Vintageltd

Layout image printing anomaly

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Hey everyone, back again with yet another bizarre anomaly over the past couple of days. :mellow:

 

While printing the layout for a construction set, I noticed what I initially thought was a printhead alignment error on my Designjet.  After some examination, it turns out that most (but not all, go figure) images on my layout pages have 'distortions' in them.  It only seems to affect Live View images sent directly to layout from within a plan (ie, "Send to Layout" from a camera overview / etc).   Render technique seems to not matter, it affects 'Standard', 'Vector' & 'Technical Illustration' modes equally.  Images imported onto a layout from external JPG/PNG files will print fine, even saved raytraces from within Chief.  Floorplans / elevations sent to layout are fine, too.  

 

And it's not a printer problem, since it affects both PDF (Chief & third-party drivers) output as well as physical prints.  

 

I thought it might be a display driver issue (it resembles a 'texture tearing' issue, if you're familiar with video card rendering), but upgrading to the latest video drivers has no effect.  And, onscreen, everything appears perfect.  I thought it might be my layout template, but even using the unmodified Chief default templates show the problem (the attached layout is from an untouched template).

 

Here's a test PDF of what I'm encountering; if you take a look at the lower-left image, it's most readily apparent.. it almost looks like the model is 'sliced' roughly midway through, with the upper and lower sections slightly offset.

 

temp3.pdf

 

As a test, I just copied a bunch of the same image, and positioned them randomly on the layout.  You can see that the "slice" is not entirely consistent; it's positioned the same on each image, but is much more visible on some of the shots than others for some reason, at least on my system.

 

(EDIT:  Attached screenshot, better illustration of problem)

 

ImageIssue.thumb.png.dd786860ceb8df969f217d53a8d5a4a3.png

 

Above, you can see in both shots a 'slice' through the slab.

 

In this next file, I simply exported to PDF directly from the camera overview, without sending to a layout first.  The image is normal.

 

quickprint.pdf

 

As mentioned earlier, onscreen everything looks fine.  I'd have thought that perhaps a camera view default was messed up somewhere, but onscreen views are flawless.  It's only when printing from a layout that the problem occurs, almost like the Live View is getting skewed when going to print.  I've gone back through a project done a week or two ago, and layout output seems just fine for that, so this is a recent occurrence.

 

I've discovered that if, from layout, I modify the camera from a Live View to a Plot Lines, the "shift" doesn't occur.  But of course then the image switches to a standard vector view.  So, it would seem to only affect Live Views (neither 'Update on Demand' or 'Update Always' make any difference).

 

At this point I'm completely at a loss as to where else to look for a fix.  I guess perhaps this might be an issue for tech support?  Now, I have been doing some updates to my template plan over the past week, but I cannot image what I might have changed to trigger this problem, if anything.

 

Exporting images to disk & then just importing those into the layout works, but it's a clumsy workaround.  Not to mention that I lose the live update from layout ability.  The test plan and layout are attached.  Thanks for any suggestions.  

 

Roland

 

ImageTroubles.plan

ImageTroubles.layout

 

 

 

UPDATE:  Interestingly, it appears that different PDF applications display the anomaly differently... Foxit PDF shows the 'slicing' equivalent to what I get from printed output on the Designjet, but when viewing the attached PDF from within Chrome, the problem is significantly less visible.

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21 minutes ago, Vintageltd said:

 

I don't have any of the tearing issues that you have on your plan, may want to look into your graphics settings again. What DPI are you printing to in PDF? and what size paper?

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Yes I have run into this problem and submitted to tech and hope that they are still working on the issue.  You will notice if you view with Adobe Reader that you will get a cross hair pointer that displays and if you click on the PDF it will show highlighted blue boxes that the edges correspond to the areas that are ripping. The only solution tech had at the time was to reduce the resolution to a fuzzy low 72 dpi.

 

It does seem to be a random issue for me so it is difficult to figure out what is causing it.

 

6 minutes ago, Renerabbitt said:

I don't have any of the tearing issues that you have on your plan, may want to look into your graphics settings again

 

Rene,  Could you educate us and expand on this a little if you have time.  And what do you see on the "temp3.pdf" ?

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Thanks for the input, guys.

 

As an additional update, I just reset my video card (GTX960) to all default settings, no change.  Then did a complete uninstall / reinstall of the driver with completely clean settings, again, no change.

