Digilabs Technologies Blog

Archive for July 2009

In the  previous posts we spoke about  image resolution, scaling, and graphics, and how a flat PDF file, or a raster PDF, can result in reduction in quality of the final printed page. However, this is actually the small part. There are more.

When you raster all the page to a single image, it all blends together. Once it’s blended together, it is pretty hard to break it back into pieces. (Okay, I say pretty hard and not impossible just for the chance that some kid in Silicon Vally (or Bangalore, whatever)) is working in his garage on this next big thing). I think there is a say about how much easier is it to break an egg than to put it back together. This should not come as a surprise. This rhyme, printed on 1810, with origins in the 15tn century, already said it all.

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king’s horses,
    And all the king’s men,
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

So, what does that have to do with your PDF’s you ask? allot.

Lets say you are a professional lab. You charge premium prices and provide top notch work. You have a person on staff that actually looks at the files before you print them. Now, this guy comes to you and says something like that. “Hey Sara, I got here this book from our customer. I see a problem in the book, what should I do”. Well, if your file is a raster PDF there’s not to much you can do. However, if it is a vector PDF there is allot you can do.

You can, for example, open the file in Adobe Acrobat Professional (or probably any other PDF editing tools) and actually edit the file. You can delete this empty image that was left in by mistake. Or move the text somewhat from the edge of the page if needed. Even delete the text and add new one to fix a typo. Or, you can open an image in PhotoShop to fix its color gamma if needed. Don’t get me wrong. Not that you want or need to fix every job, but when the need arises, wouldn’t you like to be able to do it.

But what if you are a big printer. You don’t inspect every file and opening a file in PhotoShop sounds like a nightmare? Well, there are products out there that will read PDF files (as well as image files) and automatically enhance there images. They can produce magic, from color correction, white balancing to sharpening and noise reduction. They have it all.

Products from HP Indigo, XEROX, KODAK, Athentech, and there are probably few more I failed to mention. All those solutions can improve your printed output quality while integrating in an automated work flow. You will not need to look or touch the files in order to get better print quality (and more satisfied customers). The key, however, is the ability to look at the individual images and enhance them individually. Working on a full page can be useful for noise reduction, but that’s about it.

So, a vector PDF gives you smaller files, higher quality, and the ability to enhance and fix your output later. So, you ask, why would anyone generate non vector PDF’s? Well, you want to know why? Because its easier! at least for the programmers. Do you really willing to accept this as valid reason?