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Tricks of the Trade

(September 2008) posted on Mon Sep 15, 2008

Mandel offers some tips designed to help Mac users save time and avoid potential problems when preparing art files.

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By Rick Mandel

If you had to put your finger on the hot point of conventional screen printing or digital printing, the first consideration would be the printing equipment, right? Where is the weakest link? At what point can the project come to a screeching halt?

I believe the gateway to our world of printing is a critical doorway—and that entrance is the Mac. Yes, some designers or in-house corporate ad departments utilize PCs, though generally a Mac file is provided from which to print. There are many methods of madness to achieve the same visual result within the various graphics programs, though techniques may result in vastly different time frames. Tricks of the trade is not a course that is offered in even the best of the graphic-design schools, so I dug deep into the minds of some quirky Mac individuals and found some nuggets of wisdom. I hope these tricks will save you some time and frustration.

Most files are generated with the Adobe products within the Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign), so I will focus my thoughts on these programs and the Mac OS platform. We are dealing in a world of color, and the files generated within these graphics programs are at the heart of the color equation. The files are prepared, manipulated for digital printing, and sent through a computational process (RIP) so that the printer will represent the intent of the graphics file. The color can be translated within the workflow at many points; therefore, a reduction of possible translation points will create a more repeatable color product.


Trick one

Use the Adobe Bridge Tool to synchronize color settings with-in all the Creative Suite programs. Bridge is an organizational program created and released by Adobe Systems as a part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Its primary purpose is to link the parts of the Creative Suite together, and the ability to manage color intent more easily is one of the benefits. It is accessible from all other components of the Creative Suite. Synchronization through the Bridge tool standardizes the translation of color information from your client’s file through your print workflow, across Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.


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