Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby Katie White » 23 Nov 2013, 08:35

Hi All. I really hope someone can help me, I'm pulling my hair out with this one. I design a business marketing magazine which is mainly advertising. All of the adverts are done by free lance designers in programmes like indesign, quark, illustrator. They supply me with Hi Res PDFs which I then place into Quark 8 or 9 around editorial text. A pdf is then written directly from Quark. Many of these adverts are coming out partly pixelated and I can't work out why. The only way I have found to solve this so far is to redistill the supplied advert pdf and reimport. This takes forever and i'm always worried something is going to drop out without me noticing.Pleeeease, please, please can anyone help me sort this.Katie
Katie White
 
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby lpisanec » 23 Nov 2013, 09:09

I'd say you are seeing what happens when you import PDFs which contain native transparency into QXP.
Quark will flatten said transparent elements in the PDFs, which will turn those elements into pictures with (depending on settings) low resolution.
You can try to change the PDF output settings to allow for a higher flattening resolution, but that will not help in all circumstances (or even work due to memory constraints):


I think that setting got added sometime during QXP v9.
A better course of action is to flatten transparency with a preflight in Acrobat Pro and save as EPS, and then import that into Quark. Which is kind of what you are doing at the moment, just with a bit more control over the way things are done in Acrobat.
Be advised, that this (as you fear) can alter the PDFs drastically and introduce new errors. Not as many errors though, as if you would let Quark do the transparency flattening during import.
Adobe's transparency flattening will try to preserve vector art / text whenever possible during transparency flattening, as opposed to Quark's.

Another solution could be that you revise your specifications for PDFs that you accept to only include PDF/X:1a. That way you will get pre-flattened PDFs without many of the advanced features that Quark does not handle well.

Or, if you can afford it, Callas PDF Toolbox Server can flatten transparency and is able to operate on hotfolders.
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby MikeWenzloff » 23 Nov 2013, 09:40

Hello Katie--I can offer no help beyond the screen shot shown.
I do a few newsletters in both Q and ID. The ads I receive run the gamut in what they were produced in and their quality in the final PDF output. With problematic PDFs I usually start in Acrobat and see what the elements are made of and their supposed resolution. Without fail, the PDFs that give me grief are the ones with bitmap elements in them and their resolution is too low regardless of what PDF output intent they are using.
But with a properly made PDF, I haven't experienced issues with Q's PDF output changing the "quality" of the submitted PDFs.
Mike
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby Katie White » 23 Nov 2013, 09:59

Hi, thanks for this. Ive done a few tests and by altering the Flattening Resolution it certainly improves the output. As you said though it won't allow me to go very high without refusing to make the pdf. I have altered it to 1000dpi which is better but still a little pixelated. This is fine on smaller business card size adverts but not on the half or full page ones, depending on the size of text used. I have had a look in acrobat and have now added "list transparent objects" into my preflight so I can double check them all before going to print so at least that's something, before now I've been zooming into every single advert to check them and on an 84pg magazine (x 4 a month) it takes forever!! I do like your idea of only accepting PDF/X:1a though. Is this setting available from most programmes now?
Katie White
 
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby MikeWenzloff » 23 Nov 2013, 10:03

Katie, a couple things. One, can you upload a sample PDF that gives you issues and provide a link. Maybe to dropbox.com? Second, PDFX-1a should be available in any professional or semi-professional application.
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby lpisanec » 23 Nov 2013, 10:16

First: congratulations for using Acrobat's preflight to check PDFs. You are part of a small minority that actually does this important step.

You can even add a fix-up to your Acrobat preflight that flattens transparency, should there be any. As I only have a german version of Acrobat, I cannot help you configure that - but the fix-up should be named "Flatten transparency (high resolution)" or something like that. You should change the settings of that fix-up according to your needs.
As a bonus, you can create a Preflight-Droplet from Acrobat, it creates an icon on which you can drag'n'drop PDF files to have the preflight run on them. That might save some time if you have to check a lot of them.
lpisanec
 
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby Katie White » 23 Nov 2013, 10:21

Hi Mike. That's what I thought but good idea to check before I change all my spec sheets. Im uploading one of the many problematic files now to my dropbox and I'l send the link. Its a very basic advert that I know has been done in ID. I am also uploading the pdf that comes out of Quark.
Katie White
 
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby Katie White » 23 Nov 2013, 10:26

Thank you very much :) I too am staggered by how many people don't use this FREE tool, it has saved me bags of time in the long run. The Preflight Droplet sounds amazing, I probably have to check between 40 - 60 files a day.
Katie White
 
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Pixelated PDFS from Quark 8 & 9 when using imported PDFs

Postby Katie White » 23 Nov 2013, 10:52

Just tried to create a droplet but had this message "You can't open the application "My Preflight" because PowerPC applications are no longer supported. Does this mean my computer isn't compatible for this now as it's not PowerPC and I need to get a new version of Acrobat? Im currently using Acrobat 9 Pro
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