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Making a print-ready PDF

From: Designing a Magazine Cover

Video: Making a print-ready PDF

So, I have preflighted my magazine cover document using the Preflight Profile created in the previous movie, we have no errors, and we are now ready to make a print-ready PDF to send to the commercial printer. The exact PDF settings you choose will vary according to how and where your cover will be printed. As I mentioned in an earlier movie, a very useful tool is the telephone. Talk to--or better still--meet in person your printer to discuss the needs of your project, including expectations and costs.

Making a print-ready PDF

So, I have preflighted my magazine cover document using the Preflight Profile created in the previous movie, we have no errors, and we are now ready to make a print-ready PDF to send to the commercial printer. The exact PDF settings you choose will vary according to how and where your cover will be printed. As I mentioned in an earlier movie, a very useful tool is the telephone. Talk to--or better still--meet in person your printer to discuss the needs of your project, including expectations and costs.

To create the PDF, I am going to use a slightly modified version of the PDF/X-1a standard. The PDF/X standards have been created to ensure predictable and consistent printing in a professional print environment. PDF/X-1a is the standard recommended by the Professional Publishers Association or PPA, a publishing industry body which promotes best practice in the UK magazine industry. It ensures that all colors in the InDesign document are converted to CMYK colors using the CMYK working space as defined in the Color Settings dialog box.

So, I am just going to back out of here for a moment, because that brings up a few things. Because the colors are converted to CMYK by the PDF Export preset, it's not necessary to first convert them to CMYK in Photoshop. This means that we're working with an RGB image in the document, and so that we don't set ourselves up for any false expectations, number one, we want to make sure that we are working with a calibrated monitor, and number two, we want to soft-proof our document, i.e.: we want to see it how it will look when the colors are converted to CMYK.

We can soft-proof our document using Proof Colors. Now, when you choose that, you may notice that the colors become a little bit flatter, a little bit duller, depending on the colors in your original image. It says now on my title bar that we are proofing in Document CMYK colors. Document CMYK colors are those defined in the Color Settings file. Each of the applications of the Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, have this same Color Settings dialog box where you can choose the Settings file that you are working with.

And as part of that Settings file, you will get an RGB working space, a CMYK working space, and conversion options which determine what color management engine is being used and what is the rendering intent. Now, if you want more information about this stuff, I highly recommend that you check out Chris Murphy's Color Management Essential Training here in the lynda.com online training library. I can't tell you exactly what settings you need to use. You should speak to your printer about that.

But I can say that they almost certainly will want to be synchronized across the different applications of the Creative Suite. We can do that. You can see that I am currently unsynchronized. We can synchronize using Bridge. So when I come to Bridge--and I will switch Bridge now to my Full mode--I can then come to the Edit menu and choose Creative Suite Color Settings. Then I choose the Settings file that I want to use.

I am going to use North America Prepress 2. The European equivalent for this would be Europe Prepress 3. Both of these settings files use CMYK profiles that are generic profiles. I will now switch back to InDesign. And by that, I mean that they broadly describe this printing circumstance, U.S Web Coated. You may be able to get a better result using a custom CMYK profile that specifically describes your output device or the characteristics of your output device.

Talk to your printer about getting a custom CMYK profile. They may be able to supply you with one. So back now to the PDF preset, and I'm just going to make a few changes here, I want to turn on View PDF after Exporting. You can see that in the Compression settings, anything bigger than 450 pixels per inch will be down-sampled to 300 pixels per inch. Marks and Bleeds, here I'm going to turn on my Crop Marks, my Registration Marks, and my Page Information.

I'm going to make the Offset 12 points just to offset those marks slightly further away from the edge. I'm also going to turn on Use Document Bleed Settings. Since we have established a Bleed Guide in this document, we want to use it in the PDF that we generate from it. Now, here is the important bit that I was talking about with the color conversion. You can see that the colors will be converted to your destination profile. Your destination profile--there it is it's the one that we saw just a moment ago in the Color Settings.

That's our document CMYK profile. In the Ink Manager, not relevant for us now, but if we did have Spot colors, Pantone colors in our document, we could check all spots to process to make sure that they were converted to CMYK colors. The PDF/X-1a standard generates an Acrobat 4 compatible file. In an Acrobat 4 file, layers are not supported, which means that all the content will be flattened to a single layer in the resulting PDF.

