[FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

A forum for questions about all aspects of self-publishing.
Forum rules
Please start your post with a tag, for example FORMATTING. ISBN, SPARK, CREATESPACE,COPYRIGHT, etc.
Post Reply
ideabasket
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:49 am
Location: London, England

[FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by ideabasket » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:23 pm

Hi Guys,

I’m hoping you can help me solve a problem I’m having with Black and White illustrations in my book interior.

We commissioned illustrations for a book. The artist returned a PDF file with gorgeous black artwork, along with a new logo, also black. The background is transparent. I am able to open the files in any size using Photoshop and Bridge, which means the images are finished in the exact size before [inserting] into Word. So, no funny business there. The illustrations have a resolution of 500. Also, I save them as .PNG files to preserve data.

Let me give you details so this explanation makes better sense:

Software:
Word 2013
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
Photoshop CS6 (64bit)
Windows 7 Professional (64bit)

Preparation:
Before [inserting] the illustrations into Word, I made sure the image setting was set to:
Word Options> Advanced> Image, Size & Quality
[X] Do not compress images in file

Word 2013
After inserting the images (no drag/drop, etc.), we saved the Word document, then opened and closed it several times, to check that the image quality remained the same. At this point, everything looks great. The illustrations are sharp and black.

PDF
Unfortunately, it all goes to pot when we try to convert (or) print (or) create the PDF. The illustrations are blurred, gray, and pixelated in the PDF. Whereas, they are sharp and black in the Word document. The logo looks the worst, the text in it is unreadable.

Adobe Pro DC and Nitro
We’ve tried both Acrobat Pro DC and Nitro. Nitro actually did a better job, but not good enough.

Print Save Create
We tried: Print to PDF, Save As PDF, and Create PDF from the Acrobat Ribbon in Word.

Press Quality
We tried Press Quality (default) and Press Quality (Advanced Setting - Compression Off).

Illustrations / Not Photos
When looking for ‘Black and White’ information online, everything seems to be about photographs. How to convert color photos to Monochrome. Our illustrations are already black and white.

Photoshop
I’m wondering: Could the problem originate in Photoshop? Is there something about the image, that even though it looks amazing in Word, is incomprehensible to the PDF software? For example: When I open the original illustration (from a PDF file), Photoshop wants to open the image as RGB Color, 8 bit. Is this because of a setting the artist had in her software? Should a B&W illustration open as RGB? Is the problem stemming from how I’m creating the .PNG files? Should I be making them JPG instead? Should I get rid of the transparent background?

I am simply at a loss for what to try next. Shouldn’t this be easier? Ha!

I’m open to any suggestions and advice. We are behind schedule by an entire month with this mess. I’m getting worried. Help.

Cheers,
Deborah

David Wake
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:11 am

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by David Wake » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:10 am

It's a problem with Word.

TEST: Select the image in Word and save it to a .png image. Check that image's resolution in Photoshop. If it's still 500 dpi, then the image has kept its resolution in Word.

PROBLEM: I've discovered that various versions of Word compress images when generating the PDF and you can't do anything about it. Later versions are worse than earlier versions of Word.

SOLUTION: Download CutePDF. (See: http://www.cutepdf.com/.) Install this. It acts like a printer, but saves the output as a PDF. (Note: it takes seemingly forever before the dialog box pops up asking you for a filename.) I found, after a lot of pain and difficulty, that this did the trick.

User avatar
danwiz
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:29 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Contact:

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by danwiz » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:30 pm

Select the image in Word and save it to a .png image.
If you are talking about copy from Word (Ctrl C) and paste into Photoshop (Ctrl V) then it's going to be 72 dpi - screen resolution.

When you open a B/W image in Photoshop it should NOT open as RGB. I would make sure that the images are saved as B/W in Photoshop - that the color data is actually discarded. I would NEVER try and preserve any transparency. If the file you submit to CS contains any transparency at all, then CS is going to tell you that they had to flatten your PDF file and that you should carefully inspect it for changes that you are not satisfied with. Save your images as B/W JPG's, insert them into your manuscript and use Adobe Acrobat DC correctly and you'll get what you want.

Do NOT download CUTE PDF, it's a waste of time and space on your computer - Adobe Acrobat is the gold standard, you're not going to find anything better!
Dan'l, Moderator
Our Website http://danwiz.com
Our Book Titles http://danwiz.com/Pubs/Publications.php
Image

User avatar
Michelle
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:25 pm
Location: Canberra, Australia
Contact:

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by Michelle » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:51 pm

Avoid Word completely.

In Photoshop, make a template at the book's page dimensions, and create each page one at a time. Save each page as a Photoshop PDF.

Use Acrobat or Photoshop Merge to compile all the separate PDF pages into a single PDF page file.

Done!
Michelle (Forum Moderator)

Odyssey Publishing -- affordable editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Odyssey Books -- where books are an adventure. See our latest releases:

Image

David Wake
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:11 am

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by David Wake » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:40 am

As pointed out, don't copy into Photoshop by cut-and-paste. That will be a low resolution. Save-as the image to your desktop (or wherever), load that into Photoshop and check it's resolution. That ought to be the same resolution as it's stored in Word. It's a test to eliminate having added the image as low resolution. I doubt this is what's wrong.