 

It's a very weird issue.  Everything seems to point to a video card or driver issue, but I would think that the problem would show in the displayed image if it were a card issue, not in the printed (or PDF output).  On my screen, everything looks fine in the layout.   It also seems bizarre that layouts from a week ago are fine.

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I believe different PDF print engines will give different results. I believe Chief layout boxes are basically treated as images, and when printed to PDF the print engine decides how to break up the image into discrete chunks. For example, I created a Plot Lines view, and a Live view in the following example.

 

Plot Lines resulted in a single panel for the entire layout box:

pdf1.thumb.PNG.ec8bdd3f04ce5a0bd273a600319188f1.PNG

 

Live view resulted in four separate panels:

pdf2.thumb.PNG.628e7bf540fd060f252486db86bdf304.PNGpdf3.thumb.PNG.ee0ba24bc3a2678ca8e4613bf5106a8d.PNGpdf4.thumb.PNG.8534435b860f99e13cb04a2398230803.PNGpdf5.thumb.PNG.08c008a1a4015495cda75c8bcd1c332b.PNG

 

When I plotted the same Layout using NitroPDF, the Live view had 16 panels of varying dimensions.

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13 minutes ago, Chopsaw said:

Yes I have run into this problem and submitted to tech and hope that they are still working on the issue.  You will notice if you view with Adobe Reader that you will get a cross hair pointer that displays and if you click on the PDF it will show highlighted blue boxes that the edges correspond to the areas that are ripping. The only solution tech had at the time was to reduce the resolution to a fuzzy low 72 dpi.

 

It does seem to be a random issue for me so it is difficult to figure out what is causing it.

 

 

Rene,  Could you educate us and expand on this a little if you have time.  And what do you see on the "temp3.pdf" ?

 

 

Interesting, Chopsaw... just for the heck of it, I tried setting the DPI to 72, and it works... the skew/slice is gone.  This would seem to point to a Chief rendering engine issue somewhere, at least for some systems?

 

Of course, the 72dpi 'fix' doesn't help the problem of outputting to the Designjet, unfortunately.

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6 minutes ago, rlackore said:

I believe different PDF print engines will give different results. I believe Chief layout boxes are basically treated as images, and when printed to PDF the print engine decides how to break up the image into discrete chunks. For example, I created a Plot Lines view, and a Live view in the following example.

 

Plot Lines resulted in a single panel for the entire layout box:

pdf1.thumb.PNG.ec8bdd3f04ce5a0bd273a600319188f1.PNG

 

Live view resulted in four separate panels:

pdf2.thumb.PNG.628e7bf540fd060f252486db86bdf304.PNGpdf3.thumb.PNG.ee0ba24bc3a2678ca8e4613bf5106a8d.PNGpdf4.thumb.PNG.8534435b860f99e13cb04a2398230803.PNGpdf5.thumb.PNG.08c008a1a4015495cda75c8bcd1c332b.PNG

 

When I plotted the same Layout using NitroPDF, the Live view had 16 panels of varying dimensions.

 

This confirms Chopsaw's experience, that the skew lines are aligned with the blue panels shown in your pdf screens.  Chief must be outputting to the Designjet T520 identically, which is why I'm experiencing the same problem with my printed output.  The skew lines are positioned exactly on my printouts as they are on the PDFs.

 

Annoying!!

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Roland,  I just ran off a PDF with my setup and used the CA Save As PDF @600 dpi. and ended up with 20 Adobe blue boxes.

 

Hoping someone with a little graphic design know how can figure this out.

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Now that the problem is clarified a bit, I spent some time experimenting with different print settings.  For some reason, if I set the Designjet driver to 1200dpi, the skews are just slightly less obvious, though still certainly apparent.  It's the only setting I could find which had any effect whatsoever on the problem.  

 

It all seems to indicate that what's happening is that Chief is outputting in print regions (ie, the blue boxes), and for some of us, or at least on some types of output devices, those output regions are somehow getting misaligned.  Hence the 'skew'.

 

I never thought to try earlier, but just attempted a printout on my HP laser printer... surprise, no skew.  The layout giving me grief on the Designjet and PDF look just fine when output at 8.5x11 on the Laserjet.

 

The bizarre thing is why it doesn't occur at 72dpi for PDFs, but it does at every other resolution.  And at all resolutions on my Designjet.

 

At this point, I'm out of my depth on this.  I think it'll need input from someone like Dermot at CA.

 

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And, just to further complicate the issue, I tried the problem layout on the Designjet at 11x17 instead of the 18x24 & 24x36 I was using before.  No skew.

