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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

When you save the file as a PDF, make sure to embed all fonts within the final file. Many times a PDF is made to lock the file to prevent the printer from changing the file or mistakenly altering the file. That being said, font issues will crop up if the fonts are not embedded. The same thought process could be applied to the workflow on your printing devices. The digital printing process may be optimized or standardized by a workflow that converts your client’s native file into a PDF environment. Save yourself some grief, and embed the fonts first before RIPing to your printing device.


Trick six

This trick addresses the challenges of transparency. Newer graphics programs allow designers to create wonderfully photorealistic imagery through the use of transparencies, which are layers that allow the blending of images to generate the desired effect. Transparency is an extremely complicated software activity that results in challenges for the RIPs to understand. As the RIP converts the native file into a form that the printer can utilize, the RIP software must process this layering effect. The long and short of it is that not all calculations are correctly processed, resulting in print anomalies that would never have been predicted, and our clients asking, “How does that happen?” The trick is to flatten the layers by saving the file in a way that flattens the transparency before printing. This will give a visual of how the RIP will see the file with transparency effects.

Embed .psd files within the Illustrator program. This will prevent the image from breaking out into multiple individual pictures when the file is opened again. While we are on a roll, here are a couple suggestions for your client when they design files: In Illustrator, use filters as opposed to effects. Though, if using effects, make sure to Expand Appearance before saving file, as this will show what the file will really look like when RIPed. Also, avoid styles and effects. They look great on screen but may cause problems at output (RIP issues). Instead, create the effect you want as another artwork element.


Other helpful tricks

The final tricks are a few little-known short cuts on the Mac: zooming in on the file, inverting the colors on screen, and utilizing the Automator program to resize a group of files.


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