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Can anyone recommend an acrobat pro alternative?


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I'm a Mac user who has no choice but to use El Capitan as I need to use illustrator cs5 to plug the gaps of all the stuff that Designer doesn't currently do - but as theres light at the end of the tun

Hi all, I'm the developer of PDF Checkpoint. A user pointed me to this discussion and it's good to see PDF Checkpoint mentioned on your forum. As someone correctly mentioned earlier, PDF Che

Sure, but I have to think of myself, too  Happily it seems that I picked the right route, as it proved out that Visual Studio 2019 for macOS not only can use the core code more or less without changes

Hi all,

I'm the developer of PDF Checkpoint. A user pointed me to this discussion and it's good to see PDF Checkpoint mentioned on your forum.

As someone correctly mentioned earlier, PDF Checkpoint is indeed no match to hi-end tools of Adobe and Callas, nor it attempts to be such a tool (not yet at least). PDF Checkpoint targets users who need affordable basic PDF preflight and conversion.

There are many plans for further development of PDF Checkpoint, with separations preview and ink coverage being considered as well. However, there's no specific timeframe for this yet as the current major upgrades of InDesign plug-ins take priority.

If you have any questions or specific requests for PDF Checkpoint I'll do my best to address them.

Also, while myself researching the separations preview options I recently came across a tool that hasn't been mentioned here. I think many users will find it helpful. Check out the free viewer here:

https://www.packz.com/downloads-info/

The download link is on the registration page.

I'm not associated with this company in any way. But I thought it'd be good to share this info especially that their tool isn't a competitor to PDF Checkpoint anyway (not for the foreseeable future at least).


Thanks,
Leo 

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8 hours ago, loukash said:

Alright, PDF/X-4 export can handle it without rasterizing:
transpdfexp19.afdesign.x4.pdf
Now I hope that my print guy can handle X4, too. So far they've always been happy with PDF/X-3.

Oh well.

PDF/X-3 must not contain transparencies per ISO norm. Therefore all *special effects* have to be rasterized to tiff. The unwanted lines, you are seeing in those PDF are mathematically "unlimited thin".

PDF/X-4 and above can contain and transport all the "modern" design effects.

Johannes

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1 hour ago, jweitzel said:

PDF/X-3 must not contain transparencies per ISO norm. Therefore all *special effects* have to be rasterized to tiff.

This is not true. Transparencies are not allowed, but they do not need to be rasterized. They can be flattened as vector objects, as is done e.g. in InDesign.

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Here, I do not know, what to reply: As to my knowledge, in the specifications of PDF/X-4 are transparency also allowed as layers, and they are transported up to the raster image processor. If I use transparency in connection with (pixel-) pictures, they can't be "flattened to vector objects", or?
    What do you mean with: Transpacies are not allowed, but needn't rasterized" ??? This seems to me contradictory.

But, I think that discussion ist not neccessary at that point.

Thanks, Lagarto, for your input to that theme!
Johannes

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9 minutes ago, jweitzel said:

    What do you mean with: Transpacies are not allowed, but needn't rasterized" ??? This seems to me contradictory.

Means, transparency effects can be rendered to rasterized pixel image below vector objects (like shadows) or rendered within vector shapes (like see through objects).

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1 hour ago, jweitzel said:

What do you mean with: Transpacies are not allowed, but needn't rasterized" ??? This seems to me contradictory.

It is wrong thread, but here's this explained, anyway:

a) Transparency flattened the Affinity way (in PDF-X3 pdf attached below):

transparencyflattened_affinityway.png.691f5fafc1033a5f12f8176b0db76653.png

b) Transparency flattened the Adobe way:

transparencyflattened_adobeway.png.0c5d62b78e37ff4b6748b49d99d79f8a.png

c) Adobe Acrobat Preflight info for both:

transparencyflattened_affinityway_info.jpg.dbb55e2e2a2191d8b1ca7453beae0d62.jpg

transparencyflattened_adobeway_info.jpg.ade54c7f0b074a98a3caa1daa55a5fb6.jpg

pdfx-3_apub.pdf

pdfx-3_id.pdf

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11 hours ago, leob said:

There are many plans for further development of PDF Checkpoint, with separations preview and ink coverage being considered as well.

