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Preferred File Formats
Photographic images can be saved in different file formats. The format of choice is one that does not lose color quality, contrast or file size. TIF or EPS files are examples of lossless file formats. They are designed to print clear and crisp at a resolution of 300dpi at their final size in the layout. JPEG/JPG or GIF files are examples of lossy file formats. They were originally designed for easy file transmission and internet use, not for printing.

When a lossy file format is saved over and over again, the jagged edges are exaggerated. The process creates extra pixel garbage that you do not want printed. Therefore, if you start with a JPEG file that then needs edits, save it as an EPS or TIF file. This way, additional information will not get lost and the quality of the original JPEG image will be maintained.

Images from your Digital Camera
Before taking a picture, determine the quality of an image and how it can be used in a layout. Use the highest quality setting available on the camera. The pixel dimensions of an image identify the resolution. Dividing the pixel width and height by 300 determines the dpi. Divide by 400 for images with text.


For example:
Digital Camera Image (with no text) = 1200 pixels x 1600 pixels
1200/300 = 4 inches 1600/300 = 5.33 inches
Layout size for image = 4 inches x 5.33 inches

The image can print at this size or smaller for clear and crisp printing.

Digital cameras use the RGB color space. When RGB is converted to CMYK, images tend to darken. Brighten and sharpen your image for clearer printing. Convert the image to the CMYK color space, if possible. Professionals frequently use Adobe Photoshop for this task.

How the original image is acquired will determine its resolution.


Images from the Internet

Jpeg and Gif files are Internet images, saved with a compression process designed to remove color and visual quality to achieve small file sizes. Internet images are usually saved at a resolution of 72 dpi for quick screen loads and will not print clear and crisp on a printing press.

Rules To Remember
How the original image is acquired will determine its resolution.

Images from the Internet
Jpeg and Gif files are Internet images, saved with a compression process designed to remove color and visual quality to achieve small file sizes. Internet images are usually saved at a resolution of 72 dpi for quick screen loads and will not print clear and crisp on a printing press.
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Important Information About RGB and CMYK
Many graphics software programs give you the choice to work in either RGB or CMYK. These are called "color spaces". Scanners and digital cameras create images using combinations of just three colors: Red, Green and Blue (called "RGB"). These are the primary colors of light, which computers use to display images on your screen. Printing presses print full color pictures using a different set of colors, the primary colors of pigment: Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black (called "CMYK"). This is "4-color process" or "full-color" printing that comprises the majority of magazines and marketing materials you see every day. At some stage your RGB file must be translated to CMYK in order to print it on a printing press.

It's Best If You do the RGB-to-CMYK Conversion of Your Images
You will have more control over the appearance of your printed piece if you convert all of the images from RGB to CMYK before sending them to us. When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking. We want you to be happy, so please, take the time to prepare your file properly. We cannot be responsible for sub-par results if you furnish your images in RGB. Even though monitors always use RGB to display colors, the colors you see on your monitor will more closely match the final printed piece if you are viewing them in the CMYK color space.

Be aware that it is possible to see colors in RGB that you can't make with CMYK. They are said to be "out of the CMYK color gamut". What happens is that the RGB-to-CMYK translator just gets as close as possible to the appearance of the original and that's as good as it can be. It's something that everyone in the industry puts up with. So it's best to select any colors you use for fonts or other design elements in your layout using CMYK definitions instead of RGB. That way, you will have a better idea of how they will appear in your printed piece. Here's a common example: many programs translate the 100% Blue in RGB into a somewhat purple-looking color in CMYK. We recommend a CMYK value of 100-65-0-0 to get a nice clean blue. Working in the CMYK color space allows you to select the CMYK recipe, or "screen build", that gives you the results you want.

Here are some examples of how various RGB colors convert to CMYK:
rgb colors
(what you see on screen)
cmyk colors
(printing inks will do this)
You most likely won't notice this kind of color shift in a color photograph. It is more likely to happen if you pick a very rich, vibrant color for a background or some other element of your layout. It probably won't look bad, it just won't look exactly the same. But it may not be noticeable at all either.

Converting to CMYK Color Space
Here is a list of several common programs with instructions on how to make sure you are working in the CMYK color space. If your program or version is not listed here, don't worry. Most of these instructions will apply to all versions of a program. If at any time you need further help, please call us for assistance. We are happy to talk you through the steps needed to get your document into the CMYK color space.

Microsoft Publisher 2000
Microsoft Publisher defaults to RGB. It is easy to convert everything to a CMYK color space or to start a new document using the CMYK color space.

Use the following menu options: Tools/Commercial Printing Tools/ Color Printing and select Process colors (CMYK). Please note that all images incorporated into a layout need to be linked and not embedded in order to maintain the CMYK color space within the image. Using the following menu options does this: Tools/Commercial Printing Tools/Graphics Manager and highlight the embedded image. Click Link and click Browse to locate the original file and link to it. You will then need to send both the images and the layout file to us for printing.

Adobe Photoshop (we accept files up to Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Illustrator CS3)
Adobe Photoshop 6

If the file already exists select the following menu options: Image/Mode/CMYK When starting a new file select CMYK for the mode before clicking OK.

Corel Draw 9
Select each object you want to convert. Select the Fill tool and click Fill Color Dialog. Make sure the Color model is CMYK. For each object with an outline: Select the Outline tool and click the Outline Color Dialog. Make sure the Color model is CMYK.

Adobe Illustrator 9
Use the following menu options. For an existing file select Edit/Select All and then Filter/Colors/Convert to CMYK. For a new file, select File/New and select CMYK color for the Color Mode.

Quark Express 4.1
Use the following menu options: Edit/Edit Colors/Show Colors in Use/Highlight Color and click Edit. Change model to CMYK and deselect Spot color. Remember to send us your layout and linked images!

Adobe Indesign (we accept files up to Adobe InDesign CS3)
Adobe InDesign 1.5.2

Use the following menu options: Window/Swatches and Window/Color. Double click color in Swatches Change color mode to CMYK and color type to Process. Any colors created in the document that are not in the Swatches palette, need to be changed to the CMYK color space. Select each object you want to convert and make sure the Color palette reflects the CMYK percentages. Click top right arrow in the palette to change to CMYK if necessary. Remember to send us your layout and linked images!

Adobe Pagemaker 6.5
Use the following menu options: Window/Show Colors. Double click "colors" in palette and select Model to be CMYK and Type to be Process. Please be advised that Pagemaker does not successfully represent CMYK color on the monitor.

Also Remember
Four color process is a system where a color image is separated into 4 different color values by the use of filters and screens (usually done digitally). The result is a color separation of 4 images that when transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press with the coloured inks cyan (blue), magenta (Red), yellow and black, reproduces the original color image.
 
 
 
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