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print quality, masks, rastering - Macromedia Freehand

I don't use FreeHand a whole lot, but I have 3 unrelated questions I am struggling with. 1) Masks - are there no masks in FreeHand? Anything like Fireworks? It would seem crazy to me if there isn't, but A search in the F1 help revealed nothing but imported graphics with Alpha channel. 2) rastering - it seems like many of the effects are rasterizing my vecotors. Even a basic transparency kills them. Why is this? Maybe the special effects, like blur and drop shadow makes sense, but transparency? Why? Also, is there a way to control at what resolution ...

  1. #1

    Default print quality, masks, rastering

    I don't use FreeHand a whole lot, but I have 3 unrelated questions I am
    struggling with.

    1) Masks - are there no masks in FreeHand? Anything like Fireworks? It would
    seem crazy to me if there isn't, but A search in the F1 help revealed nothing
    but imported graphics with Alpha channel.

    2) rastering - it seems like many of the effects are rasterizing my vecotors.
    Even a basic transparency kills them. Why is this? Maybe the special effects,
    like blur and drop shadow makes sense, but transparency? Why? Also, is there a
    way to control at what resolution the prevously vector paths get rasterized at?

    3) print quality - This is my main problem. I have a photo quality printer,
    but I cannot get my rasters in FH.MX to print out high quality. Changing the
    doent/printer DPI doesn't change anything. I have a couple photos, plus some
    vectors that have some filters(which makes them rasters? see above) and they
    also print out very grainy. What am I doing wrong?

    abeall Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    abeall wrote:
    > I don't use FreeHand a whole lot, but I have 3 unrelated questions I am
    > struggling with.
    >
    > 1) Masks - are there no masks in FreeHand? Anything like Fireworks? It would
    > seem crazy to me if there isn't, but A search in the F1 help revealed nothing
    > but imported graphics with Alpha channel.
    Draw a closed path where you want the items to be masked. Select the items
    you want to masked. Cut. Select the clipping path and Paste Inside.
    > 2) rastering - it seems like many of the effects are rasterizing my vecotors.
    > Even a basic transparency kills them. Why is this? Maybe the special effects,
    > like blur and drop shadow makes sense, but transparency? Why? Also, is there a
    > way to control at what resolution the prevously vector paths get rasterized
    > at?
    All of the Raster Effects rasterize your vectors, even those lying under the
    Raster Effect.

    Fill > Lens > Transparency does not rasterize vectors.
    > 3) print quality - This is my main problem. I have a photo quality printer,
    > but I cannot get my rasters in FH.MX to print out high quality. Changing the
    > doent/printer DPI doesn't change anything. I have a couple photos, plus
    > some
    > vectors that have some filters(which makes them rasters? see above) and they
    > also print out very grainy. What am I doing wrong?
    Set your Preferences > Redraw > 'Better but slower display' and Onscreen
    resolution to Full. You need to do this because for non-Postscript printers,
    FHMX sends the on-screen preview to the printer.

    In File > Doent Settings > Raster Effects settings, select a PPI
    appropriate for your printer. Usually 200 ppi is appropriate for a color
    photo inkjet. Check your printer doentation for the manufacturer's
    recommendation.

    Just for your info the doent/printer DPI settings is for Postscript
    output. It controls the number of steps in a gradient and newly constructed
    blend.

    Judy Arndt

    Judy Arndt Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Thanks alot.

    I get the raster effects setting, and the DPI only for PostScript(which I do
    not have), but i don't quite follow the onscreen resolution. I set everything
    to what you said('Better but slower display' was already set, and Onscreen was
    at High, so I notched it up to Full) but the final print was exactly the same.
    Absolutely no increase in quality.

    I should mention I figured out the Raster Effect Setting ealier, and that
    fixed my effected vectors, but it's my imported PNG files that are a big
    problem. They are high resolution photgraphs(wich have been touched up and
    exported with Alpha channel) but they simply won't print out at the right
    resolution. They definately aren't printing out all the pixels they contain,
    and they aren't printing out at the Raster Effect Setting either, that's for
    sure. So where do I define what it prints out as?

