RE: FrameMaker 6.0 to PDF -- Graphics Nightmares, Deadline Approacheth...

Subject: RE: FrameMaker 6.0 to PDF -- Graphics Nightmares, Deadline Approacheth...
From: "Maria Alexander" <malexander -at- octavesoftware -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 13:39:29 -0700

Hey Richard! :)

> Maria Alexander <malexander -at- octavesoftware -dot- com> wrote:
> > Problem #1: I'm a hired gun filling in for another writer for two
> weeks.
> > I'm on his Windows2000 (quasi NT) machine, but logging in
> with my own
> > password. I'm editing books in FrameMaker 6.0 and
> converting them to
> PDFs.
> > The other writer showed me that he creates PDFs by using
> the "Save As"
> > feature in FrameMaker.
> Bad idea. When you do this, Frame uses your default printer
> driver, which
> typically is for some physical printer, instead of the
> Distiller printer
> driver. This is fixed in FM7, but don't use "Save As PDF" in earlier
> versions of Frame.

Got it! I knew there was a reason no other shop I'd worked in had done it
this way. Now I know exactly why.

> > His PDFs were HUGE. Well, after incorporating
> > edits, I did the same thing...but my PDFs were TINY. For
> example: His
> user
> > guide PDF was 8Mb and mine was 500K. I hadn't changed any of the
> > settings -- not a one!
> Maybe not in Frame or Acrobat, but perhaps you had a different printer
> selected when you did the "Save As PDF" routine. I'm assuming
> you had the
> Frame files open, and all the graphics appeared as they should in
> FrameMaker, right?

Everything was fine in Frame. There might have been a different printer
selected. I should have noted which printer he was printing to when he did
that -- if he was prompted at all. I'm not prompted to choose a printer
when I "Save As."

> > I then discovered that most of his graphics (all
> > GIFs, by the way) were imported by reference (I always
> import by copying).
> > The graphic artist took one of my PDFs and put it on his
> Mac, which is not
> > connected to the server. The result: THERE WERE BIG BLACK
> > GRAPHICS SHOULD HAVE BEEN. That is, everywhere a graphic had been
> imported
> > by reference, nothing showed up. He said that this has
> never happened
> > before. If this is true, then somehow, when the other
> writer was saving
> as
> > PDF, he was embedding the graphics in his file. BUT HOW?
> It's better to import graphics into Frame by reference, but that's
> irrelevant here. PDF is an output medium; the PDF file
> *always* contains
> everything that appears on the page, including graphics.
> There's no such
> thing as "referenced" graphics in a PDF file; they're always
> "embedded."

That's what I thought. Thanks for the validation!

> Are you saying that the graphics are there when you look at
> the PDF, but
> gone when the artist looks at the *same* PDF? That would be very odd
> indeed... and likely a display driver problem on the artist's end.

Yup. That could well be. Also, when I started printing to a .ps file and
then distilling it, he got error messages when he viewed the PDF. I found
out that he was viewing the PDF with Acrobat 3.0. I remembered seeing in
the settings that my distiller is set to create PDFs viewable with Acrobat
4.0 and higher. When he upgraded, all the problems went away and the PDF
looked fine!

> Assuming that the graphics simply aren't in the PDF file, I
> can only think
> of a couple of explanations (and you've already eliminated
> the first one):
> -- If you hadn't mentioned GIF, I'd have guessed that they
> were EPS graphics
> and that you used that horrible, non-PostScript abomination,
> PDFWriter,
> instead of Distiller.

Abomination, indeed!

> -- We had some problems once with a Sharp printer/copier
> *printing* graphics
> as black boxes (flaky PostScript driver); if your "Save As"
> process used a
> printer driver with a similar problem, that might explain it.

Wow. VERY interesting.

> > The problem kinda-sorta seems to be fixed by printing to a
> .ps file and
> > dropping it into the Distiller (the Adobe techsupport guy
> suggested this).
> That's the *right* way to produce PDFs. Choose File>Print and
> select Acrobat
> Distiller as the printer to use.

Good! Glad to get more validation...

> > I saved the PDF to my desktop (there are no graphics or
> Frame files on my
> > harddrive), and all the graphics seem to be okay. But,
> because I was too
> > stressed out to think of it, I forgot to send a file home
> last night to
> make
> > extra-extra sure that I can still see the graphics. I
> mean, when you
> print
> > to a .ps file, it embeds the graphics, right?
> Yes. PostScript is just a code/language for defining what
> appears on a page;
> PDF is just a simplified subset ("distillation") of
> PostScript. Both kinds
> of files completely describe the appearance of the page(s)
> they contain. If
> you opened the PDF in Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, and the graphics were
> there, they'll always be there. :-)

There are days when you so badly need to hear you're not insane...

> >
> > Problem #2: There is one graphic that is possessed by the devil.
> Whenever
> > I import it (by either copying or reference -- it doesn't
> matter), it
> > becomes blurry after conversion to PDF. All the other
> graphics are fine.
> > I've cursed so much that I think any holy water around here
> has probably
> > gone off, so whatever you suggest I will try.
> So what's different about this one? Are you resizing it?
> Don't ever do that
> with the mouse; change the DPI setting instead. Maybe this
> graphic *is*
> blurry; have you checked the source file in a graphics
> program (Photoshop,
> PSP)? I think has some good resources on resolving
> graphics problems in Frame.

We solved this problem in a roundabout way. The artist suggested that I
import a *second* graphic onto the same page. I did so exactly the same way
as the blurry graphic. It looked perfect. I generated the PDF. The second
graphic looked perfect. I then went back into the Frame file and deleted
the first graphic, generated the new PDF, and everything looks fine. Loki
is alive and well, I tell you.

Thanks very, very much, Richard!

All good things,


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