Inkscape SVG → print-ready EPS/PDF workflow


Question

I realize similar questions have been asked here and there, but I'm still a bit confused.

So, the task is basically to make a print-ready EPS/PDF for some vector art prepared in Inkscape [on a Unix-like OS] with some guarantee that the colors are not going to be messed up when printed.

The main problem is that Inkscape is not able to export ICC-profile-aware EPS/PDF files. As is suggested e.g. here and here, Scribus is the way to go.

The workflow is as follows:

  • get the ICC-profile your prospective printing centre recommends and link it in Inkscape ("Document Properties" → "Color Management")
  • when assigning colors to objects first go to the CMS tab and choose the right profile
  • save the file as plain SVG
  • import the resulting SVG in Scribus
  • choose the right ICC-profile in "Document Setup" → "Color Management"
  • go to "Save as PDF" and before clicking "Save" choose "Color" → "... intended for: Printer"

My concerns in this respect are:

  • Is the outlined approach valid in terms of bringing the desired outcome? grep -ia icc doesn't yield any hit for the resulting PDFs (tested with Scribus 1.4.2 and 1.5.1)
  • What does "Save as EPS" do in Scribus?
  • Even being very careful (avoiding gradients, shades etc.) doesn't help to make Scribus (both 1.4.2 and 1.5.1) render big SVG files correctly: some things get messed up. It is also highly preferable to do the SVG to EPS/PDF conversion in a command-line tool. Is there any appropriate one? It seems, Uniconvertor is no alternative, because there is no way to specify the ICC-profile, is this statement correct?

Here is a file to play with. It contains two boxes with colors bound to the ISOcoated v. 2 ECI profile (downloaded here, saved in /usr/share/color/icc/ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc) (the boxes being black in browsers is as expected).

Update

Here are the settings I choose for the test SVG in Scribus (1.5.1).

"Document Setup" → "Color Management"

"Save as PDF" → "Color"

1
14
4/13/2017 12:46:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Since no ready-to-follow answer has been posted I'll try to answer the question myself.

So, the trick to force scribus to embed (the correct) profile is to choose PDF/X as the output format. When checked with the ZePrA's Extract ICC Profile tool the PDF/X version of the original drawing does contain the profile, while a PDF 1.5 version does not. See the actual updated workflow below:

  • get the ICC-profile your prospective printing centre recommends and link it in Inkscape ("Document Properties" → "Color Management")
  • when assigning colors to objects first go to the CMS tab and choose the right profile
  • save the file as plain SVG
  • import the resulting SVG in Scribus
  • go to "Save as PDF" and before clicking "Save" choose one of the "PDF/X" options in "File Options" → "Compatibility" and ensure that the correct ICC-profile is selected in "Pre-Press" → "PDF/X Output intent"

There doesn't seem to be any good alternative to Scribus. One thing it doesn't support at all is text boxes in frames. This is easily remedied by making a copy of the svg with all text labels replaced with outlines. To do this massively: select all in Inkscape and select "Path" → "Object to path". Some other minor rendering bugs may still remain.

The "Save as EPS" option in Scribus produces eps files (it seems) in RGB colorspace. Converting PDF/X files with embedded profiles to PostScript with acroread -toPostScript drawing.pdf && ps2eps drawing.ps [using acrobat reader and ps2eps(2)] seems to at least preserve the colorspace.

Better suggestions and improvements are welcome.

UPDATE

I have had some negative experience with ps2eps and would now recommend to convert PDF to EPS directly with the pdftops tool (optionally cropping the PDF beforehand with pdfcrop): pdftops -f 1 -l 1 -eps "drawing.pdf" "drawing.eps"

6
10/23/2015 9:08:00 AM

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