Trying to fix white line artifacts in PDF outputs from FM

Explorer ,
May 25, 2022 May 25, 2022

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I've spun my wheels a bunch on trying to fix white line artifacts in PDF outputs from FM. 

 

From what I've experienced, FM doesn't like when you combined image types. So if you have a raster graphic, add text callouts in a program like Illustrator, export as vector (e.g. SVG), the image in the outputted PDF will have white line artifacts. 

 

If you use a purely vector graphic, it seems to not get the artifacts as often. 

 

My images all have detailed colors and shading, which means raster is the best format. But the images also have text callouts. It would be ideal to have the text and callout lines as vector and the images as raster. But FM glitches out with this combination. This seems also to be a universal issue across Adobe products, as I've seen threads where people using InDesign also have glitchy artifacts on vector / raster combination graphics. 

 

The best method I've found is to export as a high res JPG. The callout lines and text are slightly less crisp, but it's barely noticeable, and it's far preferable to having glitchy white lines all over the images. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2022 May 25, 2022

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Hi @jbarkerhill:

 

You posted this question on a 10-year-old thread and things have changed considerably from 2012, so I moved it to a new thread for you.

 

Why don't we start with you letting us know what version of FrameMaker you are using, what PDF export settings you are using, and if Smooth Line Art is turned on or off in Adobe Acrobat.

 

~Barb

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2022 May 25, 2022

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Hi Barb, 

 

Thanks for the response.  

 

I was just looking through a bunch of image posts on the forum, trying to solve a different issue about inserting images at "true size" so as not to distort the size of text callouts in the images. I think I found a solution to that issue, which I posted about. 

 

I was just giving my input that I've had the best success using high res JPG images in FrameMaker. I guess every person's situation is different. 

 

My situation is documenting machines that have detailed images from CAD models, with text callouts as well. 

 

I read that raster images are best for any images with detailed colors and shading, whereas vector is best for line drawings and solid colors.  

 

The only downside of using raster format when having an image that includes both images and text is the text is less crisp compared to raster text. But I've just consistently found that images that include vector text as well as raster images get these white "stitching" artifact lines in the exported PDF. 

 

I'm using Adobe Illustrator as one my main graphics tools to add callouts to the images. 

 

If you take a raster image into Illustrator and export as vector (with text and callout lines included), I'm pretty sure most of the image gets rasterized anyway when you insert into a program like FM. So might as well just keep the format as high res raster, e.g. JPG. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 26, 2022 May 26, 2022

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Please answer Barb's question «Why don't we start with you letting us know what version of FrameMaker you are using, what PDF export settings you are using, and if Smooth Line Art is turned on or off in Adobe Acrobat.»

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Explorer ,
May 26, 2022 May 26, 2022

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Hi, 

 

I'm using FrameMaker 2020, smooth line art is turned on in Acrobat, and I'm using "Press Quality" PDF output setting. 

 

I was just giving my advice on what has worked for me: using high resolution JPG as a file format for graphics that have a combination of pictures with detailed color and shading as well as text callouts and lines. 

 

I've seen people give the advice to modify PDF settings in order to eliminate the white line glitch. But that isn't a very satisfactory solution to me. The PDF preference don't travel with the file. So if a customer opens the PDF they'll see the white lines unless they know to change their Acrobat settings. And also I've found that unchecking Smooth Line Art and Enhance Thin Lines screws up other formatting of the document (such as making the border lines on headers and footers way too thick looking). 

 

For now I'm going to stick with high res JPG, as it seems to give me the results I want. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 27, 2022 May 27, 2022

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I'm using FrameMaker 2020, smooth line art is turned on in Acrobat, and I'm using "Press Quality" PDF output setting. 

Try outputting with PDFX/4 instead of Press Quality. Does that solve the white line artifact issue?

 

If it is not available, see https://www.rockymountaintraining.com/adobe-framemaker-missing-pdf-presets/.

 

~Barb

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 29, 2022 May 29, 2022

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jbarkerhill: From what I've experienced, FM doesn't like when you combined image types.


That hasn't been my experience, even back when FM7 was my production platform. I was able to add callouts, in FM, to TIFF, vector EPS, raster EPS & composite EPS.

 

Perhaps the real issue is that FM basically has no callout tools, which is a bit surprising for a tech pub app. Almost any CAD app handles them elegantly.

 

I would counsel against adding callouts in the image itself, as, apart from resolution issues in raster formats, they become a major stewardship nuisance, particularly the callout reference text (numbers, letters).

 

Back when, I developed a library of callout support graphics for the template Reference pages, that included various self-masking arrows, self-masking callout circles and s.m. rounded rectangles (all vector content). The bubbles contained a text frame with an assigned Para Format. This allowed the callout number to actually be a autonumber from a BOM table in the document appendix: zoomable, self-updating, and providing hypertext to SKU & descr. If FM ever adds callout feature, it needs to offer this.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 29, 2022 May 29, 2022

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Yes. I do almost the same. Cross-references from the call-out numbers to the number in the description, so that the user can jump to the description.

 

I also had not this issue with white lines, and I also have vector and raster images. However I use only EPS files. Possibly this makes a difference.

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Enthusiast ,
May 30, 2022 May 30, 2022

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Same here. I've been using such combinations of vector art and text (like in callouts) over images for decades, without any problems. Simply placing FrameMaker vector elements over imported vector or raster images does not create those white lines. However, I've experienced that "white-line-syndrome" always, when there's a combination of vector art and a raster image which contains transparency, for example an image of a device (cut out in Photoshop, or a 3D rendering with alpha channel) placed over a colored background in FrameMaker, and maybe some text or logos above that all. This is a typical combination of graphics and text as used on title pages of manuals. The "transparency reduction" which happens when creating a PDF from FrameMaker is what causes these white lines, because all image parts containing tranparency are cut to small portions, in which the transparent image and the underlying colored background (etc.) are combined into one single "puzzle part".

 

Edit: please note that pixel based effects like "shadows", "glow" or similar which can be applied in Illustrator cause the same problem/effect. They always create some form of pixel based transparency, which will then be reduced on PDF creation, with the unwanted side-effect of the white lines.

Bernd

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Explorer ,
May 31, 2022 May 31, 2022

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Hi all, 

 

Thanks for the advice 🙂 . I'll consider using some of these methods. 

 

The white line glitches seem to happen when an external image that contains both raster and vector parts (in my case a raster graphic placed in Illustrator, callout text and lines added, exported as SVG) is imported into FrameMaker. I haven't tested FM's internal callout features because they seem limited. 

 

I've come up with a workflow that uses purely raster graphics. So to Barb's suggestion, I'm not sure if that will solve the issue because I've stopped doing the workflow that caused the original problem. I have started outputting as "Standard" instead of "Press Quality". 

 

For the stewardship, I'm packaging all the Illustrator source files with the FrameMaker files for when they're archived. 

 

That's an interesting idea to use cross references for callout numbers. 

 

I'm on a tech writing team and we're solidifying a FM template currently. So I'll have to discuss the best methods. 

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