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Building to the correct size


Print Production Fundamentals

with Claudia McCue

Video: Building to the correct size

Building to the correct size provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Claudia McCue as part of the Print Production Fundamentals
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  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 40s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 55s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 50s
  9. 13m 53s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 24s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 54s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 49s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 9s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 22s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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Watch the Online Video Course Print Production Fundamentals
Video Duration: 4m 37s4h 26m Beginner Jun 29, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

View Course Description

Join author Claudia McCue on a journey that introduces the printing process and reveals the keys to designing a document that prints as well as it looks onscreen. This course takes you on the floors of two commercial print houses (BurdgeCooper and Lithographix), to better understand the life cycle of a print job and observe printing presses in action. Along the way, discover how to better communicate with your printer, choose the correct paper, inks, colors, and fonts for your project, and how to correctly lay out your documents in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. This course is designed to help you and your printer produce a professionally finished print job, whether it's a business card, brochure, or multipage magazine. thanks the BurdgeCooper and Lithographix printing companies for access to their facilities and permission to film on site. Learn more at and

Topics include:
  • Understanding the importance of contact proofs
  • Handling corrections and alterations
  • Choosing from offset, letterpress, thermographic, or digital printing options
  • Understanding how the inks, colors, and paper interact
  • Building a document at the correct size
  • Folding and trimming
  • Choosing fonts
  • Working in Illustrator with swatches, effects, and more
  • Laying out a document in InDesign
  • Generating a final PDF
  • Troubleshooting print issues
  • Preflighting your print job in Acrobat
  • Submitting files to the printer
Acrobat Illustrator InDesign Photoshop
Claudia McCue

Building to the correct size

One size does not fit all. As you start your project, always begin by building to the final trim size. That is if you're creating a business card, create a business card-sized page in InDesign or business card-sized artboard in Illustrator. Don't create lonely little business card in a letter-size page. Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, it helps you more easily visualize how the piece is going to print and trim, but maybe more importantly, your printer is going to have to fix it if you build the wrong size. Now in Illustrator you might think of Illustrator artboard as an imaginary piece of paper corresponding to the real piece of paper that will be the printed in trimmed final piece.

So when you choose File > New Document, now I think in Inches, not in Points. If I'm going to make a business card and I know it's going to be 3.5 Inches wide by 2 Inches tall, I am going to put 3.5 in the Width field, Tab on down to the Height field, and put in 2 inches. And if I know I'm going to have artwork that goes to the edge, of course I've to provide bleed so that I am going to add bleed. There is my new business card. I'll zoom out so you can see it. The edge here is going to be the trim edge of the business card and then the red line that I see here corresponds to bleed.

So you can see in the finished piece I have a little problem. I don't have any bleed. So I need to take this yellow background shape and pull its edges out so that they correspond to the bleed. Now I've something that's going to print correctly. So if I print the file, or I save it to PDF, that extra area is going to carry through. When I save as PDF, if I choose Use Document Bleed Settings, Illustrator is going to automatically include that extra content. I'm going to go back, and I'm going to fix this file, because I have my bad artboard, my good artboard.

I'm going to delete all of this artwork that's lonely in the middle of the page and I am going to get rid of my extra artboard. Now I have a correct file that's appropriate to send to the printer. In Illustrator when I go to make a PDF, it's not Export, it's Save As. I am going to save it to the Desktop just so it's easy to find later. Here in the Save dialog under Marks and Bleeds, if my printer wants Marks, I am going to include them. If they don't want Marks, I won't.

For this one I am just going to include my Trim Marks, and I don't need to include anything else I think but my Page Information. Notice that if you Use Document Bleed Settings is checked, you can see it sort of goes to back in these little fields. It understands that I set up a bleed zone initially, and it's going to respect that. So if your printer asks you to send this as a PDF, there's everything in place for him. You have your Bleed and have your Trim Marks. Everything is good to go and it's built the correct size. In InDesign the same rules apply.

You don't want to build a business card in the middle of a letter-size page. You always want your New Document dialog to reflect your final trim size. So here in InDesign's New Document dialog I'm going to uncheck Facing Pages, and I don't think in Points and Picas, InDesign does by default, but I don't have to do any math in my head. I know this needs to be 3.5 Inches wide. So I can just type the 3.5 and either type IN, or I or put in quote marks, InDesign is clever enough to do the translation for me.

When I Tab out of that field, you can see that's 21p0, and the Height is going to be 2 Inches. So just for fun I'll type to 2in, and there we go. Under More Options I can apply a Bleed. So again if I can't think in picas, I just have to type .125 and Inch--although actually I know that 9 points is an eighth of an Inch. When I tab it commits to that value. You can see it populate all the bleed fields. When I click OK, there's my appropriate-sized page.

You can see the red bleed line around. So as I start populating this with artwork, everything is going to be the correct size, and I am going to have adequate bleed. So no matter what you're building, you want to make sure that you always build to the trim size, you always want to apply a bleed if you know you're going to have stuff that goes to the edge. Remember, it doesn't stop at the edge, it has go beyond. So since InDesign CS5 we've been able to include multiple page sizes within a document. So if you've something like fold-in panel, say for example, in addition to the cover, set up those pages individually within the document by using the Page tool, select the page and change its dimensions. And don't forget to do front and back.

So just remember you need to determine the final trim size of your project before you ever start building your pages.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Print Production Fundamentals .

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Q: The exercise files provided aren't working in my version of InDesign (CS4/CS5). What should I use?
A: This course was recorded using InDesign CS6. For InDesign users working with CS4 or CS5, IDML files are provided.
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