Better chant images
  • Hello all. I am sometimes asked to provide images (png or jpg) of Gregorian chant for worship aid booklets. I usually make them myself using finale and Paint. If I print them out myself, on regular copy paper, as for a leaflet, they come out fine. But when I submit them to be professionally printed, on thick, glossy paper, I'm told they can't be used because they lose resolution and look bad when they go to print, so I end up only using the text to the chants. Has anyone encountered a similar problem and solved it? If so, I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    Can you post a sample PDF file?

    If I need to put a score into a music program, I take the score (in a PDF file) and convert it to an image file, specify the resolution at 300 dots per inch, then crop off the margins I don't need, and save the image as a PNG file. Then I can put that score into a document, and the print quality is basically perfect.

    Normally I'd recommend using my web site that runs "Gregorio" software, at http://run.gregoriochant.org/ . You can copy and paste this code into the site and get a nice PDF back immediately.

    %%
    (c3) Ag(d)nus(fh) De(fe/hh)i,(ih..) *(,) qui(h/ij) tol(kvJIH'i)lis(h.) (,) pec(k)cá(ij)ta(k) mun(jvIH'i)di:(h.) (;)
    mi(gxf/gh)se(hvGF)ré(ed)re(ef) no(ded___)bis.(d.) (::)


    Thanked by 2tomjaw Gustavo Zayas
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,867
    Now I have come across this problem before... Professional printer do things differently, they use special software for use with their special printers that use larger sheets and fold to produce booklets. The type of .pdf we produce on our computers prints fine on a home printer.
    I used to send Postscript files to the professional printers, and that worked fine. Although a magazine took a while to compile, on my usually lightening fast Apple Mac...
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    Looking back at Gustavo's post, I'm wondering: is he using Paint to modify the score image, or just to convert the Finale PDF output to an image file? After that, what steps does he take to make a file for the print shop?
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,056
    A print shop will want a vector image not a raster image. png & jpg are raster formats, and both designed to make small files for transmission over the web (back in the days when transmission speeds were slow). There is plenty of information available on the web to clarify this, this site gives a useful summary, though not entirely accurate.
    I don't use Paint, is it capable of producing a vector image? If not, it is unsuitable.
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,056
    continued ...
    Finale itself could mess things up if you use the wrong print option. It is essential to use the EPS output option, otherwise the images will be rasterised to start with. Then an editing program which does not rasterise.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Gustavo Zayas
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,879
    I second the use of vectors for high quality printing.

    I have a drag and drop method using indesign and have created a library of individual neumes in illustrator and import them into the layout as embedded font graphics. It is best to maintain neumes as a font for the ultimate result in print quality.
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • Thanks for the replies.
    When I finish an arrangement using Finale, I hit the Print Screen/SysRq button. Then I open Paint, paste the image, crop and save usually as png. If I need chant, I'll use the cleanest score I can find, usually from the PBC or SEP pdf files. Then likewise copy and paste into Paint and save. For editing chants I manually change the formatting, moving and resizing measure by measure, so it fits properly into our typical worship aids. I know it doesn't look sharp if the image is blown up. I'll post a sample. Our worship aids are written in word documents.
    601 x 174 - 32K
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,056
    As you say, if you zoom in to your post you can get it up to 300%, the image will look a bit fuzzy but the text of your post will still look crisp. A commercial laser printer will be working not at the 300 dpi chonak mentions, probably 600 or 1200 dpi. The screen you took the shot from is probably 96 dpi. So the printer blows it up 6.25 times, and then has to guess (interpolate) about the dots which are neither black nor white, indeed as you have a colo(u)r screen they will be multi-colo(u)red.
    You need an eps file, if Finale will produce one and Paint or a better program can read it, or a pdf, and then follow chonak's advice above.
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    Gustavo, I think one problem is that you are copying and pasting a screenshot into Paint. Right there you're losing image quality, as a_f_hawkins described.

    You can get better results by exporting the score from Finale to a PDF file, then converting that to an image file.