    TIA

    abeall Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Okay, here's a scenario:
    I have a 3"x2" 400dpi PNG.
    How do I print it it out(3"x4" 400dpi) in FreeHand MX
    1) On a normal DPI deskjet printer
    2) On a postscript printer

    TIA
    abeall Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    mistake: inches should be the same.
    abeall Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    What? Is there no way to do this? I would REALLY appreciate an answer.
    abeall Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    abeall,

    1.Masking-in freehand this is called "paste inside". It is easy to do and is
    vastly superior to any other application that I can think. Try looking at the
    Freehand Help menu for more on this.

    2. Rastering- Yes all of the new raster effects, they are well...rasters. The
    application generates them on the fly and keeps them live. As you change their
    vectors the rasters are automatically updated. Transparencies need not be
    rasters just draw an object, go to the objects panel and select lens fill.
    Lens fills allow you to make transparent objects and still keep them vector.
    Beware of overusing this in complex setting as you can create things that will
    be impossible to print. (I have done so on a few occasions)

    3. Print Quality-each time you create a new doent you have to specify at
    what resolution your raster effects will be generated. This resolution can be
    set in the File>Doents Settings>Raster Effects settings. The higher the
    resolution the application has to generate on the fly, the harder the
    performance hit. It would be nice if you could set and forget this resolution
    but MM in its infinite wisdom chose to make us set it again and again...thanks
    MM.

    Now as far as scaling an existing imported piece of raster artwork and keeping
    its own resolution set to 400dpi...well that cannot be done in a vector
    application (as far as I know). By the nature of raster artwork the more you
    scale it up in size the lower its resolution is going to be. You can easily
    scale the artwork in Freehand, by a variety of simple methods, but its
    resolution will likewise scale inversely. Make sure that you set your prefs to
    what Judy suggested to be able to get the maximum picture quality to your
    printer.

    Good luck,
    Pappy

    Pappy Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Thank-you Pappy!

    1) Paste inside. Ok, that's good - I knew there had to be something like that.

    2) Perfect, Lens fill is what I needed; thanks.

    3) You're right, scaling up a bitmap(in any program) will cause each pixel to
    multiply in size, creating worse resolution. Bitmaps scaled down also can cause
    problems. However, the issue I'm having is not about scaling a bitmap, it's
    simply a problem with print quality. Perhaps my printer(not a PostScript) is
    simply not communicating with FH properly, so my problem should have been
    solved by now, but think about this:

    I have an imported PNG. No scaling done. I CANNOT get the print DPI for the
    PNG to change, no matter what settings I mess with. Raster Effects Setting
    doesn't change it, Doent DPI doesn't change it, print DPI doesn't change it,
    nothing does. Everything else I can change(vectors with raster effects),
    imported PNGs I cannot. The PNG has a much higher number of pixels then are
    getting printed. In other words, it's printing a 4"x3" 400dpi PNG as4"x3"
    75dpi. Why is this? My printer is a good photo quality deskjet, but it's still
    not a PostScript(which shouldn't matter with a raster graphic?). Maybe I'm just
    out of luck.

    abeall Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    I hate to reply to my own post AGAIN, but I'm getting pretty desperate here.
    I'm about ready to ditch FH for print publishing(it's still a nice vector
    creation tool).

    Is there a way to have FH print out an imported bitmap at a high(normal)
    resolution/dpi? I can't imagine a publishing program can't do that.

    abeall Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    You mentioned in one post that you are trying to print PNG files that have
    alpha channels.

    I have no experience printing PNG (Portable Network Graphic) files so can't
    offer advice except to say that I believe FHMX will rasterize any image with
    an alpha channel before exporting or printing. If the Raster Effects Setting
    is lower than the real image resolution, then the image detail will be
    reduced.

    Are you sure your printer can display the detail in a 400 ppi image? Most
    desktop color inkjets can resolve detail at a maximum of about 200 ppi.