 

So, it seems it's tied to the size of the print job, perhaps.  Larger and/or higher resolution print jobs are being broken down into multiple regions, which is when the skew problem is showing up?

 

 

 

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Just now, Vintageltd said:

And, just to further complicate the issue, I tried the problem layout on the Designjet at 11x17 instead of the 18x24 & 24x36 I was using before.  No skew.

 

So, it seems it's tied to the size of the print job, perhaps.  Larger and/or higher resolution print jobs are being broken down into multiple regions, which is when the skew problem is showing up?

 

It's not the hard-copy printer that's breaking it down into pieces - it's the PDF print engine. I did some Googling, and it seems this is a common issue for all PDF print engines. The skewing may be less obvious when the PDF is output at to hard copy at different scales (page sizes) or resolutions.

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I think I first noticed it on an 11x17 layout so it is not print size but you are correct that it is larger higher resolution and more detailed images that get broken down and skewed.   Unfortunately this is when it is most critical and you want to show precise details that you can zoom in on when necessary.  It seems that there is a limit on how much data can be displayed per "box" but then it is also random and works sometimes without breaking down or skewing so there must be a solution somewhere.

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8 minutes ago, rlackore said:

 

It's not the hard-copy printer that's breaking it down into pieces - it's the PDF print engine. I did some Googling, and it seems this is a common issue for all PDF print engines. The skewing may be less obvious when the PDF is output at to hard copy at different scales (page sizes) or resolutions.

 

Just for clarification, this is not just happening for me with PDF output... it's also happening when I try to print a layout directly to the plotter from within Chief Architect.  I could live with it if it were just affecting PDF output.  At least setting resolution to 72dpi fixes the problem in that case.  I can't find a fix for my printed output, however.

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21 minutes ago, Chopsaw said:

Roland,  I just ran off a PDF with my setup and used the CA Save As PDF @600 dpi. and ended up with 20 Adobe blue boxes.

 

Hoping someone with a little graphic design know how can figure this out.

Apologies Chopsaw I had to step away from my desk and you are correct, I have noticed some tearing now that I look closer. 

Dpi changes the sampling rate of the print job, meaning the size of the boxes that the PDF print server samples or "slices" and then stitches together

The problem here IMO is that we have a downsampled vector image being printed at a large scale. 

Curious if "send to layout as an image" would help, and also curious if the line weight of 1-1/100 mm is too small. maybe setting it to something larger would help the print engine

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2 minutes ago, Vintageltd said:

 

Just for clarification, this is not just happening for me with PDF output... it's also happening when I try to print a layout directly to the plotter from within Chief Architect.

 

So, if it's showing up in both PDF and hard-copy, do we assume it's strictly how Chief is generating print output? I don't know. Wish I was smarter about this stuff.

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I opened your pdf file in Bluebeam View and see the tear in all of the images.  In Adobe I saw multiple tears on some images the second time I viewed them; the first time I only saw one with a long tear while another had a shorter tear toward the bottom right.  Seems to be playing tricks with my eyes each time I view them.

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1 hour ago, CJSpud said:

Seems to be playing tricks with my eyes each time I view them.

 

Yes there is still something funny going on as the dividing line seems to stay in the same place but as you zoom in and out the level of distortion seems to vary and at times can clear to the point of almost being unnoticeable but will not stay that way.  I may also have something to do with screen resolution maybe.

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18 hours ago, Renerabbitt said:

 

Curious if "send to layout as an image" would help, and also curious if the line weight of 1-1/100 mm is too small. maybe setting it to something larger would help the print engine

 

I just updated my original problem construction drawing set to try this, and it prints perfectly, without any skew.  In fact, I left both types of images on the layout page; the 'Send screen as Image' set, and the regular Live View set, on the same page.  The 'Send as image' components print fine, however, the Live View ones remain skewed.

 

Definitely something bizarre going on during the print process with the 'Live View' items.  I had been thinking that it was just sending a large/complex image, but if the plain images are printing fine adjacent the Live View images which are not, and on the same page.... 

 

Thanks for all your input everyone, it's greatly appreciated.  At least I have a temporary workaround until it somehow gets addressed in a more permanent fashion.

 

Roland

 

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Thanks again to everyone who input on this issue, you were all very helpful.  

 

I raised the issue with tech support, and they've confirmed that they can reproduce it on their end.  It's been submitted to development for a fix, so hopefully it'll be forthcoming in a future patch.

 

Roland

 

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