    Let me recommend working with a different image editing program, called "The GIMP". You can download it for free from gimp.org/downloads . It can actually directly open a PDF file, so that you can then work with it as an image: cropping it and so on. There are plenty of intro videos (search for "gimp image editor").

    When you open a PDF file with GIMP, a pop-up box will appear letting you specify the resolution in dots per inch. My experience has been that 300 dots per inch has been just fine for clarity, and lets the files be of a manageable size.

    After you have cropped or resized the image as necessary, you can export it as a GIF or JPEG or (for best quality) a PNG file, and then use that in your document.

    If you'd like me to demonstrate this over the net, we can probably do that; send me a PM and we can pick a time.
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • GerardH
    Posts: 162
    I echo the recommendation to use vector image file formats. I would not recommend using .gif, .png or .jpeg file formats (particularly not .jpeg), or any other raster file formats.

    When I want to insert a chant score into a word document, I use GIMP (which @chonak has described above) Inkscape to open the .pdf, .emf or .svg file and then save the score as an .EMF (enhaned metafile). This is a Microsoft-developed vector file format. It won't display in your image viewing software, but it will insert perfectly into a Word document. It can be cropped or resized just like any other image, and when the Word document is exported as a .pdf, it will stay as perfectly clear as the other text in the document.


    [Side note: .svg is a more well-known vector file-format which can be used in Word documents. However, if the top of the image is cropped off at all, the image is rasterised at a rather low dpi when the document is exported to pdf. I have had the best success with .emf]
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    I'm sure the vector formats are most precise, and if they are supported by your software, then by all means use them. Working with open-source tools, I would use inkscape rather than GIMP to convert PDF to EMF, because standard GIMP doesn't export in EMF format.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 162
    @chonak - you're right, I do use Inkscape. My apologies, I got confused between my freeware!
  • madorganist
    Posts: 672
    @chonak How difficult would it be to develop an engraver with direct EMF output? Until now, I've been converting PDFs to PNG format with PDF Creator, which works as a printer driver. It requires one extra step after generating the PDF. The EMF output is much sharper and cleaner in print, but it necessitates another step and, as previously mentioned, can't be viewed like a PNG, JPG, GIF, etc. Anyway, thank you tremendously for your website. I've been using it for months and didn't realize until now that it's your work!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    If you have inkscape installed, this command seems to convert PDF files to EMF pretty well, and it may be more convenient than "printing" the PDF file through a driver.

    inkscape -f myfile.pdf -M myfile.emf


    Of course, your results may vary.

    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • Thanks, all.
    I will be trying out GIMP and Inkscape.
    Related: How do you guys feel about the image resources at GregoBase?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    Gregobase has scanned images from classic chant books, which show the source material well, but are often fuzzy; and it has crisp modern output images generated with Gregorio, but with a rather old version of the software. Sometimes notes spill outside the bounds of the staff. Also, occasionally there are errors in the transcriptions, so you can't just take their graphic and use it without reviewing it.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen GerardH
  • -b
    Posts: 48
    Richard, regarding Gregobase, there are things missing from the 1934 Monasticum Antiphonale. I'm putting together scores for Vespers I of Assumption. Antiphons, for example, are minus the end bit that shows the mode ending; there is no Versicle & Response for that service. A few years ago I seem to have gotten Vespers Antiphons from a different source for Purification, but I don't remember the source. Thanks in advance for your help.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,337
    The 1960 Antiphonale listed on the CMAA Resources page probably contains Assumption propers, perhaps in an appendix. Also the 1957 "Mass and Vespers", also available on the CMAA site, should have them.

    The Assumption Mass propers were changed when the dogma was proclaimed in 1950, and I don't know if any changes were made to the Offices then as well; so I wonder whether the 1934 Monasticum should be followed for Assumption, as is, or not.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,867
    @-b

    The 1960 Antiphonale scan on CMAA has the new Office of the Assumption, on page P-1 of the pdf or Pages 819, 819A etc. The main difference is the new office has Proper Hymns rather than Ave Maris stella.

    My edition of the Antiphonale 1949 ed. has the original pages!
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • What's the latest with the engraver website? It's been acting up the last couple of days.