    Postscript printing is most reliable with a plain TIFF file, masking done by
    a vector clipping path built in FH.

    Judy Arndt


    abeall wrote:
    > I hate to reply to my own post AGAIN, but I'm getting pretty desperate here.
    > I'm about ready to ditch FH for print publishing(it's still a nice vector
    > creation tool).
    >
    > Is there a way to have FH print out an imported bitmap at a high(normal)
    > resolution/dpi? I can't imagine a publishing program can't do that.
    >
    Judy Arndt Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Thank-you Judy, that gives me some ideas of possible solutions. Again, I am not
    using a PostScript printer, (is that what ppi is?) but my printer can print out
    4800dpi, so 300dpi is definately not too much.

    I will try using TIFFs with FH masks(incidently, I exported some paths from FH
    into FW to create the masks, so that's to say I have the paths to clip in FH
    already, thankfully) and see if that does anything different for me.

    Again, the issue is that the Raster Effect Setting is for some reason not
    affecting the PNG at all, although it does affect the other rasterized stuff.
    Since it none of the DPI options I've found(doent DPI, printer setup DPI,
    Raster Effect Setting DPI)have any affect on the imported PNG at all, I'm
    guessing that it is a issue with the image.

    Thanks a bunch, I really hope I can get this to work in FH.

    abeall Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Raster image PPI is 'pixels per inch'.

    Printer DPI is the number of 'dots per inch' of toner or ink that the
    printer uses to print an image.

    A color inkjet printer that optimizes to 4800 dpi is probably using internal
    software to boost 1200 dpi output. Four ink colors at 300 dpi each would
    give you 1200 dpi (4 x 300 = 1200).

    PPI and DPI are not interchangeable terms.

    Read your printer manual to find out the recommended PPI (pixels per inch)
    when printing raster images.

    Judy Arndt


    abeall wrote:
    > Thank-you Judy, that gives me some ideas of possible solutions. Again, I am
    > not
    > using a PostScript printer, (is that what ppi is?) but my printer can print
    > out
    > 4800dpi, so 300dpi is definately not too much.
    >
    > I will try using TIFFs with FH masks(incidently, I exported some paths from FH
    > into FW to create the masks, so that's to say I have the paths to clip in FH
    > already, thankfully) and see if that does anything different for me.
    >
    > Again, the issue is that the Raster Effect Setting is for some reason not
    > affecting the PNG at all, although it does affect the other rasterized stuff.
    > Since it none of the DPI options I've found(doent DPI, printer setup DPI,
    > Raster Effect Setting DPI)have any affect on the imported PNG at all, I'm
    > guessing that it is a issue with the image.
    >
    > Thanks a bunch, I really hope I can get this to work in FH.
    >
    Judy Arndt Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Well, TIFF and other formats did not change quality at all. I think I'm going
    to have to work in something else.

    FreeHand just won't print out images right.

    Here's what i know:
    1) My printer can print out fine high dpi/ppi raster images, I do it all the
    time.
    2) Images in FreeHand won't print out at even a decent dpi(or ppi)

    abeall Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering


    Please answer these questions:

    1. What printer are you printing to? Are you using the latest printer driver
    available from the manufacturer?

    2. What is your Platform/OS?

    3. What is your FHMX Preference for Redraw > On Screen Resolution (It should
    be set to 'Full'.)

    4. What is your Raster Effects Setting?

    5. What is your Printer Resolution as set in the Doent Panel?

    6. Are you very sure the image is an uncompressed TIFF? (If it is an EPS,
    only the lo-res preview will print to a non-Postscript printer.)

