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Why are PDFs from InDesign poor quality and have variable results?

Participant ,
Sep 19, 2017 Sep 19, 2017

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Hi,

I am hoping someone may be able to help me to figure this out...

I have an image that I created (original.png) below. It is 1165 x 900. This was saved from photoshop with a 300 dpi. Please notice it looks fairly clean and high quality:

original.png

I placed this image InDesign. The problems arise when I try to create a PDF.  (Please note all high quality settings were used for creating these PDFs, like I checked my downsampling to be a minimum of 300 (and I've tried no downsampling) and high quality print option is used, etc).

When I use the PRINT> Adobe Print method to create the pdf, I get this (below). Please notice the degradation of quality PLUS artifacting (if you look closely).---BUT it gets even worse...

1_ AdobePrint PDF.png

When I try to use the EXPORT option to create a PDF (Adobe PDF (print) or (interactive)), I get terrible results (below):

2_EXPORT_Adobe(Print)PDF.png

Would anyone please help me to correct this, so my PDF quality will be better?  Thank you.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017
There's no way to ensure it will look the same. You can adjust your own antialiasing but each user will have their own. Your resolution, while it may be good for print, is going to be reduced to perhaps 50-120 dpi for the screen so it doesn't help much. But keeping vector as vector is probably a good idea. Why can't you colour it in AI?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 19, 2017 Sep 19, 2017

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Never use print to PDF always use Export.

What is the Effective PPI resolution of the image in InDesign ?

Try Placing the original as a PSD image rather than a png (if you have it).

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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the exported version looks OK to me. Antialiased but you can't control that. This sort of work would be better done as a vector in Illustrator I suspect.

What specifically don't you like? Please be detailed. I know that when I've been staring at a problem I see all the flaws very differently than someone seeing it for the first time.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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The artefacts happen when the PDF settings use a 'jpeg' compression.

Can yo add a couple of screen shots to show the settings you used when exporting to pdf? so we can give you the best feedback possible.

Thanks

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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So I did original do the line art in Illustrator, but dropped in the yellow in photoshop.

The problem is more evident with the original and exported poor quality side by side and same size.:

sidebyside.png

Here are my export settings (I also tried no downsampling):

export setting 2.png

export settings.png

The effective PPI is 567:

effectivePPI.png

Any ideas? Thanks!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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Your effective ppi is above the 450ppi threshold you've set in the Compression tab so the png is going to be downsampled nearly in half to 300ppi.

Also the original you posted in #1 looks like it has been upsampled from some lower resolution.

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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ok, so I tried a few suggestions here...

I used the PSD file in InDesign, instead of a png from PSD, and I bumped up my settings to 600 for max ppi threshold.  But it's still not looking good.  Below, is the orginal image and the exported PDF (using PSD file in indesign):

original and PSDpdf.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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You can check whether the image has changed using AcrobatPro's Output Preview>Object Inspector. Using your original scaled 50%, with the threshold set to 600ppi, I don't see a problem. Object Inspector tells me the pixel dimension is unchanged at 1165x900:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 10.45.24 AM.png

One thing you have to consider is how the PDF reader application anti-aliases the preview as you zoom in and out. Photoshop and Acrobat use different definitions for the 100% view. I think what you are seeing is the affect of zooming on line art.

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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Rob. thanks. I think you may be onto something...I have noticed as I zoom in on the bad images, the quality does improve.

So, how would I go about ensuring Photoshop 100%, InDesign's 100%, and Acrobat's 100% are all the same?

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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So, how would I go about ensuring Photoshop 100%, InDesign's 100%, and Acrobat's 100% are all the same?

InDesign and Acrobat's default 100% view is the print output size at 100%. Photoshop's 100% view is a 1:1 ratio of monitor pixels to image pixels.

InDesign CS6 resolution for pixel documents not the same

Acrobat lets you change what 100% means in preferences. If you change Page Display>Custom Resolution to 72ppi the 100% view will match Photoshop's 1:1 100% view. But remember you've scaled the image to almost 50% so that would also come into play. And on top of all that Acrobat's Page Display>Rendering choices will affect how the page is anti-aliased. You can't control any of the preferences on your client's system, so there's nothing you can really do.

