Problem importing graphics

New Here ,
Sep 08, 2014 Sep 08, 2014

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I have been using FrameMaker 6 ----> 9 for 15 years....   Ever since I started I have had a problem importing graphics.  Basically I will try to import an image by copying from another source and pasting into my FM document. Usually it is by taking a screenshot, or just right-clicking on an image from another source, and selecting "copy."  Then when I paste it in, it does paste in but it is a lower resolution than the source.  Sometimes it is larger (exploded) than the source and I can resize it to look OK but it never ends up looking as good as the original source.   I can take the exact same image and paste it into a simple graphics program, like Windows Paint, and it looks perfect, exactly like the original source.  but when I paste it into FM, it is pixelated, blurry, the wrong size (usually too large), etc...    I work on technical documents and it is important that our graphics are clear and easy to read, so this is a real problem for me (and my team).

I have attached two images.... a screenshot of the exact same image after it is pasted into Paint and then into FM:

pasted into MS Paint:

image_paint.jpg

pasted into Frame 9:

image_fm.jpg

as you can see it's a bit larger.   when I try to shrink it, I can never seem to get it back to the original size or clarity.

(note the version from MS Paint looks EXACTLY like the original, and I can paste into other programs like Word and it also pastes in correctly)

If anyone could help me out with this I'd really appreciate it.

thanks,

gary in vermont

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 08, 2014 Sep 08, 2014

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The FM image seems to be re-sampled (289x208) compared to the MS Paint one (233x168). Being a JPG, that sort of operation (that tries to add additional pixels), degrades anything that looked like lines or text. The source for this type of graphic should be using a non-lossy image format. JPG's are for photographic rendering of scenes, not screenshots or line art.  [FWIW, this example would be best served as vector graphics rather than as an image, but that's a different discussion).

I'm not certain of what you're precisely doing in FM. I took both your images from your message and they pasted (using both the standard Paste  ctrl+v and Paste Special [both as DIB and BMP options to see if those made any differences]) into FM exactly as is. I see no change in quality (i.e. the MS Paint looks like what you posted as does the FM one that is different):

FM_pasted_jpg.png

Can you explain exactly the steps that you are doing and which method(s) for pasting your graphics into FM. Also, do yo have any third-party clipboard utilities installed?

As a workflow, I would also not recommend using Paste to get your graphics into FM. Depending upon the source, you could also be creating OLE objects that are rendered as Windows Metafiles in FM. Also, if the content of those graphics is ever updated or you need to re-use them, then you have additional maintenance issues. Having the graphic as an external object and then importing by reference is a much more stable/predictable workflow.

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New Here ,
Sep 09, 2014 Sep 09, 2014

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hi, and thanks for your help.

to answer your question of how the images were created,   I have spent a lot of time trying different ways of importing graphics and I get results like this with many of them.   the images in the post are not the best example because I had to find a public image to show (I could not include a proprietary image from my work as an example).

Here is an example of how I would typically do it in my work, that resulted in something similar as you see in the top post.

1) Image is in another source (MS Word in the current example I'm working on)

2) I right click on the image, select "copy"

3) I paste it in to FM.

4) The resulting image is resized and blurred.

Notes:

--there is no use of screenshots in this example.  I am just copying from Word into FM.  I am not saving or converting the image to JPG or anything like that.  just copy and paste.

--it does't matter if the image is text, line art, or an intricate drawing created in another program and then put into MS Word before I received it.  All of them appear blurred when I paste into FM.

--while the source in this example came from MS Word, I experience similar effects with other source, including Visio (often used by our engineers).

--it is not really an option for us to save all our graphics as external objects.   we sometimes manipulate the image after it is in FM, adding labels, covering items with whitespace, etc, and we need it to all be flat inside the FM file. some of our documents have hundreds or thousands of images and it would be difficult to manage them all as external files.   Also our technical writing staff is not all equipped with sophisticated imaging software to manage graphics (such as photoshop, illustrator, etc).  FM is our graphics tool.  It has served us well for the most part (except for this copy/paste issue) as many of our graphics are schematic line drawings and the FM tools are good for this.  

--I have tried many ways to copy images into FM, including taking screenshots, going through a graphics program between the source and FM, and others.   Sometimes I am surprised and it works OK but most of the time I have this blurring/exploding effect.   I have not been able to find a method that works consistently.