So for this reason, it's also necessary to create a Transparency Flattener preset. Once you have created the Transparency Flattener preset, it can be incorporated into your PDF Export options here in the Advance settings. You can see that this is using the higher resolution Transparency Flattener. I am actually going to back out of here now, and I am going to make a custom Transparency Flattener preset. And to do that, I can come to the Edit menu where we start out with these three pre-defined presets.

I am going to click on High Resolution and then click New, and I am going to call this Higher because I want the Line Art and Text Resolution to be double what it currently is. And I could also--and these are the settings recommended by the PPA, the Professional Publishers Association--I am going to make that 600. Even though as it tells me in the warning message I'm about to get, I may not see much improvement for that, but I am going to choose that anyway.

Now, I have made that Transparency Flattener. That gets incorporated into the PDF preset in the Advanced Options. And since I backed out of here, I will need to just change the settings for the Marks and Bleed, and the Document Bleed settings. Now, I have made a few changes here, and so that I don't have to make these same changes again, I am going to save this as a preset.

Thereafter, I will be able to choose it from the PDF Presets menu, and I'm now going to export that. And there is the resulting PDF viewed in Acrobat Pro. You may find that your printer can supply you with a PDF Job Options file, one that includes all the PDF settings, as well as the Transparency Flattener options where appropriate. The Pass4press website is one such place where you can download job options files.

You can go to Google and type in pass4press, and you'll come to this. I am going to download these job options. I've actually already done that to implement these or any job options that your printer has supplied you with. When you come to Adobe PDF presets, go to Define and then to Load, and there are the job options right there. I can then click Done. Then I can return to my PDF presets, and that will appear in my list.

So, using this approach, thereafter you'll have the convenience as well as the confidence of knowing that the appropriate boxes have all been checked.

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This video is part of

Image for Designing a Magazine Cover
Designing a Magazine Cover

36 video lessons · 16230 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 1m 57s
    1. Welcome
      36s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
    3. Looking at the history of magazine covers
      46s
  2. 8m 27s
    1. Understanding what makes a good magazine cover
      1m 47s
    2. Deciding between photography and illustration
      1m 6s
    3. Understanding the parts of a magazine cover
      5m 34s
  3. 21m 7s
    1. Choosing a cover image
      3m 0s
    2. Understanding the technical requirements
      4m 32s
    3. Cropping the cover image
      2m 0s
    4. Working with color and tonal adjustments
      3m 50s
    5. Retouching the cover image
      7m 45s
  4. 48m 8s
    1. Setting up the cover document
      3m 17s
    2. Placing and positioning the masthead
      4m 5s
    3. Positioning, scaling, and cropping the cover image
      3m 57s
    4. Combining the cover image and the masthead
      4m 28s
    5. Creating a color palette
      8m 47s
    6. Adding cover lines
      4m 28s
    7. Using paragraph styles with cover lines
      5m 32s
    8. Refining cover lines
      4m 54s
    9. Including additional elements
      8m 40s
  5. 15m 30s
    1. Creating a preflight profile
      3m 52s
    2. Making a print-ready PDF
      9m 24s
    3. Packaging and archiving the project
      2m 14s
  6. 34m 16s
    1. Setting up the Photoshop document
      6m 19s
    2. Placing and scaling the cover image in Photoshop
      3m 11s
    3. Combining the image and the masthead in Photoshop
      5m 49s
    4. Working with text in Photoshop
      9m 33s
    5. Creating a peeling sticker in Photoshop
      6m 16s
    6. Preparing for print in Photoshop
      3m 8s
  7. 35m 7s
    1. Setting up the Illustrator document
      4m 35s
    2. Placing, scaling, and cropping the cover image in Illustrator
      3m 30s
    3. Combining the cover image and the masthead in Illustrator
      3m 5s
    4. Adding more cover lines in Illustrator
      9m 41s
    5. Adding cover items in Illustrator
      9m 32s
    6. Preparing for print in Illustrator
      4m 44s
  8. 1m 11s
    1. Goodbye and next steps
      1m 11s

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