Table of Contents:
Printer's Ink has featured electronic prepress text reproduction nearly every
issue for about 3 years. Now, at the suggestion of readers, customers and T-S
employees, we'll move from the text to covers and jackets and give you several suggestions
our own EP people believe could help the designer get closer to what they have in mind, do
it with fewer questions from your printer and save both time and money in the process.
I will start out with 4 major suggestions then move on to some "smaller"
suggestions and then conclude with some general updating of EP stuff.
Suggestion #1: Before sending in a cover or jacket electronic file, fill out the
T-S cover/jacket (Windows, not Mac) layout program (this includes a simple program
for figuring a book's spine bulk). This gives us the accurate dimensions for spine, cover
size, flap size ... virtually creating a dummy of the layout. We can fax you a printout of
this diagram filled out with your book specs (that you give us) so you, and we, will both
have the dummy to work with. Or, this program can be downloaded directly from our Internet
site (www.tshore.com) or call a T-S Marketing Rep or Customer Service Rep, and they
can fax it to you or help you fill it out over the phone. Hopefully this is clear but if
not, give us a call. Our people tell me it's a piece of cake to fill this out and it is very,
Suggestion #2: Covers and jackets should be set up as one single-page file ...
not as separate files or pages for the front cover, back cover and the spine. Separate
files can cause problems when we merge them, namely reflow and/or missing fonts.
Suggestion #3: We have developed two "EP Data Sheets" that contain a
series of questions to be answered (on one side) and then a long series of
"guidelines" on the reverse. One of these data sheets is for text copy and the
other one is for covers and jackets. Before we will release a job from our Customer
Service Department into our electronic pre-flight area we have to have this sheet filled
out. A job that comes in without this sheet will be held up until we contact the customer
and get them to fill this sheet out. The sheet is easy to fill out but if you have any
questions, your Customer Service Rep or Laurie Briegel (our EP Specialist) will be happy
to help you.
Suggestion #4: We need current full (100% of actual) size laser proofs for all
cover and jacket files. One of our quality checks in electronic prepress is to put the
laser proof over the finished negative (on a light table) to be sure they are completely
compatible. We actually do this with each text negative as well and we need current full
size laser proofs there as well.
For covers and jackets we'd also like you to write the color breaks right on one
composited, black and white laser proof if possible but a color laser or separated laser
proof will also be ok.
Those are the major suggestions but here are some other thoughts that came up when I
talked with Laurie, Sue and Loretta to get the ideas for this story.
1- On a cover or jacket, the art should (or could) be done in Photoshop but the type
should be done in your page layout program. Type done in Photoshop can be fuzzy and it
can't be corrected if the dimensions need to be altered.
2- If you start a new document in Photoshop and click on "File New" you get
automatic defaults to RGB and 72 dpi. You need to correct those defaults to 300 dpi and
CMYK. We can convert RGB to CMYK but we can't convert to 300 dpi so the resulting
resolution will be too low.
3- If your design calls for 2 Pantone (or PMS) colors to overprint each other to create
a 3rd color, you need to setup your file using process colors then designate which PMS
will be the process substitute. If this isn't clear (and I won't be surprised if it isn't)
you could call Laurie Briegel who can clarify it.
4- FlightCheck software, a program we recommend you consider purchasing, has had
a bug that can corrupt files (both text and cover or jacket) if you click on "collect for output". We discovered this and called it to the attention of Markzware Software, the developer and a free upgrade is now available. It is version 3.01, and it eliminates the
bug. You can get it by calling Markzware at 800-300-3532.
And, lastly here are a few of the suggestions that are on the guidelines side of our EP Data Sheet for Covers and Jackets. These only are about half of the suggestions on our guideline sheet but they are among the shortest and, I'm told, among the most important.
- Drop Shadows should be layered text boxes. Do not use style attributes to create these. Using layered boxes gives you more flexibility to change color and offset of the shadow. Using the style attributes prevents the printer from trapping the shadow.