It does look like your original art has been upsampled, which is making things worse. it would be better to use vector line drawings for this kind of image

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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This shows that you actually have a problem with the quality of the original that can't be solved by changing resolution—even though the image has 300ppi it's quality is still poor. Here I've drawn a 4px stroked rectangle and transformed it. you can see that it doesn't have any of the poor aliased checking that the drawing has, which indicates it likely started at a lower res:

original.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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I just took a screen shot of the above (left) image, placed it in InDesign and exported it using exactly (I think) PDF specifications as yours. As you can see from the (right- hand) image below, its much better than yours.

Maybe you have some kind of application corruption.

test1.jpg

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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would you recommend me resetting my indesign?

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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Why not just use the vector? should be easy to colour that background in Illustrator. Converting it to a bitmap seems a bit of an unnecessary step and is causing you this havoc.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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There's no way to ensure it will look the same. You can adjust your own antialiasing but each user will have their own. Your resolution, while it may be good for print, is going to be reduced to perhaps 50-120 dpi for the screen so it doesn't help much. But keeping vector as vector is probably a good idea. Why can't you colour it in AI?

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2017 Sep 20, 2017

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Thanks all for your advice. So, I decided the go ahead and "bite the bullet" and go back into AI and learn the Live Paint tool, drop in the yellow, and relink to those .AIs in InDesign. I think this solved the problem----Thank you Test Screen Name for this suggestion. 

Luckily, I had the vector files. Not sure what I would have done without these : /  The raster images had become a rabbit-hole of troubleshooting and not much success.  Thanks all.  Have a good week.

-Dan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 21, 2017 Sep 21, 2017

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Hi,

I would test the Trace function.

Insert your photoshop image and see if illustrator can do most of the tracing for you. It might save you some time.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 21, 2017 Sep 21, 2017

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Eric:

So I did original do the line art in Illustrator

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 03, 2017 Oct 03, 2017

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This question is marked as answered and the answer implied that you can't do anything about it. But, I think there is a reason why your exported file is degrading eventhough you ensure all in your knowledge.

The reason is that InDesign has its own pixel dimensions and rearrange all linked file pixels to its own pixel roots. Eventhough your linked file has more than 300ppi resolution, the exported PDF file will only follow the InDesign's export setting pixel output. So, you have to ensure that the frame of the object is aligned precisely with the InDesign pixel setting (such as 72 ppi). And align the object within the frame relative to the frame so that all aligns with InDesign pixel setting. If you are exporting it to 300 dpi output, you have to make sure that your linked file is also resized to 300 dpi and aligned well in InDesign. You can't just randomly place a file by eyeballing the location and expect it to come out as how it was. If you do so, all pixels will be shifted or redistributed or re-divided. You just have to make some calculations when placing the links.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2017 Oct 03, 2017

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What you are describing might have some affect if the export were to an image format like JPEG or png with the view being 100% in a browser (i.e. Photoshop's 1:1 view). But in this case the image is high res and viewed in Acrobat where the zoom level could be any percentage and the image wouldnt likely be displayed at a 1:1 monitor to image ratio. A 1:1 view is hardly ever the case with high res images which will get scaled down for display depending on the users zoom level. AcrobatPro and Reader have a display preference that handles anti-aliasing as the zoom level changes.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 05, 2017 Oct 05, 2017

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rob day,

The idea I described is not related only to view settings in Acrobat. It is about the inherent design of how Indesign works. Most people think that InDesign will export their image just as how it looked in PS. But it is not that simple as we initially thought. The same idea is going on this link below. May be this will help you understand what I am trying to say.
The solution to the extra pixel problem

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 06, 2017 Oct 06, 2017

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On left a 300ppi image scaled and placed exactly at 100px X&Y

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 7.01.33 AM.png

Same image on the right but at 200.5px X

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 7.01.26 AM.png

Export to PDF/X-4 no down sample viewed at 200%

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 7.05.54 AM.png

With Smooth Images unchecked the version sitting on the whole pixel actually looks worse

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 7.09.00 AM.png

But the aliasing problem is random depending on the Acrobat zoom level. Here at 125%

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 7.18.54 AM.png

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New Here ,
Oct 29, 2021 Oct 29, 2021

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Hi,

 

Please try these settings.. It worked for me..

Harsha5FEE_0-1635504636855.png

Thanks,

Harsha

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