in-line graphics quality lost in saved Scrivener 2 projects

I would like to report that inline images pasted into draft text are converted by Scrivener 2 into lower quality, less sharp images upon:

a) converting Scrivener 1 projects into Scrivener 2 projects
b) upon saving Scrivener 2 projects and reopening them.

Upon importing/converting my old Scrivener 1 project with Scrivener 2, I noticed after the conversion that all of the pasted inline graphics in the draft text documents appeared fuzzy. Subsequently, I have observed that initially the graphics are sharp, at the old Scrivener 1 quality level, but upon saving the project and then reopening them the graphics are made fuzzy.

I hope that this is a bug in Scrivener 2, but I suspect that Scrivener 2 saves the inline graphics at a lower quality level in order to keep the file sizes smaller and perhaps to improve performance in large projects. It would be better if a quality preference could be made: to use lower quality images to save space or to retain the quality at the cost of performance.

My application for Scrivener is for research notes. Very often I will use Preview to copy selected text or figures/images from a scientific journal article (pdf) while taking notes on them in Scrivener. The quality of the saved images in Scrivener 2 is not really too bad, but I prefer the quality of the images at the level used by Scrivener 1 or as initially pasted into the draft text documents.

(For now, I am sticking with Scrivener 1 since it is apparent that the images are irreversibly converted upon conversion to the Scrivener 2 format.)

It would be helpful if the developer would comment on this so that I can make a decision about whether to convert projects to the Scrivener 2 format; is this a known and expected behavior of Scrivener 2, to reduce the quality of saved graphics?

Could you please send me a text file that shows this loss of quality? Scrivener 2.0 saves everything internally as RTF rather than RTFD, so files are converted internally to PNG or JPG. I haven’t seen any loss of quality and tested for this, but I suppose it could be possible - I’d need to see a file that exhibits this loss of quality to make further comment though.
Thanks,
Keith

Keith:

I have attached and uploaded a sequence of files to demonstrate the problem:

wfb_v1.scriv: Scrivener project with just two text files with inline graphics in both, as saved by version 1.54 of Scrivener. Both inline graphics look sharp.

wfb_v2.scriv: the v1 project, above, after importing by version 2.00 of Scrivener. Notice that the inline graphics are now fuzzier.

v2_grab_pasted.tiff: screen grab of the second text file in the test project, as above, with the same source graphic (from Preview) pasted in above the saved version. The v2 project is saved to disk (autosaved) but Scrivener 2 has not quit yet. The top graphic is sharp (unsaved) but the bottom graphic is fuzzy (saved).

I hope these files demonstrate the issue. Let me know if I can provide further information, and thank you for considering the problem.
v2_grab_pasted.tiff.zip (398 KB)
v1_grab.tiff.zip (451 KB)
wfb_v2.scriv.zip (361 KB)

Unfortunately the screenshots show different documents and I think you forgot to upload the v1 .scriv file. :slight_smile:

Keith:

Sorry about the uploading errors in the previous reply. (The forum software allows only 3 uploads, and it limits the filesize for an upload, and lastly I had to manually zip the tiff files, so I was apparently too hasty and was confused. :slight_smile:)

Here are the two files mentioned above: the v1 and v2 Scrivener files, which show what happens to the graphics upon converting them to the v2 format, and I have included again the screen grab that shows how the graphic is initially sharp upon being pasted.

Thanks again for looking at this issue.
v2_grab_pasted.tiff.zip (398 KB)
wfb_v2.scriv.zip (367 KB)
wfb_v1.scriv.zip (400 KB)

Hi,

Ah, right, I see the problem - it’s caused by the fact that the images you had in there are PDF files, which can’t be stored in RTF files, so they are getting converted to PNG format and losing a lot of quality. I’m looking into a better conversion process, as PNG should be able to handle them at full quality.

Thanks,
Keith

Keith:

Right, the images were obtained from pdf documents using Preview’s selection tool, which accordingly makes a subset and crops or truncates the pdf information to make a subset image in the pdf format.

Thanks again for looking into this.

Keith:

I’m sure that this issue about storage/conversion of pdf in-line graphics as pngs is not a problem for a wide spectrum of users, but I hope that you will be able to address it for v2.03. It looks like working in v2.0 will be a big gain, but my use of graphics in notetaking is keeping me at v1.5x.

Cheers,

Warren

Warren, have you tried using the system instead for this kind of stuff? The Mac has, for ages now, had this keyboard shortcut you can use to capture parts of the screen into either a file or the clipboard. The keyboard shortcut is Shift-Cmd-4, and it works everywhere. The trick is to, once you start dragging the rectangle, hold down the Ctrl key. This will send the snippet to your clipboard and you can then paste it directly into Scrivener. No intermediate files, no conversion formats.

If you do want a file, just omit the bit about the Ctrl key.

Note, if you do still get PDF files while doing that let me know. I think I recall Apple’s default on this be absurd.

Personally, I like a little program called Skitch. It does the same sort of thing, lets you draw a rectangle around a spot on the screen and capture it; you can also grab entire windows with a single click. But it diverts the capture into its little editing window so you can fix the crop, annotate it if you want, and then drag the picture straight into other programs like Scrivener—again skipping the intermediate file stage—or dragging to the Finder to create a file.

If you use graphics to capture data a lot, I really recommend stepping up from Preview. There are some great tools that will let you capture anything you see on your system with a few clicks and a drag.

@AmberV:

I’ve been using only the rectangular selection tool in Preview to select graphics and text in pdf files of downloaded articles from technical journals. For me, the advantage of this method is that you get pdfs of the selected regions on the clipboard that you can paste into programs like Keynote for slides (for teaching in some of my lectures) or for notetaking, as in Scrivener. As this thread indicates, in v1.5x of Scrivener the pdf data is intact in the rtfd file, so the saved image quality is very good, as good as in the downloaded pdf.

In screengrabs, like you suggested, the image in the pdf is rasterized (sampled) at the screen image resolution, so usually that isn’t good enough. Scrivener v2.0 converts the pdf clipboard data into png upon saving and reopening, and Keith suggests (above) that it may be possible to choose a higher resolution for the saved graphics that will be of higher quality in the future.

Cheers,

Warren

Ah, okay. I did actually read the thread by the way. :slight_smile: I just took your usage of the phrase “research notes” to imply that standard screen resolution grabs were good enough. I didn’t realise you were printing them later on. You can print screenshots, but you have to process them for it—basically expand them to a larger size without standard interpolation math, just increasing the pixel size. The result is decent; as good as any computer manual you’ll pick up off the shelf—not as good as vector though, naturally.

But anyway, that’s a tangent. Actually I think what Keith is suggesting is that the algorithm used to convert PDF to PNG could be improved, not that it would have a variable high resolution set of configuration options (PNG could never handle PDF at full quality, literally, because it is not a vector format). In other words you’d get the same exact size result you get now, but with crystal clarity like a screenshot. Hence… my suggestion. :slight_smile: