re-interepreting PDF/PS/PRN/EPS… tip toe through the minefield

Written by Jeff Harrison
March 14, 2008

unfortunately one of the major challenges of working with PDF/PS/PRN/EPS is that when re-interepreting any of them, no matter what software you use, there are no guarantees of 100% perfection. It’s frightening, but true. You have no control over how those files were generated before being given to you. That’s why I insist my clients sign off on all conversions of this nature.It’s no wonder that some production staff throw up their hands out of lack of time or patience and simply save out of Acrobat at 300 DPI for color files, 600 DPI for grayscale as rasterized images. The perfect sharpness of vector shapes and text is gone, but it’s WYSIWYG at least. And that can prevent lawsuits, missing critical elements, deadlines, whatever.So, it’s a minefield.The bottom line… What makes most sense in 2008? Fighting with a file for 30 – 60 min trying to:1. preserve clarity of vector/fonts, the whole while nervous something may be missing 2. reducing file size – relative to the rasterized version – in order to save 30 seconds of hi-speed upload time3. Dealing with transparencies, slivered bitmaps, inverted or flipped images, etc etc…
It depends on the time available and the technical interest/challenge for the designer of dealing with such files.I applaud Corel and other vendors such Adobe themselves for their best efforts in reverse engineering PDF/PS/PRN/EPS files. But IMO the users need to be aware of the grave possibilities for negative consequences.A. Missing “i’s” in a junior school bakesale flyer – 200 copies. Nobody dies. But it still sucks.
B. Missing “i’s” in a major City’s newspaper ad – 300,000 copies. Someone’s head will roll. Critical deadline for annual promotion missed… ad cost was enormous. Reputation of pre-press tech becomes lower than a snake’s belt buckle.

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Jeff Harrison

Jeff Harrison is a media "Jack-of-all-trades", familiar with most of the major media applications on the Windows platform. Whether it's 2D/print, 3D, audio, video, or web-related - he's working on mastering everything that comes his way. He's a past Alpha and Beta tester for Corel, and has instructed students from all over the world. He runs the popular site, the #1 place for CorelDRAW macros. Also check out his youtube page, and his gallery at

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