PDF presentations /again/ [was Re: [OS X TeX] Equation Service]

Jon Guyer jguyer at his.com
Thu Mar 21 21:26:00 CET 2002

At 8:57 PM +0100 3/21/02, U. Steiner wrote:
>why don't you use Acrobat to do presentation.  Works very well and
>you can use LeTeX typesetting to make the entire presentation,
>including equations.

I didn't see this in earlier discussions of PDF presentations, which 
seemed to focus on font problems (which I wasn't having): When I've 
tried to do PDF presentations, using both Utopia and something else 
(P4?), my fonts look fine (as long as I use PS variants), but my 
figures look horrible [*]. Anything rendered from PS vector files 
gets scaled and rendered horribly by Acrobat (reader or full, Mac, 
Mac OS X, 'doze, etc.). What should be smooth lines come out all 
clumpy looking. Complex graphics (like a particular logo used here in 
the lab) could actually be seen rendering element-by-element (I think 
because they were using gradients) on every flipping slide. Rather 
than quick transitions with the same logo remaining static at the 
bottom of the page, every page rerenders the stupid thing. I've tried 
ps2pdf with a variety of gs implementations and Distiller; all with 
the same results.

A graphic arts friend here in the business affairs unit of the lab 
said she had the same problem and that, after /much/ prodding, Adobe 
engineers eventually admitted to her that this was their problem and 
that they weren't going to fix it. Ironically, Preview.app displays 
everything just the way I want, but it's not (yet? ever going to be?) 
an adequate app to do presentations with. Rendering the ps to a 
bitmap produces a reasonable screen appearance, but makes the process 
of creating a PDF presentation even more cumbersome than it already 

As much as I preferred the look of the textual and mathematical 
output (and the pleasure of not using PowerPoint), I eventually gave 
up and went to the Dark Side. I /do/ ultimately have work to do. I'd 
love to find out this isn't necessary. Am I delusional? Does anybody 
else see this? Was this all covered in earlier discussions and I just 
missed it?

[*] These are generally Encapsulated PostScript figures generated 
>from Igor Pro, either directly or with the LW8 driver. I pretty much 
went through this hell and gave up on it before Mac OS X was a 
credible platform, so perhaps this issue is moot now. Igor Pro is now 
Carbon, so I can print directly to PDF and thus use pdflatex, 
skipping ps->pdf translation altogether. I'll have to try it and see. 
Also, I often decide it's not worth the trouble, but it can be nice 
to be able to label graphs with TeX. Is there a "pdffrag" equivalent 
to psfrag?


   Jonathan E. Guyer

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