27 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2012 9:14 PM by LouWrench

    Print Specs?

    LouWrench Level 1

      I am setting series of books for a publisher. He is a very big publisher in the school book world.

      I have just received a "PRINT-READY STANDARDS CHECKLIST"

      along with a list of stuff to be done that would make life more orderly are the comments on file formats, I was wondering, after being on the blunt edge of the industry whether these are necessary, or just some "urban Legend" fears.

      I use jpeg a lot, PDFs and unflattened PS, I am nervouse about EPS (I cannot remember why)

       

      1. No jpeg files have been used (only acceptable in Microsoft Word documents) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      2. Images for placement have been supplied in TIFF, EPS, AI or PSD format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      3. No PDF files have been placed within InDesign documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      4. Photoshop masters supplied in history folder but flattened versions placed in documents . . . . . .

       

      Just interested is all

      Lou

        • 1. Re: Print Specs?
          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

          The specifications are absolutely ridiculous.

           

          There is no good reason for a blanket ban on JPEG. Overly-compressed JPEG files are inappropriate as well as use of JPEG for representing content that is non-photographic in nature.

           

          There is absolutely no basis to diallow placement of PDF files within InDesign documents. In fact, that is best practice. Ironically, this publisher seems to love EPS which is a legacy format and problematic in many instances.

           

          There is also no reason to flatten PSD files before placing into an InDesign document.

           

                    - Dov

          • 2. Re: Print Specs?
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            Those typical print specs….for 1996.

             

             

             

            Bob

            • 3. Re: Print Specs?
              LouWrench Level 1

              Pretty much my thoughts!

              • 4. Re: Print Specs?
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Wasn't there a bug with subsetting fonts back around CS that prevented the fonts in placed PDFs from being included if the appeared in the main doc as well? I do seem to recall some sort of issue with nested PDF, but it has long since been resolved.

                • 5. Re: Print Specs?
                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                  I don't recall there ever being a problem with placed PDF files and fonts if the fonts were properly subsetted in the placed PDF. But a defective file is a defective file!

                   

                  There was a problem going back to InDesign 2 or so (not CS2 which is InDesign 4) whereby if there were too many nested levels of placed PDF, there were problems in PDF export and/or PostScript printing. That was resolved many years ago and quite frankly, is probably not the source of this bubbameissa!

                   

                            - Dov

                  • 6. Re: Print Specs?
                    BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    Yeah…the only thing missing from that is “no TrueType fonts…for every TrueType font you use a kitten dies”

                     

                     

                     

                    Bob

                    • 7. Re: Print Specs?
                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Yeh got some ridiculous printing specs myself recently - "the PDF must be created using a Macintosh" ~?

                       

                      Seems like they want you to supply the source files - which is ridiculous.

                       

                      There's no reason why you should be keeping a PSD or TIFF Layered in one folder and a flattened one used in the Layout... just use the layered version in the layout.

                      • 8. Re: Print Specs?
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        Dov, as you say, whatever I remember as being a problem was a loooong time ago and has long since disappeared.

                         

                        I wonder if the no PDFs restriction was a form of paranoia based on poor PDF handling in Quark.

                        • 9. Re: Print Specs?
                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                          Possibly! 

                           

                                    - Dov

                          • 10. Re: Print Specs?
                            John Hawkinson Level 5

                            Dov:

                            There is no good reason for a blanket ban on JPEG. Overly-compressed JPEG files are inappropriate as well as use of JPEG for representing content that is non-photographic in nature.

                            So, there are plenty of cases where the difficulty of clearly explaining, to inexpert users, what kinds of JPEG uses are reasonable grossly outweighs the space penalty from using another file format. As a result, it becomes totally reasonable to say "No JPEGs ever" for workflow reasons. Then no one has to worry about it.

                             

                            This is not a bad rule to have in many contexts. I would definitely say it rises to being a Good Reason For a Blanket Ban on JPEGs.