--I have experienced this problem on multiple computers and with multiple versions of FM, over a long period of time.

Perhaps there is some kind of real/good reason this is happening, but I think it is a problem.  I have used many other documentation programs such as Word, Open Office, ... and if I copy an image from another source into the document, it appears exactly as it did in the source.   I see no benefit of FM resampling the image, with a simple copy/paste.

thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 09, 2014 Sep 09, 2014

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> ... I am just copying from Word into FM ...

  1. In Word, select the image.
  2. Right-click Save-as-Picture
    .tif
    to some file path that FM can find, filename temp.tif.
  3. In FM, File > Import > File
    some file path and temp.tif
  4. Copy into Document

Delete the temp.tif when the document is complete. This avoids the damage caused by using the clipboard, and, as desired, you still end up with space-consuming embedded graphics that have no history as to where or when they came from or where else they might be used.

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Contributor ,
Sep 19, 2014 Sep 19, 2014

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About Visio: it has historically had rather wobbly font handling. To use Visio drawings in FrameMaker, I recommend exporting them as EPS, if possible, or EMF, if you have to, and importing that by reference into FrameMaker. I hope this helps,

Sean

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Contributor ,
Sep 19, 2014 Sep 19, 2014

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There are several issues going on here, besides the blurry graphics.

FrameMaker and Word are not graphics tools. Neither is PowerPoint for that matter, and Visio is pretty much only good for flow charts.

So, if doing graphics is part of your job, I do recommend Illustrator for vectors and Photoshop for rasters, or CorelDRAW for both if you like. Now, I understand you might not have that many seats, but if it is your job, you should have the tools, right? I mean, if your job is an auto mechanic fixing cars and your employer won't give you wrenches and screw drivers, what then? Perhaps, in your case, you could resolve this by changing your workflow a bit and getting one or two licenses of the graphics software your job requires and running all departmental graphics work through one or two people who use those seats of software. So, if Bill and Ted get the Illustrator and Photoshop licenses, then your team can run graphics needs through those guys, and, in turn, you pick up some of their FrameMaker work.

Make sense?

Cheers,

Sean

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Mentor ,
Sep 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014

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Seanb_us wrote:

. . .  Visio is pretty much only good for flow charts.  . . .

At the risk of going off-topic here, I have to say that this is not entirely accurate. Visio is a very capable vector art application. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of the other packages mentioned, but at a fraction of the price, you can really get some good stuff out of it. You have to know how to use it, though. Here are some examples:

http://www.weststreetconsulting.com/misc/visio_dgms.htm

Russ

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Contributor ,
Sep 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014

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If those were all done in Visio, well done! Has Visio changed how it handles fonts over previous versions?

As for cost, Visio is about $250, whereas illustrator about $20/month. Similar costs over a year.

Sean

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Mentor ,
Sep 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014

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For the cost comment, fair enough. Regarding fonts, I don't really know. I've never run into any issues myself, but I typically only ever use Arial or Times.

For the record, I don't mean to engage a debate on what vector art program is better. I just think that Visio is one of the best-kept secrets in this area and wanted to stick up for it. It is easy to open it up and draw some circles, squares, etc., and it leads you to believe that it is a simple flowchart application. Once you get to know it, though, it reveals its deeper abilities.

Russ

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Contributor ,
Sep 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014

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Fair enough. Before Microsoft bought it, Visio documentation was done with FrameMaker

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 09, 2014 Sep 09, 2014

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> ... problem importing graphics.

> ... when I paste it in, ...

Pasting is not "importing", per se. Apart from the provenance issues with copy-into-document, you lose a lot of control over encoding and compression (and for contone images, you also lose any profiles). Pasting from one app to another puts you at the mercy of your operating system's clipboard, which is rarely sufficiently graphics-aware. Clippy will happily convert your nice CMYK, grayscale or bitmap graphics to RGB.

And there's the provenance issue. With paste-in or copy-into-document, future document stewards are apt to have no clue where that image came from, if it needs revising. I've inherited a lot of mystery content like that, and have had to re-create almost all of it (now with traceability).

