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Scribus => Beginner Talk => Topic started by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 05:49:25 am

Title: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 05:49:25 am
I am very new to Scribus - to DTP software generally. I've installed both Scribus 1.4.2 and Indesign CS6 and I'm evaluating them for a simple project. Scribus wins on cost and ease of use, while InDesign wins on some features that may not be necessary for my project, but has a high cost.

InDesign will allow me to place  a pdf file image with transparent background in a frame on a layer above a background layer and the background layer will show through my images background transparency, which is what I want.

Scribus appears - unless I've missed something - to not work with background transparency in pdf images but replaces the transparency with a white background.

I can get around this limitation in Scribus by saving my images in png format, but I have a lot of them and would like to work with my pdfs.

Is this something Scribus cannot do, or am I missing something?
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 24, 2013, 10:29:48 am
Transparency is not supported by all versions of the PDF format.

InDesign might use a transparency flattener to "simulate" transparency in PDF versions that do not support it. Scribus does not yet include a flattener (someone will have to write one).

The solution would be to use a "higher" PDF version (I think 1.4 supports transparency, at least 1.5 does).
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 12:48:11 pm
Thanks for your reply.

I've been using PDF 1.4. The files are created in Photoshop CS5. Saving as PDF 1.5  produces the same result. Background transparency that InDesign can see but that Scribus does not.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 24, 2013, 04:02:53 pm
What are you using to view the PDF? You should use Adobe Reader, because that is the only PDF viewer that is fully compliant with the PDF specification.


Oh, wait, sorry, I didn't read your original post right. You are embedding PDF:s in your document? The embedding of PDF is an experimental feature, it might not always work as expected.

Are you sure that the frame containing the PDF is set to have a transparent background? I don't have any PDF that I know has transparency, so I can not test myself.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 04:31:25 pm
Oh yes, the images definitely have transparent backgrounds. I made them. They are made with Photoshop: Save As -> PDF. You can do the same thing with GIMP I imagine (though I've never used it)

InDesign works with them just fine.

The frames in the Scribus document I am inserting them into have transparent backgrounds, and are on a transparent layer that is one level above a base background layer with some border images on it.

If I convert them to .png images Scribus will work with them just fine too - but if i insert them into the frames as pdf's the transparent background in them turns white.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 24, 2013, 06:47:12 pm
But if you have the images in Photoshop, why do you save them as PDF? As far as I understand Scribus can even import Photoshop bitmap images (.psd?).

http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Help:Manual_Importpsd

PDF is intended as a final format, using it as an intermediate format is asking for trouble. And saving bitmap images into a PDF for importing into Scribus is IMO even stupid. It just adds overhead, because internally in the PDF it will be store as a bitmap image anyway. So you get a PDF "intro" plus your bitmap instead of just the bitmap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format#Raster_images

I know that JPEG doesn't support transparency but TIFF and PNG to.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 06:53:09 pm
Many printers use InDesign and prefer pdf images. Up till now my printer has been doing layouts for me, but I am switching printers, want to do my own layouts, and would like to continue using my pdf images because I have so many of them, as I mentioned in my first comment.

Bitmap images are raster - pixel based - and very low quality for printing, as are jpeg and other formats.

Using pdf images is very common for high quality printing. They can be raster or vector - vector images are preferable for print quality output.

This is beside the point of what I'm after, which is to find a way to use the pdf images without buying InDesign.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 24, 2013, 07:11:15 pm
Problably Scribus can not handle transparency in PDF, so your choice is to use TIFF or buy Indesign. I know what my choice would be.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 07:17:02 pm
Your choice may be fine for you, but is also beside the point. I wasn't looking for your choice of what to do, but how to do something else.

I may have no choice but to convert all my images to png or another format (to use Scribus) which would take me days if not weeks, or buy InDesign.

If can avoid the expense of InDesign I would like to, although I'd prefer using software that works for me, rather than software that I would be "working for".

Also, photoshop pdf's contain layers editable with photoshop, whereas converting to other formats like png or others merges layers and increases the time needed to edit images as they would need to be recreated from the photoshop files anyway.

Scribus would have a lot more users if it can be shown to equal the power and usability of InDesign. "probably" not is not an answer but an opinion. I was hoping for discussion with someone who has extensive experience with Scribus and pdf images.

In your Adobe Reader under Edit Preferences check "Show transparency grid", and open this pdf: http://coastcoffeenews.com/files/images/imagewithtransparentbackground.pdf (http://coastcoffeenews.com/files/images/imagewithtransparentbackground.pdf), then try putting that image in a Scribus image frame. If you can find a way to retain the transparency in a Scribus image frame please let me know how you do it.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 24, 2013, 09:19:23 pm
If you want to hammer nails with a wrench, that's your choice. But don't blame the nails when things don't work as expected:)

You can tell already from the preview in the Get image dialog that Scribus does not see the transparency of the PDF.

So, it seems as if Scribus can not handle transparency when a PDF is inserted into an image frame.

Scribus is Open Source and written by volounteers, there are a lot of things people wish Scribus would have that nobody yet have had the time to write.


And, as I said, Scribus can import PSD files. That is the native format for Photoshop. PSD files can have layers and such features.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 24, 2013, 09:23:48 pm
It has the same issue with PSD files.

It's becoming clear that Scribus is hammering nails with a wrench, in this case.

I'll either buy InDesign or modify Scribus.

What I had hoped in posting my questions is that perhaps some of the developers who have worked on the image processing routines in Scribus can make some suggestions as to what needs to be done for it to support PDF image transparency.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: utnik on February 25, 2013, 03:19:16 am
hi vradul

It's becoming clear that Scribus is hammering nails with a wrench, in this case.

…i don't think so. but scribus is in first place programmed for perfect results in a professional workflow. using the .pdf format for the pixel image exchange from photoshop to a dtp program is not really the professional way…
if you would like to have this functionality (.pdf with transparency), you should at least file a feature request at: 'http://bugs.scribus.net'.

Quote
What I had hoped in posting my questions is that perhaps some of the developers…
…can make some suggestions as to what needs to be done for it to support PDF image transparency.

for contacting the scribus devs, the mailing lists (http://lists.scribus.net (http://lists.scribus.net)) are a better place than this forum.

utnik
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 05:37:46 am
It's a very good program utnik, and I say that with more than 40 years of programming experience behind me. It does the workflow very well and is very easy to use - meaning the complexity of the tasks is hidden from the user and handled by code and programming logic.

I deal with printers all over the world every day who use DTP software do do their layouts and are producing very high end publications laid out very quickly. Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images. And most of them are using InDesign to layout.

I like Scribus - it's even easier to use than InDesign, imo. It's good at workflow. There is no reason for it to be altering image formats that are imported. As far as I can see it does this only with pdf images, while leaving all other images alone and placing them as is.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: utnik on February 25, 2013, 11:40:41 am
hi vradul

you mix something up: .pdf is not an image format. inside the .pdf file your images are normal rastergraphics.

I deal with printers all over the world…

…Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images.

…they accept a .pdf file, which contains a raster file, inside another .pdf file. but there is no need to put .pdf files with raster files into a next .pdf – and no printer will require this…

Quote
…it does this only with pdf images, while leaving all other images alone and placing them as is.

as i mentioned before, you should file a feature request or contact the devs via mailing lists, if you need this 'pdf with transparency' option.

btw. there are .pdf files with images, but no .pdf images!

utnik
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 01:36:55 pm
Quote
inside the .pdf file your images are normal rastergraphics.

Yes. No reason for scribus to be altering them.

Quote
I deal with printers all over the world…

…Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images
Quote
no printer will require this

"It's not happening" is not an argument worth replying to.

You're becoming an effective advocate for using anything but scribus, utnik. Thanks for your time.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Arran on February 25, 2013, 01:46:10 pm
Am I right in slowly beginning to think, that a certain manufacturer of very overexpensive graphic tools for computers feels the pressure of competition from OpenSource software which cuts its revenue considerably? And now employes possibly some gnomes on Forums to insist on useless features who are not even necessary to discriminate these programs?
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 02:00:21 pm
No, you're not.

As a user of software I might suggest a new marketing strategy, but you guys are already using it.

"Scribus! Does anything high end graphics tools do, in only twice the time! Why use tools that work for you, when you can work for our tool?"

