Not another printing thread!

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by Larry Marshall, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. Larry Marshall

    Larry Marshall Member

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    Hi guys,

    Rookie here. I have, finally, managed to read pretty much everything associated with this site, including all the printing threads. I'm not so much having problems as needing some help to scratch my curiosity.

    Here's the deal. I have started buying some kits, partly cuz I want some kits and partly because I want to support this wonderful community. I'd like to talk here about Marek kits as well as a kit I bought from Paper-Aircraftwerks. Nothing I'm about to say disparages either of them as I have beautifully printed copies of the kits and I'm looking forward to building them.

    BUT, I've found some things that only some of you guys who have been printing this stuff with different software, for a number of years, might be able to address. I have the latest Adobe Reader, GIMP, Paintshop Pro v10, Adobe Illustrator v8 and Adobe Photoshop v5 (ancient).

    While there are numerous threads about Adobe Reader being a poor print device, I suspect these thread were referencing older versions as I can get superb results with v7 and it seems to adjust A4->A3 better than alternatives by checking the box that says to use the source format and then fitting to margins. In doing this I get a slightly larger result than if I simply have it fit to letter-size margins. This stuff seems true for both of the kit types.

    What's odd is that I can load the Marek kits into ANY Of the softwares above and print. The old version of Photoshop, however, produces a horrible print. What really struck me as odd, though is that if I load the Paper-Airwerks kit into the old Photoshop, the colors aren't right AND, some of the outlines become distorted. It seems to load just fine into Illustrator. Maybe that's a hint that the problem is a vector-handling problem. Just to confound my understanding, this kit won't load into GIMP or PSP at all.

    Anyone seen any of this stuff and understand what's up? As I said, I have good prints (slightly reduced from A4 (1:33)) of both kits so this isn't a 'how do I print it question. It just seems that there are differences in how the PDFs spin. I've checked the Airwerks file and it's not even locked so I can't understand why these problems won't read it. Looks like a great kit, though.

    Oh...do all North America people build A4-format kits just a bit small?

    Cheers --- Larry
  2. keith

    keith Member

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    Larry,
    what i understand is that the pdf format only works well on adobe software because it is an adobe format.
    3rd party software that converts the adobe format to it's own internal format doesn't always work because some items (like the gradient fills) aren't supported or are handled in a different way. Many programmers don't understand the full pdf format specification and don't usually support the format fully.
    The pdf files that contain images such as tiff's, jpg's and gif's have problems with the 'fit to page' print option, the resampling methods used on the old acrobat readers to resize the images weren't very good. which is why people choose to use 300dpi images and above, they resize better.

    PSP really doen't like pdf files, it needs a 3rd party plugin just to read them.
    Gimp uses an antiquated pdf format, i find it can't handle 50% of the files i give it.

    I think you will find that kits are designed using different software, if one is made using adobe illistrator it might load correctly into most software, whereas one made using acrobat distiller doesn't.
    Both kits will load and print from acrobat reader, which is all the designers ever require them to do.

    If you were meant to be allowed to edit them, the designers would provide their original files. Naughty person you :-D

    wouldn't the rest of the world build US letter format kits slighty small as well?

    hope this helps with your curiostity
    Keith - using custom image sizes to confuse everyone.
  3. Larry Marshall

    Larry Marshall Member

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    I know PDF more from a text transfer perspective and everything you say is consistent with my experience there. This is why I was surprised that the most distorted view of the file came from my older version of Photoshop. Clearly there have been some subtle changes in the PDF format over time.

    > older Acrobat readers to resize the images weren't very good. which is why people choose to use 300dpi images and above, they resize better.

    I've been impressed so far with how the new reader interprets the graphics.

    > PSP really doen't like pdf files, it needs a 3rd party plugin just to read them.

    <grin>...when I read this my reaction was "Huh? It works great! That was based on loading half a dozen PDFs and watching it display all pages nicely and printing them. But I decided to test a bit more given your comment and you're right; it fails completely on a bunch of PDFs I have. Guess I just got lucky.

    > I think you will find that kits are designed using different software, if one is made using adobe illistrator it might load correctly into most software, whereas one made using acrobat distiller doesn't.

    Ah...I should have thought about source differences.

    > Both kits will load and print from acrobat reader, which is all the designers ever require them to do.

    Yep, both work great that way and it suits me fine.

    > If you were meant to be allowed to edit them, the designers would provide their original files. Naughty person you :-D

    I neither sell or give away other people's intellectual property but when I buy some I figure I should be able to do whatever I darn well please with my copy. I can buy a car and repaint it; why not a card model :)

    > wouldn't the rest of the world build US letter format kits slighty small as well?

    Actually, I doubt it as A4 is longer than A3 so I should think that anything designed for A3 would fit on A4 full size but then I'm certainly not an expert in this area.

    > hope this helps with your curiostity

    Very much...thanks.

    Cheers --- Larry
  4. charliec

    charliec Active Member

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    If it is then you need to ask your paper supplier somes hard questions about
    making to standard sizes. A4 is defined by ISO standard to be exactly 1/2 of A3 - that's one of the strengths of A, B paper size standards.

    Regards,

    Charlie
  5. damraska

    damraska Member

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    This problem comes up often, going in both directions. A4 is too long for US letter, and US letter is too wide for A4.

    In the US, you can get around the problem by printing as A4 and feeding your printer legal sized cardstock, paper from a drawing tablet cut to size, or 12"x12" scrapbooking paper cut to size. Also, many designers now offer models that print correctly on both US letter and A4 buy restricting parts to a smaller area at the center of the page.

    If you do print a model at a larger or smaller size, make sure you print every page at the same percentage. Some printer/model pairs default to a different percentage for each page, based on how the designer arranged parts on the page. If not caught, this makes for a very unpleasant surprise.

    Many designers now put a ruler on each page so that you can confirm that all pages printed at the correct size.

    Good luck!

    -Doug
  6. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

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    Pretty much everybody feels that way, but leaving a model un-locked can cause the designer problems. Piracy, and jerks who put stuff on ebay without the designers knowledge or consent have come up in the past. Thus causing some to lock their designs.

    The best way the get around this is scan the original either book or print from your printer. Load the scanned model into whatever you want to use to re-color........PhotoShop, The GIMP, Corel Draw, Paint Shop Plus......etc and make your changes.

    OR........ you could email the designer and ask how to unlock the file and if you explain what your intentions are they might comply..........but they might not. But at least you have asked and maybe have found the reason for it being locked in the first place.

    john
  7. Larry Marshall

    Larry Marshall Member

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    I understand the dynamics and also feel that the belief that if it's easy to steal, it's ok is killing the potential to market intellectual property of any kind. The result will be less intellectual property available in the future.

    But I also understand that restricting a customer's ability to use the product has a long history of failing. One need only look at all of the software fiascos that have caused losses of market share, major support costs when people buy the product and it doesn't work on their machine, etc.

    I hear you, and that is an approach. Given the number of people producing kits, though, my approach is to buy from those who produce kits for customers, not pirates, as only by supporting those people will we have what we want. It's sort of the 'other side' of NOT buying/downloading from pirates.

    Cheers --- Larry