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Use of PNG files with transparencies and browser printing issues

 
 
rfr
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      10-12-2006
Is there some issue with printers correctly printing PNG Alpha
transparencies? Or with some printers on some operating systems?

I have been looking at changing to use PNG files with alpha channel
trasparencies to make it easier to quickly change the basic photo background
on the headers for the 20+ sections of the community web site I maintain. It
woul be one image creation and ONE file upload to the server. Quick.

Tho I have found a way to get PNG files to work with the MSIE browser, I
havent found a way to allow visitors to print the documents and for the PNG
transparencies to be handled correctly during the printing. On my system (
WIN XP Media Center, HP lazer 2550) all browsers mess up the PNG
transparency on printing. It looks like a mess. I dont want visitors to
print this stuff and have my web site look like a mess when they show it to
others.

Right now I use separate jpg's to handle header images on the various
sections of the community web site that I designed and maintain. Each of the
20+ sections has the same background photo, but different overlaying
wording, with shadows that I merge to a flat jpg for each section. So, I
basically go through the same steps to recreate 20+ jpg images each time I
want to do a simple change of the background image. Yuk.

I looked at using HTLM backgrounds ( like in a table cell) and overlaying
the background with GIF's wirth transparencies, and similarly looked at
using CSS layers with backgrounds and overlaying GIF's with transparencies
as a means to make it possible to make changing the background image easier
and faster. But these methods using GIF images seemed to fail to look
consistently good because the shadowing renders differently against
different images. The halo effect makes some end result headers look
TERRIBLE. To do this seems like a downgrade in visual quality from my
present jpg headers.

It seemed so easy to percieve of having ONE background image used by all 20+
headers and thus having to swap only ONE image to get a new and constent
look to all my headers.

PNG images seemed to be a way to get high quality text overlays and using
the alpha channel transparency seemed to give me the text shadows against
all colors of backgrounds. What a neat idea . . so I thought.

PNG's also seemed to provide a better quality text overlay than GIF's could
ever produce.

But, there is this PRINTING issue that bugs me.

Here is the web site that has some PNG files with transparencies:
http://webfx.eae.net/dhtml/pngbehavior/demo.html For me, MSIE printed a
light background for the PNG, S printed a solid black backgound for the PNG,
Opera printer a solid WHITE background for the PNG, and Firefox printed a
solid BLACK background for the PNG. Yuk!

It may be that this is a printer specific issue. Perhaps most printers
handle printing PNG's with alpha channel transparencies ok. Dunno.

Are other people having these kinds of problems printing web sites with PNG
files having alpha channel transparencies?


 
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