Higher Resolution Output for PDFs

Typically 150dpi resolution is enough to convey linework and photographs on non-photo paper stock, ie: Laser Printer Paper.

240dpi - 300dpi is what high-end, glossy magazines are printed at, but they are not done on desktop printers…they are typically offset printing presses. While you can have modern laser printers and inkjet printers print at 300dpi (or higher), as you mentioned there will be little if any noticeable difference to the human eye.

Photographers will print at much higher resolutions than 300dpi, but again on specialty papers and often for gallery display scenarios, or high-end prints. Most poster art, large format prints for displays, trade shows, signage etc…is all done at 150dpi, and when viewed from about 3’ (1m) away from surface, the 150dpi is more than adequate for photos and line work.

Don’t forget that the need is to export PDF and be able to zoom into it without things becoming blurry. The limitations of printers and paper are not part of the problem.


Low, Medium, High and Custom (with an additional text field) would be good I think. Non-tech people could just use the plain phrases without having to worry about numbers and units and what that all means, but more technical users would still get that extra control.

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Almost there, :wink:
Low, Medium, High and Super High.

I love the idea for a higher printing resolution, specially for tight drawn hatches.

I like the idea of antialislasing applied to LO pdf outputs (user selectable)

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I think Pro users can handle seeing what the resolution is at all settings.
Low or “screen” (96dpi)
Medium (150dpi)
High (300dpi)
Ultra (600dpi)

In fact, such examples of Simple+intelligent info displayed next to each other is a valuable learning mechanism.

User-selectable dpi might be handy and wouldnt make the interface too much more complicated…

…though if going to more effort then why not add jpg compression, lineweight ‘thickeness multiplier’ and user-selectable antialiasing settings to the PDF & image output menus? (the template page setup isnt as convenient, imo)

…and then why not go the whole way and mimic a typical Adobe PDF virtual printer driver, with added ‘advanced’ overrides for page size, orientation, scale factor, font rasterising, etc?

(i like software that is simple and easy for newbies but that also has the little [•••] “advanced” button for more settings; anyone who uses android will understand this).


it should be built right in…I can’t think of a scenario when i wouldn’t want “clean” crisp lines…??

I couldn’t agree more…if it’s meant to be a “layout” program, then give users of all levels greater ability to control “how it looks” on paper or .PDF…it’s a no brainer…Just wonder if anyone @Trimble reads or takes on board what is being passed around in these forums?

I wrote a long treatise about lineweight and LayOut, but thought the better and offer instead this summary. LayOut is today capable of giving you all the resolution you can use, though we have simplified the UI to keep beginners out of trouble.

On average, the thickness of a human hair is .1mm, In ISO standards, the finest hairline recommended for CAD drafting is .13mm. In traditional drafting, the finest technical pen (ex. Rapidiograph) available is also .13mm. Given the angular resolving power of the human eye (20/20 vision) is about .008deg, the thinnest resolvable line viewed from arms-length is about the same.

The finest hairline you can render with a 300ppi laser printer is .003 in (.0762mm). Similar resolution is achievable on modern ultra-high resolution (ex. Apple “Retina”) displays. You may have a printer that can print 600 or even 1200ppi. Don’t be confused by this unless you plan on viewing your drawings with a microscope. Typically, anything above 300ppi is just an interpolation.

Spare yourself the computational burden of shuffling around bitmap images that are bigger than you need. 300ppi images at architectural sheet sizes are impossibly huge, even if you are opening them in Photoshop. An empty 24x36 bitmap at 600ppi is close to 16mb in Photoshop, even compressed and optimized.

Yes- I regularly read and comment on issues raised in these forums. In fact, the initial builds of LayOut allowed users to choose arbitrarily high resolutions for rasterization in LayOut. I should know, because I designed that feature :wink:

In practice, because most folks misunderstand the relationship between rasterization and the human vision system, people habitually set the number way too high and brought LayOut’s overall performance to a crawl. Without really improving the sharpness or clarity of their drawings at all. So we made a change.

I’m sure you’ll take issue with my calculations, but know that before I took on my role as Dir. of Product Management on the SketchUp team, I was a practicing architectural designer just like you. I have quite a bit of practical experience with this issue, and some scar tissue earned by waiting endlessly while too-large bitmaps spooled endlessly to my company’s plotter on the night before a big presentation. For example, here’s me wondering if we would ever finish plotting our competition entry for the Auswärtiges Amt competition in Berlin back in 1995. That’s my boss, Ivan Reimann, asleep on the floor in the background.


Almost the same:

I’m quite a bit more gray, with shorter hair overall. I’m happy to say I’m still married to the lovely young woman to my left. Even though we both had to wait endlessly for hours together while these massive print jobs spooled. I think I impressed her with my description of the angular resolving power of the human eye.


Thanks for your comments, though not sure how that pertains to what a few users in this thread are mentioning in regards to line work or more specifically “Aliased” lines and how (if any) there is a way to control that. Maybe some are confusing resolution Vs. Anti-aliazing. Its obvious that Layout has the three modes - raster - hybrid - vector, but as i’m sure you see by my images attached, all three of them have their shortcommings, one of which I’m still convinced is a major bug, that @Trimble has yet to address and fix.

If you see my image “SKP Model View.png” you’ll see a perfectly acceptable image display of clean lines will all manner of curves, and a transparent glass surface, as viewed in Sketchup 2018.

Next image… “LAYOUT to PDF export.png” you see on the left RASTER view, I have all the possible settings up to HIGH, and still there are the Aliased lines in all the curves etc…as displayed in Layout, and also the resulting PDF. The right side shows HYBRID but then the lines behind the glass disappear.

