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Illustrator file prep for print Tips ( do's and don'ts )

Nov 25, 2012 8:02 AM

Tags: #file #cmyk #transparency #printing #print #gradients #preparation #mesh #printshop

Hello folks,

 

I just started using illustrator to create illustrations.  For many years I used Photoshop exclusively.

 

I have some concerns and I am hoping you can clarify regarding preparing CMYK files to send to the printshop for processing.

I understand that I can get all the print specs from the printshop and I do that, however, my concerns have more to do with how to handle certain adobe illustrator objects such as "brush strokes", gradients, mesh objects, and transparency.

 

Question:

1. Do I always need to EXPAND brush strokes or line paths to prepare an .eps file and avoid printing problems?

 

2. What can I do with mesh objects, transparencies, and gradients ( if needed ) to avoid printing mishaps?  Or does illustrator handle all of this when you save the file as an .eps?

 

3. What else can you share with everyone here?

 

Cheers,

Bill

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 25, 2012 12:35 PM   in reply to billhdz

    I'll take a stab at it...

     

    "Question:

    1. Do I always need to EXPAND brush strokes or line paths to prepare an .eps file and avoid printing problems?

     

    No.

     

    2. What can I do with mesh objects, transparencies, and gradients ( if needed ) to avoid printing mishaps?  Or does illustrator handle all of this when you save the file as an .eps?

     

    One thing is to make sure you set your Raster resolution to whatever is appropriate.  I'm guessing you'd want "High" resolution for printing.

     

    3. What else can you share with everyone here?"

     

    It's very important to discuss the file parameters with the print vendor before you start working on the file.  In so doing, you save a ton of time and a slew of problems.  Also, you might want to save a copy as a PDF and open it in either Reader or Acrobat and see what you get.  This is a good way to catch some problems. 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 25, 2012 3:18 PM   in reply to billhdz

    1. Do I always need to EXPAND brush strokes or line paths to prepare an .eps file and avoid printing problems?

    No. Brushes will be normalized on output/export. But why are you delivering EPS?

     

    What can I do with mesh objects, transparencies, and gradients ( if needed ) to avoid printing mishaps? Or does illustrator handle all of this when you save the file as an .eps?

    See online help:

     

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/illustrator/cs/using/WS714a382cdf7d304e7e0 7d0100196cbc5f-64a7a.html

     

    Basically, if you want to use Mesh Grads, make sure you're printing to a PostScript Level 3 RIP. But why are you delivering EPS?

     

    3. What else can you share with everyone here?

     

    • Nowadays, whole documents are usually delivered as press-ready PDF.
    • If it's spot artwork (as opposed to whole document) for placement in InDesign, use press-ready PDF.
    • Document Raster Effects setting seldom needs to be set to "high." You don't need 300 PPI rasters for things like drop shadows, textures, etc.
    • Make sure you have no white objects set to overprint.
    • Save A Copy... as PDF. Open it in Acrobat Pro. Look at the individual color seps, checking for things like missing elements. Look through the flightcheck features/alerts.
    • Evaluate your design for need for trapping. If you don't know how to build traps, discuss with the printing house whether they will automate it.

     

    JET

     
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