Promised the second part of my eye-opening experience with 2-color (black + spot) fussiness for InDesign job. Here goes…
The printer kept having problems with “the foot” (referring to a graphic on the front & back covers showing a runner’s foot). I kept returning to the original AI file, trying to figure out what in the world I was doing wrong. After all, I had converted all layers to greyscale, resaved, relinked—multiple times! It wasn’t until the printer finally sent me a copy of the RIP file that I figured out the problem. It wasn’t the AI file at all!
Turns out, it was some quirk whereby the combination of files—the magic synergy of Adobe applications—simply didn’t work together. (I’m positively kicking myself for not taking screen shots of all this. Sorry!) Of course, when you do help queries, you’ll find that Adobe recommends you place native Photoshop and Illustrator files directly into your InDesign document. After all, that’s the point of purchasing the Suite ($$$) right? So that’s exactly what I did. And that’s where things went wrong.
<<Flashback moment to the mid-80s where, at Hewitt Associates, part of my responsibility was to “break” the graphics computer (a $150,000 behemoth with it’s own climate controlled office). We were a beta test site for this new technology and I spent over half my time reporting to the development company on how I crashed their system. The remainder of my time was spent trying to maintain our production schedule—despite the crash(es).>>
Fortunately, thanks to my experience and keen analytic mind, I realized that the problem wasn’t the AI file. It wasn’t even the PSD file (because copies of the same files worked elsewhere in the document). No, it was the combination—the synergy—of layering native files (Ai + Psd = Id havoc) that created the RIP errors.
The simple fix was to rasterize the AI file. (Though this did result in a loss of contrast and crispness.) The hard part was in communication with print tech and getting a copy of the RIP error. (They’re remote and busy.) Kept me sleepless for a couple of days!
The job is now printed. Because the client went with the lowest printing bid—and the printer is remote—I won’t get to see the final for a few weeks when it arrives in snail mail.
The delay pains me. But I’ve moved on to the next project (website update) and even solved a (stupid IE!) error—in under one hour! WooHoo!
You gotta love the web and instant gratification. ;-)