How to make your photographs, line art strip-ins and the corresponding text pages properly "camera ready" for printing in your book.

First, some good reasons for you to take the time to learn this. The short version is that you are much more likely to get results that will please you. You'll have more control over the final result, and you'll also save money. Lastly, you'll help prevent rude surprises. Surprises such as your printer calling you up with bad news after your book is in their hands. You don't want to hear that problems exist and how much it will cost you to have the problems fixed. The other option is that the printer sends it back to you, while the calendar pages fall away, and you fix it. The long version, worthy of reading and understanding, follows the actual instructions. If you're not yet convinced to learn these techniques, you may want to skip right to reading the long version.

To make your photographs or line art strip-ins and text pages truly camera ready you must use one of the techniques below. Then follow the guidelines that begin on the next page. Use the same techniques for line art or photographs. Technique number 4 applies only to line strip-ins.

1. Place corner marks on your text page to show the exact location of where your halftones or line art will appear on the text page. Use a dark color fine line pen or pencil so that the corner marks will photograph and show up in the text negatives. These will guide us in placing the illustration. (The corner marks will not print.)

2. Use a keyline box. It functions the same as number one above and may be easier to place when using a desktop computer system for page layout. Let us know whether or not you want the keylines to print. If they do print, how thick do you want them to be? Keylines around halftones are a couple of dollars each more expensive than regular halftones.

3. "FPO" (for position only). Usually a photocopy of the photograph or line art at the same size and cropping that the illustration will actually print. With desktop computer systems it works very well to place a low resolution scan of the illustration and mark it as "FPO". It is best to use an FPO in addition to corner marks or keyline boxes. If you do not use FPO's you must indicate exact cropping on the original artwork. It's important to clearly mark each FPO as such so that the printer understands not to use it as camera ready art.

4. For line illustrations you can paste up on your text page at exact size and positioning the final camera copy of the illustration. This will then be shot at the same time as the text on the page (it will not be shot and stripped in separately), saving $6.00 each. This technique will however, require more prep before you send it to us so that your actual net savings will vary. In most cases you will end up with higher quality images when line art is shot and stripped in separately. Before you try this technique you should talk to us about it first to assure that you get satisfactory results. It may be that for your book this technique won't do the job.

Other cropping techniques

Cropping guidelines

A WARNING about CROPPING relative to height /width ratio.

It is important that the height to width ratio of the cropped image match the height to width ratio of the location on the printed page that it will occupy. It is a very common problem for publishers to overlook this detail. We frequently receive illustrations that are marked with a very rectangular cropping that has a very square location that it is to fit into, or vice versa. Another variation on this common problem is that the cropped illustration is taller than it is wide, but the location it is destined for is quite a bit wider than it is tall, or, again, vice versa. Keep this in mind as you do your page layout.

Other halftone prep tips

Some good reasons to learn the techniques above, the long version.

By following the methods above for indicating halftone positioning, sizing and cropping you will make your halftones and the corresponding text pages properly "camera ready". Taking charge of and clearly communicating to your printer how you expect each illustration to be handled is the best way to assure a final result that you'll be happy with. This process is really a function of book design and page layout.

Book printers who do not have in house typesetting and page layout (which we don't) are geared toward following the customer's design and page layout, not in creating the layout.

When we receive an order with illustrations that are not fully camera ready we'll need to interrupt putting your book into production. Then we'll give you a call to see how you want them handled. We could send them back to you for final preparation or we could take care of the final preparation here. However, we strongly recommend that you send in your halftones and the corresponding text pages fully camera ready.

If you want us to take care of the final details to make your halftones fully camera ready there will be additional charges to do this. Depending on the number of halftones this can take up to a few days longer for us to finish putting a book into production. It will add time to your schedule.

Halftone sizing, cropping and positioning is a subjective process, we'll use our best judgment. However, you'll be charged for all changes that you make to sizing, cropping, and positioning of halftones at the proof return stage. (We will, as always, correct any obvious errors on our part at no charge if errors should occur).

We want to help you achieve illustration results that you'll be happy with and for the process to go as smoothly and painlessly as possible. The information above should prove very helpful. However, it is not totally comprehensive and we encourage you to call us at any time with questions. We feel it's better to have a lot of communication early on in order to reduce problems later on. If you have any suggestions on how this could be better, let us know.

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