- Our electronic trapping software requires a printer font to perform trapping on type. TrueType fonts cannot be used as they do not have a separate printer font.
- Rule Lines should not be specified as hairline. Use a definite point size (.25 or
.3 pts) when specifying line weight.
- Rule Lines within heavy coverage of a solid ink should be at least .5 pt. Anything thinner than this will fill in.
- QuarkXPress users: picture box fills containing Tiffs should be filled with white or 0% of color. Do not fill with "none" as this may distort your image.
- Photoshop images should be saved as CMYK, grayscale, duotone, tritone, or bitmap mode (as appropriate) not RGB mode.
- Our OPI process cannot be used for covers or jackets but we can provide you with high
resolution files for your manipulation.
Hopefully these suggestions will be helpful to you and not just add to confusion. But if it's not all clear, please call Laurie Briegel at T-S. We are here to try to help make your job easier and your results better and we'll do whatever it takes to accomplish this.
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We've written about our new Variquik press for a couple issues now but I can't find
that we mentioned one of its most positive features.
The Variquik press gives us the ability to use a paper purchased in webs (about 10%
less than sheetfed paper), it prints at press speeds a bit faster than sheetfed speeds,
its print quality is equal to sheetfed quality, it offers uniquely quick plate make-ready
and the signatures come off the press already folded. That much we've talked about.
The additional feature is that this web press, unlike most all other webs, can
effectively and efficiently print runs down to 500 copies.
We are not putting new work below 2000 copies on the Variquik (and we only use it for
6 x 9 and 7 x 10 trim sizes) but if you do a 3000 first printing and need a 500, 750 or 1000 copy reprint, the Variquik is the perfect press. The traditional web press would choke on that short of a short run to the point that the publisher would have to pay for restripping the negatives or pay an exorbitant premium to get the printer to accept the job. The Variquik, on the other hand, can produce a 500 copy reprint as inexpensively as a sheetfed press can and there are no "penalties" to pay. This may ultimately be one of the best attributes of this versatile press.
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In little more than a year our incoming electronic text work with lots of illustrations
has gone from 100% conventional halftones (where you shoot and strip the halftone into the
line negative) to over 50% OPI halftones. We started writing about this as a
"new" technique for halftone reproduction in late 1995 and now it is becoming
the dominant technique.
OPI is a process where the publisher sends in the photos to be reproduced prior to
sending in the electronic text file. The photos are then scanned by T-S and we
create both a high and low resolution scan. The low resolution scans are sent back to the
publisher who places them in their text file, cropping and placing them however they wish.
The full text file is then sent back to the printer where the high resolution scans are
swapped for the low resolution scans and the entire file is ready for outputting as
perfectly imposed film.
The reason this system is growing so quickly is, we assume, that we charge $2.00 less
per halftone for the OPI halftones, the publisher gets to crop and position all their
halftones themselves, the reproduction quality is excellent and, if it is handled well,
the production time will be less.
Here are some additional things to consider if you are interested in doing halftones
First, the text copy must be done electronically. You can't do it with camera ready
copy. If you use a typesetter, they must use a system that is compatible with the T-S OPI software and they must provide application files, not PostScript. Most typesetters will be able to support OPI but if there is any question, have them send in a test file for checking. We will check this free of charge and if the typesetter has any questions, we'll be happy to answer them. If your typesetter uses a system that is absolutely not compatible with OPI, like Ventura, we could supply high resolution files to the publisher to position and the $2.00 per halftone savings would still apply. However, because the high resolution scans add considerable imaging time for us in the output process, there would be some offsetting charges for this additional time.
By the time you read this we will have published a new OPI Guideline Sheet which should
explain the process pretty thoroughly. This is available on our web site, or via
faxability or by regular mail. We'll be delighted to supply it.
On illustrated books that come in to us on application files but where the publisher
doesn't want to get involved with the OPI process, we actually use the OPI process
ourselves, using "in-house" OPI for placing and stripping the halftones. If we
do this, however, there is no financial savings for the customer.
