PDF Graphic Export (PDF 1.4 vs 1.7)

I am running into a small issue, that I am not sure about.

I am using Affinity Publisher to put together a music book. Of course I am using Dorico for the music examples. Affinity Publisher is giving me an warning that the files are PDF are PDF vs 1.4 files and that they are not compatible with the PDF export format of the book. I am guessing the export format is version PDF vs 1.7. The warning tells me that the PDF 1.4 files will rasterized on export. This would not be ideal, as it is possible the files would not look as smooth.

Is this something that I can change? Is this something the Dorico team could implement in future versions of Dorico? Does anybody have experience with this?

Robby

I ran into an issue with a few files that started rasterizing too; I found if I reimported the affected graphics that the issue was resolved. Try that on one or two of the affected samples and see if anything changes. I suspect this is an AP issue.

In my case, I had a template file that was just fine, and then all of the sudden it… wasn’t. After reimporting the behavior corrected.

Edit: I should add that in at least one case I had to delete the actual graphic frame. Simply swapping out the linked file wasn’t enough. It was only after I recreated a new graphics frame that the issue corrected.

The PDF Export format from Affinity Publisher is entirely configurable from the “More” button.

What “Compatibility” setting do you have in the Preset? Also, is “Rasterize” set to “Nothing”, or something else?
Screenshot

PDF versions are supersets of the preceding ones. So version 1.7 includes everything that was in version 1.4, plus some other things. (1.7 just has some security and commenting features, plus 3D-object support.)

The version number really tells apps what features they can expect in the PDF. Nothing more. For instance, Preview saves most PDFs as v1.4, unless you add encryption, when they become v1.6.

Affinity have made some very weird decisions in their handling of PDFs. Why on earth v1.4 PDFs should be rasterized, I can’t think.

If Dorico’s PDFs aren’t using features from the v1.7 extension, then its PDFs are not version 1.7.

Oh – the other thing is that Dorico is pretty reliant on the PDF capabilities of the Qt framework.

I have it set to PDF for Print.

Robby

The “PDF for Print” preset has “Rasterize” set to “Unsupported Properties”. (Why v1.4 should contain something that v1.7 can’t support, I have no idea.)

Hang on: from a quick look at the Affinity Forum, it looks like this setting should only rasterize features that aren’t supported in the PDF standard. It might be something like Transparency, or Alpha masks, or Layers that need flattening, rather than the PDF format itself.

Can you screenshot the actual warning message? Also, have you actually tested the output, to see if anything is rastered?

I have not tested the output. The issue I have is Publisher keeps crashing on my M1 Mac mini.

I have 100s of PDF exports from Dorico, and 60% through the book, Publisher is starting to crash when I place PDF files into the document.

I’ll try to export and print to see what happens.

Screen Shot 2021-05-23 at 8.23.52 AM

Robby

That message says that the Placed PDF is version 1.7, but is not compatible with the PDF Export version.
That might suggest that the Compatibility version is lower.

Affinity apps should be Universal Binaries, running natively on M1s. Maybe send the crash log to Affinity.

I have. They sent me a dropbox link and I have sent the file in question, along with video of the behavior, and the crash logs that the Mac generates.

Publisher is crashing very frequently with this file now. So I cannot see what other errors are showing. I swear several said v1.4. I’ll have to take a look in a minute.

Robby

Here is the v1.4 error. Sorry for the grabbing the wrong one earlier.

Screen Shot 2021-05-23 at 9.05.57 AM

Some files I took into Designer as I had to add markings, etc. Those I think became 1.7 versions, but still not 100% sure.

Robby

Thanks for your help Ben! I really appreciate it. I knew you had some dealings with this kind of thing. So I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

Robby

“Thirty years, man and boy.”

I just tried loading a PDF page from Dorico into Affinity, and I get the same Preflight warning. However, nothing seems to be rasterized in the exported PDF.

The Preflight profile has the following setting.
Screenshot

If I change that to PDF v1.4 (or indeed v1.7) then the warning goes away. So it looks like it’s just flagging that the PDF isn’t PDF/X-3. Again, why that should rasterize anything is beyond me.

I’ll mention it in the Affinity Forum.

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I’ve had the same behavior. I’ve seen the same error messages as those shared by Robby above, but if I ignore them (assuming nothing is corrupted in the file) the pdf exports as vectors, barring the weird exceptions I mentioned above.

I’ve researched this previously and found that Qt has issues with fonts. My workaround, on a Mac, is to right click the PDF file from Dorico and select Quick Actions>Outline Fonts. This results in the PDF being usable in other applications without rasterising. The Outline Fonts action can be added to Finder Preview from Mac Automator.

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Can you define “issues with fonts” more?

Certainly, Affinity apps have ‘issues’ with importing fonts in PDFs correctly, but that’s an Affinity problem. I’ve never had a problem importing a Qt PDF into other apps.

There’s no “Outline Fonts” Automator action bundled with macOS, so it must be an action installed with Acrobat or something else.

Affinity say that it’s been reported as a bug and they will fix it. But for me, it’s just another case where you have to triple-check everything when there’s a PDF import in Affinity.

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There was an issue with Dorico on Windows creating incorrect PDF font descriptors due to a Qt bug. I found the issue and reported it to Daniel, leading to @dspreadbury reporting the issue as QTBUG-76153 (click). Whilst the Qt bug report is still open, the issue is fixed in Dorico 3.5.12. I do not know which version of Dorico first contained the fix.