PREPARING YOUR FILES

Typefaces
Penstripe Graphics has an extensive typeface library but recommends that you include all necessary font files with your job.  Most modern Page Layout programs will provide the user a list of necessary fonts.  Be sure to include fonts contained in .eps files (which the Page Layout program may not list) For PostScript Fonts supply both the screen and printer font files. (Do not assume that we have any fonts, save delays, provide all the fonts)

(Please note: if you provide a complete set of your fonts, Penstripe Graphics will maintain a database of them for your use as you need them. This will avoid the problems associated with missing and corrupt fonts)

Proofs
Penstripe Graphics requests proofs of all pages you send for high-resolution output.  These can be reduced in size for larger page sizes.  Black and white proofs are acceptable, but color proofs are better.  This ensures your final output is produced as expected; and assures you that the files can be printed; and provides a guide for any possible troubleshooting the files may require.

We recommend that you use your proofing device to produce separations before going to final high resolution film or paper output.  Again, this ensures your final output can be
separated as expected before outputting high cost film.

For one and two color jobs you may fax proofs with color separations marked.

PHOTOGRAPHS (Greyscale images)
Photographs (continuous tone images) should be scanned at twice the resolution of the line screen they will be printed at.  For isntance, if the final line screen is 150 lpi, then the scan should be 300 dpi at full size.  As another example, if the printed line screen is 100 lpi, then the scan should be 200 dpi at full size. Following this rule of thumb helps avoid undesirable bitmapping in the photos when they are output at high resolution.

Please NOTE: WEB GRAPHICS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR USE IN FILM OUTPUT. The web allows 72 dpi (screen resolution) graphics which are not acceptable for film use.

We prefer photos that are to be separated for 4-color process to be saved as CMYK TIFF, or CMYK EPS files.  Avoid the additional time needed to convert RGB files. (Conversion Times Are Billable)

MISCELLANEOUS
Ideally, you should send all files used to create your documents such as fonts and art files (.ips, .tif, etc.) whether they are embedded in the document or not. Should there be problems outputting the file, having the source files can significantly reduce billable troubleshooting time and speed turn around.

If possible you should send any photos or line art that was scanned to produce art for your documents.  If those art files have problems (bad resolution or file corruption) Penstripe Graphics can rescan them speeding turn around time.


GENERAL TIPS & TRICKS
The following are provided to help you get more out of your software and to streamline your workflow. This page refers to the most common DTP programs, and are geared toward getting quality output from them. If you are comfortable and familiar with your tools, you'll have more opportunity to be creative. If you have any of your own tips, drop us a note, and we'll add them to this page.
Use the proper program for the proper purpose. Don't use a drawing program to do page layout, or a page layout program to do imaging operations uch as rotating or silhouetting. Each program is a tool with a specific purpose in mind.

Don't use word processing programs for final output purposes. Four-color separated film cannot be output from them (though they work fine for Color Laser Prints).

Make sure color names are consistent throughout your progect.  PMS 312 will not output on the same plate as PANTONE 312 CV - the names must match exactly.

Use of keyboard commands can significantly reduce your work time.  The time you spend learning them will return to you with interest.  Quark, Photoshop and Pagemaker all have built in F-key shortcuts.  Utilities such as QX-Tools or PageTools, which include customizable toolbars can also speed things up considerably.

The smoothest gradients require about 20 steps per 1/2 inch.  Gradients spanning large areas are prone to banding, especially if they include light areas of color.  PostScript can only reproduce 256 shades of any color from 100% to 0%.

Call us for a consultation on your big projects. If they are constructed properly from the start many headaches can be saved later on. (Thus reducing your overall costs)

Read industry magazines to keep up with the software (they are often free).

PHOTOSHOP (Bitmap files)
Files are set up in pixels per inch, which should be 1.5 to 2 times your final line screen at 100%.  For instance, for a picture to output with a 133 line screen, the file should be at lease 200 ppi, with 300 recommended.  It is better to have slightly more file information than not enough.

Be sure the files are set up as CMYK, Grayscale or Bitmap. RGB and Photoshop native files will not output properly.

DO NOT Cut and Paste Photos From Your Photo Editing Program and put them into your Quark or Pagemaker Layout Files. They do not link correctly, and are almost impossible to fix, without reimporting the file. They also will not collect when you collect the job for printing.