                            It hardly unequivocable and it makes more sense in some contexts than ever. But, to turn your words around:

                             

                            I believe there is no good reason for a blanket ban on blanket bans on JPEG.

                             

                            :-)

                            • 11. Re: Print Specs?
                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              John, I have the highest level of respect for expertise, but on this one, you’re not going win.

                               

                               

                               

                              There is nothing wrong with a properly created JPG. I’d rather have that than an improperly created TIF.

                               

                               

                               

                              Bob

                              • 12. Re: Print Specs?
                                Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                                big publisher in the school book world

                                The purpose and objective of this company's Print Ready Checklist is to provide customers with guidelines in creating files (in stated formats) that are conducive to productivity within the constraints of the company's workflow.

                                 

                                You may find that a manufacturing company's standards are developed through years of direct analysis of input, and does not need to meet any industry approval or justification, and stands because of practical experience rather than theory, speculation, or ideals.

                                • 13. Re: Print Specs?
                                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                  A publisher should rationally differentiate between content preparers who are rank amateurs and those who are professionals and provide guidelines and rules and explain what the issues are.

                                   

                                  Banning JPEG files does absolutely nothing to improve quality. Suppose I have a low resolution, overly-compressed, terribly artifacted JPEG file and am presented with rules saying no JPEG and providing a minimum of 300dpi image effective resolution. The usual workaround for this is to open that bad file in Photoshop (or whatever else is available), upping the resolution via interpolation, and resaving as TIFF. The same defects are there. And in the end, not only has the publisher (or printer) not achieved any quality improvement, but they have demonstrated to the content preparer / customer that they don't know what they are talking about.

                                   

                                  My advice stands. Outright bans of JPEG or even rigid specification of minimal effective image resolution is unwarranted and ridiculous.

                                   

                                            - Dov

                                  • 14. Re: Print Specs?
                                    TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    (Dov, funny you should say that. I was just bitten by the fact the

                                    Acrobat 7 refuses to do OCR on any scan under 140dpi).

                                    • 15. Re: Print Specs?
                                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      I've had jobs rejected because some images fell slightly below the "300 ppi" mark. Some companies won't process a file past the preflight if it fails on it's outdated settings, probably setup early on and kept by generation of preflighters as the "standard".

                                       

                                      I was even supplied a 2 page flyer, just images and text, it was 30mb! I've had 128 page magazines with a lot more content than that go to print at less file size!

                                       

                                       

                                      Some people just don't know what the settings are and use what was there before "because it works". Which isn't really an excuse for not knowing.

                                      • 16. Re: Print Specs?
                                        macinbytes Level 4

                                        Always room for a request for Illstrator 8 EPS files or the crazy requirement of any rules be created from continuous lines rather than underscores. Make sure all your clipping paths are built clockwise and there are no counterclockwise to avoid issues with Adobe TrapWise.

                                        • 17. Re: Print Specs?
                                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                          At least there is rationality in that case associated with the ability of the algorithms in use to actually recognize text at typical text point sizes at that resolution.

                                           

                                                    - Dov

                                          • 18. Re: Print Specs?
                                            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                            There is no question whatsoever that publishers and print service providers must have standards and guidelines.

                                             

                                            That having been said, standards and guidelines should be rational, reasonable, and justifiable, not arbitrary boilerplate with questionable justification in the general case.

                                             

                                                      - Dov

                                            • 19. Re: Print Specs?
                                              John Hawkinson Level 5

                                              Bob (and Dov):

                                              There is nothing wrong with a properly created JPG. I’d rather have that than an improperly created TIF.

                                              I think you have misunderstood my point.

                                               

                                              Many of us have seen, empirically, that if you are producing specifications intended for inexpert users, it can be dangerous to give them options that require understanding what they are doing. Again, empirically. So, if you have three cases [wording is not precise]:

                                               

                                              Case 1: Submit a PDF, PNG, TIFF, or JPEG.

