Graphics in CD ROM-published Frame docs

Subject: Graphics in CD ROM-published Frame docs
From: Candace Bamber <kingfish!bamberc -at- SX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 10:18:00 -0400

Hi Sarah,

You wrote:

>1. What graphics file format are you using in Frame
>for CD ROM publishing?

>2. What's the optimal file format for online publishing?

>3. Should I expect more consistent performance, or will
>varying print drivers inevitably display at different rates?

>Thanks for any advice you can provide,

I've spent the bulk of my career making multi-media training programs that
are delivered by CD. Very likely, your problem isn't JUST the file format
of your graphic files. Here is a list of things that I've done to improve
response times:

1. For still shots, save graphics files as GIF format. FrameMaker likes
them just fine and they are about one-twentieth to one-fortieth the size of
a typical bitmap or TIF file.

2. Using a program such as Photoshop, resize your graphics to screen
resolution (usually about 68-72 dpi) - most graphics programs default to 300
or 600 dpi for paper output. If you need to print the files from the CD,
make two versions of the graphic - one for printing, one for display - you
can use FrameMaker's conditional text feature to do this.

3. Make the graphics the correct size (height by width) in the graphics
program, rather than resizing them in Frame.

4. Despite the hype, PC's were never designed to handle graphics well. If
* use black and white drawings. If you use greyscale, set your
graphics program up for 16 levels of grey only. If you use colour, set up
for 8 or 16 colours and use the ones provided (rather than inventing a new
* Don't use gradients!
* Also, this may sound elementary, but when you're drawing things,
stick to a single layer (that is, if you want a box with a double-line
outline and a shadow, draw a single box, select the double-line for the
outline and turn on auto-shadow. DON'T draw a black-filled box, then draw a
white-filled single outline box and off set it on top, then a draw a second
white filled box a little smaller than the first and place it on top of the
first white filled box.)
*Pick one or two fonts for your graphics and stick to them.

5. Spend some time with the service bureau that burns your CDs (or the
manuafacturer that supplied your burner) and find out how the information is
physically arranged on the CD. How you arrange your files makes a difference
to response times when they are displayed. For example, if you reference-in
your graphics from another subdirectory, each time a graphic is called, the
CD player has to go looking for the file. CD Players are not especially
fast, so you will have a noticable wait. If the graphics are saved on the
outer rim of the CD and the text on the inside, you will have to wait even
longer, then again as the player head goes looking for the text again.
Copying-in your graphics will help alleviate this, as will putting files
with lots of graphics towards the centre of the CD rather than on the
outside edge.

6. If all else fails, consider your tool. Maybe you need to take a more
"multi-media" approach. If you use a multimedia display tool, (like
Director) you can preload your graphics (so there is no redraw time at all)
and add "advanced" interactivity. This is extreme for your needs, perhaps,
but might be worth considering eventually if your company is serious about
computer-based information presentation over the long term.

In reference to your last question, it isn't so much the print driver as the
CD player and driver and the speed of the computer itself. Performance will
definately vary.

I hope this is some help.


Candace Bamber
bamberc -at- SX -dot- com
Documentation and Training Group
Systems Xcellence
555 Industrial Drive
Milton Ontario

Whatever you can do or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and
magic in it.
--Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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