Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

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Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:45 pm

I find that I need to export my files to PDF format in order to have them printed on 24x36 paper at print-shops. But the quality of the image is terrible. The lines are so thick, that you can't even see walls on floor plans. It's just a big blur.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there a way to export the file to PDF and preserve the image quality? Or, is there some other file type I can use? The print shops I go to, including Kinko's, don't have SketchUp on their systems, and I can only access the smaller printers from my laptop when I'm at one of their workstations; not the large printers for 24x36 inch paper
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:41 am

I should add...

I only have the free version of Adobe acrobat, but when my architect sends me a PDF file that she has exported from AutoCad, it looks fine. I don't think it's a problem on acrobat's end, but I figured I'd include this info just in case.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:33 am

Hi Goggin,

I'd have two questions:
- Do you use any of the graphical styles provided now in SU6? Those might behave differently when exported.
- Have you tried to export from LayOut?
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby ever » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:10 am

Try PDF995: http://www.pdf995.com/download.html
It works as a virtual printer
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:13 pm

Gaieus wrote:Hi Goggin,

I'd have two questions:
- Do you use any of the graphical styles provided now in SU6? Those might behave differently when exported.

I don't think so. I'm not even sure what those are. Mine is a simple floor plan-- nothing fancy.

- Have you tried to export from LayOut?

Yeah, that was what I was thinking I'd try next. I haven't used LayOut yet, but I'll give it a go today or tomorrow.

I figured I must be doing something wrong since this is a key feature-- if it doesn't work well, then I don't think Pro would be worth purchasing.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:27 pm

Wel,, I've read about some problems with printing or exporting to PDF and also that mostly there was a solution (I don't even ahve a printer :)) but I cannot locate those threads.

The other idea however - to use a virtual PDF printer, is not bad though.
I use PDFCreator for instance.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Kenny » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:06 pm

Make sure you have the high quality settings on in the print dialogue box. The highest quality setting is the vector based HLR. Check the 'use high accuracy' HLR
box when printing. The only problem with this is that it doesn't
display textures or shadows. If using the non HLR settings to display
textures and shadows, for best results be sure to set the print quality to ultra high defintion.

Kenny
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:08 pm

Thanks for the advice. BTW, it's not just printing-- the file looks bad on my screen even before I print. I don't think adjusting the print options should affect that, should it?
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:18 pm

Could you show a screenshot of what it looks like?
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Kenny » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:24 pm

The print settings shouldn't affect the display. Make sure you have got hardware accelaration on (Window, Preferences, Open GL)

Kenny
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:40 pm

Kenny wrote:The print settings shouldn't affect the display. Make sure you have got hardware accelaration on (Window, Preferences, Open GL)

Kenny

Is that in SketchUP or Acrobat?
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:19 pm

Gaieus wrote:Could you show a screenshot of what it looks like?

I have one, but I don't know how to post a file here. Is there some dummy site on this MB I can upload to and then link to from here?
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:21 pm

Here we have an attachment server:
viewtopic.php?f=77&t=760
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:28 pm

Thanks, Gaieus. Let's see if this works. Sketch-up floor plan on the left, what the image looks like after export to Acrobat on the right:

Bathroom Floor Plan

BTW, I did have those setting correct, Kenny.
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Goggin 
 

Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Anssi » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:41 pm

You have some funny large value set in the Profile width box. Setting it to Match Screen display is usually enough

Please don't use the BMP format for image attachments, the file sizes are enormous and they take ages to load

Anssi
dialog.png
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:55 pm

Anssi wrote:Please don't use the BMP format for image attachments, the file sizes are enormous and they take ages to load

Sorry about that. I just used the screen-capture program that Gaieus recommended in an earlier thread: "Gadwin PrintScreen". I guess it defaults to .bmp. Can I still use that and convert to another format that doesn't create such large files?

I'll fool around with your recommendations, but I'm not quite sure I understand what you're getting at. I set the drawing size parameters so that it would be to scale at 1/4" = 1' in Acrobat.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:16 pm

Gaieus wrote:Have you tried to export from LayOut?

Just tried it. Same result-- bad.

Anssii: I checked again, and I do have the "Profile Lines" section set to "Match screen display". I'm not sure what the "profile width" box is, though. Did you mean "Drawing Size width" box?
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Goggin 
 

Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Anssi » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:30 pm

Sorry, my bad memory. Of course I meant the Profile lines box(and Section Lines, too)

I cannot say right away what the problem is now. I remember once getting the same result, but not what caused it. Let's think about it...

Well-you say you adjust the page size to get the right scale. For me it works the other way round. I set the scale, and the page size adjusts itself (as I tab out of the scale box). I never touch the page size settings unless I want output that is not to scale.

Can you attach your skp file?

