4 Books in and still the pdfs are broken


Fly Free or Die


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sure, the maps have been given their separate pdf so they're not such a problem (apart from the usual not aligning to accurate grids problem all Paizo maps seem to have). Why do we still have every piece of art separated into smaller pieces, making it needlessly difficult to extract for use in a VTT? And possibly because of this issue, trying to copy text is a pain. Just adding a ton of extra time to my prep work, recombining all these images in Gimp so they're actually usable.

Rant over, don't expect anything to change for the remaining couple of books but please try to get them better for the Horizons of the Vast AP.


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I just open the .pdf file on GIMP, select the page with the art, cut out anything non-related and save it as a .png.

Copying text does have some problems here and there, but they are usually apart from each other enough not to consume more than a few seconds to work around.

Liberty's Edge

This issue was addressed in another thread by Paizo staff, and they confirmed this by a post from Mark Moreland, so here's the problem:

The problem arose last spring as a result of the border frames designed for the Devastation Ark AP as well as Fly Free or Die. The settings on those frame options used to create the layouts within InDesign used some new graphical options that adobe had added to the software but which Paizo had not used before. These frames are attractive on the printed page, but unwittingly increased the file sizes of the PDFs dramatically when normal compression options were used.

In order to fix this size issue and make the PDFs smaller, Paizo had to flatten the crap out of the PDF which broke many aspects of the digital product beyond that which Paizo is used to doing. That's why the images are fractured within the PDF file and the text does not flow properly when copied, too.

There's no way to fix this. It's a trade off between file size and compression settings. They can't change the options used on the Page Borders without destroying the graphical unity within the appearance of the AP on the printed page. They can't do that. So what we have now is what we have to live with.

Paizo spent a lot of time trying to fix it and this is the best they can do. They have promised never to use these options within InDesign again, so after Fly Free or Die's AP run ends after next issue, the problem will not resurface. However, for graphical consistency's sake (the page borders need to look the same) there is no way to address those problems within Fly Free or Die.

It's a crappy situation, but that's where we are.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Steel_Wind wrote:

In order to fix this size issue and make the PDFs smaller, Paizo had to flatten the crap out of the PDF which broke many aspects of the digital product beyond that which Paizo is used to doing. That's why the images are fractured within the PDF file and the text does not flow properly when copied, too.

There's no way to fix this. It's a trade off between file size and compression settings. They can't change the options used on the Page Borders without destroying the graphical unity within the appearance of the AP on the printed page. They can't do that. So what we have now is what we have to live with.

This must be a limitation of the specific tools they're using, because I personally unpacked and recompressed Devastation Ark Book 1 while it was still 300 MB and got a large file size reduction without chopping a bunch of images up. Perhaps the limitation is due to their PDF watermarking system? I can only guess.

However, not being able to change their page borders "without destroying the graphical unity" feels like a textbook example of "This would be a lot of work to fix and we don't have the time/resources so here's an excuse." They had previously created beautiful border frames without using the new options, and they could, if they chose, recreate their frames for Devastation Ark and Fly Free or Die to avoid the problematic options. Perhaps there would be some visual differences with the printed product, but to me it would be worth the inconsistency to have a PDF that's compact and usable. Unfortunately, it's also probably a lot of work, for no saleable product.

Personally, I wish they would provide the 300 MB versions of these books again, in parallel with the 50 MB ones. That way even if they don't solve the problem, we have one file that can be used to extract text and images for VTT, and another file that's lightweight enough to load and reference during play.

Grand Lodge

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Yes! Provide us the thr huge file size version then! This is a nightmare in my prep.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Klart McCather wrote:
Yes! Provide us the thr huge file size version then! This is a nightmare in my prep.

I agree, 300 MB is nothing these days.

Liberty's Edge

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Zaister wrote:
Klart McCather wrote:
Yes! Provide us the thr huge file size version then! This is a nightmare in my prep.
I agree, 300 MB is nothing these days.

On a computer it isn't; on an iPad, Android tablet or even a smartphone - it can be the difference between a usable product -- and not.

I think the approach they should have taken was a Large file and a Small file download option.

Whatever the case, here we are.

Acquisitives

How about simply making the maps available as a seperate high-res download file if you buy the digital version?
You can then reduce the size of the AP pdf to a "tablet friendly" size, but at the same time giving people who play via VTT (which are a LOT today) the option to use the maps in their VTT program.

Liberty's Edge

It's worth noting that in Vol 5., Crash and Burn, the problem with copy+pasting of text have been fixed.

Liberty's Edge

(well - *mostly* fixed :))

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