Even a “seasoned” pro needs a slap upside the head once in a while…because sometimes you can forget and put together complex designs without solid foundations for production…
Back in the old days, a 2-C job meant a keyline on board for black plate and an acetate overlay for spot color.
Listen and learn (from my mistakes!). When preparing an InDesign (CS3) document for two-color printing (black + spot) make sure you have the following in order:
- Convert all photography to greyscale in Photoshop. CMYK is OK for 4-C work, NOT 2-C. RGB is for web. While you’re at it, adjust the greyscale conversion for your job. For instance, my job ran on a web press, on newsprint-like paper and therefore I lightened the shadows to counteract the ink fill in darks. BTW: this is NOT the place I screwed up…just a tip!
- For graphics created in Photoshop…EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE CREATED THEM IN THE EXACT PMS COLOR YOU WANT…listen up! I needed a transparent background. Period. These graphics needed to overlay photos w/o the white rectangular background of jpgs. While the png format is great for web, it is by default, 72 dpi…not print resolution…and can result in RIP errors. Therefore, save and place PSD files (150 dpi or better) into the InDesign document. But wait, there’s more…
- PSD files are generally either RGB or CMYK color space. NEITHER SPACE WORKS FOR A BLACK + SPOT PRINT JOB! Therefore, all PSD graphics (though created in the exact PMS color of choice!) had to be:
- converted to greyscale
- then converted to duotone
- which was really a monotone in the PMS color
- then saved as PSD and placed in InDesign.
- And for those of you to whom file size is a concern, (ie: web designers) remember this: file size DOES NOT MATTER! (Really!) Use those big PSDs. Put ‘em everywhere. This is PRINT and bigger is better! This is why FTP exists!
- Check, double-check, and check again…your AI files. Seems that sometimes one tiny layer can be lurking in CMYK mode when YOU THOUGHT THE ENTIRE FILE WAS IN GREYSCALE! The printer does NOT like this. Trust me.
Because, apparently, CMYK mode uses ALL of the above: Cyan AND Magenta AND Yellow AND Black. When you want to print BLACK and a PMS color, you (the designer) need to remove ALL CMY information from file formats.
Let me repeat: remove ALL CMY information from file formats–do not expect the printer to do so.
Key point: if this had been a 4-C job, no problem. But when you want a 2-C job (black + spot) you need to remove the CMY.
Again: R.E.M.O.V.E. C.M.Y.
Your printer will love you.
Stay tuned for part two…Native File Nonsense from Adobe: Finding Incompatibilities in “The Suite”.