Why is my hi-res JPEG crisp in InDesign, but blurry when exported to PDF?

Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

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Hi, I am having trouble exporting a jpeg from InDesign to PDF, and I can't figure out what I am doing wrong.  Here is a screenshot of the jpeg (its a logo) in InDesign:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 8.59.29 PM.png

And here is a screenshot of the same logo in the exported PDF:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 9.00.16 PM.png

Some background notes, in case it is helpful to diagnose the issue:

  • I am using InDesign CC on a Mac.
  • I tried to export using all of the presets, but the results were all the same.
  • The str logo resolution is 300 dpi at 10cm x 10cm.

I'm flummoxed. Any help would be great!

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

This is absolutely the worst type of artwork for which one would use a raster image as opposed to vector artwork. And use of any JPEG compression on a vector-like image only compounds the problem.

One workaround you could try is to export images as JPEG 2000 compression Lossless Quality. That would eliminate cascading JPEG artifacts, but still might be problematic.

The real solution is to obtain a vector version of the logo which wouldn't suffer from compression and/or downsampling artifacts.

     

...

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Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

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This is absolutely the worst type of artwork for which one would use a raster image as opposed to vector artwork. And use of any JPEG compression on a vector-like image only compounds the problem.

One workaround you could try is to export images as JPEG 2000 compression Lossless Quality. That would eliminate cascading JPEG artifacts, but still might be problematic.

The real solution is to obtain a vector version of the logo which wouldn't suffer from compression and/or downsampling artifacts.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

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Hi Dov,

Thanks for your quick and helpful reply!

I asked for a vector logo, but unfortunately this is all the client was able provide.

I tried to implement your workaround, but the result was still the same.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017

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This logo can be recreated as vector in Illustrator in 2 or 3 minutes. Do that. And use an AI or PDF/X-4 file instead. I get often such messed logos in JPG,PNG or even GIFs. As those people have no clue they deleted the AI or EPS files they had before. So I see the only way in recreating such logos. And if this logo is the problem, recreate it. It is faster than any workaround.

A logo should never be a JPG file as a JPG is a raster image and has a lossy compression which causes spotty colors. Don't use it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

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What specific settings were you using while exporting to PDF? What Acrobat compatibility did you choose? Were you looking at the Compression section of the export dialog? What was the PPI set to? What was the Compression set to? What software are you using to view the PDF? Also, did you make the green circle logo in InDesign using frame shapes and live type? It shouldn't therefore be rasterized at all in the resulting PDF.

Mike Witherell

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2017 Apr 26, 2017

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Hi Michael,

What specific settings were you using while exporting to PDF?

As stated earlier, I tried every available preset (e.g., PDF/X-1a:2001, high quality print, press quality, etc.).

What Acrobat compatibility did you choose?

This changed with the preset.

Were you looking at the Compression section of the export dialog? What was the PPI set to? What was the Compression set to?

Yes, the compression for all presets was set to bicubic downsampling to 300 ppi for images above 450 ppi.

What software are you using to view the PDF?

Adobe Acrobat and Apple Preview. The screenshot I provided was taken in Acrobat.

Also, did you make the green circle logo in InDesign using frame shapes and live type? It shouldn't therefore be rasterized at all in the resulting PDF.

I did not make the logo in InDesign. The logo was provided by my client. They do not have the original vector artwork.

Please let me know if any other information would be helpful. Thank you for helping me troubleshoot this!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017

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Your example certainly looks as if it were knocked down to 72ppi with heavy compression applied. Are you sure you were not choosing an Acrobat 4 compatibility?  Or that the rez is not set to some seriously low number?

Mike Witherell

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017

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Hi Michael,

Your example certainly looks as if it were knocked down to 72ppi with heavy compression applied. Are you sure you were not choosing an Acrobat 4 compatibility?

The screenshot I uploaded was using the [High Quality Print] preset, which is set to compatibility: Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4). (As mentioned, I also tried the other presets with similar results.)

Just for comparison, I exported again with the same preset and changed the compatibility to Acrobat 8/9 (PDF 1.7), which is the highest option. All other settings remain the same.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 4.45.28 PM.png

The results were still blurry.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 4.46.18 PM.png

Or that the rez is not set to some seriously low number?

The resolution is 300dpi at 3.9" x 3.9". I am using the image at 14.5% the size, so the effective resolution is ~2000dpi. Also, please note that the image is crystal clear in InDesign.

Also, was the original jpg PLACED into the ID document? Not copynpasted, right? Is the link good?

Yes, placed (Command+D); the link is good (no errors on preflight); and other images (eps) I placed look fine.

Thanks again for your help!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017

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Also, was the original jpg PLACED into the ID document? Not copynpasted, right? Is the link good?

Mike Witherell

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2022 Jul 03, 2022

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You are a beautiful and intelligent human being Mike! Thanks for this tip.

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Explorer ,
Apr 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017

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Seems like it would be faster to re-create the logo as a vector.

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Explorer ,
Jan 23, 2020 Jan 23, 2020

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I was experiencing the same issue now. I have a really high-res raster logo from the client. Placed in my INDD document it is perfectly crisp, zoomed in to 4000% - but on the exported PDF it looks like the dog's breakfast! I tried JPG2000 as Dov Isaacs suggested, but that was no better - what solved it for me and gave me good results was saving the logo as a TIFF file in Photoshop - now the logo is perfectly crisp in the PDF.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2022 Jul 04, 2022

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Generally, more resolution on a color/grayscale image does not make the image better. Chances are the image was downsampled when creating the PDF. That probably "damaged" the image. 

 

I only use JPEGs for rectangular photos--never for logos. 

 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2022 Jul 04, 2022

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Bicubic Interpolation on downsampling has an inherent flaw. It downsamples by looking at the 16 nearest pixels and reduces them to one value. This is all fine and dandy until you get to the edges. If your image doesn't have a full 16 pixels to work with when it gets to an edge, it repeats the last row(s)/column(s) of pixels until it does and THEN downsamples it. This in most cases (as in photographs) isn't noticeable, but for the OP's logo of a circle, it will cause that little bump out on the right side and top (why top? The interpolation tends to start from the bottom left origin corner)

How to avoid this? Use bilineal interpolation instead. It only looks at 4 pixels, and ignores any missing edge pixels, so the results are better for this situation, although worse for others.

Alternatively (and I do this when I export high-res bitmap logos for clients), expand your logo to included additional white pixels around it, like so:

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 10.25.58 AM.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2022 Jul 04, 2022

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Nice post Brad @ Roaring Mouse 

 

Another old trick for monochrome logos, is to create a black-and-white image (not grayscale; also known as Bitmap mode in Photoshop) at very high res (1200-1800 ppi), and save it as an LZW-compressed TIFF. 

Then one can color it as desired in ID, AI, Quark, etc. 

It will print like vector art but give the flexibility of changing the color in the layout program. 

David Creamer
Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Certified Professional, and Adobe Certified Expert

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2022 Jul 04, 2022

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Yup!

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