How to Prepare Your File for Print in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Prepare Your File for Print in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When preparing your file for print in Photoshop CS6, use the following list to ensure your file is ready and rarin’ for problem-free output. Note that this list includes tips that pertain to Photoshop only.

  • Always transform your images in their native application. Size, crop, rotate, shear, and reflect art in Photoshop. Transforming images in an illustration or page layout program can be complex and time-consuming.

  • Ensure that images can first print from Photoshop. Do this before importing the images into an illustration or page layout program.

  • If you’re placing Photoshop EPS images into a page layout or illustration program, set the halftone screen frequency in the destination program instead of embedding it in each image in Photoshop. Or better yet, don’t set any halftone screen frequencies in your images and let your service bureau or offset printer handle setting them in the other program.

  • When saving Photoshop images for print purposes, stick to TIFF, EPS, native PSD, or PDF file formats. If you’re unsure of the proper format to use for a specific job, ask your offset printer or service bureau.

  • Make sure that you use the proper color mode. For example, use CMYK for color separations for offset printing and RGB for photographic prints.

  • Create vector shapes and paths efficiently. Use the fewest number of anchor points possible to create the path and delete any unnecessary or stray points.

  • Limit the number of typefaces. Downloading takes time. Limiting the number of typefaces also makes your document look more sophisticated and polished.

  • Make sure that all scanning is at the appropriate resolution.

  • If your image is to bleed (extend to the edge of the printed page), take that into account when creating your image. Note that you need to allow for 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch on any side that will bleed to allow for slippages when the paper is cut.

  • When using spot colors, always specify colors from a Pantone color swatch chart and then select the color, whether process or spot, in Photoshop. Never trust the way colors look onscreen because of calibration deficiencies and differences between RGB and CMYK color models.

  • Make spot color names consistent. Make sure that the Photoshop spot color names exactly match those of any programs to which you are importing your image, such as an illustration or page layout program. Otherwise, you may get an additional color separation.

  • Print and provide laser or inkjet prints of your file, both separations (if warranted), and a composite print. Print all prints with printer marks — crop marks, registration marks, labels, and so on.

  • Provide all fonts used in your file. Provide both screen and PostScript printer fonts, if applicable.

  • Choose File→Save As for your final save to squeeze down to the smallest file size.

  • Organize your files into folders. For example, put the image files together in one folder, all the fonts in another, and so on.

If you save your file as an EPS or DCS and reopen the file in Photoshop, Photoshop rasterizes the vector data to pixels. Save the original in the native PSD format.

If you save your layered file as an EPS, Photoshop converts your vector type to clipping paths. Extensive small type creates complex clipping paths, which can be time-consuming and sometimes difficult to print. You can either flatten your file or deselect the Include Vector Data option in the Save as EPS Options dialog box.

Either choice rasterizes the type into pixels at the resolution of your image. You may want to consider eliminating the type in your image file and applying it either in a drawing or page layout program that can retain vector type.