Join Michael Ninness for an in-depth discussion in this video From web to print, part of InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations.
Probably it comes as no surprise that it is now a requirement that any traditional print publisher needs to have an online presence as well. I suppose then it makes it less a trend more than it is just a necessity. However, I'm noticing an interesting trend that plays the model in reverse. That is online publishers are launching print magazines. One of the distinct advantages the Internet provides is that it is much easier to build a database of readers interested in your content. Once you have successfully brought a distinct group of people together online around a particular topic, you now have a much less risky platform to market a premium print product too. Here are a few examples of this trend.
The Knot is a website that actually launched in 1997, they went public in 2000, and they have actually went on to spawn a variety of other websites that are related. They actually describe themselves as a leading life stage media company. Notice they didn't call themselves a print publisher, targeting couples, planning their weddings and future lives together. So, they have got the knot for people planning their wedding. They have a sister website called The Nest that's for people who have already got married and are going to build their happy home, and then they have recently launched a third site called, The Bump, for people expecting children.
They have a bunch of other sister websites as well, weddings.com, weddingchannel.com and so forth, and you will notice here at the main page, the banner at the top of the page of TheKnot.com, they actually market a print product now. They actually publish The Knot Magazine twice a year. It's one of those new inch-and-a-half thick magazines that women buy to plan their wedding, lots of photography of that season's dresses and whatnot. They also produce several regional magazines for local wedding markets and so forth and they have gotten into book publishing as well and have a collection of resources available for purchase.
The Nest has also started a print magazine as well that you can subscribe to. Again, they have got a great database of unique visitors here coming to the website that they can now market these print products to and get print subscriptions and extend their brand beyond just the online audience into the traditional news stand. Another example is WebMD, many of you know about this website webmd.com. This was a relatively early entry into the online space that quickly became dominant in the health industry and online health advice and whatnot.
They actually have launched a print magazine as well, and you may not have seen this on a newsstand. Where do you think you will see WebMD Magazine? You pause for a second for effect, yes, in your doctor's office. So, a terrific way for a website to extend their brand to a captive audience, right. What a better place to put a magazine around health issues, to put in the doctor's office. So, it's a way to connect their audience back to their website for the research or for follow up and so forth. Another example, it's a little bit different than the first two that I showed you, because the Lonely Planet, a few of those who know about this company.
They didn't start as an online company. They started as a book publisher, travel guides, but they of course had to launch a companion website for their series of books when the Internet became big, and they have sustained that. It's quite a cool website. But just recently in November, October of 2008, they have actually launched a print magazine now, and there is a nice little video. If you go to lonelyplanet.com/magazine you can actually watch this little video about why they have now started this magazine. It's kind of a short little video that kind of give you some insight as to this has been something that they wanted to do for a very long time and now they actually have an opportunity to do that.
But again, they have a way to extend their brand across all sorts of different media types. So, printed books, short guides, the magazine for inspiration, the website to continue the relationship between trips and so forth. So, there it is. Some examples of traditional online companies that started out primarily being web based now starting to actually publish printed products for their customers.
- Configuring a custom InDesign workspace for designing digital documents
- Building slide navigation buttons for interactive presentations
- Adding reflection effects to images within a presentation
- Using InDesign to build an interactive mood board
- Creating an interactive digital spiral-bound portfolio
- Using InDesign and Flash Professional to build and animate a digital magazine
- Adding a video file to an interactive document
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: After exporting a portfolio in InDesign, as instructed in the tutorials, the portfolio items appear fuzzy. The letters typed into the InDesign document look fine, and the PDFs placed into InDesign look as they should, but once the items are exported, the type is fuzzy. What could be causing this?
A: The problem described occurs when a PDF is placed into an InDesign document and then scaled on the page. When the final SWF file is then exported from InDesign, the PDF graphics end up looking “soft and fuzzy” because they are being downsampled to a lower resolution.
First, be sure to update InDesign to the latest CS4 dot-release from Adobe. There was a bug in the shipping version of InDesign CS4 that caused images in SWFs to always go out as low-quality JPEGs regardless of the settings chosen in the SWF Export dialog. This issue was addressed in a subsequent release. To initiate the update from within InDesign, choose Help > Updates.
When images, including PDFs, are placed into an InDesign document and then exported to SWF, the images will all be downsampled to 72dpi and saved in one of two file formats, JPEG or PNG. The JPEG file format is a "lossy" file format, and depending on the image quality setting chosen, the final images quality could vary wildly. The PNG file format is "lossless", in that it does not add distracting and ugly artifacts to images.
In the SWF Export dialog, the default setting for Image Compression is set to Auto. Change this setting to "Lossless (Do Nothing)". It is unfortunate that this option is named this way. The three choices should be listed as Auto, JPEG and PNG. Adobe has changed in this in InDesign CS5, but for CS4, one has to know that "Lossless (Do Nothing)" really means “save the images as PNGs.”
The plus to using PNGs is that the images will end up looking great. The minus to using PNGs is that the file size of the SWFs will be larger because the images are not being compressed.
2. Choose High or Maximum JPEGs
If file size is a concern, then switch the Image Compression option to JPEG, but choose a higher quality setting from the JPEG Quality pop-up. The default is set to Medium. Choose High or Maximum instead. The higher the quality setting, the better the images will look, but their file sizes will be larger. That said, the file size of a maximum quality JPEG is usually smaller than a PNG.
3. Resample in Photoshop and Import JPEGs
The method that gives the user the most control over image quality and file size is to downsample the images in Photoshop to the exact pixel dimensions desired before placing them into InDesign. Open the PDFs (or any other image file formats) in Photoshop and size them to the desired pixel dimensions. If opening a PDF, Photoshop will display an Import PDF dialog first where the pixel dimensions can be set. If other file formats are used, resize them in Photoshop by choosing Image > Image Size. Then make sure the Resample Image checkbox is turned on, choose Bicubic Sharper from the pop-up menu at the bottom, and enter the pixel dimensions in the Pixel Dimensions section of the dialog box (not the Document Size section).
Once the images are the correct size, save them as JPEGs, and set the quality desired level.
After the final JPEGs are placed in the InDesign document, do NOT scale them. Place them at actual size (100%). If a JPEG goes into InDesign at 100% and nothing else is done to them, they will "pass through" to the final SWF untouched. Meaning, they'll go out exactly as they came in. This also means the JPEGs cannot be altered in any way that would cause them to be resampled during SWF Export. Examples are applying transparency effects, drop shadows, etc., to the JPEGs in InDesign.
See the examples below, where a PDF was placed into InDesign, scaled to 50% of its original size, and then various SWFs were exported, changing the Image Compression and JPEG Quality options as described in items 1 and 2 above.