Poor print quality on exported TIFF graphics

Hi everyone - I’ve had a search of the forum but can’t find anything on this.

I am exporting a score as TIFF at 1200dpi for publication. On the screen the quality looks good but when I print from the TIFF I get ‘dotting’ on the stave lines, that I don’t get when printing straight from Dorico.

Is there a reason for this and can it be avoided? I don’t want the published version of the score to have this ‘blocky’ appearance.

Any help or guidance appreciated.


Are you on a Mac? I’ve found that solid black tone will go “dotty” on some printers if ColorSync is turned on in the print dialog’s “Colour Matching” tab. Set it to “In Printer” instead.

Any reason you’re not using PDFs? 1200dpi TIFFs are still not as good on a commercial press.

PS. Loved singing the Bestiary. :wink:

Thanks Ben (and glad you liked the Bestiary, that is great to hear). Yes, I’m on a Mac - where do I find the ColorSync dialog? In Dorico or in the printer settings?

I was exporting as TIFF as that was what the publisher requested - I can go back and suggest a PDF but don’t know if that works with whatever graphics app they are using.

Thanks for your help!

It’s in the OS printer settings, there should be a heading “Color Matching” in one of the drop down menus. (See Screenshot) Presumably you’re printing the TIFF from Preview or other app? Might be worth saving a print preset or default with it turned off.

Having worked in Print production, I’d be surprised if they favoured TIFFs over PDF. I’d certainly ask. At the very least, they’ll convert it to TIFF themselves, and any loss of quality will be on their shoulders.

TIFF isn’t really a file format. It’s a “container” for many other image formats, including multiple images (both multi-page documents, and multiple images that are “tiles” forming one large page) which was the reason it was popular for document printing before PostScript and PDF superseded it.

In fact when it was still commonly used, there was a joke that TIFF was an acronym for “Thousands of Incompatible File Formats.”

The fact that the last change to the TIFF format, version 6.0, was published more than 25 years ago is a good clue as to how “current” it is!

So if a publisher just asks for “a TIFF” with no qualification, either they are being careless, or maybe somebody doesn’t really know what they are doing. (Or they are still using 25-year-old printing technology…)

Thanks guys. Do you know if there’s a reason Dorico doesn’t export to EPS like Sib does?

EPS is considered pretty outdated. PDF is the modern format that has replaced it.

EPS is sufficiently outdated that Sibelius 2019 does NOT export to it.

The main reason EPS was first invented was because computers at the time were not powerful enough to render high resolution images quickly, and EPS could include a low resolution preview image in the graphics file. For example the internal computer in the original Apple LaserWriter printer was considerably more powerful than any Apple Macintosh computers at that time (which is why the original LaserWriters were so expensive). That was a big deal back in 1985, but not in the 21st century.

One reason why EPS has been abandoned as a file format is that it is a security risk. PostScript is a fairly complete programming language, so you could write code that did almost anything including overwriting or deleting ANY files on your computer, when the user displayed the high resolution image. (And you don’t need any arcane hacking tools to do that - just a text editor.)

Normally, when it is suggested that folks enter the 21st Century, it’s meant as a joke. Not the case, here.

Hmmmm… looking for my LISA, LaserWriter and copy of Aldous PageMaker. $22,000 in 1983 and worth every penny. Really, if you were doing desktop publishing, it was.

Hmm… I had the misfortune to be required to use a Lisa for my job. That was probably the reason I never bought any Apple products since. IBM DisplayWrite 4 was wonderful by comparison.

But the LaserWriter was a brilliant product - and there were plenty that were still churning out prints going into the 21st century, and probably few are still doing that!