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Pre-press tips for Photoshop users

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Here are some "must-know" tips for CG people who decide to start doing some pre-press and design for printing.

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Some Graphic design and Pre press tips for Photoshop users 

Here are some “must-know” tips for CG people who decide to start doing some pre-press and design for printing. As beginner you have to know that design for printing has some differences than web design or other screen designs.  

Always use CMYK
First of all, printing technology uses CMYK color description and screen design use RGB. CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) is used because of printing technology that uses these 4 colors to make picture on paper. This color model is for Reflective surfaces. RGB (Red Green Blue) is for self-lighted surfaces, like screens and TVs.
If you have photos or illustrations in RGB, always convert them using Photoshop’s Image > Mode menu, because Adobe Photoshop gives best result with minimum changes of colors. CorelDRAW, for instance, gives totally different colors if you export drawing to RGB or CMYK. In my opinion, if you have to use some design elements from CorelDRAW, export them in RGB and then convert in CMYK using Photoshop.   

Black should be only 100%K, not composite from all colors
You have to keep in mind that printing process has minimum 4 passes (to print full color – in Offset technology), and that alignment of these four passes may not be 100% same. Every pass is one color. So if you make text from 100C 100M 100Y 100K composite, you will have noise at letter’s edges. Photoshop has habit to form black from all composites so pay attention to select only pure black (0C 0M 0Y 100K) when you write text.   


Use minimum 300DPI for Offset and 600DPI for Digital printings
Human eye can easily notice granulation of image raster if its resolution is lower than 96 DPI. Common Offset printing plates (machines) support 300DPI, so use this quality and make design in that resolution. Also, some digital printers support more dots per inch so you can make design from 600 to 1200 DPI’s, but it is very hard to notice difference between 600 DPI and higher. In special cases if you make design for buildboard, you can use 30 DPI, because of view distance.  

Clean up small composite values
Keep in mind that every colored surface is made from these 4 components mentioned before. If you have on some surface less then 10% of some color, it is better to modify that color component to 0% in order to avoid edge noise. You will make small change on color. Also if you try to print 5% of some composite it is very small chance that something will be printed at all on Offset printing.  
Example: if you fill background with gray color: 5C 5M 5Y 5K you will probably bet totally white surface, but, if you use 0C 0M 0Y 11K, which gives very similar color on screen, you will have some gray color on background.
Simply, printing and screening technologies are different 
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Submitted by Radoslav on 2006-07-24 20:12:38. Since then read 36643 times.
Scored 4.32 points out of maximum 5 by 25 votes.

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