edit them.

Adobe do the same but are just better at it than us as they created the spec and even sell the tech. You can even licence the tech from Adobe but the cost per copy would be n-times the cost of Publisher. Quark did license from Adobe but now also use another RIP also costing n-times the cost of Publisher with often poor results.

Without being able to properly handle PDF's the software will never be something a pro user can use. PDF's have increasingly become the standard file format for print and just about everything. 9 out of 10 files we receive from clients come in PDF format.  People will pay a higher price for software that works right. The BIG issue with Adobe is being forced into a subscription service. I had no issue paying for the Adobe CS updates when I wanted to do them. I do resent being forced into subscription and if I ever cancel being left with ZERO software, even older versions. 

If this is ever to be an app used in pro environments PDF support is an absolute must. There is no way around this, it is the standard. If I cannot trust how Publisher is going to handle a PDF then I am never going to use it. As an app for amateurs it has a great feature set and would definitely be the best budget layout app out there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rjvela82 said:

Why not convert the PDF into a rasterized format such as TIFF, etc.

Quality loss will be an issue. Better if import would convert text to curves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Fixx said:

Quality loss will be an issue. Better if import would convert text to curves.

It won't be if handled/done properly using appropriate software.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, MikeW said:

It won't be if handled/done properly using appropriate software.

But all text would be rasterized to pixels. OK, if you rasterize to 2400 dpi lineart quality would be good, but I think you would end with 300 dpi contone art. That would not be sharp enough as it would always be halftoned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Fixx said:

But all text would be rasterized to pixels. OK, if you rasterize to 2400 dpi lineart quality would be good, but I think you would end with 300 dpi contone art. That would not be sharp enough as it would always be halftoned.

Nah. I often do this with problematic ads (or ones I think could be). Besides, it all becomes pixels at some point in the print chain.

The below is exported at 400 dpi from pdfToolbox and is being viewed at 100% in my photo editor. Depending upon the placed size its effective resolution will be a bit higher.

capture-002230.png.cce67fe990f5f5aaf97e90397c8b350c.png

It's a standard practice around here. Especially if the submitted PDF has a lot of transparency and that transparency is live. It just ensures there will be no issues in appearance at the final PDF.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

...or just add Ghostscript support. PhotoLine uses the Ghostscript DLL to load PDF files with an option to convert fonts to outlines. That's what I use to convert a troublesome PDF to outlines only.

Ghostscript is a licensed product of Artifex Software, Inc. It cannot legally be freely distributed as part of a commercial application without obtaining a commercial license from Artifex. I do not know anything about the licensing fees involved, like if there are per seat royalties involved, but there may be other reasons this would not be practical in at least the Mac version of APub.

P.S. Windows users, please remember this forum is for reporting bugs in the Mac beta version, so comments & suggestions that might apply to Windows will not necessarily also apply to Macs.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, R C-R said:

Ghostscript is a licensed product of Artifex Software, Inc. It cannot legally be freely distributed as part of a commercial application without obtaining a commercial license from Artifex. I do not know anything about the licensing fees involved, like if there are per seat royalties involved, but there may be other reasons this would not be practical in at least the Mac version of APub.

P.S. Windows users, please remember this forum is for reporting bugs in the Mac beta version, so comments & suggestions that might apply to Windows will not necessarily also apply to Macs.

If Serif put the hooks into Affinity applications to use GS if present, the user can install the non-Artifax version.

As to your PS, You mean the mention of CorelDraw? PhotoLine? GhostScript? Or do I need to go back further in the thread?


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MikeW said:

It's a standard practice around here.

Here it is not. Using rasterised material is considered here lowering the standards and we do it only for customers who do not know better or care.

 

2 hours ago, MikeW said:

Besides, it all becomes pixels

There is a certain difference between contone pixels onscreen and device pixels. Rasterized text (especially at small sizes) is just not sharp in print.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wonderings said:

Without being able to properly handle PDF's the software will never be something a pro user can use. PDF's have increasingly become the standard file format for print and just about everything. 9 out of 10 files we receive from clients come in PDF format.  People will pay a higher price for software that works right. The BIG issue with Adobe is being forced into a subscription service. I had no issue paying for the Adobe CS updates when I wanted to do them. I do resent being forced into subscription and if I ever cancel being left with ZERO software, even older versions. 

If this is ever to be an app used in pro environments PDF support is an absolute must. There is no way around this, it is the standard. If I cannot trust how Publisher is going to handle a PDF then I am never going to use it. As an app for amateurs it has a great feature set and would definitely be the best budget layout app out there. 

I do agree with this point that I would happily pay the price of quark xpress if the application fulfills my professional needs, as it would still be much cheaper than Adobe. But the expectation is probably that the retail price for publisher will be around the same as designer/photo. Perhaps the ability to buy this function if neccesary (in-app purchase) could be a solution?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, postmadesign said:

I do agree with this point that I would happily pay the price of quark xpress if the application fulfills my professional needs, as it would still be much cheaper than Adobe. But the expectation is probably that the retail price for publisher will be around the same as designer/photo. Perhaps the ability to buy this function if neccesary (in-app purchase) could be a solution?

Once you start getting into the in app purchase it can quickly spiral out of control. I would rather a piece of software that has everything I need and more done right and ready for purchase. If Affinity is honestly trying to compete with Adobe then they need to match feature for feature. Anything they leave out is a big negative for Affinity. Things like preflight and data merge are 2 off the top of my head that are must have features for me. Affinity has done some amazing things, I find the application incredibly slick and fast. Definitely a learning curve trying to figure out the Affinity way of doing things when so used to Adobes (I like Adobes way of doing things in applications). No way am I going to put serious time into understanding software that in the end will not be able to handle my needs.

If I was a small time user this is definitely the software I would be looking at. It is head over heels better then anything else out there. It, at the moment, is not in the same league as Indesign and possibly Quark (have not used Quark in years). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×