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Need help with pulling layered images out of PDF's


Technology

Andoran

OK, I have been reading on different boards that a lot of rpg publishers are storing their maps in PDF's as layers so that their is an actual image layer and then a text layer. They do this so us gamers can lift the image layer to use for VTT sessions.

I have been trying to do this and not sure what to do I have tried using "somePDF image extractor" but no success - I am not sure if I am doing it correctly or not, using the right software or not...you get the idea....HELP!!!

If I am able to do this it would save me a LOT of time in the future.

Thanks in advance,

Arbarth
Old School GM


Arbarth wrote:

OK, I have been reading on different boards that a lot of rpg publishers are storing their maps in PDF's as layers so that their is an actual image layer and then a text layer. They do this so us gamers can lift the image layer to use for VTT sessions.

I have been trying to do this and not sure what to do I have tried using "somePDF image extractor" but no success - I am not sure if I am doing it correctly or not, using the right software or not...you get the idea....HELP!!!

If I am able to do this it would save me a LOT of time in the future.

Thanks in advance,

Arbarth
Old School GM

I have a lot of tools at my disposal, and it depends greatly on the way the PDFs are encoded/secured. Also most maps these days are built on an image base (JPG or TIF, or even PNG) with vectored or font text and art on top of it (for room numbers, even doors).

If you have Acrobat (not acrobat reader) or another full-blown editing program, you can cut/paste, etc.

But I suspect that you are trying to use a free PDF reader. In that case I would strongly suggest PDF XChange viewer (you can find it through cnet or download.com--I also recommend it because while it may look a little less advanced, it has a ton of advantages over acrobat reader, like tabbed PDF reading--really handy for us RPG types. Foxit reader is good as well, just not quite as useful). I just tried XChange with a layered PDF for eclipse phase, and it worked like a charm.

You simply get the page to look the way you want by hiding/showing layers, and then, on top of the page sidebar or under File:Export, you choose export to image. Set your prefs and your pages and go. You can even have it do multiple pages at a time.

On files that don't have layers, you might not have it so easy. Acrobat has worked for me to cut/paste into a new photoshop file (for VTT use). This pulls the underlying image out, without the vector/font based art on top of it.

For tokens/minis, rptools has a great Java program that allows you to work off of screen shots (which is fantastic when you need a mini on the fly).

One more secret from a graphic artist: only the parts that are seen need to be pretty. :) If the players never see a part of the image, it can be as messed up as you can stand.

Regardless, I strongly suggest you double check the maps for visible secret doors and other DM hints.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why doesn't SomePDF work?

I usually go with the following settings
"selected pages"
"begin page: 1"
"end page: number higher than pdf tota pages"
"Open results: Yes"
"Output directory: blank"
"Output mode: jpg"
"Quality: 100%"
"Gray scale: False"

Only problems I've encountered are when extracting multiple PDFs at once and also trying a new PDF after having finished extracting a previous one without restarting the program.

It will extract all images, but by sorting the folder by size you'll find the images you need faster.


Huh. SomePDF worked like a charm. Thanks for that gem. I used it on two different companies' PDFs and the only annoying thing it did is not put the images in the directory that they should go into. Which would tick me off if it weren't free.

Are you, OP, not getting the images at all, or are they coming out with text on them?

If they're coming out of SomePDF with text, then the text is embedded into the image, which, I'm afraid, is not something that can be helped. Let me know, I'll see if I can work with you.

Andoran

Makarnak wrote:

Huh. SomePDF worked like a charm. Thanks for that gem. I used it on two different companies' PDFs and the only annoying thing it did is not put the images in the directory that they should go into. Which would tick me off if it weren't free.

Are you, OP, not getting the images at all, or are they coming out with text on them?

If they're coming out of SomePDF with text, then the text is embedded into the image, which, I'm afraid, is not something that can be helped. Let me know, I'll see if I can work with you.

