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Can anyone recommend an acrobat pro alternative?


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32 minutes ago, prophet said:

I can confirm PACKZVIEW has a coverage setting. A slider that highlights coverage based on the percent you choose, along with the eye dropper which lists all inks with their percentages along with total percentage.

You're perfectly right – thanks a lot for pointing this out! I hadn't actually noticed this up to now... There's that little button/icon with two drops in the „Ansichtsoptionen“ (view/display options) window which you have to click and then you get that slider at the bottom of the window where you can set the percentage of the coverage you don't want to exceed. If there are spots where there's more ink coverage you'll see them highlighted in (more or less) orange (although I liked that garish RGB-green in Acrobat Pro better for this purpose).

I didn't have any problems with PACKZVIEW running on Mojave 10.14.6 either.

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1 hour ago, prophet said:

And I've got it running on Mojave 10.14.6 with no issues at all.

I did query the problem with the PACKZVIEW guys and ran through their suggestions with no luck, the app launches, it just bombs on opening any PDF, also tried creating a new user account, also tried running on my MacBook pro which also runs Mojave 10.14.6: still no luck

  

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An incredibly useful thread, but yes, it takes a bit of work to sift through 11 pages of discussion! So, if you’ve just tuned in, and you’re wanting to check your print separations in a post-Adobe world (without breaking the bank), here are the highlights:

  1. PACKZVIEW: a free app to preview and inspect production PDF files. This seems to be the best option out there. The only catch is, you need to register, and registrations are reserved for ‘labels/packaging’ companies. If you’re a graphic designer with a commercial website, you should qualify. Otherwise, you might want to try one of the other options. (Thanks to @leob, developer of PDF Checkpoint.)
  2. PDFTRON WebViewer Demo: This isn't a standalone product; it's a JavaScript-based SDK that developers can license for their own apps. But if all you need to do is check print separations, the online demo may very well suit your needs. It finds all the spots and CMYK inks, and lists them with checkboxes that you can turn off and on, just like Acrobat Pro. You can move your cursor over the preview image and see ink coverage percentages. (Original comment)
  3. PDF Output Preview: This useful little app was created by fellow forum member @Lagarto in response to this very thread. It uses Ghostscript, a free command-line tool for working with PostScript and PDF, so you’ll need to install this too. I believe the current versions (as of 15 October 2021) of PDF Output Preview are 1.0.0.16 for Windows and 1.0.0.10 for macOS. (I don't think there's currently a single web page where you can find and download the latest versions, but Lagarto can update us if that happens.)

We can update or repost this as necessary to keep the information fresh.

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After open a PDF in PDF Output Preview (command-P), it vanishes from its folder in iCloud Drive.

Has anyone else experienced this and found a solution?

I moved the file to the Documents folder on my System Drive. Now when I open it in POP, POP crashes, which is the problem I had before. (IIRC, when I reported crashes before, the file was in the Downloads folder of my System Drive.)
 

macOS 11.6 - Hackintosh iMac 2017 - i9-9900k - 32 GB RAM - RX 580 8 GB - OpenCore 0.74

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  • 5 months later...

Where are the contents of the lacerto forum posts and the tool downloads? What means „(…)“ in his posts? Was there a problem with software licenses (Adobe mafia methods ;-) )?

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I think i have another good solution for view color separation. The solution ist nearer than you think and you need no another software (only with affinity apps): 

1. Reimport the exported PDF in Affintiy Photo (direct open or place as passthru PDF).

2. Reduce it to only one Layer (as pixel image).

3. You can see and switch (on/off with eye icon) now the certain color separation plates in the color channel palette. In the Palette you can see the color profile too. 

4. When click with the pipette tool on a certain area, you can see the color value in the color palette. 

The another important prepress review can you make in the free Acrobat Reader (optic, resolution, color profile, PDF-Standard, format, bleed, marks and embedded fonts). 

I tested it first only on my iPad and with normal CMYK colors (not now with special solid colors, i must test it with desktop apps and special solid colors later). But the colors in the document, PDF and in Affinity Photo (separations) has the same values. 

It would be a good idea when the Affinity developers integrate it direct as a kind of export review persona (for the certain page), so the user can use this function much easier (with no manual conversation and several palettes on several locations) . 

 

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1 hour ago, iPeter said:

I think i have another good solution for view color separation. The solution ist nearer than you think and you need no another software (only with affinity apps): 

1. Reimport the exported PDF in Affintiy Photo (direct open or place as passthru PDF).

...

Thank you, this is actually a very interesting (and in its simplicity somewhat surprising) take on the issue of preflighting colour separations in Publisher generated PDFs. As it is so easy to drag/import rich black text into Publisher without really wanting to, checking the blacks (for all black text elements) is – at least for me  – of primary importance when viewing the colour separations. And your method seems to make this possible without resorting to any third party apps.

