Pixelated images in film

I have recently been finding some serious pixelation when I receive my film for platemaking. I get my film done externally then make photopolymer plates myself, but recently the fonts (which have been converted to outline) and images have been pixelated and jagged. I cannot work out where the problem is occurring. Has anyone else had this issue, or know what to check to fix this?
I opened the PDF file I sent to the printers for film straight from the email, and viewed it in the PDF viewer, and it looked perfectly fine, but the film that it produced was horrible! If anyone has any suggestions at all, it would be so appreciated!

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I would double check your compression settings when you make your PDF, but line/vector art shouldn’t pixelate regardless. It sounds more like a problem on the film maker’s end. If they haven’t been helpful in trying to resolve the issue, use someone else to test one of the same files and see if you have the same result.


It sounds like you’re generating vector artwork, so even with PDF quality cranked as low as it will go, the vector graphics will be un-touched.

It sounds like your film producer is rasterizing your PDF at too low a resolution. How bad are the jaggies? Is it comparable to what you get when you print an image size for the web, or is more like what you get when you print something at 300 DPI?

Keelan is right on the money, the resolution setting in the RIP for the imagesetter is to low.

I have sent vector PDFs from my Mac to a Windows user and the file he received was low res bitmap. When I compress the same file, the Windows user gets a usable vector file. I don’t know if it’s his system or something to do with email, but that’s my experience.

Could be that, some weird situation where somewhere in the email translation software is rasterizing the pdf at crappy resolution, like an email app generating a screen preview then printing with that, in which case, as mentioned, compress the file first.

The other option as mentioned is the resolution is too low. Are they using a proper imagesetter or making film with inkjet, as is common for silkscreen, but really not good enough quality for letterpress. If it’s a proper imagesetter, make sure you’re requesting 2450/2400 dpi.