Challenges with dissertation printing

Time has come for preparing my dissertation for official printing. Luckily, I had done most of the formatting when creating the manuscript for the committee, so I expected an easy process. It hasn’t been too bad, but some challenges have appeared:

  • CMYK: There are several years since I last had to deal with professional printing, so I had totally forgotten about the need for preparing all colour images in CMYK. Similarly, the people at the printing office asked me to convert all images that are supposed to appear in b/w to grayscale. Having something like 200 images in by dissertation, it has taken some time to batch-process, re-batch-process, and manually sort out all of this. I only have the non-UB version of Photoshop which took far too long, so I decided to try the batch processing capabilities in GraphicConverter. After some tweaking of parameters it seems to work quite well, although it refuses to convert from RGB to CMYK. It says that it does it, but the files remain in RGB. So the solution was to convert everything to grayscale (which worked!), and then to manually convert the pictures on the 11 pages I will print in colour to CMYK. Ah, when are they going to invent RGB printers…
  • Vector graphics and transparency: I love the crisp printing produced by the vector graphics coming out of OmniGraffle Pro. Unfortunately, the people at the printing company told me that they have problems with the transparency in these images. After trying a bunch of different combinations, I finally had to give up my nice-looking vectors and save them all as JPEGs. They don’t look that bad, but vector graphics certainly look better.
  • Cropping: One of the best features of Preview in OS X is its ability to crop images easily by just selecting an area of the image and hitting apple-k. Preview warns that cropping PDFs is non-destructive, but I turned off that error message a long time ago, and haven’t thought about it much ever since. This is also because PDFTex reads the cropped PDF files correctly, and maintains the cropping when I output my PDF from the TeX code. However, while doing my batch processing I realised that GraphicConverter does not care about the cropping set by Preview and opens the original version of the PDF. So I had to recrop everything in GraphicConverter and run another batch process. I learned the lesson: never do things the easy way, do it right from the beginning!

Now things seem to be sorted out, and I hope they accept my document this time around. The only challenge is to create a web-savvy version of the document, with RGB colours…

Published by


Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

One thought on “Challenges with dissertation printing”

  1. I’ve had similar experiences with Omnigraffle Pro. It’s such a shame and frankly quite puzzling that their vector standards don’t contain sufficient info for print. My coarse of action at the time was to switch to Illustrator. Luckily it was possible to copy-paste everything and to my surprise there was relatively little tweaking needed to get to the same endresult. Well, just so you know 🙂
    While I’m at it: great stuff that you’re working on btw. I’m a total layman but I’m very interested in gestures and music. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog 🙂

Comments are closed.