So far I've only checked (on desktop AP) with strict CMYK PDFs (which I almost solely need these days), but back in the day I've done quite a lot of spot colour jobs, so it would be worthwhile to know how solid colours from PDFs are handled in AP and if the method works with them as well.

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18 hours ago, iPeter said:

I think i have another good solution for view color separation.

Yes, but unfortunately, I did not manage to display the overprint elements correctly this way.

 

On 10/15/2021 at 12:40 AM, Kal said:

It uses Ghostscript

The fearless among us can still check their print separations "in a post-Adobe world" with ghostscript in a terminal windows. On a Mac it should be something like this: 

gs \
  -sDEVICE=tiffsep \
  -dNOPAUSE \
  -dBATCH \
  -dSAFER \
  -r300x300 \
  -sColorConversionStrategy=CMYK \
  -dOverrideICC=true \
  -dRenderIntent=3 \
  -sDefaultCMYKProfile="/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/[profile].icc" \
  -sOutputICCProfile="/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/[profile].icc" \
  -sOutputFile="output"%08d.tif \
  [input].pdf

Of course, the parameters have to be adjusted individually, especially the paths to the ICC profiles and the filenames in square brackets. If it works, the code is fine in a shell script. Maybe someone with more knowledge can also make the code a bit more elegant.

I don't know if this method has been mentioned in the thread yet.

 

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1 hour ago, Optische Ausrichtung said:
20 hours ago, iPeter said:

I think i have another good solution for view color separation.

Yes, but unfortunately, I did not manage to display the overprint elements correctly this way.

You're right – if overprinting is part of your design, it will not work. Obviously Affinity Photo does not translate the "overprint property" from the PDF into its rendering of the design. I checked with a simple file using overprinting versions of CMY and they block out completely what's below them.

In this regard I have to add to my post above: whereas you can actually check whether your blacks are 100% K blacks or all-component "rich" blacks, you – due to this method’s failure at handling overprinting correctly – unfortunately CANNOT check whether your 100 K black is overprinting (as it usually should with type elements). Too bad!

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1 hour ago, Optische Ausrichtung said:

Of course, the parameters have to be adjusted individually, especially the paths to the ICC profiles and the filenames in square brackets. If it works, the code is fine in a shell script.

You can reuse/enhance/customize the below shown script code further (Note: ...didn't tested it via GS, since I don't have gs installed here on the computer) ...

#!/bin/bash

username=$USER

Help()
{
   # Display Help
   echo "$0 -- Calls Ghostscript for color separation"
   echo
   echo "Syntax: $0 [-p|i|o|h]"
   echo "options:"
   echo "p     A profile name, excluding the .icc extension."
   echo "i     The input file name (sample.pdf)."
   echo "i     The output file name (sample.tif)."
   echo "h     Print this Help."
   echo
}

while getopts :p:i:o:h flag
do
    case "${flag}" in
        p) profile=${OPTARG};;
        i) inputfile=${OPTARG};;
        o) outputfile=${OPTARG};;
        h) Help 
           exit;;
    esac
done

if ! command -v gs &> /dev/null
then
    echo "Ghostscript could not be found"
    exit
else
  gs \
    -sDEVICE=tiffsep \
    -dNOPAUSE \
    -dBATCH \
    -dSAFER \
    -r300x300 \
    -sColorConversionStrategy=CMYK \
    -dOverrideICC=true \
    -dRenderIntent=3 \
    -sDefaultCMYKProfile="/Users/$username/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/$profile.icc" \
    -sOutputICCProfile="/Users/$username/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/$profile.icc" \
    -sOutputFile=$outputfile \
    $inputfile.pdf
fi

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1 hour ago, v_kyr said:

didn't tested it via GS

Thank you, I added my Username in line 3:

username=optischeausrichtung

and changed

  -sOutputFile=$outputfile \

to

-sOutputFile="%08d"$outputfile \

tested with

test.sh -p ISOcoated_v2_300_eci -i input -o out.tif

Has worked! (Input filename was "input.pdf", the script writes 5 TIF files per PDF page: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Combined)

 

Edited by Optische Ausrichtung
\ added and improved to "%08d"$outputfile
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1 hour ago, Optische Ausrichtung said:

Thank you, I added my Username in line 3:

username=optischeausrichtung

That usually shouldn't be needed, since in shell scripts a command of  "$USER" will allready return the active username. You can test this inside a terminal/shell with ...

echo $USER

... if it returns your systems active login username.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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7 hours ago, Optische Ausrichtung said:

Yes, but unfortunately, I did not manage to display the overprint elements correctly this way.