Store your images in external files (in some common place with a log for extra credit).
File > Import > File

  • Import By Reference.
  • In the specific case of things that started as line art, if the authoring app generated vector art, keep it vector. Export/Import as PDF, EPS or SVG. You don't have to worry about dpi and pixels with vector art in these formats, because it's essentially infinitely scalable without damage.

    If you can't do that, use a suitably high dpi, and a graphics file format that at least supports non-destructive (lossless) repeat-count compressions, like LZW or ZIP. Even the RLE of BMP is better than JPG's DCT damage. For raster images, know what your image pixel dimensions and/or resolution at all points in the workflow. This tends to be a culture shock for those raised in MS Windows, where the prevailing dogma is: you don't need to know, and we won't tell even if you ask. Sorry. You need to know.

    Avoid using lossy compressions like that used in JPEG. The "ringing", blurring and stray gray pixels on edges is a classic sign that a curve-matching compression, usually DCT, has been used. Color space reductions, chroma subsampling and other transforms also irreversibly reduce image quality.

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    New Here ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    After quite a bit of experimentation I found a workaround to this bug.

    I noticed that if I copy/paste an image in a website that is displayed in a browser, it pastes into FM just fine.

    (in contrast, when I do the exact same thing when the source is in Word, it comes out resampled like above).

    So as a workaround, I will copy the image from Word (or another source that produces the resampling bug) into a graphics program, and save it as a jpg, gif, or tiff file.  Then, using notepad or any simple text program, I create a simple web page in html like this, and put it in the same folder as the image file:

    <html>

    <img src="image_filename.jpg">

    <html>

    then I open the html file in a browser, right click on the image, select "copy" and then paste it into my FM document.

    Works like a charm and there is no resampling.  the pasted image looks exactly like the source.

    Why in the world it resamples from Word and other sources, but it doesn't with web images, I have no idea.   I consider it a bug.

    Cheers,

    gary in vermont

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    Adobe Community Professional ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    Knock your socks off Gary – FM is not a graphics program.

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    New Here ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    Just because it's not a graphics program doesn't mean it should paste images in incorrectly.   Word is not a graphics program either and when I do the exact same thing there the images paste in just fine.

    I think pasting graphics is a simple process that should be easy and it should work, not just for expensive graphics programs, IMHO.

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    Adobe Community Professional ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    It’s just not really designed for pasting images in, sorry – not a bug.

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    New Here ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    call it what you want....  If FM isn't designed for pasting in images, why does it have that feature enabled? 

    Most (or all) other publishing programs, many of which are much less sophisticated than FM, can paste in images just fine.

    Pasting in images is part of the normal publishing process..  I can't imagine publishing documents without the ability to paste in images.  If FM "isn't designed for pasting in images" maybe they should consider adding that feature because every other publishing program can do it just fine.

    FM pastes images in correctly some of the time, but not all the time.

    if that's not a bug, I don't know what is.... but hey, i'm just a user who's been using FM and other documentation programs for 15 years.

    cheers

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    Adobe Community Professional ,
    Sep 16, 2014 Sep 16, 2014

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    If you’ve been doing it that long, then you should know that the import by reference route is the preferred solution.

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    Advisor ,
    Sep 18, 2014 Sep 18, 2014

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    … and it looks like you can even get hold of the symbols free on wiki commons! try Circuit elements for a range of graphics, with and without labels.

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    Adobe Community Professional ,
    Sep 21, 2014 Sep 21, 2014

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    > I think pasting graphics is a simple process ...

    Because Bill Gates has simplified many minds .

    Clipboards are very far from simple. You can get a sense of this from the wiki article on it (interesting quote: "In Windows in particular, the internal clipboard functionality of the operating system will automatically translate data from known advanced formats to simpler formats ..."). That "translate" is probably what damaged your data.

    You can get a sense of the complexity by looking at MSDN developer details, like Standard Clipboard Formats. I suspect that Frame uses one of the "private formats" for FM-to-FM copy/paste, because MS knows nothing about FM data structures.

    At the time you do a Copy or Cut, the active app, and the operating system, have no idea what the receiving app is. The semantic mismatch can be zero (same app to same app), minor (one CAD app to another), or massive (DTP app to WordPad). What's put on the CB is multiple things, some by the source app, some by the OS, and most amount to various degrees of data degradation. Then the receiving app then has to pick and choose which to import, and guess at which makes the most sense.

