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How does hi-res printing of Raster Effects look? - Macromedia Freehand

I am intriqued with some of the visual possibilities of Raster Effects but I have been warned that they may not print well. Does anyone have experience with sending Raster Effects to commercial printer at 300 dpi? I am asking for comments on quality of image, tips for success and printing problems encountered. TIA dp...

  1. #1

    Default How does hi-res printing of Raster Effects look?

    I am intriqued with some of the visual possibilities of Raster
    Effects but I have been warned that they may not print well.

    Does anyone have experience with sending Raster Effects to
    commercial printer at 300 dpi? I am asking for comments on
    quality of image, tips for success and printing problems encountered.

    TIA

    dp
    D. Plank Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: How does hi-res printing of Raster Effects look?

    D. Plank,

    I have used raster effects for a goodly number of offset printing jobs and
    have met with mixed success. First let me say, if Macromedia can get over its
    RGB fixation, and if they can get 300dpi raster effects to redraw in a timely
    manner they will really have something to write home about. Raster effects
    could potentially be the greatest thing since sliced bread but, like many
    things that MM gets its hands on, the bread is only half baked.

    Ok, lets see how to begin with my warnings and still leave some shred of hope
    for you to actually want to try raster effects for yourself....hmmmm

    1. Raster effects do all of their calculations in RGB color mode and usually
    this is a naughty thing to do for offset printing. If you click on the optimal
    CMYK rendering button in the raster effects settings window you will be able to
    match any color pretty well...as long as it doesnt have black in it. Thats
    right...if it doesnt have black in it. The RGB transmogrification tends to
    split all of the CMYK colors in the affected area into RGB and then into CMY(no
    K) at the print.

    So...if you are using raster effect over areas that have little or no black in
    them you will have more success having that area match the rest of your
    illustration. Areas with black in them that you use raster effects over will
    look washed out or hue shifted because of the incorrect number twaddling of the
    RGB converter.

    2. Raster effects really bog down the redraw of the doent. If used
    sparingly you can even view them at 300dpi without too much of a problem but I
    would recommend using them at 72 dpi and then only converting to 300dpi for
    sending the file to the printer.

    You might want to tell the printer about this because I have had files take
    20min. to open while the raster effect was being rendered, and the printer was
    pretty miffed since they thought that the problem was on their end. After a
    call or two, I set them straight..."No" I said, " the problem is with the bozo
    who programmed the dang feature" We all laughed and then he said he would have
    to charge me for the extra production time and then he laughed...I did not.

    A word of note here. You can separate the attribues of a raster image. This
    will make the raster effect into what is essentially an imported RGB image.
    The effect may not be live anymore, but you will have a transparency that
    doesnt bog you or the printer down as much. I plan on trying this method for
    sending files to the printer soon so I cannot tell you if this method is
    actually any better.

    3. Scaling raster effects is a royal pain in the . Anything like a
    gaussian blur that has a user entered radius of effect, that radius of blur
    will not change as the effect is scaled up and down. You will have to go in
    and change it yourself to suit the new size parameters. This has become a real
    pain since our advertising department wants all images for our catalogue at
    25%. So, either I have to scale my images in Freehand (individually scaling
    raster effects) or export the files to eps, opening and scaling them in
    Photoshop. I suppose MM has a good reason for this behavior, but I have not
    really heard one.

    4. Printing raster effects can be slow and painful even if you are not
    printing a page with a raster effect on it. Imagine that you are doing a 10
    page booklet and that only one of the pages has raster effects on it. All of
    the rasters will have to be rendered to print before the doent will spit out
    any of the pages in the doent. So even if you just want to print out the
    text on the last page, you will have to wait for the 12 raster effects you used
    on the cover to be rendered in the print process before the printer can print
    what you want. "Whaaaa?" I hear you say....but thats the truth.

    These are just a few of the problems that I have encountered with raster
    effects...still, I use them. There are some tasks that are so heinous or even
    impossible to do in a traditional vector drawn way, that it is still worth it
    to use raster effects. I have certainly curtailed any over use of these
    effects but they are too easy to use, too powerful, and too quick to enact for
    me to give up on them entirely.

    Good luck,
    Pappy

    Pappy Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: How does hi-res printing of Raster Effects look?

    Pappy

    Thanks for the in-depth reply. I did some messing around. Found
    you were right, the effects are slooooowwwwww. I want to use the
    effects as background art so I didn't want them to be a problem.

    What I ended up doing was create the effect, export it as eps,
    open it in Photoshop as 300 dpi, converted it to bit map art at
    1200 dip, imported it back into FH, did a trace. Whew. It was
    kinda' a pain, but now I have a nice effect as art.

    Like you, I believe that with a little more programming effort,
    FH would rule the print world.