                                              Case 2: Submit a PDF, PNG, TIFF, or JPEG. Please don't use JPEG for non-continuous-tone images or for images with sharp edges or text. A photograph is a continuous-tone image.

                                              Case 3: Submit a PDF, PNG, or TIFF. No JPEGs please!

                                               

                                              Then what you get, roughly is:

                                               

                                              Case 1: A significant number of people submit JPEGs that are inappropriately used. Let's say 25%, but I'm making up numbers and it grossly depends on your population, anyhow.

                                              Case 2: Of those 25% from case 1, a quarter of them ask questions about JPEGs because they are confused, and a lot of time is spent explaining exactly what we mean (let's imagine I used clearer language than the above). The remaining three quarters ignore the directives and submit JPEGs anyhow that are just as problematic as case 1.

                                              Case 3: Only 5% submit JPEGs. All of them are inappropriately used.

                                               

                                              As a result, the conclusion here is:

                                              1. People don't read

                                              2. It's easier to ask people not to use JPEGs at all than it is try to explain to them when it's OK and when it is not

                                               

                                              So, this is why I say, sometimes, it's totally reasaonble to have a specification that bans JPEGs.

                                               

                                              It doesn't mean JPEGs aren't reasonable to use. But it is reasonable to ban them for the sake of convenience, practicality, and pragmatism.

                                               

                                              If you deal with a lot of professionals, these issues are much smaller. If you deal with a lot of random people who try to design some artwork on their own (perhaps repurposing web artwork for print), especially those who don't know what they're doing, removing JPEGs from the frey can save everyone a lot of time and effort.

                                               

                                              I'm not sure how much of this applies to Lou's "school book" publisher.

                                              But it's inappropriate to blanket ban a prohibition on JPEGs, because there are many cases where a prohibition on JPEGs just makes sense.

                                               

                                              Hopefully you guys can see where I'm going here, and if you disagree, disagree with the degree rather than the underpinnings? [But we shall see!]

                                               

                                              (p.s. why would you rather have a bad JPEG than an improperly created TIFF?)

                                              • 20. Re: Print Specs?
                                                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                Here’s the bottom line (IMO).

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                If someone doesn’t know what they’re doing it doesn’t matter what the specs are. They will screw it up.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                As for your PS…huh? Where did I say that?

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Bob

                                                • 21. Re: Print Specs?
                                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                  If someone doesn’t know what they’re doing it doesn’t matter what the specs are. They will screw it up.

                                                  As for your PS…huh? Where did I say that?

                                                  I guess our populations differ. I've found that permitting/encouraging JPEGs leads to measurably more screwups than not doing so...

                                                   

                                                  My PS: Sorry Bob, I misread you! No wonder I couldn't understand it! Sure, a good JPEG is better than a bad TIFF. But realistically, it's not usually the choice we are given...

                                                  • 22. Re: Print Specs?
                                                    BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                    Again, our experiences are going to differ, but I see no reason to punish those that know what they’re doing in order to cater to those that don’t.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Bob

                                                    • 23. Re: Print Specs?
                                                      LouWrench Level 1

                                                      Just as an aside!

                                                      When was the last time any of us called in a "professional" to do a job for you?

                                                      For "professional" read "someone who does it for a living" eg. a plumber, a mechanic, a GP, an interior designer, etc.

                                                      And then told them how to do their job! They would tell you, copper not PVC, New plugs, take two asprin call me in the morning, or go for the satin drapes. And you would not argue!

                                                      Jus' sayin' is all

                                                      Lou

                                                      • 24. Re: Print Specs?
                                                        Bo LeBeau Level 4

                                                        Two things that jumped out from the original post:

                                                        • publisher in the school book world.
                                                        • Photoshop masters supplied in history folder

                                                        As one who had a temp job years ago at a Yearbook/School publisher, I can tell you they are getting the original files because they have to go in and fix so many issues before they can print.

                                                         

                                                        Some yearbooks are created by pros that know what they are doing, but most are created by kids of the Jr/Sr. High School yearbook club.

