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Thread: Technical discussion: PDF vs. JPG

  1. #1
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    Technical discussion: PDF vs. JPG

    Let's get technical: PDF vs. JPG.

    My recent presentation of the Polk Salad Annie cover contained a download link for a pdf-file.

    Mark uttered the thought that the pdf-format might detain some people using this design. However, I chose the pdf-format deliberately, and here are my reasons.

    Usually, we upload jpg-files with resolutions varying from 150 to 300 dpi (200 dpi being most usual). However, since finding adequate pix in good resolution can become a real hazard sometimes, most of us are often forced to blow up pix (which always shows, if you have an eye for it).

    The pdf-fomat offers the possibility to combine pix with different resolutions, so that you don't have to resize high res pix to the highest possible resolution of the worst picture in the whole design.

    Moreover, and even more important, in pdf-files typefaces are embedded as vector graphics (or even editable text if you like) and are not pixelated, which makes small sized text illegible on covers with a resolution of 150 or 200 dpi. Thus, even sizes as low as 4 point remain crisp and sharp in pdf-files.

    I added a printing guide as a Read me-file to the download archive containing instructions how to convert the pdf- into a jpg-file. So, anybody having Adobe Photsoshop or some other powerful image software is still free to use the jpg-format.

    Let me know your thoughts about this.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unchained
    I think it comes down to how good someone?s printer is. PDF is nice if you got the opportunity to print professionally. For the average home printer 200 dpi JPG is more then enough, using a PDF at 300 dpi will hardly make a print look any better.
    Ron, that is certainly not the way it is. 200 dpi or 300 dpi make only little difference in offset printing, but modern inkjet printers (even 5-year old "homies") easily print up to more 1200 [u]real[/i] dpi and (many, many more).

    Quote Originally Posted by Unchained
    Plus working on the net, or uploading files on the net is best done in JPG files. Simply because it?s much quicker and takes less webspace
    I have to disagree again. If you know how to tune a pdf-file, it will be only little larger than the same files in jpg-format. When you use the same compression settings for images, the difference in size derives from the size of the embedded typefaces (or sub-groups thereof) and the file header. We are talking about some KB here, not more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unchained
    I do sometimes make some text in Illustrator, because of vector based text fonts but then save it as a jpg just to keep the fonts sharp.
    Well, if you create outlines from typefaces yourself in Illustrator, Freehand, InDesign or wherever, the font will lose its hinting, making the type appear slightly bolder and a bit clumsy. If typefaces are stored inside pdf-files, they will remain sharp and clean, without aliasing and corona effects that characterize jpg-files.
    Last edited by Manhattoe; 08-07-2005 at 06:52 AM.

  3. #3
    Viva Elvis! mn-designs's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Leusden, The Netherlands
    It maybe so that in pdf it all looks better, presented better...but most of the visitors of this and other sites just know how to print a cover in jpg format. maybe you can post your covers in both formats? By the way; nice discussion!! and a good looking cover you made here. I'm not that crazy with those dots going all over the place, i think it would even better if you made those dots in normal straight lines. And man what a lot off pictures you placed in this cover! Nice to see all those fantastic pictures, maybe a little too busy for my eyes, but still like this cover pretty much. I still think the on tour rehearsals cover is your best till now...very, very original!! But your designs are a good addition to the tcb-world site. It's only a shame that you, Mark, Ron and me are posting the most covers.
    It's funny that no designer made a cover for the DVD-audio 30 #1 hits dvd..
    or a alt. cover for the regular cd of this release. (i made one in the past, just a horrible

  4. #4
    Hi Christian,

    I accept (obviously) the versatility and professionalism of the .pdf format particularly over the .jpg - that's a given.

    However, to me, for non commercial use, a high quality, high resolution .jpg (of at least 200 dpi) prints to a pretty decent standard where even smaller text can remain legible (depending on the paper quality and print settings on the desktop printer used of course).

    Personally, I rarely print anyones alternate cover designs, but i still like to check out in detail the full size versions from those particular designers whos work I enjoy.

    While checking out full size .jpgs is a relatively fast process, I must confess to having found checking out, particularly your multi page Jacksonville cover, rather cumbersome and time consuming by comparison, and this more than anything prompted my enquiry as to why you were presenting your work in this manner.

    That said, it's your work and you must present it in the manner you decide upon best matches your requirements.

    The biggest mystery though, is why you went to the trouble of offering the 'PSA' covers in such a professional manner and yet presented them uncropped with certain elements still overlapping the edges. Perhaps you could clarify.

    'What, honey ? ..... one scarf for the balcony ?! ........... OK ........... gimme a baseball ! ............ there's no way unless you put a rock in it'.

    (Las Vegas - 7th December 1975)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinout-designs
    The biggest mystery though, is why you went to the trouble of offering the 'PSA' covers in such a professional manner and yet presented them uncropped with certain elements still overlapping the edges. Perhaps you could clarify.

    Maybe it's time to check which files have been uploaded at ep-tunes ...

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