Font rendering (was: Re: Flash player no longer supported, what happens to media9 and Skim?)

Shreevatsa R shreevatsa.public at
Mon Aug 3 20:31:12 CEST 2020

To the original poster (Jim Diamond): could you carry out the same
comparison (acroread versus evince) with the attached example-2.pdf ? Just
curious about the results.

This example-2.pdf was generated from the given example.pdf (also
re-attached, just for completeness) by running:

ps2pdf -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dAutoRotatePages=/None -dEmbedAllFonts=true
-dSubsetFonts=true example.pdf example-2.pdf

as I learned while writing an answer
<> in 2016: the intended
difference is that the resulting example-2.pdf uses Type 1C (CFF) fonts,
for which FreeType (used by Evince) has (or had) a better rasterizer,
instead of Type 1 fonts (as example.pdf does). All this may no longer hold
now in 2020, but I'm just curious whether it makes a difference.

On Mon, 3 Aug 2020 at 09:56, Jim Diamond via texhax <texhax at> wrote:

> On Mon, Aug  3, 2020 at 00:34 (-0700), Alan E. Davis wrote:
> > Off topic
> I wouldn't say so.
> > and out of order.  Please feel free to ignore this if it is
> > completely bonkers.
> > I have been pulling my hair out about differences between pdfs
> > produced by conversions by ps2pdf, of PostScript output by the Gri
> > graphing language.
> Well, OK, maybe it is off-topic.
> > This did not involved text.  A friend converted on a Mac and got
> > much prettier results than my results from ps2pdf, either standalone
> > or by way of Inkscape.  My workflow has been working fine for at
> > least two years, and other edits with Inkscape too that suddenly are
> > not working the same.
> > Why I thought this message thread relevant to my issue: I never
> > understood previous to the past month that PDFs are rendered
> > differently by different software.
> In theory, I don't think they should be.  In practice, keep in mind
> that the mathematical shapes (of the characters, as well as lines and
> curves drawn for other purposes) have to be mapped to a discrete grid
> of points.  And, as I understand it, that is where things get ugly.
> Different rendering engines can do different things.  In some cases
> you might not see the difference, but in some cases you might.
> > Even a push or a shove in some direction would be gratefully
> > received, toward learning more about this entire process.  It
> > troubles me that my work, as trivial as it is---tide graph
> > calendars, and other graphs---would not be rendered consistently on
> > different media.  I get it that in print, my carefully edited grid
> > line widths will look differently on photo paper in a consumer
> > printer than on, say, generic printer paper.
> > I have been looking at them with evince, okular, acroread (on
> > GNU/Linux), and other pdf readers.  My eye is obviously not as
> > discerning as yours, because I seem little difference between the
> > two images in your attachment.  I don't know what to look for.
> Did you read my comment that, for example, the '0' in "10 pt" looks
> different to me?  I find the evince rendering far less readable.  For
> the bigger fonts, I notice the difference between the Acroread and
> the evince rendering, but I find them both quite readable.
> > I apologize that this is probably not related to your discussion.
> I think it is, indirectly.  The reality is that if we depend on PDF as
> a document format we can share with others, it is important for other
> people to see your documents how you see them (or as closely matching
> as possible).
> > I can provide graphics if anyone wants to look at them.
> Just out of curiosity, what program did your mac friend use to convert
> PS to PDF?  (I'd be interested in some examples, but probably all I
> can do is commiserate.)
>                                 Jim
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