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Advisor ,
Aug 10, 2015

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I don't think I count as a dinosaur myself … but perhaps a dinosaur-herder; to put it another way, some of my documents are intended for delivery only as .pdf, not some new-fangled .html help.

Which being so – what are the pros and cons for using .psd graphics for screenshots rather than .png, apart from the fact that PhotoShop is head and shoulders above the other bitmap graphics tools I have access to? I'll stick with Illustrator and .eps for vector graphics, of course.

Thanks in advance for points to consider.

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graphics formats

Advisor ,
Aug 10, 2015

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I don't think I count as a dinosaur myself … but perhaps a dinosaur-herder; to put it another way, some of my documents are intended for delivery only as .pdf, not some new-fangled .html help.

Which being so – what are the pros and cons for using .psd graphics for screenshots rather than .png, apart from the fact that PhotoShop is head and shoulders above the other bitmap graphics tools I have access to? I'll stick with Illustrator and .eps for vector graphics, of course.

Thanks in advance for points to consider.

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Aug 10, 2015 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 10, 2015

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re: ... pros and cons for using .psd graphics ...

I've never imported PSD into FM, on the assumptions that:

  1. FM is having to filter it into some other internal format anyway, and
  2. If your version of Photoshop gets too far ahead of your FM version, the filter might fail

re: ... for screenshots rather than .png

That's far from the only other choice.

re: ... and .eps for vector graphics ...

EPS works for vector, text, raster and even bitmap raster, or any combination thereof. EPS is likely passed through FM virtually or entirely unchanged into PDF. The main disadvantage of EPS for raster is coarse preview, but that's easily hacked around by declaring a large inch size (low dpi, and re-size without rescaling in Ps) before saving, then scaling after import in FM. 4x is about optimal for the scaling trick. Also, use the "Photoshop EPS" format and not either of the DCS EPS formats.

A key question: are you relying on any color management? Are the screenshots tagged with a profile? If so, that leaves out unmanaged graphics file formats like BMP,

I've also used TIFF for screenshots. That provides full resolution preview when editing in FM.

Another tip: do not rescale screenshots in raster editors. Use them at their native res (usually 70-120 dpi, less if using the scaling trick for EPS) so that what's passed to the PDF engine or Distiller is below the PDF Options re-sampling threshold, and thus avoids gaining unpleasant edge artifacts if your workflow downsampling is using a curve-matching compression rather than a repeat-count compression for contone images.

Avoid Indexed Color formats (such as GIF, but almost any format can support indexed). Even though you may control scaling to the printed page, PDFs are almost always being re-scaled on computer displays, and indexed color images scale poorly, and can even result in massive artifacts.

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Aug 10, 2015 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 10, 2015

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There's nothing wrong with using PNG for screenshots in content destined for PDFs. I do this all of the time.

The PSD import filters, AFAIK, haven't been updated much and were restricted to importing only RGB content and (IIRC) flattening layers when imported. Alpha channel transparency created issues at one point (don't know about current filters though).

If you need CMYK for print prodtion PDFs, then using EPS as Error recommends is the way to go.

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Advisor ,
Aug 10, 2015

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Thanks! interesting input, and even reassuring ;-}

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