 

The fearless among us can still check their print separations "in a post-Adobe world" with ghostscript in a terminal windows. On a Mac it should be something like this: 

gs \
  -sDEVICE=tiffsep \
  -dNOPAUSE \
  -dBATCH \
  -dSAFER \
  -r300x300 \
  -sColorConversionStrategy=CMYK \
  -dOverrideICC=true \
  -dRenderIntent=3 \
  -sDefaultCMYKProfile="/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/[profile].icc" \
  -sOutputICCProfile="/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Affinity Publisher/profiles/[profile].icc" \
  -sOutputFile="output"%08d.tif \
  [input].pdf

Of course, the parameters have to be adjusted individually, especially the paths to the ICC profiles and the filenames in square brackets. If it works, the code is fine in a shell script. Maybe someone with more knowledge can also make the code a bit more elegant.

I don't know if this method has been mentioned in the thread yet. 

 

I had yesterday tested it after my post detailed on my mac. That's right. Overprinted and solid colors unfortunately are not viewing correctly with this method. Sorry! 

I experimented yesterday with a virtual postscript printer in acrobat too. You can see and switch the various color layer in the printer preferences dialog (even the solid color), but the overprinted color was incorrectly too (how for example in Affinity Photo). This information is store in the PDF in a very special way. 

But the Ghostscript solution is a good possibility to do this.  

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Here is a new modified version of the script. In most cases, you will not need to specify the color profiles. But you will need control over the resolution of the output files.

This version is probably a little easier and safer to use:

#!/bin/bash

username=$USER

Help()
{
   # Display Help
   echo "$0 -- Calls Ghostscript for color separation"
   echo
   echo "Syntax: $0 [-d|i|o|h]"
   echo "options:"
   echo "d     dpi, output resolution (600)"
   echo "i     The input file name (sample.pdf)."
   echo "o     The output file name (sample.tif)."
   echo "h     Print this Help."
   echo
   echo "Example: $0 -d 600 -i sample.pdf -o sample.tif"
   echo
}

while getopts :d:i:o:h flag
do
    case "${flag}" in
        d) dpi=${OPTARG};;
        i) inputfile=${OPTARG};;
        o) outputfile=${OPTARG};;
        h) Help 
           exit;;
    esac
done

if ! command -v gs &> /dev/null
then
    echo "Ghostscript could not be found"
    exit
else
  gs \
    -sDEVICE=tiffsep \
    -dNOPAUSE \
    -dBATCH \
    -dSAFER \
    -r$dpix$dpi \
    -sColorConversionStrategy=CMYK \
    -dOverrideICC=true \
    -dRenderIntent=3 \
    -sOutputFile="%08d"$outputfile \
    $inputfile
fi

 

The PDF/X-4 "sample.pdf" exported from an afpub-document (cmyk) with 2 pages, 2 Pantone colors and overprinting elements results in these 12 TIF files:

(The file names of page 3 would accordingly start with 00000003.)

170785128_Bildschirmfoto2022-04-12um10_33_46.png.f6bdab0f93b84f2e270b926662f87f07.png

Thanks again, especially to @v_kyr ! The script works very reliably and is for the task a good alternative to expensive products. 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/20/2019 at 10:23 PM, Tonda said:

Take a look on https://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio - I own the older Pro version and coming from Acrobat Pro X I am quite happy with it, although I am not sure if it does really everything you mentioned. You can try yourself the free trial here: https://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio/download and at the moment they have promos 25 % Valentine discount + next version for free with purchase. Just note that it requires Java (at least the older version I own).

 

On 3/7/2019 at 8:02 AM, Pariah73 said:

After trying LOTS of PDF programs, I can say I haven't found a single one that does color seps. Tried PDF Exchange, PDFSam, PDF Architect, Bullzip, Sumatra, PDF Creator, PDFill (which had the best value -$20- for pro if you can deal with the hideous interface) Foxit Reader (trial of Phantom PDF) Nitro..there's some more that I can't remember. Only program I've discovered is Callas PDF uh..something..anyhow it's just as expensive as AA. Horribly neglected field of software IMO. I ended up creating a PDF in AD, then handing that off to Scribus for color separations. Not perfect but it works.

2022 pro version should get color separation 

maybe I try it out then

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On 5/30/2022 at 8:47 PM, Johannes said:

2022 pro version should get color separation

Yes, Pdf Studio 2022 Pro has colour separations, but it doesn't work well. If at all.

 

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2 hours ago, RM f/g said:

Yes, Pdf Studio 2022 Pro has colour separations, but it doesn't work well. If at all.

 

I tried to verify this via their website but I honestly could not find actual proof for this. As you can obviously check overprinting by activating the proper kind of view mode one would have thought that being able to inspect colour separations would have been a point worth mentioning in the features list...

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