Great news Leob

Thanks for the pointer to PACKZVIEW I'm awaiting a download link 👍

Daz1.png

Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009) 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon 48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GBUgee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.9.2 + Illustrator CS5 / VectorStyler mainly for Vector distortion workarounds + InDesign CS5 for multipage spread jobs with Slug + ImageVectoizer / Vectorize for raster to vector conversions

www.bingercreative.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, loukash said:

I just realized a much bigger issue: Affinity will rasterize any vector objects with transparencies on PDF/X-3 output.
Unlike e.g. AICS5 with exactly the same vector content.

Is this related to the behaviour I've observed previously that everything(!) on the Publisher page gets rasterized in the PDF when an object with transparency (e.g. a drop shadows) happens to be somewhere(!) (on) the topmost layer? (meaning that this object doesn't necessarily have to overlap vector objects, especially type, on lower layers which got rasterized no less...)

In InDesign flattening/rasterization always seemed to happen limited to the area where it was needed but with my first Publisher PDFs I was absolutely surprised that this happened actually pagewide to all objects on layers below an object with transparency no matter where the latter was positioned on the page or how much space it actually took.

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5 minutes ago, Lorox said:

Is this related to the behaviour I've observed previously that everything(!) on the Publisher page gets rasterized in the PDF when an object with transparency (e.g. a drop shadows) happens to be somewhere(!) (on) the topmost layer? (meaning that this object doesn't necessarily have to overlap vector objects, especially type, on lower layers which got rasterized no less...)

See above the PDF/X-3 example: the object that has the transparency, gets rasterized, and also overlapping parts of other objects underlying it. I do not think that InDesign rasterizes transparencies unless forced.

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4 hours ago, jweitzel said:

PDF/X-3 must not contain transparencies per ISO norm.

I know that, and that's not the point.

1 hour ago, Fixx said:

rendered within vector shapes (like see through objects)

Or in other words:
Trasparencies being flattened to solid colors on vector objects whenever possible.

This appears to be the app's job to do before it sends the page to the X-3 filter.
Heck, Freehand 9 could do that with its fake "transparency" effect more than two decades ago. (Note to self: install Freehand 9 in Sheep Shaver!)

As a side note, inspecting the MacOS El Capitan (for now) built-in PDF/X-3 filter Applications/Utilities/ColorSync Utility > Filters that can be used for Print To PDF, it can only rasterize. And it's pretty bad at it, which is likely why hardly anyone would use it for serious work.

6 minutes ago, Lorox said:

everything(!) on the Publisher page gets rasterized in the PDF when an object with transparency (e.g. a drop shadows) happens to be somewhere(!) (on) the topmost layer? (meaning that this object doesn't necessarily have to overlap vector objects, especially type, on lower layers which got rasterized no less...)

A while ago, I've noticed that too, and it's a Bad Thing™.
Luckily I'm not really much into these gimmicks, prefering "flat" design, so I might be able to work around that.

1 hour ago, Lagarto said:

It is wrong thread

Yes, we're getting off topic. My apologies.

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15 hours ago, Lagarto said:

The separations from RGB color space and requiring color profiles are surprisingly good but not accurate so the emdedded profile or color intent are not applied

Getting back on topic...

Have you seen the ICC documentation for GS? > https://www.ghostscript.com/doc/current/GS9_Color_Management.pdf

A quick look shows it has the flag:

-dUsePDFX3Profile = 1

"If this option is included in the command line, source device color values (e.g DeviceCMYK, DeviceRGB, or DeviceGray) that match the color model of the output intent will be interpreted to be in the output intent color space. In addition, if the output devicecolor model matches the output intent color model, then the destination ICC profile will be the output intent ICC profile."

(no idea why it's referencing only x/3 as I'm sure all the x/ variants specify the output intent.

There is also an additional flag to separately set an output profile:

-sPostRenderProfile = my_postrender_profile.icc

In theory I think it should be possible to get fully accurate output.

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4 hours ago, loukash said:

(Note to self: install Freehand 9 in Sheep Shaver!)

I have Freehand 8 (1998) working in sheep shaver - thought I'd have a go at using it for vector distortions / perspective warping - sadly its not very stable running in Mac os9 - still great for the odd throwback to the 90's

Daz1.png

Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009) 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon 48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GBUgee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.9.2 + Illustrator CS5 / VectorStyler mainly for Vector distortion workarounds + InDesign CS5 for multipage spread jobs with Slug + ImageVectoizer / Vectorize for raster to vector conversions

www.bingercreative.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Lagarto said:

Version 1.0.0.6

What's the requirements? Can it run in Crossover = Wine emulation? My Crossover license is outdated, but it can definitely run an XP emulation which I'm using from time to time for a few obsolte Win-only audio converters. I think Crossover can also make use of .NET, at least I vaguely recall having installed it (or tried to?) in the past on my old Mountain Lion hard drive, but it was somehow quite a p.i.t.a.

