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Tech: Help with CD art going to print - CMYK etc.

Stower 03 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM
Charley Noble 03 Dec 10 - 08:42 AM
Crowhugger 03 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Jools High 03 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 01:31 PM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,LDT 03 Dec 10 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,LDT 03 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,LDT 03 Dec 10 - 02:34 PM
Wolfhound person 03 Dec 10 - 02:53 PM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 03:02 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Dec 10 - 05:48 PM
Stower 03 Dec 10 - 05:52 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Dec 10 - 07:19 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Dec 10 - 08:20 PM
Charley Noble 03 Dec 10 - 08:38 PM
Simon G 04 Dec 10 - 01:40 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Dec 10 - 03:22 AM
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Subject: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM

I am preparing CD artwork and publicity artwork for printers and am completely bamboozled by their requirements. I have yet to speak to a printer who talks a language I understand, so am turning to Mudcatters in the hope of finding someone who can give me the information I need.

In particular:

1. What are 'flattened formats'? How do I save work in a flattened format? If I do my work in Publisher then save as a pdf, is it automatically flattened?

2. How do I save pictures as CMYK, as printers require?

3. I have the free Adobe reader everyone has. To use printers' templates, I need Adobe writer, which is very expensive and I am only likely to use it this once. Is there a cheap (or, even better, free) alternative that does the job?

If there's anything else I need to know, please do tell me. But please be gentle - I am no PC techie, I just want to get my artwork published.

Thanks.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 08:42 AM

Stower-

I've been there. The short answer is to team up with someone locally who can walk you through the process step by step. Where are you resident?

Unfortunately I have to leave for work in a few minutes but I'll get back to this interesting thread this evening.

I promise!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Crowhugger
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM

For a fee many printers will do file conversions for you.

Have you googled the things that mystify you, like 'flattened formats' and 'CMYK'? I'm often pleasantly surprised when things start to make sense by the 4th or 5th reading. Sometimes tech-speak still leaves me baffled even after careful study; other times I just need to look up additional mystifying terms till evenutally I figure out what theyr'e talking about. It's faster to pay the fee.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: GUEST,Jools High
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM

Hi Stower,

This might help although I've been out of the design/print business for a number of years.

Flattened formats: This usually refers to the image; depending on the photo editing software you are using, there should be a menu to 'flatten' the image. An image is 'flattened' after you've been working with layers, i.e placing text on to an image.

CMYK refers to the four colour printing process - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, the four colours used for full colour printing. (never knew why K is used!) Again, depending on your software, you should be able to save an image as CMYK. The default for colour images is usually RGB - Red, Green, Blue.

Hope this helps. I've not used Microsoft Publisher so I don't know what it's pre-press capabilities are. I'm messing around with The GIMP; similar to Photoshop, but it's free!

Good luck!
Jools :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 01:31 PM

Thanks, Charley. I take it, then, you've been through this steep learning curve yourself? I am based in the West Midlands.

Jools High, I have looked and looked at my various picture editing programmes and nowhere can I find anything that gives an RGB/CMYK saving option.

Crowhugger, I may just have to give it to the printer and say 'convert it', though I need to know what I give them is right for converting in the first place. The printers I have spoken to have showed little interest in doing that. It seems they're not used to talking to people like me who don't do this every day. Hhhmmmppphhh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 01:41 PM

Crowhugger, I just looked online again and found this RGB/CMYK conversion website. This makes me inordinately happy.

Please add to the thread if there is anything else I should know. For example, does text also need to be flattened, or only images?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 01:45 PM

Oooh, now something I know about.
1) if they are a half decent place a high res pdf should be fine or a jpeg (we convert to cmyk tiff automaticly). A jpeg is 'flattened' it means when they print it if they haven't got the fonts/images seperatelt then it can't 'move'. What you send is what you get.
2) have they asked for a 3mm bleed on the images (it means half the image doesn't get lobbedoff when they trim)?
3) publisher -i HATE that software. As a mac user (most publishing/printing places use macs) we can't open publisher files s not mac compatible.
JPG, OR PDF is your best bet.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM

just to add: yes I've used GIMP before free and can convert stuff adiquitely.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 02:30 PM

Thanks, LDT. Language like "3mm bleed" doesn't mean anything to me. What does that mean? What do I do?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 02:34 PM

Unless they have asked for it don't worry. Its just so you have a little spare 'background' as a border.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 02:53 PM

It sounds to me a bit like you're talking to an "old-fashioned" printing firm which uses offset litho (nothing wrong with that) but who also isn't up to speed on using camera ready copy in the digital age.

Change your printer...not yours, that is, but the firm you use. Try ringing round and saying things like "can you use camera ready digital copy" and if you all get are indeterminate noises, move on.

Some firms will know what you're talking about. Or Google "on demand printing, short run". There are places who do this online.

But if you're using Publisher, yes, you have a problem, since it's not compatible with much, and generates even more non-standard output than some others. Get a better graphics program.

It's a tricky area.

Paws


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 03:02 PM

I have CMYKed all my images. If I put them on the Publisher page then save in the highest resolution pdf, is that good enough for a printer to produce good copy?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 05:48 PM

The only one who can should answer whether Publisher is good enough to produce good copy is your printer.

I will note that I've recently seen a couple of sites with new "publication standards" created because of problems they've had with submitted stuff, with the common complaint that "people keep sending us stuff done in Publisher and we can't even open those files."

Your printer may have the same difficulty, and you won't know unless you ask the printer.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Stower
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 05:52 PM

John, if only I could get a printer to give me straight answers to straight questions without blinding me with incomprehensible gobbledegook, I'd be very happy! Hence this thread!