    7. Are you printing a landscape format page (wider than tall)?

    Judy Arndt



    abeall wrote:
    > Well, TIFF and other formats did not change quality at all. I think I'm going
    > to have to work in something else.
    >
    > FreeHand just won't print out images right.
    >
    > Here's what i know:
    > 1) My printer can print out fine high dpi/ppi raster images, I do it all the
    > time.
    > 2) Images in FreeHand won't print out at even a decent dpi(or ppi)
    >
    Judy Arndt Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    "Images in FreeHand won't print out at even a decent dpi(or ppi)"

    Not true in my experience. I design in FH routinely and I have no trouble
    printing doents with linked or embedded raster files, at high resolution; I
    desiged several commercial software packages using FH exclusively, from concept
    to film. I find the .tiff format to be most trouble-free - I avoid everything
    else as much as possible.

    Another thing. You describe FH as a publishing program. In no way would I
    consider it as such. It is a drawing app, with lots of bells and whistles
    tacked on. It does offer some relatively robust page layout options but it is
    not a professional app for publishers. You can get away with modest
    short-length doents but that's about it. You will quickly run into some
    vexing problems if you think FH can serve as a publishing tool. As a 2D drawing
    tool for designing logos and doing illustrations, it rocks. I also use it as a
    page layout app for single-page doents or fairly short docs - the longest
    thing I ever did in FH was a television series bible - 50-odd pages. It worked
    admirably enough but I would sooner do such a doent in InDesign. No
    auto-numbering, awkward page sorting, no text-string un-linking... primitive
    font display - there's lots of drawbacks to FH in this regard.

    Bottom line: use an app for its strengths. Anyway, hope you stick with
    FreeHand. It's a great app.

    maxman23 Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    I'm sorry, what I meant was I cannot get FW to print out images properly on my
    my printer, not that FW is incapable of printing out high-res images(that would
    be ridiculous of course.) I really like FH in alot of ways, but can't use it
    for this type of thing(brochure design) if I can't get it to print images
    right. I'll still use it for illustrations and general vector creation.

    To answer the question:
    1) hp photosmart 7150. and you're right, it is 4800-optimized(1200x1200 from
    computer)

    2) Athlon/XP

    3) Yes; [url]http://www.media.heraldic.us/flashfiles/redraw.gif[/url]
    [L=link]http://www.media.heraldic.us/flashfiles/redraw.gif[/L] .

    4) 300ppi w/ optimal CMYK rendering

    5) as set in the doent panel? 300dpi

    6) I exported from FW as a TIFF 32 with blank Matte. So I'm not 100 percent
    sure since I never checked a "uncompressed" box or anything, and the FW
    doentation didnt exactly say besides "TIFFs are good for storing bitmaps for
    printing" What exactly is EPS?

    7) I've been doing both, actually. Neither produce different results.

    For what it's worth, it looks like the number of pixels in the printed
    doent is the same as the number of pixels I can see on my computer monitor
    when zoomed at 100 percent.

    abeall Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Oops; when I said 'FW' the first two times, I meant FH, or FreeHand MX.
    abeall Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: print quality, masks, rastering

    Hmm, well, the deadline is finally approaching, and I still can't get this to work, so I need to take the project to another app. I would still love to figure it out for future use though.
    abeall Guest

  19. #19

    Default one step forward....

    alright, a spark of hope: i got a 8-bit TIF to print out full res! So
    exciting....

    First, the only program I own that I KNOW will save an image as a completely
    uncompressed TIF is discreet 3Dstudio MAX, and it only applies to 8-bit TIFs,
    16 is compressed with LogL, and 32 with LogLUV(both of which won't even import
    to FH).

    So now I need to figure out how to take my Fireworks PNG and make it an
    uncompressed TIFF. Is there a way to do that in FireWorks? All TIFF exporting
    compresses it(evident by file size and the fact it doesn't print correctly) and
    the doentation doesn't say much about it. I'll post it the FW forum, but is
    there a neat little program out there that can do this, if FW can't?

    Thanks alot for all the advice.

    abeall Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: one step forward....

    abeall;
    FW seems to export only lzw compressed tiffs. I prefer fw for web/screen
    design work, but use photoshop for much photo retouching and print. If you
    don't have another image editor, there are quite a few freeware/shareware
    conversion tools available... -Tom Unger


    Tom Unger Guest

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