Anssi
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:16 pm

Anssi wrote:Well-you say you adjust the page size to get the right scale. For me it works the other way round. I set the scale, and the page size adjusts itself (as I tab out of the scale box). I never touch the page size settings unless I want output that is not to scale.

Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I set the Drawing Size "scale" parameters* and let the "size" parameters adjust themselves.

*This was not easy, though, as SketchUp kept trying to tell me I was exceeding the page size limit. I had to do it in a certain order, or it would reject it.

Can you attach your skp file?

Hmmm. Having trouble doing that. I copied my SketchUp file into the sketchucation newbie folder, but when I click on it, I don't get a URL address to link to-- just and empty (Mozilla) browser page. It worked fine with that .bmp file I did earlier. If you want to look at it, it's in the newbie folder under "Bathroom Floor Plan".
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby boofredlay » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:29 pm

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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Anssi » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:17 pm

I had no problem exporting. This is what my Export dialog looked like
dialog3.png

And this is the PDF I got:
testi.pdf

Cheers

Anssi
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:04 am

Anssi wrote:I had no problem exporting.

I didn't either!

But then I figured out what the problem is. I have to use 2D export to get the .pdf option, and in that case it only exports what's visible on the screen. In order for me to get the whole floorplan on the screen, I have to make it much smaller. In that case, you don't get individual lines-- it's like you did a screen capture, and you lose all the detail.

Try it again with that bathroom floorplan shrunk down like this (don't adjust the magnification):

Link

Interestingly, this seems to happen the same way when you use "insert" in LayOut. You only get what's visible on the screen from the .skp file. And if you shrink it down enough to get an entire floorplan (in my case a set of floorplans), you just end up with a blurry image.

Maybe I'm missing something, but if you can't export to Acrobat at scale, and at 24x36 paper size, then it's not much use in a real-world situation, because that's what's you're going to have to give to builders and city planning depts., etc. I have to believe that this has been worked out, and that I am missing something.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:58 am

I cannot jump into the discussion now as I'm not at home with my Pro version to export PDF.

So I just about Gadwin Print screen; you can select the output file type - jpg (as it can be compressed) is the smallest.
:)
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Anssi » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:36 pm

Goggin wrote:But then I figured out what the problem is. I have to use 2D export to get the .pdf option, and in that case it only exports what's visible on the screen. In order for me to get the whole floorplan on the screen, I have to make it much smaller. In that case, you don't get individual lines-- it's like you did a screen capture, and you lose all the detail.
Maybe I'm missing something, but if you can't export to Acrobat at scale, and at 24x36 paper size, then it's not much use in a real-world situation, because that's what's you're going to have to give to builders and city planning depts., etc. I have to believe that this has been worked out, and that I am missing something.

Yes, you are missing something. The point of the profile settings is that the "match screen" setting does literally that: the profile line thickness is set in proportion of the screen display, so in your case, if you magnify the plan to four feet wide, the profile thicknesses will follow suit. So you must just untick the "match screen" setting, and decide yourself how wide you want your lines to be. Attached is the setting you probably used
screen1.png

and the PDF you probably got
testi1.pdf

Then my new settings, with all lines at .25 mm thickness
screen2.png

And the result-see next post, it seems to limit to 3 attachments

Anssi
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Anssi » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:37 pm

And here is the "final" file:
testi2.pdf

Anssi
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:18 pm

Anssi wrote:And here is the "final" file:
testi2.pdf

Anssi

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!!! That does indeed do the trick.

I would have never figured that out from just reading the documentation on Exporting in the "Help" section.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Gaieus » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:16 pm

That was a nice one, Anssi, thanks a lot!
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:25 am

I hate to bother you guys again about something similar, but I'm still stuck on how to get a high quality floorplan into LayOut. You don't "export" to LayOut, you use the "send to LayOut" command. But there aren't any options to set the linewidths (as there are for the export command), it just sends the file. I've tried changing the quality to 300 DPI in LayOut, but that didn't help. I was hoping to use LayOut to do some text labeling since SketchUp is very limited as to what you can do with text.

BTW-- LayOut seems to be a tremendous memory hog, but that's another issue. Just a simple floorplan, to scale, brings my computer to its knees!
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby jhauswirth » Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:12 am

Don't use 300 dpi in LayOut until you're ready to export to PDF or print, do 72 dpi while you're creating your doc.

Line thickness is in the style tab in the Sketchup Inspector. Its in points.
So try 0.2.
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Re: Exporting to PDF-- image quality problem

Postby Goggin » Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:38 pm

jhauswirth wrote:Don't use 300 dpi in LayOut until you're ready to export to PDF or print, do 72 dpi while you're creating your doc.

Yeah, I figured that out quick!

Line thickness is in the style tab in the Sketchup Inspector. Its in points.
So try 0.2.

Sorry, but what is "SketchUp Inspector"? I did a search for "Inspector" on the help page, and it came up blank.
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