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Application & Creating PDF for Press Tips

› Application Tips
› Creating PDFs for High Resolution Printing
› Recommendations from Adobe
› Transparency Issues
› How to create a PDF/X-1a:2001 File for East Van Graphics

Application Tips:

Please do not embed eps files in other eps files (for example, do not place a Photoshop eps in Illustrator, and place combined file into QuarkXPress, instead combine the two files separately in QuarkXPress).

Illustrator EPS - no linked files, all fonts converted to outlines and all transparencies flattened
(Illustrator transparencies can create unintended screening and other problems that cannot be determined during our proofing process. Printing errors that occur due to the use of un-flattened transparencies will not be refunded)

Photoshop - TIFF or EPS

Corel Draw - All text converted to outlines and exported to .ai format (do not use "patterns")

QuarkXpress - do not reduce or enlarge tiffs or eps more than 125% or less than 75%, color pictures boxes with a white background.
turn off all all runarounds, do not reduce or enlarge tiffs or eps more than 125% or less than 75%, color pictures boxes with a white background.

InDesign - no linked files, all fonts converted to outlines and all transparencies flattened
(Illustrator transparencies can create unintended screening and other problems that cannot be determined during our proofing process. Printing errors that occur due to the use of un-flattened transparencies will not be refunded)


Creating PDFs for High Resolution Printing

What every PDF should have
Simply using the proper design-oriented software doesn't guarantee print-perfect PDF files. Bad PDF files have been created from every application that can write PostScript or export PDF.

Although there is no such thing as a "typical" print project, there are characteristics common to a print-viable PDF file. These include:
  • All fonts used are embedded (fully or subset to include only glyphs used).
  • All included bitmap images are of sufficient resolution for the final print method.
  • If compression is used for images, it is lossless (zip) or highest-quality JPEG.
  • Illustrations are encoded as vector data: no erroneous conversion to bitmaps.
  • Colors are specified in the correct color space (as intended to print).
  • Physical dimensions of page size are correct and sufficient to include bleed objects.
  • There is a plan for how, when and where to flatten live transparent objects. (see "transparency")


Recommendations from Adobe

Checking your document before exporting
Before creating a PDF for a service provider, make sure that the InDesign document meets your service provider's specifications. The following list offers some recommendations:
  • Use the InDesign Preflight feature to ensure that image resolution and color spaces are correct, that fonts are available and can be embedded, that graphics are up-to-date, and so on.
  • View your Adobe PDF export settings prior to exporting, and then adjust them as necessary. The Summary area includes a warning section that indicates when preset settings can't be honored.
  • If your artwork contains transparency (including overprints and drop shadows) and you require high-resolution output, it's a good idea to preview the effects of flattening using the Flattener Preview panel before saving the file.
  • If your artwork contains transparency, ask your prepress service provider if they want to receive flattened or unflattened PDF files. Flattening should be done as late in the workflow as possible, preferably by the service provider. However, if your service provider wants you to flatten transparency, submit a PDF/X-1a compliant file.
  • If your document will be separated, you can preview the separations and ink coverage limits using the Separations Preview panel.
  • Use only high-resolution images in your document.
  • For best results, use only CMYK images in a four-color-process job. Alternatively, you can choose to convert RGB images to CMYK in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box (Output category).
  • You can exclude hidden or nonprinting layers from the exported PDF document.

For detailed information about preparing InDesign documents for high-resolution PDF output, see the Adobe InDesign CS3 Printing Guide for Prepress Service Providers on the Adobe InDesign CS3 DVD or on the Adobe website. Be sure to check our their Tutorial section.

Reviewing color separations You can preview color separations, ink coverage limits, and overprinting using the Separations Preview panel. Previewing separations on your monitor lets you check the following:

Varnishes and other coatings Since varnishes are transparent, they can be difficult to preview on-screen. When you preview a varnish separation by itself, the varnished areas appear in black.

Rich black Previewing separations lets you identify areas that will print as rich black, or process black (K) ink mixed with color inks for increased opacity and richer color.

Ink coverage Too much ink on the paper can cause drying problems. Ask your commercial printer for the maximum ink coverage of the press you will be printing on. You can then preview the document to identify areas where ink coverage exceeds the press's limit.

Overprinting You can preview how blending, transparency, and overprinting will appear in color-separated output.
Note: You can also see overprinting effects when you output to a composite printing device. This is useful for proofing color separations. While previewing separations on your monitor can help you detect problems without the expense of printing separations, it does not let you preview trapping, emulsion options, printer's marks, and halftone screens and resolution. Work with your commercial printer to verify these settings using integral or overlay proofs.
Note: Objects on hidden layers are not included in an on-screen preview.


How to Create Adobe PDF Files for Print and Press (PDF)
How to Create Adobe PDF Files for Press white paper (PDF)
User guide for Print Publishers Adopting an Acrobat PDF-Based Workflow (PDF)

Adobe PDF Presets
Press Quality: Creates PDF files for high-quality print production (for example, for digital printing or for separations to an imagesetter or platesetter), but does not create files that are PDF/X-compliant. In this case, the quality of the content is the highest consideration. The objective is to maintain all the information in a PDF file that a commercial printer or print service provider needs in order to print the document correctly. This set of options uses PDF 1.4, converts colors to CMYK, downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 ppi and monochrome images to 1200 ppi, embeds subsets of all fonts, and preserves transparency (for file types capable of transparency). These PDF files can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.


Transparency Issues:

Dealing with Transparency in InDesign and Illustrator (PDF)
A Designer's Guide to Transparency for Print Output using Adobe Software (PDF)
Transparency in Adobe Applications - New Highlights - Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat (PDF)

Question: When I export an Indesign CS2 to Acrobat 6 (High Quality Print) the PDF looks great, but when I print the transparent backgrounds print as a visable box?

Answer: Export to PDF/X-1a. This PDF format flattens all transparency - Press Quality does not.


How to create a PDF/X-1a:2001 File for East Van Graphics for Adobe InDesign CS2 - CS5

1. Adobe PDF Presents
From the File menu, choose Adobe PDF Presets/[PDF/X-1a:2001]

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2. Name File and Choose Save Location
Name your file in a simple and concise manner. Do not use special characters such as !@#$% etc.)
Choose a location to save your file and click the Save button

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3. General Settings
No Changes

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4. Compression Settings
No Changes

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5. Marks and Bleeds Settings
No Changes

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6. Output Settings
No Changes (unless the document contains spot colours - see step 7)

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7. Spot Colour Handling
If the document contains spot colours that are not intended to run as such, click the Ink Manager button and enable All Spots to Process

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8. Advanced
No Changes

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9. Security
No Changes

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10. Summary
Please review your settings before clicking the Export button

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If you are still having problems after flattening to PDF/X-1a then you have some problems with the way that you are applying transparency. To be on the safe side, you should only be using transparency effects with CMYK art. Mixing spot inks and RGB can cause problems.

When you export to pdf select Press quality and then make sure it's compatible with Acrobat 5 or higher. Acrobat 4 does not support transparency. If you're using Distiller, make sure that the setting is also for Acrobat 5 or above compatability.

If you are exporting from InDesign, click on the Advanced section and look at color, making sure that it matches what you're using in your document or that you have selected Unchanged. Then select High resolution in the transparency flattener setting.

Note that flattening live transparency effects does not mean that you are destroying the effect: you are simply flattening the artwork (like you would with layers in Photoshop). The output should look the same as if you were still working with live transparency. If it does not look the same then you have not used the transparency effects properly within InDesign.


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