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----- Original Message -----
> illegible. On screen and in print, the screenshots are
> pixilated and "fuzzy"-looking to the point of being
> worthless. The document hasn't gone to the printer
> yet, so there is still a little time to fix the
Can you be specific as to how you are capturing screens?
What program? What resolution and bit-depth is set on your system?
> The design firm requested that we send all of our
> screenshots to them as TIFs (CMYK, 24-bit, and
> "uncompressed"). The resolution of the screenshots is
> 92 DPI. The firm had to reduce the size of the
> screenshots to about 60% of their original size to fit
> them into the document. They are laying out the
> document in Quark.
This suggest to me that they are using Mac system. True?
I think they are using a percentage that doesn't work.
They can take all of your screen shots into Photoshop and do what they are
proposing. If they didn't specifically ask for TIF's, then they have to work
with the BMP's.
> So the question is this: How do you produce
> screenshots that are "print-ready?" How can I ensure
> that the screenshots I am delivering to the design
> firm have the adequate resolution to look good in
> offset printing? I have seen many examples of
> offset-printed manuals with crystal-clear graphics (no
> matter how small).
You are correct. It can be done. But you don't want to do the work if it is
being paid for in the printing job.
> The firm says that they cannot improve the appearance
> of the graphics because of the limitations of
> screenshots in general, and they can offer no solution
> to the problem. That is why I am turning to you for
This tells me that they don't want to spend the time to make things work.
It may turn out that there is something you can do, but the problem is
theirs because they accepted the job.
> your collective expertise. I couldn't find anything in
> the archives or on the web, believe it or not. I don't
> know how to advise them, but I can't release a
> document with this low level of quality in its
I think you need to tell them it's not acceptable, and ask what they can do
to improve the screens.
> I am perplexed because I can take the same
> screenshots, insert them into a Word or FrameMaker
> document, and reduce them to 60% of their original
> size, and they look crystal clear when I laser print
> them. What could we be doing wrong to make the
> graphics look so bad in Quark?
You're not doing anything wrong. When you place the BMP into Word it is
imported and processed in one way. FM does something different, as does
Quark. When you print, your Windows print driver takes over and processes
text and graphics for your printer. When the vendor does this, Quark applies
its import filter, and they use a different print driver obviously.
The solution lies in Quark. Scale the pictures so that each pixel in the
screen is handled evenly.
60% of 96 equals 57.6. The number should be even. Whether or not you tell
them how to do their job is a separate issue.
Edwin A. Wurster
Consulting, Programming and Maintenance
for Computer Systems and Networks
Training, Technical Writing and Web Design