PDF made from book file ruins Illustrator graphics

Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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I've been working on a 300 page report with dozens of placed Illustrator files. The report is made up of 19 separate .indd files. If I open one of the component Indesign files outside of the book and Export to PDF (Press), I get decent graphics. But if I open the Indesign book file, highlight all the files, and Export the whole thing to PDF, the Illustrator graphics come out in some sort of low-res version. My .ai files are almost exclusively pure vector, so there's no reason they should look pixellated. And they look just fine if I Export to PDF outside of the book.

 

Indesign is at v16.4 x64. Illustrator is at 25.4.1 (64-bit), latest versions, I think.

 

This is the very last step. Wrong time to have these very dependable programs fail on me.

 

Any ideas?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Advisor , Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021
So what resolved this problem was uninstalling newer versions and then reinstalling them. I didn't uninstall ID 2019 because it was working (and got me through this with two very large books). For reasons I don't understand, ID 2020 is not available to me to reinstall (I started with my CC subscription summer of 2019, and it's been kept current since, so I really should be able to reinstall ID 2020, but whatever). In any case, I don't need 2020. But I will keep ID 2019 around just in case this n...

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Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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Screenshot from PDF: exported to PDF outside book

exported to PDF outside bookexported to PDF outside book

Screenshot from PDF: exported to PDF from book file. This is three separate .ai files. The readable type you see is live type on the page in ID. 

exported to PDF from book fileexported to PDF from book file

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Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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Here's another example. This one's simpler. First, exported to PDF outside book file:

Acrobat_2021-10-07_19-34-52.png

Next, exported to PDF from the book:

Acrobat_2021-10-07_19-32-57.png

Figure number, title, and source are live type on the page in ID. The body of the figure (the three graphs) is one .ai file.

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Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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I reset prefs, something I haven't done for four or five years. Didn't make a difference.

 

This looks disturbingly like Display Performance > Typical. Can that somehow be baked into a PDF?

 

Another interesting detail. It's not all the figures. The first about 10 figures in the book look great. Then everything after that is trash.

 

Also, I tried opening one of the first .ai files (the key in figure A1 above), making a pointless change, saving it, and updating it in Indesign, and then exporting the whole thing from the book file. This actually fixed the three .ai files on that one page. But the rest were still ruined. And when I exited Indesign, reset prefs, and tried to export the book again, figure A1 went back to ruined. But when I opened it outside of the book and exported, it came out fine.

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Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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I guess for tonight I'm going to open every separate file, export PDF, and then combine them in Acrobat. Client is waiting. But I'd love to know if anyone has ever seen something like this.

 

I did this book two years ago (so different versions of ID and AI). A few of the .ai files are unchanged. Worked fine then.

 

Starting to think this is a bug and I'm the lucky one to find it.

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Advisor ,
Oct 07, 2021 Oct 07, 2021

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Still trying to figure this out: I tried opening in Illustrator a page from the PDF exported from the book file, cut out all the other stuff, and left the body of the figure. Then I released all the clipping masks and deleted the empty paths. What's left over is two images, 72 ppi images at that. Indesign is converting my precise vectors into crappy low res bitmaps.

Illustrator_2021-10-07_19-58-08.png

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Before exporting the book to PDF, I'd run a preflight on it ("Preflight Book", menú in the upper right hand of the book palette).

 

It seems as if InDesign is using the "Typical display" for vectors and not the files themselves and the first reason for that is the the link is either missing or changed.

 

Best regards

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Right, that was my first thought. This looks a lot like Typical Display. But none of these are missing or need updating. Besides Preflight or Package for Print, the way I've been proving this to myself is exporting individual chapters, which works fine. If ID export vectors in individual chapters, why do I get bitmaps when I export the same files combined into a book?

 

Preflight gave me all green lights:

2021-10-08_09-36-57.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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If you choose Package Book For Print... from the Book panel flyout menu and check Links and Images, is the status for all of the AI files Linked?

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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All are linked. That was my first thought, because this looks like what you get when ID can't find the graphic. But there's no error message (at least about links) on export. And it exports just fine outside of the book file. There are some other problems with color, but this report is not actually going to be commercially printed.

