[Scribus] Strange PostScript character placement

Rainer Heilke rheilke
Sun Aug 21 17:21:59 CEST 2005

Franz Schmid wrote:

> Phil Hughes schrieb:
>> On Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 03:59:51PM +0200, Franz Schmid wrote:
>>> Phil Hughes schrieb:
>>>> I have been looking at the PostScript produced by a person doing
>>>> some tests with Scribus 1.3.0CVS. I see each individual character
>>>> being placed rather than the text being output as a string. For
>>>> example, here is " is?".
>>>>   gs
>>>>   276.364 -39.704 tr
>>>>   /space 0 0 0 0 0 1 shg
>>>>   gr
>>>>   /Fo0 12 se
>>>>   gs
>>>>   1 -54.104 tr
>>>>   /i 0 0 0 0 0 1 shg
>>>>   gr
>>>>   /Fo0 12 se
>>>>   gs
>>>>   4.492 -54.104 tr
>>>>   /s 0 0 0 0 0 1 shg
>>>>   gr
>>>>   /Fo0 12 se
>>>>   gs
>>>>   9.724 -54.104 tr
>>>>   /question 0 0 0 0 0 1 shg
>>>>   gr
>>>> I am using a PostScript font (/Fo0 /Utopia-Regular findfont
>>>> definefont pop) and, well, I am confused. Is this "a feature", am I
>>>> doing something obviously wrong or do I need to pull out my
>>>> remaining hair?
>>>> Thanks.
>>> This is correct, as its possible that every character might have
>>> different formatting (Colour, Position relative to baseline, etc..)
>> Possible, I agree but I see two problems here:
>>  1. A text-heavy document will end up being huge relative to
>>     what is really there.
>>  2. This will make the document render slowly.
>> I never looked before but is this the way it has always worked?
> Yes, it has been this way since the very first version.

 From my experience in a previous lifetime at a digital output shop, 
this is pretty standard PS output in DTP programs. It seems odd when you 
first see it, but begins to make sense when you think about how each 
letter can be different (font, colour, style, etc., as mentioned 
previously). It helps to remember that PostScript is meant to place 
_everything_ precisely on the page (even though this is not always the 
case in practice, when programmers don't follow the PS specifications, 

Yes, it makes text-heavy documents huge (check out the sizes of 
PageMaker files some time) and slows down rendering. This is, 
unfortunately, one of the big reasons some people prefer PCL (HP's Page 
Description Language). The inadequate handling of PS images by low-end 
printers is another. PCL being an 8-bit (binary) encoding is another 
reason it makes smaller documents. On slow networks, these aspects can 
greatly influence people's move to PCL from PS.

For professional output, though, PS is the way to go, and what's 
preferred by most output houses.

Rainer Heilke

PS. One benefit of PS code in these respects is that you can truly 
handle it as a programming language, and "hack the page" after you've 
output to file. I've fixed numerous issues with people's files this way.

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