Printing... Do's, don'ts, experiences and tips.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 6:53 AM
It wasn't hard to notice there was a major problem with the print quality at this years Nationals. After all the hard work by so many people to put on a great even there must be some disappointment about this.
A similar thing happened to the Relay map in Naseby a few years ago.
I would imagine this could have been as a result of a wrong file type going to the printer, or something similar.
I think we need a place (like this thread perhaps) where helpful facts and warnings can be shared. A go to place for all planners and controllers, in the absence of anywhere else (esp. for the inexperienced) to go.
Anyone know what happened in both these cases?
Also any of our Aussie mates have any feedback on the recent experience/quality/costs with indigo printing?
Posted: 23 April 2014, 7:57 AM
We never got to the bottom of "the great fuzzby problem" at Naseby. In this, OCAD 10 was used for course planning, output was to pdf, and at high magnification in Acrobat reader the map was clearly dotty whereas the course markings were perfect. The discussion is spread over pages 23-25 or so in the Mapping thread.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 8:41 AM
There was a problem with the long distance elite map. It looked very much like a photo copy. Quite different to my course 8 map.
Also a sharp difference between the middle course contours and the long course contours.
I agree with Paul we need some work in this area.
Do we have a technical committee?
Counties have the Nationals next year and this will be a priority. The map printing should be the same at all events
Posted: 23 April 2014, 9:54 AM
Problem was due to using complex raster image logos as background maps and having multiple embedded background maps.
We used one base master map per event which became a background map on the layout maps (several per event - one per different scale) which in turn became a background map on the final course map - useful as changes only need to be made in one place - for Ocad 10 unfortunately this meant for the sprint/long that the base map was exported as raster not vector (I was not aware of this beforehand and not picked up due to time issues - maps picked up from printers a day before first event - I picked up one issue with the middle map which required 5 trips (22km each time) to the printers and two reprints of two courses - for future major events up to nationals level I recommend closing date at least 2 weeks before first event)(and 4-5 weeks for an international event).
59 PDFs went to the printers - the relay mixed long had one PDF with 240 pages printed duplex.
Same printer as for Oceania/World Cup 2013 but different procedure used where logos were not drawn by hand as 2013 nationals logo (and RNZAF logo) too time consuming to draw by hand in vector format. I also had a colour photo on the night event as a background image.
Saving as PDF in Ocad - warning bells should be raised when the prompt comes up to enter the raster resolution - I thought it was only for the logos (and I used 400dpi - maybe 600dpi would have been better but file sizes might have become too large) but because of the embedded background maps the rasterising was also used for the base map.
For the future, a QA of each final PDF before it goes to the printer and checking the quality of the contours will show if the clarity is what is required. This should be checked by all involved - the planner, controller and person involved with the printing.
Slightly different procedure used for middle and night (where base map was imported into every layout map - a lot more time consuming especially as middle had 21 courses, 4 different layouts). Relay PDF's were created correctly in Condes 9 due to a duplex printing requirement (course and
race number printed on the back of the Teslin waterproof paper saving lots of time).
Are embedded background maps still an issue with Ocad 11?
I haven't played with layer management in Ocad 11 yet.
Difficult to work with different versions of Ocad (I had to worked with 8, 9 and 10 and some planners had 11) and printing courses / final maps with both Ocad and Condes (even the new version 9) is not easy (eg ensuring the coordinate system is the same between Condes and Ocad - we had three systems - New Zealand Map Grid, New Zealand Transverse Mercator and Cartesian).
Another problem with 8,9 is that the purple colour is defined as Magenta and needs redefining (I knew this intimately from Oceania).
Another tricky issue is getting the control circle sizes
correct for the course/scale. Course 2 and 2a on the long
had the same course but were printed at 1:15000 and 1:10000.
Requires a separate export/layout map and checking that the circles are 6mm and the control descriptions are correct (eg a western depression may change to a middle depression at a different scale).
We used scales of 1:3000, 1:4000, 1:5000, 1:7500, 1:10000
and 1:15000 during the weekend.
And don't talk to me about symbol sizes and handling different symbol sets in Ocad - it's a real mess. For example, just trying to manage a night event printed at 1:4000 and 1:7500 is a nightmare where changing the symbol sizes (eg bridges, earth banks) required a complete check of the map to see if features needed redrawing - some tracks near bridges warped, some banks warped, and control descriptions changed due to the scale).
Anyone tried Open Orienteering / Purple pen at a major event?
Posted: 23 April 2014, 11:27 AM
Bryan sounds like the use of raster image backgrounds should be avoided like the plague in any circumstances.
Where there any raster images in the middle or relay maps because the ones I saw were fine, it was just the sprint and long maps where I noticed it.
I had a similar issue with them a few years ago on a forest map for the Schools Champs and the contours looked very similar to those on the long maps. Fuzzy and hard to read.
My dpi was even slightly lower than the one you used, 300 I think.