                                                        These can range for acceptable to totally unusable.

                                                         

                                                        I once dealt with someone who was placing everything for their first page on the master page and then making a second page with different elements but using the same master page!

                                                        Think paragraphs of text overlapping, images overlapping and all completely, obviously visible to the creator of the file.

                                                        But the creator was clueless and just threw up their arms and sent off the file thinking we would fix the files for free.

                                                         

                                                        When I opened the file I was stuck speechless. After sputtering for a few minutes I calmed down enough to write a problem report for them with some basic fixes they needed to make, I think I ended with "Please read the Manual" (RTFM wouldn't go over too well when dealing with kids in school)

                                                         

                                                        While we would fix small problems gratis, for larger issues or a high numbers of errors we would send the file back and tell them to fix them, or we could of course fix them, but would change a high fee for every page that we had to create/recreate.

                                                         

                                                        This is apparently the type of publisher that the original poster is dealing with. Not only dealing with clueless creators, but also employees with almost non-existent skill levels.

                                                        They would talk older women that had literally never turned on a computer (this was more than a few years ago) and train them to use Pagemaker.

                                                        90% of them never progressed beyond the basic/lowest intermediate skill level to be able to get the thing out the door!

                                                         

                                                        It's not surprising that this "publisher" has such requirements.

                                                        Even files created by pros might be flagged by a clueless employee if the file deviated from these standard by using something like a jpg file.

                                                        And good luck trying to get this issue kicked up high enough in the chain of employees to someone that would actually realize the "issue" was really a non-issue and give a waiver to OK the file for print.

                                                         

                                                        While these standards are completely outrageous for professional creators, I realize why they think they are necessary.

                                                        I don't agree with them but trying to fight the good fight is sometimes more trouble than it is worth and the choice of printers is often totally out of our hands.

                                                        Like too many things these days, everything has to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.

                                                        • 25. Re: Print Specs?
                                                          macinbytes Level 4

                                                          Well if I went to a professional and they seemed like they were an idiot I'd probably check with another professional.

                                                           

                                                          As a print professional myself most of my outsourcing is to forms vendors, screen printers, flexo vendors and other oddities I expect them to give me the benefit of the doubt and take my files and like them. Any vendor I've worked with will bend over backwards because they know that my files are going to be right as rain and our accounts payable will have them payment within days of getting their invoice.

                                                           

                                                          To continue the professional analogy. If I do spiral staircases for a living I expect whoever is installing my flooring to not treat me like an idiot or tell me that I need something that they know I would be highly suspect of. If I was a oral surgeon I wouldn't expect my dentist to treat me like I'm a toothless hillbilly. If I drilled wells and installed 4" submersible pumps I wouldn't expect the guy installing my sump pump to treat me poorly because I don't know my crap. If I didn't have time to make my own bad analogies I wouldn't expect another bad analogy guy to tell me that it's like the ballchain retainer clip on a three speed reversible ceiling fan.

                                                           

                                                          As a commercial printer the last thing anyone wants to be doing is turning away work an alienating people who give files that are a slam dunk. There are a ton of printers out there who can do the same thing the next is doing. To quote the big homey veteran and rap sensation Poison Pen "if I don't sell them the product then somebody else will."

                                                          • 26. Re: Print Specs?
                                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                            My biggest complaint with print specs I see is half the time they are incomplete What help is it, for example, to say all files mudt be CMYK, but not offer a profile or spec? If I call, it usually turns out that the vendor is the one who is clueless.

                                                             

                                                            Print specs should be complete and written for professionals, and they should come with a disclaimer that says if you don't understand this specification, please seek competent advice.

                                                            • 27. Re: Print Specs?
                                                              LouWrench Level 1

                                                              Hi Bo

                                                              The publisher I am refering to does not, to my knowledge, do year books. I am dealing with a big publisher (international) who specializes in school text books.

                                                              Lou