NectarDesign

Printing to PDF - File size WAY to large

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I have a project that is creating HUGE pdf file sizes when it's printed. I can print at 72 DPI and get a barely acceptable quality out of my pdf'd document set, but in general it leaves a lot to be desired, even compared to printing a set at even a low 144 DPI.

Any work arounds on this? I'd like to wow clients with the great perspectives and details on projects.  But in the end I always print at super low DPI for ease of e-mailing and printing the sets, at 72 DPI the perspectives look really crappy when they are printed.

Thanks,

Jenn

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This is something  I have said for many years now. I use 

Adobe to print, never use Chiefs pdf.

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It is unfortunate that the Chief PDF file sizes are so large but they do seem to give the best results overall.  Maybe get a cloud account to transfer files.  Several companies offer them for free with limited storage. Always nice to have a backup any way so that just ensures it always happens.

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19 hours ago, Chopsaw said:

 

It is unfortunate that the Chief PDF file sizes are so large but they do seem to give the best results overall

 


This is a funny statement.  Chief file sizes are likely larger BECAUSE they wanted to give the overall best results.  Nothing is free.  I personally take no issue with it.  If I want smaller file sizes, I can use another PDF printer, OR I could even optimize the PDF after Chief has already done its thing. 
 

Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend we complain too much about this.  We have plenty of crappier options so the last thing I want to see happen is for Chief to reduce their built in printer settings and just give us another crappy option.  High quality is just too hard to find and we really shouldn’t turn our noses up at it (not sayin’ you are Chop).

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When working with Chief's "Print to PDF" engine, I'd recommend finding a good third-party PDF optimizer and using it to reduce the PDF's size after you "print".  The engine we use generally produces good-quality results, but it's not great at image compression, which is generally the main factor that influences PDF size.

 

PDF size is on my "things I'd like to get fixed" list too, but it's a surprisingly involved project.

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3 minutes ago, BenMerritt said:

When working with Chief's "Print to PDF" engine, I'd recommend finding a good third-party PDF optimizer and using it to reduce the PDF's size after you "print".  The engine we use generally produces good-quality results, but it's not great at image compression, which is generally the main factor that influences PDF size.

 

PDF size is on my "things I'd like to get fixed" list too, but it's a surprisingly involved project.

 

Thanks for clarifying that Ben.   Maybe my beef should be with email providers limiting us to 20-25MB but as Michael said a reduction in quality is not something we are after.

 

There are still glitches with the Chief Print to PDF driver but they are never improved by using another companies driver in my experience, so it is nice to have access to one that works.  I would like to be able to use it with other applications.

 

I will need to research PDF optimization or maybe some day that will be an option in Chief.

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I used to do 2400 DPI but someone on here said NO HIGHER THAN 600 so I tried that.  Even 300 works well.  The largest plan I've created was around 80MB.....easy peasy.

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53 minutes ago, para-CAD said:

The largest plan I've created was around 80MB.....easy peasy.

Like Chop said, it's the email providers and slow internet connections that these large PDF's choke on. I do not have a fast internet connection where I live (DSL land line in a rural area); my upload speeds max out at about 500-800k on a good day. If school is out it is even worse. Probably will be a few years before it's improved. Uploading a 50-100MB file to the cloud or sending it out to the print house takes an enormous amount of time. I have had Chief's PDF engine create PDF's in the 120MB range before. That's mainly why I use the free Bullzip. It has its problems with "tiling" the layout views making portions of the layout page lighter than other sections but it reduces most of my PDF's down to 5-10 MB. It is something I just have to live with right now.

 

Anyone know of a good "third party PDF optimizer?"

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I use the free "Foxit Reader" to print and view PDF's and it has an internal command to "Reduce File Size". I rarely have to use it. The Free Versions also has the ability to add and subtract text and lines which I occasionally use also. When I get un-emailable sized PDF's I first try printing them using a different device to print them other than "Chief Print to PDF" which is quite uncommon anyway and have had success getting a smaller but sharp and crisp PDF to share with others. Only once is the last ten years have I created a PDF file that was too large to email as an attachment, I shared it via my "One Drive" account just fine.

 

DJP

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Yep, agree that quality is still very important, so using a third party pdf optimizer is a good work around for now.

Anyone other good pdf optimizer third party suggestion?

Would purchasing Acrobat professional help with file size reduction as well as being a good second PDF printing option?

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16 hours ago, Ridge_Runner said:

Anyone know of a good "third party PDF optimizer?" 

 

Most PDF editors have an optimization/file reduction feature built-in.  I have been using Nitro Pro myself for a number of years.  The issue is far more complicated than just using the right PDF printer or optimizing the file though.  Here's a quick real world test case:

 

  • Working with a pretty basic 12 page plan printed at 24"x36" with 20 cameras
  • Using Chief's built in Save As PDF for initial print set at 600 DPI
  • Using Nitro Pro to optimize as much as possible after the fact

Scenario 1: Using Plot Lines with Shadows and no color fill ----> 3,060 KB initial print (looks crispy and beautiful) ----> 1,800 KB optimized (still looks pretty good but shadows are a little more pixelated and referenced image files don't look as good).  My biggest beef is with things like my company logo...

 

Original.thumb.png.289964db3d8c0836626348338c1a5ffa.pngOptimized.thumb.png.84ff73924f1219f5c06c76ff8399791e.png

 

Scenario 2: Using Plot Lines with Shadows and color fill ----> 9,973 KB initial print (looks crispy and beautiful) ----> 3,769 KB optimized (looks okay and all the line work is still crispy since those are vector based, but the pixelation becoming more noticeable because the color fill is all image based)...

275971940_Original2.thumb.png.d1e853a4f03236c1f044ddca75630059.png902126826_Optimized2.thumb.png.8d6c6c7606ca4a4e5df60b0e4d63d533.png

 

Scenario 3: Using LIVE views with Shadows printed in B&W ----> 8,910 KB initial print (looks pretty good, but non-elevation 3D views are nowhere near as clear and crisp as with Plot Lines) ----> 4,807 KB optimized (elevation views look okay still, but other 3D views are no longer in acceptable territory )...

668245992_Original3.thumb.png.43fc1ef2ab93c819eafda92df1b133fc.png1510157899_Optimized3.thumb.png.a4c91d2b78650b9d5cab59a30e679a5d.png

 

Scenario 4: Using LIVE views with Shadows printed in color ----> 20,483 KB initial print (looks pretty good, but non-elevation 3D views are nowhere near as clear and crisp as with Plot Lines with color fill) ----> 5,428 KB optimized (elevation views look okay still, but other 3D views are no longer in acceptable territory )...

295531516_Original4.thumb.png.13284af155f46d532bd998cafabda564.png1844001540_Optimized4.thumb.png.4d167f005930e720a6a0364fa8dc4193.png

 

Takeaways?  If file size is of concern:

  • Consider using Plot Lines instead of Live Views (usually look better anyway IMO and give us more refined control over display) for any or all 3D views
  • Consider forgoing the color for any or all 3D views
  • Consider optimizing after the fact, but understand that it comes at a cost...especially with images (not as much with text and other vector based information)

 

Just in this one simple example you can see how Chief settings alone could potentially decrease a file size by 85%!!  Or conversely how you could make a file size 7 times as large. 

 

NOTE:  This little test only covered using Chief's built in Save As PDF and a third party optimizer.  It did not cover initially printing with a 3rd party PDF printer.  That's a bit of a different story but I can tell you from experience that the reduced file sizes still come at a cost.  In my experience nothing creates a higher quality print than using Chief's built-in capabilities; although the quality variation still depends quite a bit on the shapes, views, and colors (or lack thereof) involved.  A perfectly horizontal black line or a text box for example may be indistinguishable, whereas your company logo image or your 3D perspective view with shadows and color fill may be a deal breaker.

 

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43 minutes ago, Alaskan_Son said:

Here's a quick real world test case:

Thanks Michael for putting this comparison together. I always use plot lines and color off. I do, however, like shadows on in most 3D views. I have just sent a job to my online print house; I used Bullzip as the original PDF printer. I took David's path and used a trial of Foxit's PDF editor and reduced the file size; it reduced it by approx. 50%. It was not a large file, just one to test. In viewing the reduced file with Foxit Reader, I did notice some lack of quality in the linework, especially in the 3D views. Will see how the returned prints look as the original file was only printed at 300 dpi. Thanks, again, Michael.

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46 minutes ago, Ridge_Runner said:

Thanks Michael for putting this comparison together. I always use plot lines and color off. I do, however, like shadows on in most 3D views. I have just sent a job to my online print house; I used Bullzip as the original PDF printer. I took David's path and used a trial of Foxit's PDF editor and reduced the file size; it reduced it by approx. 50%. It was not a large file, just one to test. In viewing the reduced file with Foxit Reader, I did notice some lack of quality in the linework, especially in the 3D views. Will see how the returned prints look as the original file was only printed at 300 dpi. Thanks, again, Michael.

 

You're more than welcome.  Just another side note on this too...

 

We could consider making more use of our PDF editors sometimes.  Perhaps we need Chief's super high quality output on 3 pages, but the rest work just fine having been optimized.  Most all good PDF editors provide for an easy way to remove and insert pages.  Just pick the pages you want from each.  Sure it takes a little extra work, but not much, and its really a pretty easy way to get the best of both worlds.

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14 hours ago, DavidJPotter said:

The Free Versions also has the ability to add and subtract text and lines which I occasionally use also.

David, I use Foxit Reader also and I don't see any way to add and subtract text and lines. When I entered the "Reduce File Size" in the "Tell me what you want to do" dbx it took me to a 5-day trial of their paid version, which I signed up for and used to reduce a current file. Just curious if I am not looking in the right part of Reader's menu.

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5 hours ago, Ridge_Runner said:

David, I use Foxit Reader also and I don't see any way to add and subtract text and lines. When I entered the "Reduce File Size" in the "Tell me what you want to do" dbx it took me to a 5-day trial of their paid version, which I signed up for and used to reduce a current file. Just curious if I am not looking in the right part of Reader's menu.

 

I use Foxit Reader when I need to add text.  Select Comment >Textbox

 

FoxitReader.PNG

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The last time I had a overly large PDF file, what I did is to print it using several different PDF printers I have on my PC (Foxit Reader, Microsoft PDF, Chief PDF printer and even Quicken PDF printer until I got the file size I wanted. I do not even remember which one worked (I do not care).

 

DJP

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What I did in the past with large print files was break it down into a smaller file size  by printing a range of pages. ie. 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc.

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I ran my own test back in August using a Layout file with/without an embedded PDF (the PDF file size was 13 kb - not very large). I printed the output at 300 dpi using Chief's PDF printer. Here's a screenshot of the Layout page without the embedded PDF - the printed file size was 40 kb:

pdf1.thumb.PNG.2d411c2404b16b73c68001974a657b44.PNG

 

Here's a screenshot of the Layout page with the embedded PDF - the printed file size was 1,152 kb:

pdf2.thumb.PNG.81339b9842aeb16ece7f33473231968c.PNG

 

This was an increase of 2,780%. When I printed the page with the PDF obscured by a CAD mask, the printed file size was 1,153 kb, so even though the print engine wasn't required to render the PDF, the PDF still impacted the size of the printed output. I shared these results with Tech Support via a ticket, and was told the results of my test would be passed on to the development team. It was suggested I explore using other print to PDF options, but that Chief "cannot guarantee that everything will render correctly from our software."

 

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I just ran a test on my recent project, it's an 11 page 24x36 sheet set. 7 colour perspectives (live views), all the rest (perspectives and elevations) are plotted lines.

Using the chief pdf printer, printing at 600dpi, black and white I got a 63MB file. I then tried at 144 dpi, reduce it through Acrobat after printing (barely made a dent) and it came out at 15MB. This seems like a standard on my projects, which makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong that increases file size?

 

I use my google drive and drop box account for large files, but not being able to e-mail out a sets to trades, etc who might not have a great connection (we live in a rural area & trades have trouble with handling large files on their own computers) is definitely a setback. But I guess maybe that's not my problem?

 

 

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