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PDF Proofing Comes of Age

(June 2007) posted on Thu Jun 07, 2007

The cost and scheduling benefits of adding PDF proofs to your production workflow.

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By Stephen Beals

* The size of the file: While it’s vital that a proof accurately represent what the final output will look like, the size of the proof file must be kept reasonable if it’s to be transmitted electronically. So here’s the problem: One of the things that makes a PDF small is that it usually has both raster and vector components. That is, the type is kept in the vector format until it is actually RIP’d; this keeps the file much smaller since you only need to define the outline (vector) of each text character rather than each and every raster dot. But if you are sending a proof, you want to show the file after it has been RIP’d. While a few workflows maintain the vector characters right up until the final imaging (such as the Adobe PDF Print Engine), most RIPs in production don’t. That means you must send either a very large file or a very low-resolution file. Most shops sending rasterized PDF files for proofing compromise by making the files high enough resolution to see the images at print resolution (perhaps 300 dpi)-but this means the text will also be 300 dpi. This also means the file sent as a proof cannot be edited since it is essentially an image with no editable text (of course, the original file still exists and can still be edited).