The printing was done the day before and by the time it was noticed it was too late to reprint so I just went with it. Thankfully most of the kids didn't realise but with a major event there are too many experienced people competing to get away with it not being noticed.
Something for CM to be aware for next year.
Did you run any test prints prior to final map printing?
At the nationals a couple of year's ago we did exactly that. so we could decide on colour settings, the right grade paper and whether it was to glossy not glossy enough and so on.
It ended up being more of a decision by the setters and controllers to what we thought was the best. Hopefully at that stage, if there are any problems, they can be sorted.
It sounds like you probably needed a committee of people to keep tabs on what was happening with all the various map logos, sizing etc.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 1:16 PM
The rasterisation of Layout Layer is present in OCAD 11. Due to my print background I noticed an issue early in the piece and discussed with OCAD Support.
See http://ocad.com.au/saq/ for the detail. I tend to do a post or SAQ for any issues I find or that are reported to me and which are unlikely to be resolved in that immediate future. So maybe subscribe to the RSS feed or one of the email options to help keep on top of such issues.
You might also like to browse http://ocad.com.au/mapping-resources/ as there are printing related topics based on my experience as a printery owner allied with the work Jim Russell and I have done on colour for digital presses.
Indigo press (liquid toner). OA Mapping officer tried this about 2 years ago but no joy. However Easter last year was printed on Indigo presses unbeknown to the officials who had submitted their work to an offset printer. The result was certainly virtually as good as the best toner based digital press result we have had.
In theory you can get a range of PMS colours on the more recent Indigo presses. However much of that depends on the press having available the relevant specialist colours to mix with the CMY and K. Generally only the larger printerys will have both the press capacity for 6+ colours simultaneous with CMYK and have the colours relevant to us in stock.
I am about to write an item on what I believe is the most likely print technology offering short runs, great colour range and sufficiently low prices.
Regards, Ken Dowling
Posted: 23 April 2014, 1:46 PM
Thanks Ken you really are a wealth of ocad and printing information. Cheers for sharing your knowledge. I'm looking forward to your printing news!
I suspect then Michael that the Naseby problem may have been caused in acrobat as Ken has highlighted, and possibly the pdf not generated at the highest setting.
Mike I'm pretty certain our Nationals maps were rasterised because of all the logos, can you recall the final settings. I can't go back to my old emails. Or perhaps Marquita can remember.?.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 4:22 PM
No, our Nationals maps were not rasterised. Without fully understanding why, but being aware there was some sort of problem, I created the course maps in a rather roundabout way. (Michael will have kittens reading this). I used the ocad course setting software to create the courses but instead of using the "export course maps" function to create the final course maps, I turned off the background image and then copied and pasted the purple stuff (circles, lines, numbers etc) into a "real" ocad map file. A process fraught with potential danger and not one to be undertaken late at night, but quite doable with a clear head and a bit of care. (When I did the MTBO carnival maps earlier this year, this process was the only way I could figure out how to get circles and lines to be in lower purple i.e below black). Somehow this seemed to avoid the issue of raster images dragging the print quality down to the lowest common denominator. I'm sure the files we sent to the printer were PDFs of these ocad files.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 4:27 PM
For the 2013 NZ Champs we achieved good results using Condes 8, with an Ocad 8 or Ocad 10 base map. Most of the graphics and text were prepared in ocd format using Open Orienteering, but some third party logos were jpegs. All graphics were overlaid in Condes. I generally export the map as an eps file to send to the printer as this avoids possible complications with pdf's. However we did some test prints as pdf's with equally good results and I am unsure what file format was actually used by the course planners for final map production runs.
The creation by Michael Smithson of standard set of graphic elements for all the maps for use in Condes was very helpful, although the use of a font for the event logos which doesn’t work in OCad was an extra complication. However the other planners all had some difficulty in getting all aspects of map layout finalised. Problems included getting the map boundary set to the correct dimensions for printing to the edge of the trimmed A4 page, using the correct scale bar, using the correct version of logos, and using Condes canvases for layouts at different scales.
We did a number of test prints at various stages of mapping and planning to ensure that were not going to be any problems with colours and resolution, particularly as we were using Teslin 115 paper for the first time. We also did prints of the IOF test file to help identify potential problems. However the lack of a club copy of the IOF printing test sheet to compare the quality of digital with offset printing was annoying.
We did tweak colour settings, especially for yellow, on different maps to improve the clarity of small clearings for Tuhaitara and Dalethorpe or to reduce the intensity of the background on the Kura Tawhiti map. This also meant that issues such as reducing symbol size for 1:7500 scale maps were identified at an early stage.
Despite good forward planning Murphy's Law struck in the last few days as files were not submitted by the planned date and the printer experienced two machine breakdowns. The last maps were only printed the evening prior to the sprint race.
For the Canterbury Champs the printer requested that we use nevatear waterproof paper rather than Teslin. The map clarity for Tuhaitara was not as good as had been achieved for the NZ champs, but we haven't investigated what the reason for the difference was.
Posted: 23 April 2014, 8:58 PM
- Multiple test prints, both in-house and at the printers we used for final maps.
- Comparison of colours following test print with colour wheel.
- Simplified map layout with all 'graphic elements' done in OCAD.
TONIC2014, there were no printing problems.
Posted: 24 April 2014, 2:48 AM
Well done Theoman - you obviously were well organised with plenty of time. We had adequate time for Oceania with the result that there were few problems with enough time to fix issues. Best to draw all logos by hand if you can
(but usually not as good as original logo - especially for
corporate logos) and avoid raster images.
Some more comments:
- background Ocad files in final courses files should be avoided like the plague. You know that everything will be vectorised when the question to enter the raster quality does NOT come up when exporting the PDF. This is not an elegant solution and it is time consuming creating a final course file containing purple course file, base map cut area imported second, with layout map imported last - this can result in a zillion symbols and a zillion colours if you have lots of logos. For logo Ocad files I delete every unused symbol and every unused colour.
Also a real pain when every planner/controller wants to make last second changes to the maps on every event (as happened at Oceania).
For the nationals, the sprint and long used background maps,
resulting in poor quality, for the middle and night the base map was imported directly into the final Ocad file (where quality was fine). The relay used Condes 9 (which was fine) where PDFs were rasterised with higher resolution.
- overprinting is the required effect for IOF maps - purple should not appear under black. See Ken's excellent article to achieve this:
- The printers looked at me strangely when I mentioned possibly giving them EPS files for Oceania. They looked at me very strangely when I gave them 5 export PDFs for the offset maps for Oceania - I was annoyed that the World Champs 2013 used CMYK offset printing as I thought the IOF did not allow this (apart from getting a special dispensation). CMYK offset printing means that you can now give the printers just one PDF.
Use the Export PDF in Ocad - don't use the EPS export - it is obsolete.
- I couldn't find a way in Condes 9 to have a translucent logo georegistered and scaled to the border of the map - I wanted to have a 3-D effect on the border of the map with the logo. You can do this in Ocad. Look at the relay map and the logo is not on the border of the map.
Posted: 24 April 2014, 8:27 AM
Bryan I'm surprised you feel the middle and night were fine. My copies were quite readable but I suspect because I had the larger scales. Under a hand magnifier the edges of the lines are ragged, more so than some prints from our usual printer in the Hutt Valley. Which is the same printer WOC usually uses, is it not? Could be the paper though, what did you use?
Posted: 24 April 2014, 9:25 AM
A separate issue but one which may interest followers of this thread. What symbol sizes to use when printing ISOM maps at 1:7500 or 1:5000?
The std IOF scale is 1:15,000. And for those situations where they allow 1:10,000 they say the symbol sizes are 150%, ie a straight enlargement. There is no guidance for larger scales still. Do we continue to enlarge in proportion? Can make the map look a bit clunky. Do we keep them at the 1:10,000 sizes? Can make the map look spidery, and where colour areas haven't been taken right to the centre lines of roads, can leave some unintended slivers of white. Or do we do something in between? I think that the sprint symbols are generally similar to the 1:10,000 sizes (ie contours 0.21mm) so that might suggest no further increase.
This message was edited by Michael on 24 April 2014, 3:27 PM
Posted: 24 April 2014, 2:34 PM
That's a good question Michael. I'd always presumed that a 1:7500 map was a further enlargement again from the 1:10000. But then I heard somewhere that the 150% symbol size enlargement from 1:15000 is legit on all scales. On a map I'm working on which has a rather high density of contours would most certainly require a 1:7500 print for some grades. What I presumed as the 'normal' print (200% enlargement from 1:15000) looks so so, however printing it at 1:7500 using 150% symbols (ie 1:10000) greatly improves legibility. It would be helpful to hear what others think of this. Would only require tweaking the occasional symbol such as a fenceline butting up to a new smaller gate symbol...etc.
Posted: 24 April 2014, 2:48 PM
From what I recall at our nationals maps in 2012, Claire had designed the border and title artwork and supplied it to each separate controller to fit the size and layout of each day. I remember having trouble with jpeg's however bmp's worked great. The same with all the different logos, I ended up importing bmp's as an image.
I just wish that I'd written some notes on the settings, if any, I had to make when it went to the printer. But it would have been as a pdf. Certainly never did any scary copy and paste stuff. People may cringe but I did the courses in purple pen and later converting them to ocad files when completed. I just find it a lot easier. Seemed to work out fine. This was on the middle earth maps.
Posted: 25 April 2014, 10:52 AM
I've been following this thread with interest although it is very technical. PAPO's 2014 summer of orienteering only had one map that was difficult to read. Our club policy of using Condes has served us well, as has the discipline of getting a test print before we do the run and always having the same printer on the helm. Our one glitch came about when our faithful printer had an accident and was off work.