Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prepress Dos and Don'ts: Graphics

DO supply ALL of the graphics used to create your project. Desktop publishing applications like Quark and InDesign link to your graphics; they do not embed them in the document. If you don't supply the graphics along with your Quark or InDesign documents, the printer will get a missing picture error, and won't be able to continue until you supply the graphics.

DO use TIFF and EPS graphic file formats:

  • Use TIFF for halftones: graphics that are not just black and white, but rather, have many shades of gray or color gradation (i.e. scanned photos that were created or edited in Photoshop or an image editing application). For information on resolution, see the tutorial on halftoning tips.
  • B&W clip art (no shades of gray just 100% black and 100% white) looks best if scanned in and saved in 1200 dpi Bitmap TIFF format.
  • Use EPS for line art, illustrations, charts, clipart, etc. graphics that are basically black and white and were created or edited in vector applications such as Illustrator or Freehand. Resolution should be at least 600 dpi, 1200 dpi is the standard and creates the best print quality.

DON'T use other graphic file formats like PICT, JPEG, GIF. Just because you can import them into your desktop publishing application doesn't mean that you should. Stick with TIFF and EPS. If your graphics are in any other format, convert them. This is especially true of the PICT format. Quark hates PICTs; imagesetters hate PICTs. Steer clear of PICT.

DO most, if not all, of your image editing and graphic manipulation (i.e. lightening, darkening, etc.) in the original program that the graphic was first created or edited in, rather than the desktop publishing application. For instance, if a Photoshop TIFF needs to be lightened or darkened, lighten or darken it in Photoshop, not in Quark. Even though Quark will lighten or darken an image, adjust contrast, etc., you may get different results once you project goes to press and is printed.

DO name your graphics with the appropriate file extension: filename.tif, filename.eps.

DON'T rename graphics once you have placed them in your desktop publishing / page layout document(s). If you do, make sure to go back into your document and re-link the graphics.

DO check your mode for color TIFFs. Save color TIFFs as CMYK (not RGB, never RGB). Save black & white TIFFs as Grayscale.

DO check with your printer to see if they charge extra for breaking any of these “rules.”

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MI Printing
Phone: 623.582.1302