PICTs and GIFs should be avoided, they are not intended for high resolution output.

Pictures should be rotated and skewed in the image program, not the page layout program.

Silhouettes should be done with clipping paths in Photoshop, not by creating complex boxes around the edges of an image in the layout program.

Don't create clipping paths with the magic wand tool!  The path created is almost always extremely complex and innaccurate.  Draw a simple path with the pen tool instead.

When saving a color EPS file, use the JPEG Preview option.  It will give you a mugh higher resolution image in your page layout file.

A ghosted area in an image is easily created by selecting the area to be ghosted and filling it with a percentage of white.  Be sure to feather the edges of the selection to avoid a hard transition between image areas.

ILLUSTRATOR, FREEHAND, CORELDRAW (Drawing Vector Files)
Do not do page layout with drawing programs.  Use a page layout program such as Quark or PageMaker

Us as few points as possible to define your image.  The more complex the image the greater the liklihood for problems.  Delete any stray points.

When using any version of Illustrator, DO NOT save in version 7.  There is a problem with 7's software and postscript printers will often not print a document saved in 7.  Save in versions: 6, or 8.

When using Version 9 of Illustrator, there were special functions that were created for use on the web and for process work. (They do not work with spot colors). One such function is a graduated blend, one color to a second color with a wrap or vector fill.  It can be set up with spot colors, but it will not print in spot.  The illustrator manual does not actually say that it will not work in spot unless you look in about four places and put two and two together.

Do not use the "Place" command to put images from one vector file into another.  It is better to cut and paste.

Make sure any bitmap images you place into a vector file are the proper resolution and color model (CMYK) for final output.

Do not use EPS DCS files as placed images in Illustrator, Freehand or Corel Draw.

Include any place images with the files you send in for output (Quark's Collect for Output and Pagemaker's Copy Linked Files will not copy nested files) (Nested Means - Embedded)

Delete unused colors from the file.  Unused colors can import into the page layout program and make it confusing and unwieldy.  (Illustrator: Object > Custom Color > Delete Unused; Freehand: Extras > Delete > Delete Unused Named Colors)

Try to keep gradient use to a minimum.  Gradients are a prime cause for Postscript errors.  If you have trouble working with a file on your computer, there's a good chance there will be trouble outputting it, too.

Almost all floating pallettes in Illustrator can be resized through their built-in toggle switches, so they will take up much less real estate on your screen (especially the Paint Style box, which has 3 different levels of information controlled by the toggle switch in the upper right corner.

QUARK AND PAGEMAKER (Page Layout)
Do all image manipulation, such as skewing, rotating and scaling in the original artwork programs.

Color names must match exactly: two colors with almost the same names will output two different color plates (ie. PANTONE 315 CV, PANTONE 315 CVU and PANTONE 315 CVC).

When you are finished working on the document, delete all elements on the pasteboard.  They will add significantly to the size and complexity of the document.

Delete any unused colors.  This will help you make sure only the colors you intended to use are included.

In Quark, use the Collect for Output (File > Collect for Output) feature and check the resulting report so that all fonts and artwork are included with the job.

In Pagemaker, use "Save as" to copy the final file to your transit disc with "Include all linked elements" checked.  Do not embed artwork in the documents, this makes the file size much larger and more difficult to troubleshoot.  Keep the links up to date.

In Pagemaker, when doing newsletters which are to be set up ultimately in printer spreads. Do NOT use or place anything on the Master Page. (Certainly, it is easier for you, but the file will not automatically set itself up for printing.  Therefore you will be charged extra to remove these items and place them in the proper place. NEVER USE AUTOMATIC PAGE NUMBERING)

Remember to include nested image files (bitmap images placed into vector files), which must be copied manually.

Do not cover up unwanted elements with white boxes.  Delete them!

Quark: Shift-click on the file name in the Title Bar will give you a list of all open Quark documents.  Highlight one to go to that document.

To copy one entire page to another document in Quark (they must be the same size), view both documents as Thumbnails and set their windows side by side.  Click the page you want to copy (it will turn blue), then drag it into position in the other document.  It will copy the page, including its elements, colors, style sheets and Master Page to its new position.  You can also use this technique to move pages around with the original document.