Illustrator 10 File > PDF = Jaggy Hell

Miss Tiffany's picture

Hi Folks. The search isn't available on Adobe's site right now, in the User to User forums, and I'm in a pickle!!!

I've got an Illustrator 10 file. Some type as type, some type as outline, some basic vector shapes. No Transparency trickery. When I print it out of Illustrator all looks fine. When I export it as a PDF, vector hell. When I export it as Illustrator 10 or 8 EPS and drop that on distiller, vector hell. I should mention that the type as type looks fine, but the outline type (or the type that is type but has outlines) looks jaggy.

Ideas? This could earn you drinks or desert at ATypI or the next TypeCon.

Help me please Obi Wan.

adriano's picture

you can try to output/print a PS file (generic Adobe Postscript printer) and then creat the PDF with destiller.

andreas's picture

Have you checked the resolution / rendering settings of the filter/effects of Illustrator10/9. - 300 dpi? Depending on the rip 300/320 dpi should be nice. The other truth is, to avoid the usage of such effects on a printer without postscript level3 rip.

Personally speaking, these pixel effects are the stupist feature Adobe have added in the last years to Illustrator.

BTW. This is not an Illustrator support forum. ;-)

ideagent's picture

Tiffany: Is the problem with the printed version of your file or the PDF screen representation? Vectors do not display well in PDFs which may explain why your text looks fine, but the outlines do not.

ideagent's picture

Haha. Yes. That was my next recommendation!

.00's picture

In preferences you will find a "smooth line art" check box. Make sure its checked.

I don't think this is available on Acrobat earlier than v4.

kakaze's picture

James, that only applies to onscreen reproduction. She's having problems with the printed piece.

.00's picture

Sorry Tiffany,

The preference setting is in Acrobat.

Here are screen shots of both Acrobat 5 and 6 preferences where the smoothing is located

fonthausen's picture

Hi Tiffany, even if illustor or Indesign offers you the possibility of making PDFs, the best results are from using distiller. The safest results (for the industry and to be sure they'll probably work) is made with acrobat (distiller) 4.0.5, although I haven't tried 6.0 yet.


kakaze's picture

Acrobat 5 set up distiller as a printer. It also set up PDF Writer as a printer too, though PDF Writer seemed very crappy.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I should also mention that I tried the "flatten transparency" route and that didn't solve a single thing.

Miss Tiffany's picture

No. I'm one of those types that deleted Illustrator 9.

UPDATE: I'm pretty sure the problem lies within the "compress text and line art" function. When I saved it as a PDF, just now, turning that off and saving it as PDF 4 not 5, it printed smoothly. But, I don't trust Illustrators PDF features, so I'd still like to get this to work using distiller.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Tom -- Everyone -- First, thanks for the response.

Tom -- The problem is with the printed piece.

Everyone -- Acrobat 6 Professional is for smart people. Of which I'm obviously not included. :^(

Miss Tiffany's picture

As all of you were willing to discuss this with me, even if only momentarily, I thought I'd share my findings at the end of this "sadly painful and now much in need of a deep tissue message" day.

1) In Illustrator. "Save as PDF" is bad. 2) Printing in Illustrator, with Acrobat 6 Professional installed, choose Acrobat as your printer. This works, and works well.

The weirdness is beyond weird and far beyone twilight zone. But anyone that has ever worked with me knows that the "code of the west" doesn't always apply.

Thanks Jared & Joe for letting me use the forums for this.

Miss Tiffany's picture

James -- Thanks for the reply. But which preferences? Arobat's, Distiller's or Illustrator's? -- Tiffany

Miss Tiffany's picture

James -- Thanks for the info. I realized that you were meaning preview (after looking at your grabs). My curve flatness problem was occurring on the printed piece. And what's stranger is the fact that BJ didn't have the problem. So... Who knows! But thanks for your two bits, I was wondering where this pref was, and now I know. :-)

Miss Tiffany's picture

Hi Jacques -- With the NEW & IMPROVED Acrobat Professional they have set up a printer for the user. So when I print, I print to Acrobat, which uses Distiller. Pretty cool, actually. (Once I remembered it was there!!)

beejay's picture

Tiffany - can you save it as an eps, Illustrator 9.

Then open Ill. 9 (do you still have?) and output
the pdf from Ill. 9.

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