1. New Software Notice alert!

    The new Web Graphics Creator (version 4.0) will be out soon.

    For now, version 3.0 is still active and works great on most Windows machines. It no longer runs on Macs using Lion or greater... (but the new version will fix this)

    So hang in there! It's almost done!

Hi Res Output?

Discussion in 'The eCover Creator' started by Gallery, May 31, 2006.

  1. Gallery

    Gallery

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    I've just bought eCover creator and played around with it for a few hours.

    It seems fine for low-res output for web use but what I really need is a hi res output for print & publishing.

    I can't go to print on jacket design mock-ups with jagged edged or pixelated images and unless you are printing a very small version of the design, that seems to be what you get.

    Q1. Can this tool handle hi-res (300dpi) output?
    Q2. Will this tool be able to acomodate vector images?

    I don't seem to have a right-click option in the Photorealistic mode to alter the rendering engine either. I can export from the cover creator at 300dpi but when it renders, I lose serious quality.

    I have tried importing hi-res files to the Photorealistic mode but I'm not retaining the resolution when it outputs as a TIF (when I open the TIF in Photoshop, it tells me that it's a 72dpi image, maybe that's the problem?).

    Of course I could Photoshop jackets from scratch adding light effects, shadows and perspective and achieve a better result but I was hoping this tool would automate some of that effort.

    I use OS 10.3.9.

    Anybody??
     
  2. KD-did

    KD-did

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    Send a PM to a¿ex...he is a programmer and a MAC user. He knows the ins and outs better than anyone.
     
  3. a¿ex

    a¿ex Staff Member

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    I am sorry that it may dissapoint you, but it is very difficult to judge, what "fine" is and what "not so fine" is. It depends on the POV.
    If you are looking for a high res print&publishing application, I'd say you are on the wrong way with a realtime 3-D engine, rather you need a decent 3-D rendering application, driven from a professionel 3-D modeller.
    If you use photoshop to work with the images you output, then you may know the difference between a tool, which offers high quality, requires, that the operator actually knows his business and has its price, which you can afford, if you work in a professional manner (and which you need in order to produce a professional output)
    The eCover creator on the other hand is meant as prototyping tool, which allows to create a fast draft with as less as possible effort and investment.

    It simply can't compete with a raytracer renderer, which takes a significant amount of time to render a fullsize 300 dpi image with shadows, refraction and other very nice looking features.

    Whereas the eCover Creator is supposed to render each image as often as possible per second and on a decent machine it does that 10,20,30 and more times per second (depending on your hardware and the size of the viewport)

    It took me a significant amount of knowledge to use this hardware rendered realtime 3-D image to output a *more or less* draft view of what the user has set up in realtime with simple steps.

    This is only possible using the hardware acceleration of modern graphic cards. Unfortunately I am in the same way dependant on what I get back from the graphic card not only performance wisem, but also quality wise.

    So like the performance varies widely across the boards, the quality too is different. Mostly the difference between the renderers (directX7 and openGL) is significant. While directX7 allows me to get a hardware rendered image, openGL doesn't and so I fall back to software rendered images in case of openGL.

    The bad news for you is: you don't have the choice on Mac. On Mac I can only use openGL, due to the absence of directX.

    Having explained all that (I hope you are still there...;-) I don't know, if you already have exhausted all abilities the app offers. You say, that you do not see the right mouse menu, which truly astounds me, as I am on mac myself and I know for sure, that it indeed does work on a mac. Either you have a two button mouse or you should know, that the right mouse button is equivalent to Ctrl+left mousebutton.

    If you click with the right mouse (or the key combo in case you have only one button) on the background a context menu with options should appear.
    If not this is a bug and I would welcome your help to track it down.

    In the current version of the ECC you have a hidden option, when saving to file, which is pressing the shiftkey while clicking on the Export button. This doubles the resolution (-> level of antialising). BUT only to a certain degree, as it depends on the available VRAM and the available renderer and otherwise freezes or fails miserably, I chose to constrain the maximum size to 800x600 with 2x Antialising (or 144 dpi for print) and 400x300 with 4x AA (or 288 dpi), when pressing SHIFT.

    I removed this constraint in the upcoming new version (which is in late beta state already) and now only display a warning, if you exceed, these values and leave you on your own. I see no reason to constrain people with 256 MB VRAM, only because there are a few trying to use the app with their 8 MB VRAM laptop. So depending on your hardware, you might be able to render much bigger images (while waiting MUCH longer for the result though). Esp. on a Mac, where you can only get software rendering, this will allow much higher resolutions.

