Using GIFs for paper doc's? (Possibly OT and Long)

Subject: Using GIFs for paper doc's? (Possibly OT and Long)
From: "Harris,Tami" <tharris -at- FOXBORO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 09:11:09 -0400

Hi All.

[This is my first post (ever) to a newsgroup, so please bear with me.

My supervisor had the following question (and I'm not quite sure of the
best answer):
Is the GIF format acceptable enough to be used in the user docs (not
PSSs), when we switch to FrameMaker 5.5, instead of the pcx/bmp that we
use? In the beta version of Webworks 4.0, there is a sample document in
FrameMaker which only uses the GIF format for screen captures. All GIFs
are resized in FrameMaker and look bad on the screen. However a printout
looks fine.

Furthermore, when the sample doc is converted to html, the GIFs are
copied (not converted) to the html directory and referenced at full
size. All screen captures look perfect in html. If this is an acceptable
solution, we could solve the screen capture problem in html. The
drawback is that the callouts would have to be part of the GIF. Callouts
(if any) cannot be done in FrameMaker because they won't carry over to

I have searched the archives but haven't been able to find an answer to
Some of my initial reply/comments to him were that:
1. I don't know the consequences of using GIFs for paper (printed) copy,
but will try to find out.(?)
2. If you have to add callouts to the GIF files and then scale them to
fit in the paper doc's, then so too, would the callouts be scaled, and
become unacceptable in the paper version.
3. Batch conversions would have to be done (not a problem) - but which
would mean having another graphics file format to maintain ( in case of
use in future Help files, etc.).
4. I don't know how well GIFs convert through to PDFs.

Some more background info: Our "User" doc's are all currently converted
to HTML, via Webworks, as well as our Product Spec Sheets (PSSs) - but
the PSSs are paper printed at much higher quality than the User doc's.
We therefore maintain two versions of graphics for the PSSs, hi and lo
resolution, grayscale (for paper) and color (for www). (We import the
lower res graphics just prior to conversion.)

The user doc's are basically much lower paper quality doc's. and so only
one lo res graphic version is generally used. (In addition of course to
EPS, and Frame drawn images.) I would really hate to have to add another
format to the list of those we already maintain. We also convert an
assortment of doc's to PDF - as some of our customers prefer one over
the other and/or sometimes both.

I know I've thrown out a lot of questions and thoughts - but any
comments or info on this would be greatly appreciated! ... I,
personally, was hired to do all of the technical illustrations and
graphics for this company's tech writing group, and have never before,
been in a situation where so many versions of the same product, had to
be maintained. (Paper, HTML, Help, PDF, ...) It's become an almost
overwhelming task.

Thanks for you help and patience.
Tami Harris
Art Director/Illustrator
tharris -at- foxboro -dot- com

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