Finally - you see the VECTOR mode option, which looses any textures, seeing-thru transparency etc…but gives a lovely line work because it is vector.

You tell me if my settings for RASTOR even when all are set to high…and that the outcome shown is as best as one can expect…then I guess that is where the story will end.

However…if I can get better line work through HYBRID or VECTOR modes…but then the lines dropping out behind the glass (transparency) is a bug or intended design by Layout?

I know Anti-aliazing will never replace a true “vector” line, which is why I hold out such hope for “Hybrid” mode, but if all my lines behind ANY transparent surface disappear, then whats the point?

As for now I’m forced to take screenshots of perspective or Arc-Viz type views (of the SKP model) for simple renders, and then place them into LO. Then revert back to the true SKP model for adding dimensions etc on my 2D views…UGH.

Ha… the thinnest was actually .1mm. For a long time Rapidograpnh made two series of line widths, one starting with .1 and the second with .13. They both clogged easily and were almost impossible to repair. Otherwise I totally agree about resolution.

What seems to most annoy people are lines they perceive as jaggy, but using Vector/Hybrid rendering would print these at the best resolution their printer can manage.

…except in my case as hopefully shown by the attached images in my last post
The jaggies are there in “RASTOR” view no matter that i use the highest settings…then the obvious (bug) or glass / transparency issue when using “HYBRID” or “VECTOR” modes…

As I replied to you in a previous thread, to simulate transparency in vector views I use this workaround:
I place my transparent materials on a different layer, and create two scenes: one with materials and the glass layer on, the other with hidden lines and glass turned off. I then overlay these in LO

I understand that transparency is not a vector property, and you always need to rasterize your image to display it. I seem to remember that this was a problem already some years before John’s photo when I used to make simple models in AutoCad and used the Hide command to create a hidden line view.

Yes you did, however my models are never that simple, and with constant revisions and changes both to the views and the model itself…this way is not such a simple workflow for my use of Sketchup.

It just irks me that if SKP can display a screen image, beautiful in all it lines, materials, transparencies, then why can’t its sibling software, LAYOUT create a similar output? Withoiut all the need for work-arounds and “fixes”.

Surely I am not the only one who is tasked with displaying glass, transparencies and heaven forbid, clean line work?

why doesn’t @Trimble just fix the bug!

It can; actually LayOut is capable of much sharper and more refined artwork than SketchUp. And without special workarounds or fixes. You just have to adjust the way you are thinking about rendering.

To get a really fair comparison, make sure you have set the zoom menu in LayOut to “100%” At this view level, Raster and Vector linework should appear to be identical both on screen and in print. If you zoom in, you will see aliasing in raster rendered views, though not in vector rendered views. Zooming in will have no impact on print quality.

Right- that’s my point, I guess. There isn’t really a bug to fix here, though I understand why that might be a confusing position for me to take. Let me try explaining this a different way.

If you have a high-resolution display, for example, one of Apple’s “Retina” displays (you appear to have a macOS computer) on a MacBook Pro, your maximum possible screen resolution is somewhere around 220ppi. Depending on what model computer you have.

If you have vector rendering enabled, your linework will be rendered at 220ppi regardless of how much you have zoomed in or out. You will always see, on-screen, vector linework rendered at 220ppi.

If you have raster rendering enabled, the physical dimension of your document becomes more relevant to how the drawing looks on your screen. Now you have rendered your linework at a fixed resolution, at 300ppi (if you have chosen “High” as your display rendering quality). Now, when you dynamically zoom in and out in your LayOut document, you are making each rendered pixel larger or smaller on screen. Any resolution, even 1200ppi (if you could still choose it) will display aliasing if you zoom in enough.

When you print, however, raster rendering resolution isn’t zoom-able any more. Your printer prints at 300ppi at one fixed size; the size of your paper. You could look at the edges with a magnifying glass to simulate the experience of zooming in on the screen, but would likely never be able to optically enlarge the printed image enough to see aliasing. Not at 300ppi, anyway.

SketchUp uses OpenGL for rendering its model viewport. OpenGL is a rasterizer, just like LayOut’s “raster” rendering. That’s why the “raster” rendering in LayOut looks just like it does in SketchUp. Transparency, textures, shadows, and all the other effects. We’re actually using SketchUp’s native rasterization engine, in fact- though we can run it at much higher resolutions in LayOut than you can in SketchUp.

Vector rendering uses a different code path that is only capable of drawing edges at different line weights. There is no vector equivalent of transparency, of shadows or of textures. Instead, the algorithm spends most of its compute time finding and removing hidden edges in the current model view. Just a different way of working.

Hybrid rendering does everything it can as Vector lines (using the vectorization code path) and overlays it on a raster image (using the rasterization code path) for everything else. Unfortunately, since it is actually rendering the same scene twice, it is the most computationally expensive kind of rendering you can do. Looks great when you zoom way in on your screen, though. Practically speaking, it probably won’t look that different when you print.


I understand that almost all drafting and modeling programs like SketchUp can only really work with one processor to do the primary work, but wouldn’t this be an example of something that parallel processing on two cores would help? I mean, if they truly are two different processes that work independently of the other.

I understand that what @gmashee is after is vector rendering with a line hiding algorithm that doesn’t hide edges that are behind faces with transparency. Would that be possible? (perhaps differentiated by a grey colour or a dashed linetype)
Archicad has a s-l-o-w vector rendering mode (using software, not OpenGL) that can render materials and shadows as vector hatches, and also supports transparency in this way. I don’t know of any other software that can do this. Revit switches to raster rendering if you turn shadows on. Below a screenshot (no transparency in this one) The original is all vector.