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Topic: PDF's from Finale

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  1. #1

    PDF's from Finale

    I know this is a little off topic, but you guys usually know this kind of stuff. I know how to produce PDF's from Finale..but the on-screen quality of every PDF I have generated using CutePDF or pdf995 is absolutely terrible. Those same PDF files print out with the same hi resolution quality as if I printed directly from Finale, but on screen they are pretty much useless for anything other than verifying that that conversion worked.

    I tried to make PDF's with Overture, and they looked totally fine, even zoomed in or out at any view zoom. Admittedly, not quite as good as the "printed" finale scores...but I'd say the pdf screen version is good enough to be a perfectly acceptable online version. I've also seen Score Mus files converted to PDF that look just fine.

    I tried to create PDF's with Lilypond and also got crappy results similar to Finale.

    What is the deal? Is this because Finale and lilypond generate postscript in their core (rather than letting a postscript printer driver do it), while Overture uses something more standard that the PDF writers can take and produce clean PDF's with? Are there any tricks for getting higher quality PDF's from Finale?
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  2. #2

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Try this:

    When you select pdf995 as the printer, click preferences > advanced >

    Then click on the true-Type Font option and select "download as soft font"

    That seems to make a better output for me


  3. #3

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Hmm, tried that. It did improve the look at 168% zoom, but at 100% zoom it looks terrible. Some ledger lines thick, some thin, etc..
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  4. #4

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by dewdman42
    Hmm, tried that. It did improve the look at 168% zoom, but at 100% zoom it looks terrible. Some ledger lines thick, some thin, etc..
    That's normal.

    The screen does not have enough resolution to properly display the score at 100% zoom.

    The acid test is to print it out (600dpi or better, usually).

    Best,

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  5. #5

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Well, for whatever its worth, I do not have this problem with Overture.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  6. #6

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    I've tinkered with this quite a bit, not with great success (producting clear pdf's for screen viewing)... certainly not on orchestral scores.

    PDF isn't all that flexible. If you do manage to get good screen appearance -- then it usually looks godawful when you print out (and vice versa).

    I usually opt for optimal print-out quality rather than screen appearance, on the assumption that if someone wants to closely study a score, they can print it out.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.cm
    .

  7. #7

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    What sorts of things have you done that improved the on-screen quality (while reducing the print quality)?
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  8. #8

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by dewdman42
    What sorts of things have you done that improved the on-screen quality (while reducing the print quality)?
    Depends on the software you use, I'm sure... but basically
    just fiddling with dpi, image quality, and any other options
    the software may offer.

    I don't have any fixed approach -- seems to be pretty much
    hit or miss, depending on the detail density of the score.

    It'd be nice if PDF had context-sensitive internal versioning of
    what it displays -- that is, creates different formats for differing
    resolutions.

    To the best of my knowledge, it does not, cannot, and there are
    no plans to implement a multi-layer internals structure like that in
    the PDF format.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  9. #9

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    Still, its interesting that Overture seems to produce great looking PDF at any view zoom level...and...the print quality is still pretty darn good.

    My guess is that Overture is not using postscript coding directly in their product...they are using higher level vector graphics per Windows API and then having the printer drivers handle the best way they see fit. While Finale is perhaps trying to shove its own idea of what the postscript should be, down the throat of whatever print driver is being used. So in the case of Overture, the vector stuff internally is being translated perfectly into PDF terms, while the postscript coming from Finale has to be "translated" by ghostscript or some other translator...and either that is not doing a great job or else there is something different about what that translator puts into a PDF while when converting from postscript. Perhaps postscript itself does not translate well to on-screen viewing. but I have plenty of documents, tax forms and other things with lots of straight lines on them that look totally great at all zoom levels in Adobe Acrobat Reader. So there is nothing inherently wrong with the PDF file format to support this. There is something about what Finale is spitting out and what is being converted into PDF format. Something about that conversion from postscript to PDF I think.

    Too bad. I have the same problems with lilypond.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  10. #10

    Re: PDF's from Finale

    You know, I hadn't thought about this much, as it's only a minor
    nuisance, at least to me.

    But I think you may be onto the root of the problem. I'll have to
    dig into this further sometime, and see if the interstage processes
    can in some way be circumvented and done better.

    Best,

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

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