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ArtWorks 2.5 will include PDF export

By Chris Williams. Published: 2nd Sep 2005, 13:47:46 | Permalink | Printable

To be ready before the end of 2005

The beer ArtWorks file in a PC PDF readerIn a welcomed change of heart, ArtWorks 2 will now feature PDF export before the year is out. As part of version 2.5, the vector graphics package will be able to generate PDF documents without any intermediary steps or software, whilst preserving transparency and graduated fill objects. With support for CMYK colour, PDF files produced from Artworks should be suitable for professional printing.

Other potential features on Martin Wuerthner's to-do list include multi-page documents and alpha channel export. Earlier in August, Martin initially feared that PDF export in ArtWorks would be "very expensive to implement" and that sales of ArtWorks 2.4 would not economically justify the cost of development.

MW Software hopes to charge 30 quid for the 2.4 to 2.5 upgrade, although this is subject to change.


MW Software website

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This is excellent news. I very much look forward to buying this upgrade. Thanks Martin for all your hard work!

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 2/9/05 2:11PM
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Out of interest, what it the state of RISC OS PDF viewers these days? Do we actually have a viewer with the necessary PDF 1.4 support to be able to view translucent vector objects?

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 2/9/05 3:13PM
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According to an email I've just read from Martin Wuerthner, it would seem not. I wonder if this a problem that RiScript might address now that it's being developed again.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 2/9/05 3:19PM
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None of the RISC OS PDF viewers can display transparency or PDF colour graduations. I seriously doubt this is going to change in RiScript - both things would require them to write their own graphics engine, which is pretty unlikely bearing in mind that only ArtWorks and Vantage ever managed to display transparent vector graphics, both being big and expensive graphics packages. For technical reasons that are beyond what can be discussed on this forum, the graphics engine required to display PDF file exported from ArtWorks 2.5 would have to be much more complex than even the graphics engine used in ArtWorks 2.5 itself!

As I indicated in my recent e-mail on the ArtWorks mailing list I expect to have a better (though not perfect) solution soon. The above PDF file, for instance, is displayed reasonably well, though with visible colour banding and some artefacts that only go away when zooming in, but significantly better than what !PDF and RiScript can manage.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 2/9/05 3:56PM
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To wuerthne: watch out with your claim at [link] "PDF 1.4 files can be read natively by Adobe Illustrator(r) 9 or higher". Adobe themselves do not consider Illustrator as a general PDF editing program. Yes, its own AI file format is in fact PDF based but they heavily make use of private data to keep editibility (also an option when creating PDF files inside Illustrator - incidently, it happens that if you switch off this option, Illustrator can no longer correctly read its own PDF file).

Illustrator will *try* to read PDF files but you will see that this failes for many and for "professional printing" important PDF constructions (fonts, image scaling issues, layers, spotcolors, etc are all painpoints).

The situation gets better and better for each Illustrator release but it is far from perfect, even in CS2.

 is a RISC OS Userjoty on 3/9/05 12:49PM
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Thanks for the comment. I can only go by what Adobe write in their own documentation: The current PDF specification (1.6) states that Illustrator 9 uses PDF 1.4 as its native file format. I am very surprised that basic things such as image scaling do not work, surely, this is trivial? Advanced features like importing fonts are a very different issue, of course. Do you have access to a current version of Illustrator? I am curious to see how well it copes with the above PDF file exported from ArtWorks.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 3/9/05 1:10PM
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What Adobe write in their specification is correct. They are using PDF1.4 file format but that does not mean that Illustrator supports reading and editing of any PDF 1.4 file. It's like ArtWorks ;-) : it can read/write its own EPS files but that does not mean it can read any EPS file.

 is a RISC OS Userjoty on 3/9/05 3:14PM
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What amazing news - further competition in the marketplace is always welcome.

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 4/9/05 1:52PM
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I have always thought that PostScript and PDF were badly suited as page description languages for printers and viewers, in that they are Turing complete programming languages. This makes it difficult to make viewers (especially if these need to be fast) and makes the format ill suited as file format for editing programs.

I would much prefer a "static" format like !Draw or similar, where the description is geometric rather than algorithmic. I can accept simple geometric transformations and calculations being done at viewing time, such as scaling, rotation, duplication and clipping (even against curves), but a full imperative language like PostScript is OTT. Such might be used as a language to produce files in a static format, much like LaTeX produces PDF, but it isn't really suited as the final distribution format. Oh, it works (sort of), but if anyone were to design such a language today, it would look very different.

I guess the reasons for PDF/PostScript being used in this role today is historical -- by PostScript being used as page description language in early graphical printers, through being selected as the standard printer format for Unix and Macintosh and adopted also as on-screen viewing format with viewers like GhostView etc., which made Adobe recognize the potential for making a variant of PostScript targetted towards on-screen viewing (i.e., PDF).

So, we are caught in mechanisms like those that gave us QWERTY, C++, Windows etc. :-)

 is a RISC OS Usertorbenm on 5/9/05 8:48AM
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PDF is NOT a Turing-complete programming language. One of the main reasons for creating the PDF format is precisely that this "feature" of PS was considered a bad idea. PDF is a static description.

Secondly, PDF is by no means a variant of PostScript targetted towards on-screen viewing. PDF has been designed for all sorts of target devices: professional printing devices, pre-press work and also for on-screen viewing, but the latter is no more the focus of PDF than any other target. You could call PDF an extensible, object-based, static (i.e., NON-Turing-complete) variant of PostScript with additional structure imposed to allow random access to objects. If Adobe were to design it today, I doubt it would look much different.

PDF could be called less static than Draw (because it does not require each and every attribute to be specified for each object, but instead keeps a "current graphics state"), but the contents of a PDF page are still a sequence of graphical objects, just like a Draw description. It is also significantly more complex than Draw, simply because it does so much more and needs to support all sorts of professional printing features. Finally, it is stream-based, which makes it more difficult to manipulate, but this is the price you pay for all the flexibility.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 5/9/05 12:44PM
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It is clear that PDF is a file format like Draw and not a language like PostScript. But don't forget that there a various ways to make PDF more dynamic by using JavaScript especially when it interacts with user forms and 3d (u3d) objects in PDF1.6.

 is a RISC OS Userjoty on 6/9/05 9:39PM
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Excellent news and a development which will benefit both ArtWorks and RISC OS users as it allows ArtWorks documents to be sent as industry-standard PDF files. Brilliant!

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 13/9/05 8:57PM
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