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Distortion of TIFF images

Posted on 2003-11-12
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This may not be the right forum for this question, but I figure that denizens of this area may know something about TIFF files that will help.  The question is, why do some TIFF images seem to foreshorten in the Y direction when displayed, edited, or copied?

Example: I send and receive electronic faxes using a service provider, and they look fine and print fine in a TIFF viewer.  If I edit faxes I have received (add annotations, etc.), save, and re-fax to someone, they are distorted.  If I print from the editor to PostScript or PDF, the result is not distorted, and can be re-faxed without problems.  My fax service has a cryptic note in their FAQ that "some TIFFs may produce unexpected results," which leads me to believe that the file format itself may have some issues.

The TIFF editor in question is the one that Microsoft supplies with Windows 2000, which apparently originally came from Kodak.  In all fairness to MS and Kodak, though, I have seen very similar things happen to TIFFs on Linux systems using completely different tools.

Is there a "TIFF for Dummies" page or something that might demystify this issue for me, or can someone help out?

Thanks

Justin Harlow
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_nn_ earned 125 total points
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In short, it probably has something to do with the "normal" and "fine" resolutions defined in the fax standards. "normal" is 96 DPI in the Y-axis, while "fine" defines the double, 192 DPI. Distortions may happen in many various occasions : for instance, if a software (editor, modem driver, etc) do not set properly some fields in the header tags of the TIFF file, it may force another sofware to make assumptions about the actual resolution of the document. Another problem happens if a TIFF document is in "fine" resolution and while attempting to transmit it to some device. It can happen that fax machines reject "fine" resolution (because they don't support it for instance). It's then up to the sending device to decide what to do (abort, transmit every odd scanlines, transmit all scan-lines regardless, etc). Or the other way around, a device is set up to send in fine modus, successfully negotiates that resolution with the target device, but the document is actually in "normal" resolution.

If you want to get in-depth informations about you TIFF files, try to use the libtiff tools like tiffinfo :
http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/tiff.htm

Hopefully, it'll help you find out where is the culprit.

Cheers,
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by:_nn_
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Hmm, proof-reading isn't my forte, sorry

If you want to get in-depth informations about *your* TIFF files, (...)
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