'Avoid Word' is good advice, but we're stuck with it. And saving every page of a 500 page book separately - really?

I had the same problem as you have (I suspect), and CutePDF sorted it. It's worked every time created a properly resolute interior from Word. So, obviously, that's what I recommend.

ideabasket
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:49 am
Location: London, England

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by ideabasket » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:17 am

Hello!

Thanks so much for all the great advice.

David: We had already checked that the image in the Word document was the correct resolution. Yes, all good in Word. Thanks.

I’d read in several places about a problem with Word compressing images, however, I have also read that Word 2016 is an improvement on this. Which version do you use? We’re using 2013, but intend to upgrade next year. Perhaps we should consider moving that up to this year’s budget.

Danwiz: We have Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. You say “use Adobe Acrobat DC correctly and you’ll get what you want.” Could you expand on that please? What do you mean by ‘correctly’? I’m guessing the problem may be an incorrect setting.

I had wondered about the transparency. The originals were made so that they could be used easily in the digital version. I hadn’t considered that they need to be flattened for print, or that CS expects it. My fault, really, I should have anticipated that as the cover needs flattened. I shall redo a couple images, make sure they are converted from RGB to B&W, then flatten them, and see what we get. Also, you suggest making it JPG instead of PNG. Why is that? What about the loss in image data? Or is it because Acrobat will convert anyhow? Which does it better: Acrobat or Photoshop? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

Michelle: Thanks for suggesting this option. It was certainly not anything we had considered. Do you know of a tutorial anywhere that could give us more details? It would be too much of a learning curve at present, but we could definitely consider it in the future. I’m interested to learn more. Thanks.

Again, thank you all for coming to my rescue. I've been losing sleep over this problem, and needed to get some fresh ideas.

Cheers,
Deborah

User avatar
Michelle
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:25 pm
Location: Canberra, Australia
Contact:

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by Michelle » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:13 pm

If you can create an image in PS, you can create a page. Use half of the cover template to show margins and bleeds for left or right pages.

The open Acrobat. Under "Tools" choose "Create PDF". Then select "Multiple Files" and follow the prompts. It's super easy!
Michelle (Forum Moderator)

Odyssey Publishing -- affordable editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Odyssey Books -- where books are an adventure. See our latest releases:

Image

David Wake
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:11 am

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by David Wake » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:53 am

ideabasket wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:17 am

David: We had already checked that the image in the Word document was the correct resolution. Yes, all good in Word. Thanks.

I’d read in several places about a problem with Word compressing images, however, I have also read that Word 2016 is an improvement on this. Which version do you use? We’re using 2013, but intend to upgrade next year. Perhaps we should consider moving that up to this year’s budget.
I use Microsoft Office Home and Student 2016, so later versions don't do this properly. The day job has the same, but the Professional version and that's fine. You certainly don't want to fork out for a version that compresses images when making a PDF. CutePDF works fine, even when images are resized in Word.

ideabasket
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:49 am
Location: London, England

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by ideabasket » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:47 am

Thought I should post the resolution to this problem for anyone doing a search for answers at a later date. And to pose a final question.

Solution:
It really was as simple as converting to B&W in Photoshop and making sure all the images were FLAT. (Part of me wants to be super embarrassed for missing something so obvious, but honestly I'm too relieved to be anything other than happy!)

Seriously, I did several experiments with graytone, rgb color, black and white, jpg, png, tiff, etc., and the only difference in quality was whether or not the images were flattened, with transparency removed.

I reinserted all of the illustrations into Word, making sure not to accidentally move/resize them.

Printed to PDF from inside Word, selecting Adobe Acrobat DC as the printer. Double checked the settings were set to NOT compress, and document size was the same as the Word file. Basic settings.

Once the PDF was created, we inspected it on the screen, printed it out on the laser printer, and then uploaded it to Interior Review in CS. On the screen and on the printed pages -- the images are all beautiful.

And now on to the final question:

What experience do you all have with using the CS Interior Review program? The automatic inspection said everything looked fine and there were no problems or issues. When I go through the document in the app, it's lined up correctly, fonts all embedded properly, but the illustrations... well... they are a blur. Is that normal? Or did the CS processing just make a mess of all my hard work? And if so, any suggestions on what to do next?

Looking forward to your observations.

Cheers,
Deborah

walton
Site Admin
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:05 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ
Contact:

Re: [FORMATTING] B&W Illustrations (not photos)

Post by walton » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:10 pm

Several things, although you've solved the problem, so for general consumption, do not use PNG files. They are great for websites, etc. But lots of programs still have problems using them. From my point of view, it's easier to work with JPGs, the universal consumer file format, than PNG and worry. The issue, ultimately, is if your print-ready PDF is printable.

The IR is good for what it kind of does, but it is wanky. I would not rely on it, although using it as a quick check makes sense. Do not rely on the DigitalProofer nor the downloadable PDF proof. Only rely on the printed proof.

The IR is a monitor representation of what CS suggests it can print, and that your monitor must display. It cannot show you how your images will print. Usually when people complain about blurry images in the IR, it's simply that the representation failed: the print proof was fine. Not that CS can't mess things up, but making your images blurry isn't one I think they can do.
Walton

Bleeds , free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations forCreateSpace users. Typography free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary and type specimen pages. Free list of free PDF downloads.

Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests