Why are Line Drawing viewports printing with Black Background when exported to PDF first?


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I like to use Line Style renderings for my concept sets - and have noticed that when i use them the backgrounds print out black. This when I have them set to 'live view - update on demand'

 

 

I export using the chief pdf exporter - then open in Preview and the backgrounds look white - then I print and they're black.

 

I have checked the background of the line style viewports, and have even specifically set it to a 'white' background.

 

In the chief menu, I have selected and changed all my window and colors to white as much as possible even, and no change.

 

When the pdf is exported from Preview, after the export from chief, and made into JPEG files for each sheet it will print correctly.

 

Trying to figure out what's going on - pretty sure it's not my printer - and i've tried printing from other PDF readers and no dice. Also, if I print from the 'mac print dialogue' and use the native pdf exporter, the files come out without the black background, but there are other issues (different thread I suppose). 

 

My hunch is that it's somewhere in the chief achitect PDF converter, maybe specific to mac computers. Anybody else having this problem? It has been posted about before but never saw resolution.

 

Miller - Concept Layout Cover Test.pdf

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 3.17.09 PM.png

Miller - Concept Layout - July21.pdf

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 3.20.21 PM.png

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No problem printing your Layout Cover from Adobe Reader.  What other PDF viewers have you tried ?  

 

I have seen this before when other people print out my drawings and I feel like tearing them up when I see them.:angry:

 

Black text and dimensions don't show well on a black background.  People trying to save money can really screw up a project. :(  And I don't even put a markup on the prints I provide.

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I've experienced this for years.  It is, indeed, a problem with Chief's PDF generation, which can be proven by choosing a different product to generate the PDFs.  That is, if you avoid Chief's PDF generator as your selected printer and, instead, select the option to use your operating system's print dialog (near the bottom of the dialog box), you'll likely have better results.  

 

I've reported this in past versions, but the problem persists.  It seems to be related to your printer's onboard memory and the amount available to handle the prints.  In any case, if another PDF tool's generation of the same image prints correctly on the same printer, then the problem is in Chief's PDF generator.  I simply select a different tool (or a different rendering technique) and they're fine.

 

Note, though, that you may not even know that there is a problem at all, like what Chopsaw is describing above.  It may work fine for you, but those receiving the PDF get the black backgrounds when they print.  Probably wasn't the designer's issue at all ... It's Chief's ...

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But, Alaskan_Son, the problem is not necessarily related to Preview ... The problem also exists when sending plans to others who may not even have the Preview app.  The problem is due to the generation of the PDF document, not necessarily the presentation of the PDF document.

 

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12 minutes ago, KTransue said:

But, Alaskan_Son, the problem is not necessarily related to Preview ... The problem also exists when sending plans to others who may not even have the Preview app.  The problem is due to the generation of the PDF document, not necessarily the presentation of the PDF document.

 

 

Not sure I agree.  I believe the problem is related to images with transparent backgrounds and the way those image files are handled within certain PDF viewers/editors (the Preview app in this case).  Chief's PDF generator preserves those transparencies while a lot of other PDF generators do not (at least not by default).  It seems to be the handling of those images with transparent backgrounds in PDF files that is the problem and not the PDF itself.  Just because you can use another PDF printer without having the same problem doesn't mean it's a Chief problem.  You would have to use another printer that also preserves the transparency to prove your case.

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Michael, THAT's interesting!  Am I about to learn something new???  I've had this discussion with CA and chased it through their ranks, and the only thing they came up with was "probably a memory issue in the printer" and that seemed likely ... until I changed the tool that's generating the PDF in the first place.  I'll have to dig into that.  I love learning new things!

 

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Good point Mike! I never had that issue with any versions of CA and used a few diffrent printers over time and just printed your PDF with HP Wide format printer and there was no background issues. I would check printer settings or PDF print settings

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  • 1 month later...

@Alaskan_Son  Michael (especially), I'm continuing this thread, in hope that eventually it will lead to Chief Architect systematically preventing the problem in the first place. I do believe they have the ability to control whether or not this issue persists, but I could be wrong.  Please let me know if you think I'm getting closer ... 

 

I was doing some more reading tonight after rushing out the door today having just printed 9 pages of virtually solid black tabloid-sized pages.  I now understand a lot more than I ever thought about procrastination, the cost of ink, and "transparency" in PDF docs, and why the images sometimes end up printing as black boxes.  I also now agree that Chief preserves transparency in its generation of PDF's.

 

Interestingly, the "black box" symptom doesn't always exist.  That is, my typical process doesn't change.  I use CA's "Print" dialog to generate PDFs, open Preview whenever I want to print them, and send them to my printer.  So, why do almost all work fine, but some not so much?  That part, I'm going to look to you for help or research more another time ...

 

But, what I did find was that the problem was introduced to the generation of PDFs a decade or so ago, and it has affected a LOT of people.  I also found this little tidbit that may or may not be worth the time it took to read this, but ... does this have merit???

 

'I finally discovered that the problem centered around the selection/deselection of "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)" under the PDF Options when generating a PDF.  Further investigation shows that transparency in objects is forbidden in "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)" formatted documents.'

 

Might this be a way that Chief could control whether or not transparency is included in their resulting PDFs?

 

 

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15 minutes ago, KTransue said:

open Preview whenever I want to print them, and send them to my printer.

 

Need more details here if this is going to be solved.  Pretty sure this is mostly a Microsoft issue that came about when they started giving the option to have dark screen themes. I did not see the issue before that anyway.

 

Are you printing from Chief or some third party PDF viewer ?

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Definitely not a Microsoft issue, though I'm sure that Microsoft-related software is affected as well.  My reading indicates that the problem has persisted since introducing the concept of transparency into PDFs in the first place.  Further, I don't have any Microsoft software in the mix.  But, let's keep brainstorming ... What the H*** is going on here?!?!?!

 

Oh, and to answer your question ... "Preview" is the default document/image viewer on the Apple side of the wall.  Based on what Michael was suggesting, I'm guessing that I could open Chief's PDF in different viewers and get different results, but the problem, as I see it, is in the basic PDF in the first place.  The problem can be completely avoided if I print directly from Chief's print dialog, but then I don't have the resulting PDF to store, distribute, or return to at a later date.

 

 

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Others that have printed my chief generated PDF's have had issues but personally I have not, nor has there been and issue when I have my PDF's printed professionally.

 

Yes if you were willing to give up transparency the problem would likely go away but I don't think that would be considered by chief.

 

Do you have Adobe Reader or Acrobat installed on your system ?  Pretty sure they were the ones that invented PDF's.

 

Pretty sure the issue is that Microsoft and now Apple and many others are only providing a basic PDF viewing platform that works for the majority of applications but not for transparency that likely only exists in a very small percentage of PDF's.

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Yes, and Adobe (and it's Acrobat product) were the ones that added transparency so many years ago (the earliest report of a problem that I've read to date is from 2010), and they made subsequent changes to their PDF generation options to acknowledge the issue.  And, yes, I believe that another post-processing application can adjust for the situation (many have), but I guess my biggest question would be in whether or not Chief actually uses transparency in it's PDFs in the first place, and whether or not they need to.  If there is no need, then it looks like the issue could be corrected by Chief, at least where it's PDF generation is involved.

 

I haven't tested this yet ... The following might work for me and other Mac users who have this option, and I really don't know if Chief's PC interface also presents this option (does it @Chopsaw?) ... Maybe a workaround (I hate work-arounds) would be to simply avoid Chief's PDF generation in the first place, and choose their print dialog's option to open the operating system's print dialog, thereby invoking a different PDF print generation tool.

 

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Yes Chief does use transparency and I am not sure they would go back if there ever was a time that they did not.

 

Adobe Reader is free and quite a handy app so please give it a try.

 

Yes Microsoft does have a PDF printer that shows up as an option in chief's print dbx but it does not have the large paper size options required by most of us unless you are comfortable hacking into your registry.  There are also others that have been discussed in other threads.

 

Most of the time after lengthy forum discussions chief's PDF printer seems to be the best option to use with chief and I wish I could use it with other apps as well.

 

There may be other PDF viewers/editors that are compatible with chief's transparency but I have always used Adobe.

 

 

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Thanks for the feedback, and the encouragement about using Adobe's Acrobat Reader as a third-party app (I'm familiar) ... 

 

I'm not sure you're seeing what I'm referring to as far as the PC side's print dialog ... I'm aware of Chief's PDF "printer".  I was referring to an option at the bottom of the Print dialog box under "Advanced Options" that says (see attached) "Open System Print Dialog ...", which would/should also provide the full capabilities and print sizes of whatever printer happens to be attached.

 

Unless someone else "in the know" chimes in (@Alaskan_Son???), I'll contact Support and see if they can tell me how Chief makes use of PDF transparency.  

 

Screen Shot 2020-09-01 at 10.57.28 PM.png

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7 minutes ago, KTransue said:

I'm not sure you're seeing what I'm referring to as far as the PC side's print dialog ... I'm aware of Chief's PDF "printer".  I was referring to an option at the bottom of the Print dialog box under "Advanced Options" that says (see attached) "Open System Print Dialog ...", which would/should also provide the full capabilities and print sizes of whatever printer happens to be attached.

 

Yes definitely been through that process.

image.thumb.png.cc90a369608616a8dbefb994e351ca19.png

 

10 minutes ago, KTransue said:

I'll contact Support and see if they can tell me how Chief makes use of PDF transparency.

 

Everything you see that prints out as Black is using PNG transparency for backgrounds and built in transparency settings.  Maybe I don't understand the question.  Apps that print it out as Black are not handling it properly and likely displaying and printing it as JPG.

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Not sure I have much more I can add Kevin.  I don't think it's anything we're going to solve here in the forum though.  As I'm sure you've seen, it's a relatively well documented problem that arises with certain apps and their drivers and the solutions are all over the board, anywhere from adjusting color settings to adjusting the dpi output to needing to flatten the PDF and so on.  I think reporting the problem to your PDF Viewer/Editor company and then simply using a using a different app till they get it fixed is likely the best solution though.  I will leave you with a couple last thoughts though...

 

  • I'm not exactly sure why Chief uses transparency but I imagine it has something to do with problems associated with generating overlapping viewports.  
  • Using image transparency in PDF's is actually quite handy if you're in the habit of post Chief PDF editing.  Sometimes I edit the PDF file afterward and the ability to move images around without having the backgrounds cover each other is definitely a benefit.
  • Just a random thought, but I've often thought that the transparency printing black issue may be tied to an underlying background/canvas color being used for certain apps during the printing process.  I just know that I need to change the background/canvas color on some apps that I use or I can't even view some PNG's.  I sometimes wonder if there isn't a similar background being used during the print process that just needs to be adjusted in some of these apps that are having problems...a color that users don't have any direct access to. 
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As usual, you've given me more food for thought ... I'll continue pondering.

 

Since you do post-processing of PDFs and you find PDF transparency handy, others probably do as well so it's probably not a good thing to eliminate it.  Still, though, I don't have these problems with ANY other software I use except Chief, so I can't help but believe there is something that Chief Architect can be doing to alleviate the issue.  For the time being, however, it seems that "work-arounds" are the tool of the day.

 

Thank you for your insight and for adding your thoughts!

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17 minutes ago, KTransue said:

I don't have these problems with ANY other software I use except Chief, so I can't help but believe there is something that Chief Architect can be doing to alleviate the issue.

 

Do you use any other CAD software that uses layout type viewport/image compiler that deals with both vector and raster based graphics?

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4 hours ago, Alaskan_Son said:

I'm not exactly sure why Chief uses transparency but I imagine it has something to do with problems associated with generating overlapping viewports.  

 

By the way, my supposition is really more than a guess. I am almost 100% sure of why Chief maintains transparency and its exactly the same reason some of us use Chief's PDF print driver instead of others in the first place.  Yes, the file size may be larger, but see what happens for example where this nice clean vector based circle overlaps an image with Chief's PDF generator...

pic1.thumb.jpg.13767bb22dd77ce1db6e312c2450f838.jpgpic2.thumb.jpg.486868e6cd2966c4eecb13f95a5b54da.jpg

 

...and what happens using another printer and no transparency...

pic3.thumb.jpg.113b7676a2e98ca632dd53e697f7da8c.jpgpic4.thumb.jpg.462605f966ec4b6db56b068264cd28cd.jpg

 

Here's the transition that must occur between raster and vector when no transparency is used...

pic5.thumb.jpg.cc7a282284c59959a19f780e64293304.jpg

...not very pretty.

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Actually, @Alaskan_Son and @Chopsaw, I'm beginning to see the light, but I'm still left wondering, then, what you do about sending those PDF files to your clients, over whom you have no control at all ... Don't they run into the very problem we're describing?  That is, they have to print those PDFs, so don't they end up with black boxes too???  

 

What do you two do to alleviate that issue?

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6 minutes ago, KTransue said:

Actually, @Alaskan_Son and @Chopsaw, I'm beginning to see the light, but I'm still left wondering, then, what you do about sending those PDF files to your clients, over whom you have no control at all ... Don't they run into the very problem we're describing?  That is, they have to print those PDFs, so don't they end up with black boxes too???  

 

What do you two do to alleviate that issue?

 

I actually have NOT run into this problem with any of our clients.  If I did, I imagine I would just encourage them to print from a different app.

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1 hour ago, KTransue said:

 I'm beginning to see the light, but I'm still left wondering, then, what you do about sending those PDF files to your clients, over whom you have no control at all ... Don't they run into the very problem we're describing?  That is, they have to print those PDFs, so don't they end up with black boxes too???  

 

What do you two do to alleviate that issue?

 

It has really only happened to me once.  I provided a sub contractor 2 copies of the drawings in 11 x 17" format.  The workers showed up on the job site with copies that were printed out as 8 1/2 x 11" with black backgrounds that they could not read or understand.  I was obviously not impressed.

 

I think I will start providing more copies in the future so there is less chance for this sort of thing to happen.

 

I also do some drawing sets with 3D PDF features and I am not sure other apps support this at all so explicit instructions go out with those drawings.

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6 hours ago, KTransue said:

Still, though, I don't have these problems with ANY other software I use except Chief, so I can't help but believe there is something that Chief Architect can be doing to alleviate the issue.


For the record, it’s not just Chief’s PDF’s that have that problem... I ran into the same thing printing some of my daughter’s school assignments when schools shut down last spring. The problem is in Preview. I print PDF’s from either Bluebeam or Acrobat Reader now. 

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