Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding file formats, part of Photoshop CS5: Prepress and Printing.
In this section I'd like to talk about file formats for print. And I'd like to start this chapter with just a general discussion of print file formats. Then as we move forward we'll cover each of the file formats you might use for print, specifically one after another, and then make some recommendations as we go along. Okay, what we have in front of us here is a typical file with bunch of different layers in there. We have got an alpha channel. We even have a spot color in here applied to some rasterized type. When we go to save a file for print, and it's important to understand that there are some file formats that print pretty well and some that don't print very well at all.
So, what we're going to do here is we're going to start as we always do with making a duplicate copy. And I typically have three different versions of my files. The original one that I just never ever touch, and a lot of times it's a RAW file, and then I have a working file like the one that we're making a duplicate copy of. And then very often I have a print file. Particularly, if I change the file significantly or simplify it, and we'll get to simplification in just a few minutes. So we're going to work with a copy of this file and then we're going to choose File and Save or Save As. We can do either one.
In this case, the Save will bring up the same dialog box. And we go underneath the File Format menu and we see all the various file formats in which you can save a file from Photoshop. Only a couple of these are really useful or best for print. And the processors called RIPs that are built into most devices are optimized for certain kinds of file formats. Particularly, commercial printing companies, they like to have certain kinds of file formats. Okay, the first file format that we can use-- and this is relatively new. It used to be in the old days, back in the `80s and `90s, you really didn't want to try to print Photoshop file formats.
But the new RIPS and particularly the PDF RIPs can handle Photoshop file formats just fine, and I'm going to show you one advantage of that. The next file format down that we sometimes use for print is Photoshop EPS. This we used to use quite a bit. Slowly but surely, it's kind of falling out of use, because it have been replaced as I'll show you for many instances by PDF, which is a more flexible and open file format. But we'll get to that and I'll show you how to use it. Then the next one down is Photoshop PDF, saving images out in PDF format.
Many people know about saving PDFs out as documents, but not necessarily as graphic file formats. This has become a very, very flexible and useful print graphic file format. And then down here we see the TIFF file format and this is an old standard that we'd used for a long time for a wide variety of different files, and it's a very simplified, but very print savvy file format. And then finally the DCS 2.0. This is a Desktop Color Separation 2.0, which again, used to be used a lot more than it is today. And now when you sometimes use it for working with spot colors. This one like the standard Photoshop EPS files more is more being replaced by the Photoshop PDF.
So, these are just kind of a general overview of the file formats that we can use for print. Photoshop, Photoshop EPS, Photoshop PDF, TIFF, and then Photoshop DCS 2.0. As we move forward, we're going to take a file like the one we've got here, the Sky Storm, and save it out in various formats and I'll give you some recommendations about how to use these file formats.
- Understanding RGB and CMYK bit depth
- AM versus FM screening
- Working with device color gamuts and profiles
- Making image adjustments before printing
- Choosing the correct file format for output
- Assigning spot and process colors
- Comparing editable and raster type
- Sharpening for print
- Printing to grayscale
- Proofing images
- Recording actions to automate printing-related tasks