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On 2/17/2021 at 12:30 AM, leob said:

Also, while myself researching the separations preview options I recently came across a tool that hasn't been mentioned here. I think many users will find it helpful. Check out the free viewer here:

https://www.packz.com/downloads-info/

The download link is on the registration page.

I just had a look on this tool, and this does pretty much what most of the users looking for a replacement for an Adobe Acrobat Pro Output Preview does. I am not sure if it is truly a free tool (or stay as such), but it seems to be well built, and it runs on both Windows and macOS. So no need for me to make the GS tool much more feature rich -- might add some GS features in it but that Packzview pretty much removed the need for a decent preview tool.

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21 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

I am not sure if it is truly a free tool

Well, for the fun of it, I have requested a "product key", and this is what I've got:

Quote

Dear [loukash],
Thank you for requesting PACKZVIEW. However, we cannot approve this request.
This is an invalid website. The website URL and e-mail address should be from an existing labels/packaging company.
For more information, please contact the Hybrid Support Team

Not being "an existing labels/packaging company", obviously I don't apply.

That said, I haven't tested the app yet.

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5 hours ago, loukash said:

What's the requirements? Can it run in Crossover = Wine emulation?

I have used Wine only with true Win32 (native) Windows apps. .NET is another thing (even if it uses the underlying native calls) -- .NET core and running command line apps probably would be ok but this uses GUI and routines from 2D library so I doubt it could be run under Wine. Packzware tool mentioned above seems to be built on native code and performs well so there is (hopefully) no further need for the kinds of hacks that I created. But that will stay free forever ;-)  (EDIT: ...well, as long as Ghostscript does -- I'll later create a version that uses DLLs so that is  no longer dependent on installation of GS itself.)

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17 minutes ago, loukash said:

Not being "an existing labels/packaging company", obviously I don't apply.

Oh? Perhaps they are targeting companies and possibly check that they are somehow in the business... There is also an expiration date for the license I got (June 2022). The company behind has been active in Prepress business for a long time, and the viewer alone is already in version 6.x. So it is clearly a professional prepress tool, and I would not expect this kind of tool to be free. 

But hearing this -- I think I'll continue improving PDF Output Preview -- there are plenty of nice features in Ghostscript, and it is also quite a powerful PDF creator, and can also do color management to some extent, so plenty of stuff that interests me anyway. I'd love to create a macOS version, as well, and this would be for me an appropriate learning process --- not too UI extensive. I have learned the basics a decade ago and bravely took some intimidating first steps in Xcode, but so much has changed that I guess it all has to be learned now again!

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Also, this version doesn't run on El Capitan or Sierra, as it's apparently dependant on system frameworks that came with High Sierra. Which would be a non-issue for me as I have Acrobat X. I'll try to install on Catalina then, as that's my primary target for this whole "exercise" anyway.

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1 hour ago, loukash said:

Not being "an existing labels/packaging company", obviously I don't apply.

That said, I haven't tested the app yet.

Thats odd I registered and got the download link and product key, although it took a while to get the go-ahead email, they prob checked my website first, although I only have a handful of packaging jobs on my site portfolio ---- the app loads up and looks really promising and all goes well until you actually try to open a pdf (tried seven including a couple of downloaded product brochures that appeared to have been created in InDesign cc) all bomb the app even tried a couple of old .ai files which it supports - all bomb - sent them crash logs - I'll let you know how it goes

Daz1.png

Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009) 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon 48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 - 2 GBUgee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher 1.9.2 + Illustrator CS5 / VectorStyler mainly for Vector distortion workarounds + InDesign CS5 for multipage spread jobs with Slug + ImageVectoizer / Vectorize for raster to vector conversions

www.bingercreative.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Dazmondo77 said:

all bomb the app even tried a couple of old .ai files which it supports - all bomb - sent them crash logs

That's odd. I have it installed on macOS Big Sur on an M1 chip which I'd expect to be especially prone to crashes. I have so far tested it mainly with old print jobs typically produced in devicecmyk color space so no fiddling with color profiles or mixed color spaces. In those conditions the app has behaved just fine. Also, as mentioned, it is already at version 6, so it should be fairly robust! In what kinds of situations does it crash, already at file open or some separation view / TAC checking / overprint and transparency checks etc.

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