    > Pasting in images is part of the normal publishing process.

    Not since the days of hot waxing onto foamcore. You need to poll a number of professionals on that. There are a number of problems with the copy&paste data path:

    • data damage - including loss of structure {vectors flattened to raster}, loss of resolution, undesired color space conversion (CMYK to RGB), loss of embedded profiles
    • data provenance - loss of data source information, loss of timestamp, resulting in a stewardship mess for future document maintainers or leveragers, and of course a complete loss of auto-update if the external source object is later revised
    • bloat - embedded objects explode the size of a .fm file.
    • total object loss risk - if FM crashes, embedded objects can be lost, and you might not notice right away - if the wider document stewardship is a casual as the image placement, by the time you discover it, you may have a gray square or an empty space, and no clue what was supposed to be there or where it came from.

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    Contributor ,
    Sep 19, 2014 Sep 19, 2014

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    Hi,

    What is your output and do the images look okay there? I mean, if you are not giving your customer FM files, it does not matter what the FM screen preview looks like. If you are giving your customer printed files, the printed output matters, so how does that look.

    Also, your workflow is suboptimal. Word is not a graphics format and JPEG is a poor choice for those kinds of images. Those kinds of images should be vectors and not rasters, and as vectors would be unaffected by things like resolution.

    Instead, find the original artwork, probably EPS, AI, CDR, etc. Import the original artwork by reference into FrameMaker. If you can't find the originals, redraw them as vectors. Lastly, if none of those are options, at least use PNGs, because PNG does not throw data and quality away, like JPEGs do.

    I hope this has given you some ideas,

    Sean

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    New Here ,
    Sep 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014

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    Hello,

    This was a interesting topic to read

    Maybe I should have created a new topic, but I have a problem with importing Graphics also, but not with copy&paste though.

    We use WMF files that are imported (by reference) from CAD drawings in FM a lot.

    Now I would like too change that workflow and start using SVG files instead, as everybody seems to talk about SVG,

    and I don't think DITA supports WMF. The SVG Graphics are also much nicer looking.

    However, a lot of times FM failes to import the SVG file (crashes), or "the filter encountered a problem and could not complete the translation".

    Do you have any tips or tricks? That would be very helpful.

    Cheers

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    Contributor ,
    Sep 23, 2014 Sep 23, 2014

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    I'd start a new thread. But, some thoughts: I never nailed this down. Adobe dropped SVG when they swallowed Macromedia (for Flash), I'd pick EMF over WMF, but would try DXF or EPS first.

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    Most Valuable Participant ,
    Sep 23, 2014 Sep 23, 2014

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    SVG is still quite viable and would be needed for vector graphics in HTML and ePub outputs. Not much work has been done with this import filter in prior releases, but with the shift to multi-channel publishing and Adobe's awareness of some bugs related to font handling, there may be improvements.

    However, with the current problem of failed imports, it might be a function of the application creating the SVG files. Has the SVG been validated using something like the W3C online validator (The W3C Markup Validation Service) ?

    For CAD drawings, PDF and EPS work quite well in FM and have more stable import filters. I would recommend this route and would discourage the use of MS WMF/EMF formats due to issues with font handling and text rendering.

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    New Here ,
    Sep 23, 2014 Sep 23, 2014

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    Hey,

    Thanks for your replies SeanB_us and Arnis Gubins, really appreciate it 

    The W3CC online validator is a nice tool, I immidiately checked out one graphic and it was not valid, but also one that was valid did not import to FM.

    I have used PDF-format instead of SVG that have failed to be imported, don't know if it is an accpeted workflow to use PDFs as Graphics, but it works.

    And also nice to know what is your opinion on WMF,

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    Adobe Community Professional ,
    Sep 23, 2014 Sep 23, 2014

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    > ... but would try DXF or EPS first.

    Avoid importing DXF (or DWG) until you verify by testing that doing so won't pollute your color library (as in hundreds of colors added, of names RGB 000 000 000 through RGB 255 255 255) that are difficult to get rid of.

    EPS (or PDF) has fewer issues for vector (or mixed format) object import.

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