And for the kicker, don't pass up any opportunity to try ridiculing anyone who asks for help using Scribus.

......

As I mentioned in my first comment here, I "was" evaluating Scribus vs InDesign to decide which way to go.

My choice is made. Thanks for the help guys.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 25, 2013, 02:44:37 pm
Vradul, you are very welcome to have a look at the source for Scribus, I think that you are underestimating the task of creating a PDF.

This is not just a matter of "not altering" the content, because if that was the problem the issue would not exist.

There specification of the PDF format is almost 800 pages. Creating a print ready PDF including color management is NOT trivial.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 05:52:48 pm
I thought about doing that nermy... but if you and sputnik and arrant are examples of the quality of logic behind scribus that I'd have to work with I'll skip it. I don't have the time to waste.

I have businesses to run that need results now, not 'maybe someday, maybe'.

The apparent business model of "it's hard and we only do trivial work so maybe someday but probably never" that you've advocated for Scribus here doesn't work for me.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: utnik on February 25, 2013, 07:11:48 pm
hi vradul

your behavior is rather stupid.
we are scribus users, not the developers! and we have tryed to give you solutions:
if this is too much of a learning process or if you think indesign is the better choice for you, feel free to use the adobe software. it works well and it has some features scribus can't offer. (there are others, i would miss in id…)
but i can't find any reason to shout around like a drunken idiot…

utnik
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 07:50:58 pm
I know it's tough sputnik.

It would be a lot easier for you to sell if the customers weren't so stupid, right?
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 25, 2013, 09:15:34 pm
Sell? Who is trying to sell anything? Scribus is Free Open Source Software. Nobody is trying to sell it. It's free for you to use, if you like it. It's even free for you to modify if you don't like it.

What you are saying is essentially that your time is more important than the time of the developers... You want them to spend time on writing features so you can save time.


Now, I have some good news for you: If you check the Embed PDF & EPS Files (EXPERIMENTAL) the PDF will be included "as is" and the transparency seems to be preserved.

If you don't check that option, Scribus will rasterize the PDF using ghostscript.

Note though that this means you will have to make sure all the PDFs use the same colorspace as you are using in the final PDF, because Scribus will NOT tranpose between colorspaces in this case. (Not sure if it does it when PDFs are rasterized either, that's why you really should use PSD or TIFF with correct colorspace embedded.)
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 25, 2013, 10:22:55 pm
Thanks for answering the question I posed in my first comment. We could have saved all that time calling me stupid for asking about this and wanting it. This is a much better job of "selling" scribus.

That does work. I just tested it. It has some minor issues - the transparency is not rendered in the onscreen document when you get a pdf into an image frame, so adjusting positioning is a little tricky but not something that can't be overcome by being careful. That may be something that can be worked on, WYSIWYG is a "nice to have" and would make the program that much more user friendly, but not a huge obstacle for me.

Transparency does render properly (gradients included) in the final produced pdf, so any adjustments to positioning can be done by simply reexporting the pdf after making them.

As far as "your time is more important than the time of the developers... You want them to spend time on writing features so you can save time"...... yes my time is important, and yes, I want them to spend time on writing features that save time, since that is exactly what I do when I produce software, and it is what my customers expect me to do. Software is used if it works for them and saves them time, and not used if they have to work for it and it costs time.

Thanks again. As I said above, it's a good program. This makes it much more useful, and even professionally usable if the color issue can be addressed satisfactorily, which shouldn't be a problem for others and it isn't for the application I have.

I'll take a second look and do some more testing before shelling out money for InDesign, but it now looks more likely that I can use this in production.

• In this attached rendered pdf the "s" border is on the background (base) level. The image is wider than the border but has a transparent background, and is placed into a transparent frame one level up from the background. The base level has a white background so you will not see the transparency grid in this pdf.

• The final rendered pdf is flattened and is print quality 300dpi because all images inserted into the scribus template and document made from the template were 300dpi, including the template background which is a jpeg with the s border on it.