A final consideration about the OPI process is that, like doing any text job
electronically, the experience will help get the publisher ready to take advantage of the
coming "direct-to-plate" technology. When direct-to-plate becomes feasible there
will be additional, and significant dollar savings in prepress. Direct-to-plate
eliminates the negative, reprints could change formats if you like, time will be saved and
short-run publishing will be more desirable and economically feasible than ever.
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This issue has covered a lot of items that were suggested by customers when they
returned our Customer Satisfaction Survey. This is another one of those suggestions.
If we assume that a one color, film laminated cover, printed on 10pt C1S costs xx.xx amount of dollars (I'm not going to give this number out in order to protect the innocent and preserve some privacy in our pricing system) then additional colors would add the following amounts:
1- One additional color: approximately $160
2- Two additional colors: approximately $325
3- Three additional colors: approximately $490
These figures assume all the colors are flat PMS ... no black and no 4 color process.
If one of the colors is black it will save about $30. If the 3 additional colors are
4 color process, with us making the separations that contain no bleeds, traps, shrinks, spreads, screens, reverses, etc., it would add about $560 to the one color cover price.
If it was a 4 color process cover and the publisher supplied plate ready, composited film,
it would add about $120 to the one color price.
These numbers are all approximate and will more or less apply to any quantity from 1000
to 3000 covers.
I hope this is of some help to you.
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Freight rates, in case you haven't noticed, are up about 8% since August. At that time
the freight companies put in a fuel surcharge based on a rate of $1.15/gallon for diesel
fuel. There is no freight increase if fuel is at or below $1.15 but if it goes above that
there is an added charge. Currently they are adding on about 2% for their fuel surcharge.
In addition to that, in January they raised all their rates a flat 6%... about 2 1/2 times
rate ... thus the 8% increase. They have been raising their rates every year far more than inflation would indicate they should but then, as an industry, I've always felt trucking is an especially deserving business and they should take every opportunity they can get to overcharge their customers.
* * * * *
Rich Savitski, the T-S employee who played the largest part in developing the T-S
web site, has been asked to make a presentation at the Graphic Arts Technical
Foundation annual "Tech Alert" conference. He is one of about 4 printers (and the
only one representing a book printer) who will be speaking. If you have Internet access and haven't accessed our web site, you've missed something interesting. You can see
for yourself at www.tshore.com.
* * * * *
When you return the blue lines of your book's text pages and you have corrections you would like made, it is always best to tell your printer in writing (usually on the letter they send you with the blue) what is to be done and which pages are involved. Most customers do this consistently but we have had some situations where the page did not get corrected because the copy was returned and the customer figured we'd realize that it was meant to be a replacement page.
* * * * *
The matte coated paper which we stock is Consolidated's Fortune Matte. This sheet is
acid free and it has a 10% post consumer recycled content. It is one of a relatively few
coated sheets that have a recycled content. We stock it in 70 lb. for 6 x 9 and 8 1/2 x
11" trims. Actually every floor sheet we have is acid free (and have been for a long
I don't know of another book manufacturer who can say that. In addition, our Thor White and our Supple Opaque are also recycled. All of our uncoated floor sheets (Supple Opaque, Thor White, and Joy White) are also elemental chlorine free (ECF) and our Turin Book is totally chlorine free (TCF). All of the inks we print with are vegetable based and these inks have about 90% less VOC's than typical petroleum based offset inks.
* * * * *
Our entire electronic prepress network has recently been upgraded from Ethernet to
Fiber Optic. This gives us greater "bandwidth" for our server and, since we now have
14 electronic prepress workstations, our ability to access our servers was becoming a problem with Ethernet. Currently about 50% of our incoming text pages are in the form of electronic files and about 2/3 of our incoming covers and jackets are in file form.