    dp

    Pappy wrote:
    > D. Plank,
    >
    > I have used raster effects for a goodly number of offset printing jobs and
    > have met with mixed success. First let me say, if Macromedia can get over its
    > RGB fixation, and if they can get 300dpi raster effects to redraw in a timely
    > manner they will really have something to write home about. Raster effects
    > could potentially be the greatest thing since sliced bread but, like many
    > things that MM gets its hands on, the bread is only half baked.
    >
    > Ok, lets see how to begin with my warnings and still leave some shred of hope
    > for you to actually want to try raster effects for yourself....hmmmm
    >
    > 1. Raster effects do all of their calculations in RGB color mode and usually
    > this is a naughty thing to do for offset printing. If you click on the optimal
    > CMYK rendering button in the raster effects settings window you will be able to
    > match any color pretty well...as long as it doesnt have black in it. Thats
    > right...if it doesnt have black in it. The RGB transmogrification tends to
    > split all of the CMYK colors in the affected area into RGB and then into CMY(no
    > K) at the print.
    >
    > So...if you are using raster effect over areas that have little or no black in
    > them you will have more success having that area match the rest of your
    > illustration. Areas with black in them that you use raster effects over will
    > look washed out or hue shifted because of the incorrect number twaddling of the
    > RGB converter.
    >
    > 2. Raster effects really bog down the redraw of the doent. If used
    > sparingly you can even view them at 300dpi without too much of a problem but I
    > would recommend using them at 72 dpi and then only converting to 300dpi for
    > sending the file to the printer.
    >
    > You might want to tell the printer about this because I have had files take
    > 20min. to open while the raster effect was being rendered, and the printer was
    > pretty miffed since they thought that the problem was on their end. After a
    > call or two, I set them straight..."No" I said, " the problem is with the bozo
    > who programmed the dang feature" We all laughed and then he said he would have
    > to charge me for the extra production time and then he laughed...I did not.
    >
    > A word of note here. You can separate the attribues of a raster image. This
    > will make the raster effect into what is essentially an imported RGB image.
    > The effect may not be live anymore, but you will have a transparency that
    > doesnt bog you or the printer down as much. I plan on trying this method for
    > sending files to the printer soon so I cannot tell you if this method is
    > actually any better.
    >
    > 3. Scaling raster effects is a royal pain in the . Anything like a
    > gaussian blur that has a user entered radius of effect, that radius of blur
    > will not change as the effect is scaled up and down. You will have to go in
    > and change it yourself to suit the new size parameters. This has become a real
    > pain since our advertising department wants all images for our catalogue at
    > 25%. So, either I have to scale my images in Freehand (individually scaling
    > raster effects) or export the files to eps, opening and scaling them in
    > Photoshop. I suppose MM has a good reason for this behavior, but I have not
    > really heard one.
    >
    > 4. Printing raster effects can be slow and painful even if you are not
    > printing a page with a raster effect on it. Imagine that you are doing a 10
    > page booklet and that only one of the pages has raster effects on it. All of
    > the rasters will have to be rendered to print before the doent will spit out
    > any of the pages in the doent. So even if you just want to print out the
    > text on the last page, you will have to wait for the 12 raster effects you used
    > on the cover to be rendered in the print process before the printer can print
    > what you want. "Whaaaa?" I hear you say....but thats the truth.
    >
    > These are just a few of the problems that I have encountered with raster
    > effects...still, I use them. There are some tasks that are so heinous or even
    > impossible to do in a traditional vector drawn way, that it is still worth it
    > to use raster effects. I have certainly curtailed any over use of these
    > effects but they are too easy to use, too powerful, and too quick to enact for
    > me to give up on them entirely.
    >
    > Good luck,
    > Pappy
    >
    D. Plank Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: How does hi-res printing of Raster Effects look?

    Whenever I have used Raster Effects I have worked on them at 72dpi, finally
    converting them to 300dpi before printing as a PDF to send to the printer. This
    saves the printer the slow redraw, RIP time and charges.

    I have found a really good tip for achieving raster or layer effects with type
    or vectors using Photoshop files saved as PDFs. Here it is;

    ==========================
    Why Photoshop PDFs Rule
    ==========================

    Most designers are aware that for the past few years, Photoshop has had the
    ability to keep track of vector data (crisp PostScript paths for live text and
    shapes) as well as raster data (pixels from regular paint layers) in the same
    file. When you print your layered .psd file from Photoshop, it sends the vector
    info along with the raster info to your printer, resulting in sharp type even
    at very small sizes.

    Did you know the same thing is true of Photoshop PDFs? Even after being being
    imported into another program and printed/exported from there?

    Photoshop has no other cross-application/platform format that maintains the
    vector data in layers. Not even its own native format, .psd, can maintain
    vector data when the .psd is printed or exported from a page layout program.

    Try it and see. Create a Photoshop file and add some live type on top of a
    paint layer. Don't rasterize or flatten the type. Save one version of the
    layered file in the native Photoshop (.psd) format, then do a Save As, choosing
    the .tif format, and finally, one more Save As, this time choosing "Photoshop
    PDF" format. Be sure to turn on "Include Vector Data" in the Photoshop PDF
    options dialog, of course.

    Place/import these images into a new, blank InDesign or QuarkXPress v6 file.
    (InDesign can place all three, Quark 6 will be able to import the PDF and the
    ..tiff, not the .psd.) Then print your file from that program to a PostScript
    printer or export the file to PDF format.

    Look at the type with a loupe in the print out, or open the exported PDF in
    Acrobat or Reader and zoom in to the edges of the type in each placed image. If
    you're using Acrobat 6, the Loupe zoom tool is perfect for this.

    You'll find that the type in the imported Photoshop PDF image is as crisp and
    clear as can be; all the other formats show the type has been rasterized:
    Blurry, anti-aliased, pixellated edges. The rasterization takes place when the
    layout file goes through the PostScripting process, but apparently, the type
    and vector shape layers in the Photoshop PDF are impervious to rasterization.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find the type outlines even survived their trip
    through "Jaws" -- Quark 6's licensed Export to PDF function -- which can only
    create flattened PDF 1.3 files.

    I tried breaking the Photoshop PDF's format's back: I added layer effects to
    the type layer in Photoshop. I overlaid blocks of color, set to 50% opacity,
    over some of the PDF text in InDesign. I tried making the placed PDF itself 20%
    opaque (again in InDesign). I did all three at once; but nothing I did resulted
    in rasterized type at output. Crisp outlines always. Amazing.

    Written by Anne-Marie "HerGeekness" Concepcion

    To subscribe to DesignGeek or read archived issues, go to its home on Seneca's
    site:
    [url]http://www.senecadesign.com/tips-pubs/designgeek.html[/url]

    ? 2004 Seneca Design & Training, Inc.

    papacino Guest

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