Stower


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 07:19 PM

More of an aside than a response to this question:

There appear to be several hundred "free CMYK converters" on the web, but very little about the quality of output for any of them except the glowing reports by the writers. This doesn't mean that many of them won't do a good job, but it would be up to you (and your printer) to proof carefully before the final printing to make sure you got lucky and got a good converter.

If there's the possibility of doing more of what you're doing now, it might be helpful to check out the Review of Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.

That review makes the statement:

Import and Export of CMYK Images
This is one of the most often overlooked features in affordable image editors … the ability to work with four-color printers. Most professional printers for book and magazine publishers still require images to be submitted in the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black color format (CMYK). Corel's X2 is the only sub-$100 image editor we know of that provides the option of importing or exporting CMYK images.

Note that the review is about 3 years old and things sometimes change suddenly in the desktop publishing world, so there might be another image editing program that's added the capability now. The price for the program reviewed may also have changed some or it may be a different version by now.

For a look at the programs that professionals would likely use:

Converting to CMYK gives a "survey" of programs capable of publishing quality conversion, listed with separate instructions on where to find the conversion in each.

All of the programs suggested are in the range of $400 to $900 each, or were the last time I looked. For the most part, all these programs have rather steep learning curves and are not generally to be recommended for people not making a career in publishing.

A common way of getting the consistent results expected from the high-horsepower programs is to find someone who owns one and hire them to "finish" your creation so that it meets the specification of your printer. If you can find an appropriate person, the cost may be fairly nominal, although it is an extra cost. Several of the "significant" publishers pulled their document prep work "in-house" a few years back, so there likely are lots of "former job-shoppers" around who still have the programs and some experience, if you can find one.

*****
More specifically on the subject at hand:

The description of requirements your printer is asking for are typical for book publishing houses, and an "out" sometimes used by such print houses is to accept the input as "print files." Some print houses a while back insisted on this method.

This method lets you do it all, and relieves the printer of all responsibility for what the finished product looks like; but the method is simple.

You install a new printer on your computer. You don't have to have the printer, but you'll need to get the driver for a "book publisher quality printer" acceptable to the print house you plan to use. You can download printer drivers, e.g. for something like the Linotronic 300 v47.1, from Adobe. That one is a 1200 dpi massive high speed printer used by a couple of book publishers we worked with ten or so years ago. Your print house may want a different one. Set the "printer" on your computer to always "print to file."

Anything you print (to file), from any program, using that "printer" on your computer will produce a file that you can send to the print house (after you verify that they'll accept it as input). The print that the print house produces will be a good print, but the product will be only as good as the program you print from. (The file will be very large compared to the file you print from.)

You will need to discuss the requirements for your job with the print house you intend to use. If they won't answer your questions, in terms you can understand, the suggestion would be that you go somewhere else to get the printing done.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 08:20 PM

Stower -

if only I could get a printer to give me straight answers to straight questions ...

The problem is understood, and we probably all know that sometimes when two people try to communicate to solve a problem they may both think they're being quite rational but the communication just isn't there. And it's not necessary that either of them fails to understand the problem - only that they have "different understandings of it" and can't find a common language for the exchange.

A difficulty in communicating the requirements of the job is just as critical to success as how big a machine will be used or where the ink splats go. Finding a printer who can speak to you in terms that make your part of the task something you can do is probably necessary, unless you are willing - and have the time - to learn to speak the language your present printer is using. That's likely not something you can do in short order if the printer hasn't already been willing to help you with it.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 08:38 PM

Stower-

I work with my images in Photoshop and there its quite easy to convert from RGB images to CMYK with a drop down menu Image to Mode.

When I'm working with images, editing them or adding text, each operation frequently happens on a new layer and I then opt to "flatten" all the layers.

I then "place" the images into my layout software which is In-Design, which I've learned to work with. One of its assets is at the end of your project it will "package" all your JPG images and fonts with your layout so that the printer will be absolutely delighted.

However, I also send a PDF of each page of the image just in case none of the above works at the printer's end.

It's also useful to print out your own proof copy of what you think the document should look like (assuming you have a decent printer), and send that to the printer.

The frustrating problem is that layout software is always being upgraded and your printer may have a newer version, or an older version of what you are using. So ask the printer what they have before you submit the job for printing.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with CD art going to print - CMYK etc.
From: Simon G
Date: 04 Dec 10 - 01:40 PM

Stower

I think I've gleaned you want to send your artwork as a PDF to the printer. This is probably the only option with origination in Publisher.

There are several free PDF printers around, including primopdf.com. I've no experience using any of these to generate camera ready PDF for a printer. I had a quick look at primopdf and couldn't spot any mention of CMYK for example. Watch out the the PDF printer you choose produces high enough resolution images so you don't lose fidelity.

You can probably use Adobe's online pdf creator http://createpdf.adobe.com/ the free trial is 5 creates.

3mm bleed simply means that if you want the printer to print right up to the edge of the page he wants you to supply a page image that continues 3mm off the page 3mm on every side, this guarantees you don't wind up with a non-printed (white) strip down the edge. It you don't require print right to the edge you don't need to worry about bleed.

This site might help with printer terms

http://www.suite101.com/content/essential-printing-terms-for-desktop-publishers-a91816

Good luck with the project.

Simon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Help with CD art going to print - CMYK etc.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 03:22 AM

The site Simon G suggested is a quick reference that I've had bookmarked for some time, but couldn't find it recently.

(I've obviously got too many bookmarks.)

For convenience, it's Essential Printing Terms for Desktop Publishers

John


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