Poynton's Production Notes

This page describes how I produced the Gamma FAQ and ColorFAQ documents, and my book.

Mathematica is my main tool for simulation and analysis of the mathematics underlying colour reproduction. I'm using version 3.0.1. Sometimes I use APL or J for numerical work; once in a while, especially for generating and processing test images, I use C.

My main word processing and document layout system is FrameMaker 5.5.6, running on a PowerMac. Much of the material originated in Microsoft Word documents that I have written over the years. Frame has a suberb Word import filter; minimal editing is required after importation into Frame. I used to use Word for editing and PageMaker for layout, but for rather structured documents such as the FAQs and my book, Frame automatically handles many aspects of document production such as autonumbering, table of contents, cross-references and positioning of anchored frames for graphic elements. These aspects would have to be maintained manually in PageMaker. I have written several notes about technical aspects of using FrameMaker.

Although Frame includes an equation editor, that subsystem offers relatively poor control over many aspects of printing and font selection, and offers no mechanism to import or export elements such as arrays of numerical matrix elements. To overcome these difficulties I use Design Science's MathType 3.6 to edit equations, which I then Save As EPS format for importation into Frame. I use EPS quite extensively; you can find a one-page description of EPS as the third page of my document Viewing PostScript on a Macintosh (PDF format, 135047 bytes).

In the early stages of making a drawing, I find pen on paper to be much more expressive than any computer drawing program. I create drawings using using Sakura PIGMA marker pens of various weights. I scan them using an ancient but reliable Hewlett-Packard ScanJet IIp greyscale scanner, then use Adobe Illustrator 7.0.1, with its template facility to trace the drawing into machine-readable form. Of course, I originate many drawings directly in Illustrator.

Several of the elements in the FAQs are plots of real data or graphs of mathematical equations. I make graphs in Mathematica and export them in Illustrator 88 format, then polish them up in Illustrator. Sometimes I write C-code - perhaps even an Excel spreadsheet - to turn numeric data into raw Illustrator code for complex graphs. I eagerly await Mathematica's generating graphs using splines instead of zillions of short line segments!

Adobe Photoshop 5.0.2 is my main bitmap graphic format conversion tool.

After I have pulled all of these elements together into a Frame document, I update the variables and cross-references and automatically generate the table of contents using Frame's Generate function, then Print to PostScript (using a LaserWriter Plus PPD). I produce Acrobat bookmarks using the procedure that I developed in the Frame 4 era, and described in a technical note Making Acrobat Bookmarks using FrameMaker. Frame 5.5 has greatly improved PDF capability, and that note is due for an update.

I run the PostScript through the Distiller component of Adobe's Acrobat Pro (currently version 3), to produce Acrobat PDF files for distribution. In case I need to produce produce PostScript for distribution, I print these to PostScript from Acrobat Reader. You can read about the document formats.

To produce the text versions of the FAQs, I start by Saving As Text Only in Frame. Much manual editing is required after this step. I use Rich Siegel's marvellous BBEdit 5.0.1. Some of this could potentially be scripted, some not: I edit typograhical elements like nonbreaking spaces and hyphens, curly quotes, en dashes and thin spaces into ASCII text-only equivalents. I edit Symbol characters like times sign, degree symbol and fraction slash. Since all of the equations and figures are missing from the text version, I insert text versions of these. For the equations, I edit in Mathematica expressions (source code), then run the file through Mathematica's Splice function to generate the numbers and matrices.

I offer HTML versions of the FAQs, but at the moment these are constructed rather laboriously by hand. Soon, I hope to begin using the improved HTML export facilities promised in FrameMaker's HoTaMaLe plug-in.

To convert graphics, I generally use Photoshop. Version 7.0.1 of Adobe Illustrator has improved GIF export capability, and I have been using that recently. Sometimes use Adobe ImageReady; I also use various shareware applications. FrameMaker version 5.5 will export of all sorts of illustration formats to GIF, and over the coming months I hope to use this feature to make available web versions of many of my older documents.

I make hard-copy proofs for my own use, or in limited volumes, on my Apple LaserWriter Pro 810. (It is a source of frustration that Apple never sold this unit in Canada: I bought mine in California. It is another source of frustration that Apple never properly supported the PostScript fax option, which I find tremendously useful.)

To print documents for distribution in in hard-copy form, I use a Xerox DocuTech. You can read my Introduction to RIPping.