Preparing your print design with graphics and images
Graphics you plan to use in your design can come from a digital camera, a scanner, the Web, or your own illustrations.
All graphics (photos, illustrations, clip art, and logos) must be royalty-free.
IMPORTANT: For high quality printing results, image file resolution should be saved at approximately 300 dpi (dots per inch) at 100% of the image's final output size.
For sufficient printing resolution, digital images should have a resolution of 300 ppi (pixels per inch).
NOTE: Simply increasing the DPI setting for your graphic file does not improve the resolution
Vector graphics (e.g., logos, clip art and shapes):
are made up of points, lines and curves that are based on mathematical equations.
are resolution-independent, which make it possible to freely move, re-size or modify the graphics without losing detail or clarity.
are directly editable when imported into a vector-based graphics application.
are ideal for artwork, such as logos, that will be used at various sizes and in various output media.
Raster graphics / bitmaps (e.g., photos):
are made up of pixels.
use ppi (pixels per inch) as an indicator of resolution. (See "Digital Images" for more information)
cannot be enlarged without lowering their resolution.
should be cropped with care, because cropping reduces the number of pixels in an image.
work well when subtle gradations of color are necessary.
can only be edited in image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Did you know that shrinking an image will its increase its resolution? That means that if an image is 150 dpi, placing it at 50% size in the layout will result in 300 dpi print resolution.
EPS vs. TIFF (vs. JPEG)
Illustrations, clip art, and logo artwork should be vector EPS files
EPS produces excellent results for documents that combine raster (images) with vector (text).
IMPORTANT: Images with text should be saved as EPS with fonts embedded
Images without text should be saved as TIFF
JPEG format is because it is an inherently lossy compression format that doesn't work well for high quality print.
Re-saving a JPEG file as a TIFF or EPS won't bring back lost data that occurred during a JPG compression, but it will at least hold the quality where it is rather than continually degrading each time it is edited and saved as it would in JPEG format.
If you must work from original JPEG files, start with high resolution (300 ppi ) JPEGs saved at zero compression (or as close to zero as possible) — not screen-friendly 72 ppi JPEGs.
WORKING WITH DIGITAL IMAGES
Digital images are usually in RGB format and must be converted to CMYK for upload. Please see "Color settings" below for guidelines on color conversion.
Pixels, megapixels (MP), pixels per inch (ppi) and dots per inch (dpi)
Digital images are made up of pixels.
A "megapixel" (MP) is one million pixels. A digital camera’s megapixel rating will help you determine the largest size of prints you can expect to make without sacrificing the quality of the image. It also will help you determine how much flexibility you will have with photo-editing software after an image has been captured.
The dpi resolution of the printer itself has to do with the size of the ink dots, while ppi refers to how a monitor displays an image.
Many printers suggest 300 ppi as the resolution at which to deliver artwork.
Images from a digital camera
Because you cannot increase a photo's resolution after it is taken (except by shrinking its printed dimensions), you should shoot photos at a high-enough megapixel rating to result in 300 dpi print output at the intended size.
Larger images demand higher pixel rates.
Multiplying the ideal print dimensions of an image (in inches) by 300 ppi will help you determine what megapixel rating is high enough to result in 300 dpi at that size. For example, if you want a 300 ppi image to print at 8" x 10", you would multiply 300 by each side. The 8" side would require 2,400 pixels while the 10" side would require 3,000 pixels. 2,400 x 3,000 = 7,200,000 or 7 megapixels.
Shooting tips for maximizing image resolution:
For professional quality results, use a professional-quality camera — at least 6 megapixels.
Frame the shot closely to minimize the need to crop later. (Cropping reduces the number of pixels in an image.)
Expose the shot correctly so that faces in particular are well lit without being over-exposed.
Like a digital camera, a scanner must be preset to the proper resolution before capturing the image.
Set your scanner's resolution so that it results in 300 dpi at the image's final print size. If you scan at too low a resolution for full size at final output, you will not be able to enlarge it without lowering the resolution. It is best to scan at an appropriate resolution so you have plenty of pixels — but not so many you can't run your software programs efficiently.
If you are scanning from a previously printed piece such as a book, newspaper or magazine, you will need to apply a descreen at the time of scanning or else a pattern (moiré) will appear in the final product. This should be one of the options in your scanner software.
There are still certain instances where professional drum scans are required: if you want to enlarge the image by more than 200%, if your work is color-critical, or if you are scanning slides and transparencies.
Pure black and white graphics or drawings should be scanned as bitmap or line-art. Images or graphics with gray shading should be scanned as grayscale. Color images should be scanned as RGB, then converted to CMYK.
Images from the Web
If you get images from the Web, be careful not to get images that are at a resolution of 72 ppi (which is true for most of them) or that are protected by copyright laws (which is also true for most of them).
To find royalty-free, higher-res graphics on the Web, use stock photo sites (e.g., iStock, Getty, Veer, Corbis, Punchstock, or Shutterstock).
For upload, all images should be CMYK, grayscale or black and white. No images should be in RGB.
Converting from RGB to CMYK
Every time you do a color conversion, you lose a bit of color quality.
IMPORTANT: Do all your corrections, then save as RGB and convert. Don't convert and then try to make more adjustments.
If you convert to CMYK and then re-convert to RGB, that RGB conversion will never be the same as it was. Never make the conversion without making a backup copy of the RGB image, because you can't go back to the original RGB image.
Please note that JPEG files are almost always in RGB.
Document set-up tips for graphics files
Use a separate file for each graphic.
This will make the layout cleaner and keep the user from having to manually re-position the graphic in the layout if it is changed.
Make sure the document size is large enough to contain the art, with nothing hanging off the pasteboard.
Make sure art is defined as having 100% opacity.
If you wish to use a screen of a color, do so by setting the color swatch's Tint, not by adjusting transparency.
Delete or hide unused elements.
That way, when the graphic is placed in a layout, the layout will automatically just show that graphic, in the proper X=0/Y=0 position.
Use layers for more complicated graphics. For example, separate layers for background, artwork, and text.
How to place images into layouts
Images should be imported and linked to the layout. (When you upload your job, you will upload each linked image file separately.)
Do not copy and paste art into the layout.
Do not embed art into the layout.
Linked images should be up to date.
If images are scaled, they should be scaled proportionally.
Rotate photo art in your photo-editing program, and import it into the layout picture box at 0º.
Managing colors within your files
When choosing colors, do not rely on how colors look on screen. Consider the significant difference between what the eyes see, what the monitor displays, what the proof looks like and what a printing press can produce. When choosing key colors, even CMYK colors, consult swatch books for a sense of how they will actually print.
Process colors should be defined as process CMYK and named by their color values (i.e., "C=0 Y=0 M=100 K=0" rather than "Magenta").
Spot colors should be defined as Spot, not CMYK.
In the final stages of your project:
In Adobe, make sure all colors used in your project have corresponding swatches.
Make sure you have not used the same color under multiple names. Merge them into one.