Black Static One
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Author:  Andy [ Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:04 am ]
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Difficult to explain accurately what the problem is. Hopefully will be able to do that later today. This is what I think:

The files are actually quite complex and employ quite a lot of transparencies in order to get, for example, an area of black to interact with an image beneath it so that it picks up some of its qualities. Allowing a bit of 'static' to show through, say. Somehow, the PDF process has changed such an area using certain transparencies from black to CMYK (colour), which at its most serious has caused the text (the top layer) to take on a sort of two-tone effect. It could look deliberate, but if it was it'd be a failure. I believe the process has caused other slightly less serious problems such as that same transparency not actually allowing any of that 'static' through, and a much darker finish. I also believe there is a problem with the feathering.

Quite how this has come about is currently beyond me, and the expert at the printer too, last night anyway. The only difference in the process this time has been me using upgraded software but exporting to PDF for printing on the usual printer-defined presets, so I suppose it's possible that's thrown up some sort of conflict. But if so, it's not something you could possibly expect. (IZ212 is fine as it doesn't employ the same transparencies.)

Working on it. Either way, it will require a reprint, I'm sure of that. Not sure where the 'blame' lies (I haven't bothered with hi-res proofs with this printer for years... the one time I needed them...) so I'm not sure if it'll be the full cost or... Well, you can imagine.

Anyway, will get it sorted asap -- I still want to mail out the two magazines together if possible -- and will keep you updated. Sorry for the delay. Still!

Author:  Andy [ Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:20 pm ]
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Thanks Mike A for your input on this. We've had some other clever people -- and me -- on it this morning too and basically we're convinced there's a bug in InDesign CS3.

Trying to find a relatively easy workaround with the current files but I don't hold out much hope, so I reckon I'll have to try some other more longwinded alternatives in order to get the desired effect. Either way, files will need to be resupplied for a reprint. I'll find out how quickly that can be done and will let you know.

I'll be honest and say that the expense scares me, but I really don't want to send out something so obviously substandard. Perhaps we can sue Adobe. Or hold an auction.

Author:  Andy [ Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:00 pm ]
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Andy wrote:
Or hold an auction.

Obscure reference lost on everybody except Jetse, sorry.

Author:  Mike A [ Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:36 pm ]
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Andy wrote:
...but I really don't want to send out something so obviously substandard.

Pity Adobe don't seem to share your attitude, Andy! :(

Author:  Andy [ Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:18 pm ]
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I intend trawling the relevant forums for more on this... thing.

But before then, an update: there is no fix we can make to the files we've already made but I have a couple of things to try that will avoid the bug (maybe it isn't actually a bug, but in which case some sort of warning or literature about the possible effect of this filter under certain conditions would be in order) and still get the same sort of effect. I should get all the files for reprint done this weekend, and on Monday I should be able to tell you exactly how long the reprint will take.

Thanks for your patience. Again.

Author:  Will McIntosh [ Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:11 pm ]
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Good luck with it, Andy.

Author:  TimAkers [ Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:40 pm ]
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Curious if this had anything to do with IZ212 going to BW?

Author:  Andy [ Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:58 am ]
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No. Both magazines went to press at exactly the same time. It only became apparent that there was a problem with Black Static One after printing and delivery, a problem that can only be corrected by reprinting the magazine.

Author:  Andy [ Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:16 pm ]
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Hopefully the reprint will be done by the middle of next week. Apologies again for the further delay.

I wanted to get the files for reprint ready as quickly as possible obviously. I tried to find a way round the problem and still get the same effect, which I think I did, but then I decided it was best to avoid the risk altogether. So we've lost some of the conceptual imagery running through the issue. But I expect that's more disappointing to me than it is to you.

Btw, I did find warning of "unexpected results" in the Adobe literature. There's a moral in there somewhere...

Author:  Hoing [ Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:27 pm ]
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First review I've seen of Black Static is posted at

Author:  Andy [ Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:46 am ]
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It's a good review mostly (sorry Joel!) but it's also a bit embarrassing. The review was done from a PDF, and it would've been perfect timing if everything had gone according to plan. But as you know, it didn't. And still hasn't. It pains me to have to tell you that disaster has struck again.

Our copies and the FantasyCon copies were just about to leave the factory when I got a phone call. My man had had his few copies sent up, as he always does, had flicked through them, the realisation dawning that these copies were exactly the same as the first lot, with exactly the same problems. It was a reprint all right, but of the first files and not the replacement files. These copies didn't even get to leave the factory.

I'm very sorry about all this. Obviously I'll let you know as soon as I can when the reprint of the reprint can be expected.

Author:  bberntson [ Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:31 am ]
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Ah, the wait os over. I will definitely purchase a copy.

Author:  Andy [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:42 pm ]
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Quick update: I'm expecting delivery of the reprinted reprint Wednesday, maybe even Thursday morning. I was a bit disappointed to be told this, in the circumstances, but really I don't think it could be done much quicker.

Author:  Andy [ Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:25 am ]
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The reprint of the reprinted first issue is now on its way to subscribers and contributors.

Because of the unexpected printing problems caused by the unusual mix of certain transparencies and filters used, which we then had to strip out, the issue doesn't look quite as intended but at least it works, and thanks mostly to David Gentry's design input and images the 'concept' remains strong and often startling. Most importantly, now that we've finally got going again, I'm confident that we can continue to improve in all departments.


Bury the Carnival by Simon Avery
Pale Saints and Dark Madonnas by Jamie Barras
Acton Undream by Danile Bennett
Votary by M.K. Hobson
My Stone Desire by Joel Lane
Lady of the Crows by Tim Casson

Features cover films, DVD, TV, books, news media, Asia...

Electric Darkness by Stephen Volk
Night's Plutonian Shore by Mike O'Driscoll
Interference by Christopher Fowler
Blood Spectrum by Tony Lee
Japan's Dark Lanterns by John Paul Catton
Case Notes by Peter Tennant
, which includes a feature on and interview with Michael Marshall Smith

Subscribe to Black Static.

Author:  steven pirie [ Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:25 pm ]
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Congratulations, Andy, and welcome back...

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