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When you've finished with your artwork inside of Illustrator, it's time to print it, and send it off to the client. In this movie, I'll be exploring Illustrator's Print command, and how you can use it to export your artwork, and get it in the hands of the people who write the checks. Let's go up to the File menu, and go down to Print. The Print dialog box, right out of the gate, looks a little daunting, and that's okay. Let's go through it piece by piece, and take a look at everything that's going on in here. I will start off here at the top, where you will see Print Presets. At the top, we can select any type any type of Print Preset we want.
In this case, we've only got the defaults though. Default, and Default for Web/Video/Mobile. In this case, I am going to keep it on Custom, because I am going to change some of these settings. You can also select your printer. In this case, I have Adobe PDF selected, simply because I don't have a printing device selected on this computer. This Printer Preset dialog box will show you every printer that's connected to your computer, or that's available on your network, so you can simply pick the output device from this list. You also choose the PPD if you'd like, and then underneath here, we have the General options.
This is where you can set things like number of copies, whether or not it goes in reverse order; you can also choose to export out your artboards, like All, or a specific Range. You can also choose to Ignore Artboards, or skip any blank artboards that might be present in your document. Your Media Size, and this can be defined by a driver, or you can simply pick a custom media size here. Directly underneath here, you have Options, like whether or not you print your layers, like Visible layers, Visible & Printable Layers, or All Layers. In some cases, you may have layers that are hidden, or only layers that are visible, and not printable.
In this case, you can pick which ones go where. You can also choose the placement of the artwork; whether or not it's in the middle, the left, right, corner, wherever. You can also determine the X and Y offset. If you needed to scale your artwork down to fit on a specific media size, you can choose the Scaling here. Then you can specify your options in the fields below. You can also add things like Marks and Bleed to your document. If you need to add printer's marks, you can check All Printer's Marks. It will add things like Trim Marks, Registration Marks, Color Bars, and Page Information.
To the right of that, you can set things like the type of printer marks -- either Roman, or Japanese -- and also Trim Mark Weight. That determines the thickness of the trim marks. You can also determine whether or not the document uses Bleed settings that are in the document itself, or you can specify your own. In the Output section, you can determine things like the Mode; whether or not it's Composite, or Separation. You can also determine the Emulsion type, either Up or Down. You can also select the Image, whether or not it's Positive or Negative, based on which type of Mode you've selected.
Underneath there, you will be able to pick your Printer Resolution. Chances are, you can get this from your commercial printer; what the LPI, and DPI setting should be. Once you have those, pick it, and you can send it out. You can also choose whether or not to Convert All Spot Colors to Process, Overprint Black, and then you get Document Ink Options down here at the bottom as well. In the Graphics section, you can determine the quality of your graphics by adjusting the slider at the top. By default, it's set to Automatic, but you can actually uncheck that box, and then drag the Quality slider either to the right, or to the left.
Dragging it to the left automatically gives you better quality; dragging it to the right gives you better speed, but it also decreases the quality of the image. You can also choose whether or not you download the entire set of fonts, or only a subset of fonts, which reflects the font used in the document. You can also choose not to download fonts as well. In the Options section, you have the ability to change the PostScript options. You should only change these if you really know what you're doing. If you don't know much about PostScript options, I suggest just leaving this alone.
Color Management; you can actually determine how Illustrator handles color when printing. By default, it shows you the document profile, which is, in this case, is Generic RGB. Then you can say whether not you're going to let Illustrator determine the colors, or let your PostScript printer device determine the colors. You can also select a Printer Profile. If you've taken the time to calibrate your device and your monitor, chances are, you've got your own profile already in here. If you have, you can simply pick it, and go from there. If not, you'll want to pick one of these profiles that matches up to all your other devices.
The Rendering Intent; you can choose between Relative Colorimetric, Perceptual, Saturation, and Absolute Colorimetric. If you're not sure what Rendering Intents are, hovering over the box gives you a small description down below, where you can see exactly what that means. In the Advanced section, you have the ability to choose how the Overprints are handles; whether not you Preserve them, Discard them, or Simulate them, and then you can also print a resolution for things that have transparency, like Medium, High, or Low. In this case, if you're going out for commercial print, I suggest setting this to High.
If you're going out for just a regular old Inkjet printer, you can select Medium, and if you're going for just a screen ready PDF that's going to be viewed online, Low Resolution should be fine. At the very bottom, you get a Summary where you can see an aggregate of all of the information that you've entered so far. You'll also be able to see Warnings towards the bottom. In this case, this document has two warnings, indicating that the document contains colors that are out-of-gamut, and also that the Document Raster Effects settings are set as less than 72 pixels per inch. Both of these need to be corrected before I go to print.
The first one needs to be corrected, because if I have out-of-gamut colors ,that means colors won't be reproduced correctly upon printing, and there's nothing worse than printing something that doesn't look like it does on screen. The second setting refers to Document Raster Effects resolution. This means if you have complex effects, like gradients, drop shadows, or Gaussian Blurs, that it might box these in, or make them choppy in appearance when you're printing them. You have to go into the Document Setup in order to change this resolution, and if you're going out for commercial print, these needs to be pretty high; something like 150 to 300 dots per inch.
Once you're finished inside this dialog box, you can hit Done to accept the settings, or you can hit the Print button to go ahead and print it out to your printer. For now, since I don't have a printer selected, I am simply going to hit Done. All of these printer settings are now saved in this document, and if I hit Control+S, or Command+S on the Mac to save it, they're stored within the document, and then each time I open it up, or choose to print it again, I don't have to go back through all of those different settings.
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