* * * * *
A question that was brought up in responses to our customer satisfaction survey, is why do halftones sometimes print darker than the original photo and the blueline. The answer to this is what we call "dot gain". To understand this you have to visualize that a halftone is not a continuous tone like a photograph but, instead, it is a series of dots that blend together to create a continuous tone effect when they print. The black dots are very large in a shadow area and very small in a highlight area. When those dots print on a coated sheet there is comparatively little dot gain because the ink sits nicely on the smooth, coated surface of the paper. In this case, the halftone should look very much like the photograph. However on a softer, bulkier sheet, the ink is more inclined to soak into the sheet and spread out ... like ink on a blotter ... thus the printed dot gets bigger than it should and the effect is to give a darker than intended appearance. Sheets with low ppi's (fat, bulky sheets that have a vellumy or toothy feel) have a much greater tendency for high dot gain, and thus, a potential for darker halftones. When we scan a photo to make the all - important halftone negative, we take dot gain into account to the extent that we consider the surface of the paper the photo will print on. To a large degree this can adequately compensate for dot gain but variations in paper, ink and other elements keeps it from being an exact science. In general, natural paper has a bigger problem with dot gain than white (white is usually smoother) and coated sheets are better than white.
* * * * *
Our plans for putting on our EP Seminars in 1997 include doing 2 in the East, likely New York and Boston, one in the Southwest and one in the Los Angeles area. Exact time and places are not set yet. In addition to these, we have been contacted by several regional publisher's associations about putting on a seminar in conjunction with a meeting they are planning and some of these will probably take place as well. If you are interested in attending a one day, inexpensive but information filled seminar on helping the publisher produce text pages electronically, give us a call.
* * * * *
When you use a typesetter who will reproduce your copy electronically, be sure you tell them the book's exact trim size. They should set up the electronic document for that exact size and they should position the copy in the appropriate spot within that trim size area. Our automatic stripping software doesn't pay any attention to the print surface, but strips according to the trim size.
* * * * *
Text copy margins should always be given to the printer in writing or else the margins
should be indicated with tick marks on the laser proofs or on the camera copy. If the
copy is in electronic form the laser proofs should be current, full size and single sided. One of our quality checks is placing the laser proof of each text page over the page negative and checking them out on a light table. Double sided laser proofs make this tough to do.
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In the last issue of Printer's Ink we gave a complete list of the typesetters that have
demonstrated to our satisfaction that they can produce trouble free electronic files.
Here are the latest typesetters to be added to the "PreQualified" list:
Joel Friedlander Publishing Services
PO Box 3330
San Rafael, CA 94912
Ph: (415) 459-1311 Fax: (415) 459-1311
|Vicki Trego Hill
4264 Canterbury Drive
El Paso, TX 79902
Ph: 800-339-4281 or (915) 533-2985
We'd be glad to mail or fax you the complete list or it is also available on our web site (www.tshore.com).
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Electronic Tips & Tricks
- To change tools quickly without constantly going back to the toolbox you can press Command-Tab for the next tool in the toolbox or Command-Shift-Tab for the previous tool.
- When the content tool is active, press Command-K to delete an item without switching to the item tool.
- Press F7 to toggle guides on and off and Shift-F7 to toggle Snap To Guides on and
- To toggle between the currently selected tool and the pointer, press the Command key and tap the spacebar.
- You can choose OK to all dialog boxes, when you're several levels deep, by typing Option-Return or pressing Option while clicking OK. All can be cancelled by typing Command-Option or pressing Option while clicking Cancel.
- To display the color palatte, type Command-K. To display the Edit Colors dialog box, Command-click on a color in the palatte.
For consistant tab leaders, that will not be fomatted according to style of text preceding the tab, insert a thin space just before the first tab. Change the thin space to the font style you want applied to your leader. You could copy and paste the thin space into all the other leader lines, or search and replace. To search and replace, find each tab (type ^t in the Find box) and change it to a thin space and a tab (type ^<^t in the Change box), setting the specifications for the thin space to the weight and size font you would like the leader to be associated.
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Printer's Ink is a quarterly newsletter written by Ned Thomson, president of Thomson-Shore, Inc. A hardcopy version is sent out to approximately 20,000 addresses, world-wide. If you are interested in being added to our mailing list please contact us one of the following ways:
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