Notes:
• Under File->Preferences->External Tools->Image Processing Tool - Scribus' default image processor is GIMP. For people like me who are comfortable with Photoshop for image production & editing, you can change this to Photoshop or any other graphics program
• Under File->Preferences->PDF Export->Color set "Output intended for" to printer
• Under File->Preferences->Preflight Verifier I set "Lowest allowed resolution" to 300dpi

Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 26, 2013, 09:20:10 am
That does work. I just tested it. It has some minor issues - the transparency is not rendered in the onscreen document when you get a pdf into an image frame, so adjusting positioning is a little tricky but not something that can't be overcome by being careful. That may be something that can be worked on, WYSIWYG is a "nice to have" and would make the program that much more user friendly, but not a huge obstacle for me.

That is probably because the preview is created by ghostscript.

Quote
As far as "your time is more important than the time of the developers... You want them to spend time on writing features so you can save time"...... yes my time is important, and yes, I want them to spend time on writing features that save time, since that is exactly what I do when I produce software, and it is what my customers expect me to do. Software is used if it works for them and saves them time, and not used if they have to work for it and it costs time.

But the developers of Scribus does not have customers. They don't get paid working on Scribus.

If you want to, however, you can pay somebody to do work on Scribus. Scribus is Open Source thus any skilled programmer could work on it.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 26, 2013, 04:08:27 pm
As I said, it is not an obstacle for me. However making scribus as easy to use and intuitive for others would help scribus attract more users, which is why I suggested it.

I'll leave that to you, as you are not "selling" scribus for money, but only doing your best to "sell" the idea of paying money to scribus developers. You may find that a bit easier if you recommend to others here in this thread who try to ridicule or call stupid potential scribus users who ask questions that they stay away from anyone asking questions about scribus in order to avoid driving them away to some other product. I am persistent. Many people who could be scribus users may not be.

Since scribus is able to render a final exported pdf file with transparency, then scribus somewhere internally is not doing so when rendering document image frames on screen containing pdf's with transparency, but is rendering them some other way there. Perhaps converting an image contained in a pdf to png when displaying documents on screen may be one possible way to go, I don't know. I leave that to scribus and/or ghostscript developers to determine.

But again this is not an obstacle for me. For my needs scribus appears now to be at least minimally functional and usable, though I will do more testing before deciding whether or not to use it in production.  I hope it continues to improve, and makes your "not" selling job that much easier with each new improvement.

If I needed more functionality I would pay for for it, but I don't need more functionality. This is the end of this thread for me.

Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Nermander on February 26, 2013, 05:44:59 pm
As I said, it is not an obstacle for me. However making scribus as easy to use and intuitive for others would help scribus attract more users, which is why I suggested it.

And, as I wrote, there is no goal to attract more users.

Quote
I'll leave that to you, as you are not "selling" scribus for money, but only doing your best to "sell" the idea of paying money to scribus developers.

No, you are misunderstanding me, I am not suggesting you should pay the Scribus developers money. I am suggeesting that you hire someone (who is not yet a Scribus developer) to modify Scribus for you. I am trying to explain the advantages of Open Source software to you, because I get the impression that you do not understand how it works.

Quote
Since scribus is able to render a final exported pdf file with transparency, then scribus somewhere internally is not doing so when rendering document image frames on screen containing pdf's with transparency, but is rendering them some other way there. Perhaps converting an image contained in a pdf to png when displaying documents on screen may be one possible way to go, I don't know. I leave that to scribus and/or ghostscript developers to determine.

Scribus is (currently) doing wrong in that an embedded PDF is transfered to the created PDF "as is". Scribus SHOULD modify the PDF to for example make sure that color spaces are the same, that fonts are not included several times etc.
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: vradul on February 26, 2013, 06:07:18 pm
I use open source software of all kinds extensively. That is why I looked at scribus. Probably much more than you've ever heard of, since I've been a developer for more than 40 years.

I also see that you like the others in this thread never miss a chance to try to slip a tongue in cheek insult that falls flat on its face whenever you can.

Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: Arran on February 26, 2013, 06:53:34 pm
@ Utnik: Häsch au s'Gfühl, de «vradul» schpinnt im höchste Grad?   (http://www.f1-powertalk.ch/talk/images/smilies/animierte_smilies/hund.gif)
Title: Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
Post by: utnik on February 26, 2013, 06:59:37 pm
klar! – dä muesch eifach lo totloufe…

äs grüessli