Thanks, for trying, Rob. I did find a bug report for this, but there are only 3 of us so far. The bug report says you can duplicate this by putting two ID files with linked vector graphics into a book. I haven't tried this yet, and I'm not sure if it's true, because the problem is not happening consistently. It's most of the vectors in the book, but not all of them. A few (at the front of the PDF) are fine. The majority, though, have been replaced by bitmaps.

InDesign_2021-10-08_09-25-42.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Have you tried embedding a few of the problem AI files?

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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No. All my files are referenced. The files would get really big if I embedded them. And anyway, I need to be able to make changes and update them. I could investigate this later, but I'm not sure what it would prove. I've already seen that if I open the first problem file, resave it, update it, and then export the book to PDF I can actually fix it for that one file. But then if I shut down ID and try again, it reverts to being a problem file. And if I export each chapter individually, none of my problem files are problem files.

 

It's tempting to think this has something to do with missing links, but it really doesn't. All the graphics in this are properly linked and updated.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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I could investigate this later, but I'm not sure what it would prove

 

If you don’t have the problem with embedded links that might confirm that the problem is a missing link that isn’t being reported when the PDF is exported. If the problem doesn’t happen with an embedded file then maybe start looking at problems with the external drive or its connection?

 

If you package the book and move it to your startup drive do you still have the problem?

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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As I said, not an external drive. My D drive is a partition. All my files are there. ID isn't reaching across drives. The ID file, the book file, and the graphics are all on the D drive.

 

I will try embedding later (too much work to try things that take time).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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"Have you tried embedding a few of the problem AI files?"

 

Hi Rob,

as I learned recently exactly this could be a very dangerous thing to do.

At least for placed and linked AI files with more than one artboard when you like to export to IDML, IDMS, use the placed and embedded AI artboards as assets for CC Libraries or InDesign library files.

 

The bug I'm speaking of applies not only to placed and embedded multipage PDF pages, but also to placed and embedded multiartboard AI files. If an artboard or PDF page is embedded in an InDesign document  only the data of the first PDF page or the first artboard will be written to an IDML or IDMS file. Other pages and artboards embedded will get the wrong data, the data of the first PDF page or the first artboard.

 

Issue in saving multi-page PDF as IDML
SVIDdev, Nov 26, 2021
https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/issue-in-saving-multi-page-pdf-as-idml/td-p/1255...

 

So I would only embed said AI graphics if there is only one artboard in the original AI file.

Or for testing purposes. Not to be implemented to a regular workflow.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2021 Dec 02, 2021

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Or for testing purposes.

 

Right I was just trying to find out if the problem was link related.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Also looks like the .ai files are on an external drive? Does it happen if the linked files are on your startup drive?

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Just because it's D :  doesn't mean it's external. It's a traditional spinning hard disk. I keep all my work on the  D : partition (including ID files and the ID book file). I leave the C: drive for Windows and applications.

 

In the interest of science, I can try moving everything to the C: drive later, but I doubt that will change anything, and I frankly don't want to have to use a different drive just for Indesign books.

 

 

[ 😧 Changed to D : (D drive) by moderator for clarity ]

 

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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That's interesting. Changed dee colon to anguished face. Those faces should say D drive (with a colon).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Can you replicate the problem with a smaller book project and share the files?

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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According to the bug report (link is on here somewhere) you can. Two files with linked vector graphics is enough. I haven't tried. I'm up against some deadlines and just trying to hack something together to keep the client happy, but I will come back to this and try to duplicate it over the weekend. 

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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BTW, thanks for your help. I do appreciate your tenacity.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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Not seeing the problem on OSX Mojave with ID 2020 exporting to PDF/X-4:

 

Screen Shot 1.png

 

 

AcrobatPro’s Object Inspector 

 

Screen Shot.png

 

 

 

 

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Advisor ,
Oct 08, 2021 Oct 08, 2021

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ID 2020 is the most current for OSX? I'm using ID 2021 (on Windows 10), which if you check Help > About Indesign is version 16.4.

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