Ok I have been trying to pull the maps from D0: Hallows Last Hope

but every way I try I am getting the image with the text - I am going to have to say that the maps are not layered. Even using somePDF Image extractor still pulls them with the Letters / Numbers and other text on them.

I am very new to trying to do these things - but I would really like to use them for d20pro. I am running out of Ideas short of finding simmalar maps and using those (I really can not afford another program (like a map maker) at this time).

Arbarth
Old School Gamer

Andoran

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Both Adobe Reader 8 and 10 allow you to just select the Image Layer without the Text layer and Copy and Paste to where you want it, No other software needed.

Note this does not work with Adobe reader 9.


Although you may be wanting to make use of the maps for an honest cause, I think there is a reason many of the publishers started using layers like this. The product in particular you are using is free, but others similar to it may not be. This is may be a piracy deterrent... and I'm not trying to derail this into that discussion here.

However, as a solution might I suggest contacting the creator of the PDF and requesting the image directly, seeing as they have the unlocked files? Whenever someone has contacted me with a reasonable request like that I'm usually inclined to give them what they need. Also, I'm usually much happier than if it just taken. Just another side of the coin...


Arbarth wrote:

Ok I have been trying to pull the maps from D0: Hallows Last Hope

but every way I try I am getting the image with the text - I am going to have to say that the maps are not layered. Even using somePDF Image extractor still pulls them with the Letters / Numbers and other text on them.

I am very new to trying to do these things - but I would really like to use them for d20pro. I am running out of Ideas short of finding simmalar maps and using those (I really can not afford another program (like a map maker) at this time).

Arbarth
Old School Gamer

I just looked at D0 (which was a ton of fun for a 1st lvl adventure,btw). Unfortunately, it looks very much like the numbers are part of the image, and not vector/fonts.

So, you're not doing anything wrong with how you're pulling the images out.

There is a clash of terminology here that may be confusing some people. Layers, technically are designated layers that can be hidden or revealed easily.

A single layer may have fonts, vector art and pixel art all together. What you want to do is to pull out the pixel art for the images, which you seem to be doing ok, using Simple PDF.

Now, alas, it seems if you need it, you need to find a way to hide the important tidbits (like secret doors). First, you could use an image editor (like GIMP or Photoshop) to copy/paste or clone brush away the relevant bits. You don't really need to do the numbers, because it's not like the players are going to be surprised that there are numbers...but you can if you want. They're going to be the easiest to do anyways.

The other option is to use visibility to hide the relevant bits from the players. Cover the markers up with something. The players may see it, but you can tell them to pretend it isn't there, or explain that there was no way to get it perfect. Or, use visibility options in the VTT (maptools has a vision blocking layer, I'm not sure about your program). Different ways to achieve the same effect.

Anyways, you seem to be doing it right, and later on, they figure out that it's easier to edit text on top of maps so your job gets easier.

Andoran

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Arbarth wrote:

Ok I have been trying to pull the maps from D0: Hallows Last Hope
but every way I try I am getting the image with the text - I am going to have to say that the maps are not layered. Even using somePDF Image extractor still pulls them with the Letters / Numbers and other text on them.

D0 was made before the asked artist to layer the Maps.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This free tool did exactly what I wanted (extracted the images without the text overlay):

Some PDF Image Extract

I recommend you though selecting a page range because I ran this against the first book of the Council of Thieves and it extracted 739 images!

Adobe Reader X also extracted the image when you right click on it and say "Copy Image" so not sure if you need to install this tool if you just want a couple of images.


harmor wrote:

This free tool did exactly what I wanted (extracted the images without the text overlay):

Some PDF Image Extract

I recommend you though selecting a page range because I ran this against the first book of the Council of Thieves and it extracted 739 images!

Adobe Reader X also extracted the image when you right click on it and say "Copy Image" so not sure if you need to install this tool if you just want a couple of images.

I tried the program, but unfortunately the images still came thru with numbers and text :-(

I am also trying to get the Hollow´s Last Hope series (D0 - D1.5) maps with out the details so I can use it on Roll20 VTT.

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