This section helps the designer with preparing and producing their files ready for commercial print. It looks at image preparation with CMYK colour check, applying proof marks and checks to a piece and also looks at the exporting options available on industry standard software.
file preparation When working with InDesign to create the layout of the publication, small changes to the document set up can improve the overall printed finish of the product. One of the first steps is to get into the habit of putting a 3mm bleed around all edges of the page, this will allow room to crop and trim the pages. If you are thinking about using a saddle stitch binding the document must be set up to include at least 4 pages as for the binding method to work it must run in multiples of 4.
image preparation There are various ways to prepare images for print especially using Photoshop. One of the first things is to make use dpi is set to 300. Gamut warning in view menu and this is shown with grey areas. These grey areas show colours that are outside of the printable colour range and they are often saturated and bright colours that sit outside of this print range. This can be improved by altering the image adjustments which gives us more control over the final image colours and the alterations can clearly be shown so that the image is now in the printable colour range. Another option is to create a mask on just the areas that are appearing as grey and use the adjustment layers again. Another way of checking the printable colour range is with the proof colours option.
This turns on a preview of the CMYK colours and shows on screen what it would be printed out as. The other way to use spot colours is with the channels palette. Channels are used to split and define the colours within an image. A channel for each component of the colour mode. CMYK has 4 channels and each colour can be isolated by simply clicking on the channel layer. Can indicate how colour would be applied to the image during printing. From the palette menu new spot channels can be created to show the overprinting of inks within an image.
colour preparation There are various ways to work with colour and prepare each for use in commercial prints, this is mainly dictated by the use and application of the swatch palette. When working with print make sure that the document is set up to work with CMYK colour system using the advance settings in colour mode. A way of applying colour is with the swatches palette, this allows you to create and save specific colours for each artwork using the create new swatch option in the menu. For good practice keep the name of the swatch as its CMYK colour percentages as this could later help with printing and the number of colours needed to use. Also the palette can be cleared so that it only displays the colour swatches only wanted for that document.
Spot colour libraries can be found in the swatch palette menu and especially the Pantone colour libraries, most popular being the Pantone solid coated/uncoated. Pantone spot colours are only represented correctly in commercial prints and only applications can read and see the colour info and formats made. Swatches applied go onto InDesign swatch panel automatically when placed within a page layout.
exporting When exporting you can create a PDF version of the printable pages from an InDesign layout using the print booklet options. This version of the document is good when printing for commercial print. Go to print booklet option then to printer settings and above the printer choice there is an option for a PostScript file. This is a document that is being processed into a readable file and language for a printer to read. This can create a file on the computer that is similar to a PDF format file and is called a PPD file- PostScript Printer Description. If exporting as a normal PDF go to export in the file menu then export as a press quality PDF, this will allow the document to be at the highest quality suitable for commercial print.
This does not work well if the pages need to be rearranged to be used with a binding method and is better to export as a PPD in this case.