    But there is another VERY bad news for you:
    the 3-D engine can only handle texturesizes up to 512 pixels in each dimension on a mac. Nothing to do here for me, unfortunately :-(

    Again, on the PC you do not have this constraint, we can easily use the max texture size of the graphic card, which depending on the card can be 4096x4096.

    And no, vector images as output are not possible, as all I can do in 3-D is pixel based not vector based.
    I could extend the allowed types of textures to be vector images, flash and illustrator eps, but I must convert them to pixel images and map them in case of a mac on 512 pixels square maximum.
    no dice.


    If you are still interested in giving it a try I invite you to participate in the beta test programm and give the new version a whirl. Please send me a PM for details. (Other interested persons can also send me a PM, if they are interested in the standalone beta version of the upcoming version 2 of the ECC)

    You might then decide. If you have access to a decent PC, you may want to try the results on the PC also.

    Sorry, that this might not have been, what you wanted to read, but I can't provide you with an "all-in-one device suitable for every purpose" in this case.
    This tools aims at rapid prototyping, rather than high-res raytraced renderings.

    HTH
     
  4. HomeBiz

    HomeBiz

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    :Painting: Hi Gallery,

    As a¿ex stated if you want the real high-res then you would really need to learn Photoshop.

    I use Photoshop CS2 all the time and create eCovers and software boxes with it but it is still faster to use The eCover Creator for desiging, it does take a very long time to learn it. Keep in mind that even if you do have 300 dpi images and post them on the web they will be huge compared to 72 dpi images which is most use for the web. This will affect your user downloads and alot of them still use 56k modems.

    Enjoy
    Ray
     
  5. Gallery

    Gallery

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    Well, thanks guys.

    Homebiz - As I posted, I know what Photoshop can do, I use it every day. Also, I thought I was clear that it's 300dpi output I'm looking for for print purposes, not web. Design for web and design for print have completely different parameters, you can get away with all sorts in low-res design that you can't with print. Colour correction, RGB/CMYK gamut issues, ISO colour profiles, vector EPS vs raster issues and the need for a hi-res output to are all important when it comes to print design but to so in web.

    A¿ex - thanks for the technical update. I think you've got the wrong end of the stick, I'm not attacking your software, I think for web use and for screen based prototyping, its good. Also for those who don't have experience with the more advanced tools of the trade. What I was trying to establish was whether I could use it to prototype hi-res jacket/cover design to CMYK laser print and save time, whilst also taking advantage of the Flash export for clients to review on-line.

    I'd be very happy to take part in any beta trial, if you think that the print market is attractive for you. There are a lot of people that could use a hi-res version of your tool for print output, especially when it is as easy to use as yours.

    As for the right click, yes, I'm aware of the key combo. I do indeed get a contextual menu but it has no reference to alternate raster engines. All I get (if I recall) are the options to remove shadows, change lighting, rotate and a few others.

    As for access to a PC, I have bannned all PCs from our studio network. I retain 1 stand-alone PC for conversion issues. In my experience, PCs are a liability in the design business, they spend more time down than they do up. I don't expect to change to PC anytime soon but I could experiment with ECC on it (except that would mean I would have to buy another licence, I assume).

    Well, let me know if you want some beta testing done. I'm a bit tight for time until mid June (we've got about 1000 pages of print design deadlines before then) but, after that I should be able to make some time.

    I've attached a GIF of the end result that I'm looking for, I wouldn't expect a prototyping tool to hit this standard but I'd like to see one come close.

    Good luck with it!

    DG
     

    Attached Files:

  6. KD-did

    KD-did

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    For general information the default DPI can be changed in the Create a cover module under "EXPORT" but this does not have any effect on the Photo Realistic module's DPI default of 72 DPI from my understanding.
     
  7. a¿ex

    a¿ex Staff Member

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    That's correct, KD-did.

    the 3-D module only exports 72dpi to file.
    when printing it does this at 144dpi default and 288dpi with SHIFT key pressed.
    where the print function raises the dpi, the export function does the same with the anti-alias level, which in fact, can be seen as kind of a "hack" to mimic high resolution on a low resolution (72dpi) computer display.
    anti-aliasing doesn't make sense for print (it even looks ugly!), but smoothes the edges in the screen with its low resolution.
     

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