Submitting digital files to be printed.



  • I'm struggling a bit with how to submit my files to be printed. I know @Will-Terry covered some of this..[can't remember which video it was] and advised to create in RGB and let printers convert at their end, but this particular printer is telling the art director they want the file submitted in CMYK which seems to me to translate muddy. So now I'm not sure if I should go back and re design the 3 images I've done in CMYK from the beginning..because Im assuming if it was just a case of converting they would and could do that at their end.
    The publishers Im working with are new, I am one of their first 10 books, and their only digital artist, so we're both learning together here. I'm creating files at 300 dpi [they're advising that could be higher yet] 11 x 12" in RGB and saving in .png unless I do create in CMYK and then will be saved in .psd ..not certain about that, but will research some more. Also, should I be sending the file with layers flattened, merged or left in layers.

    Your collective wisdom and advice greatly appreciated..thank you.



  • @djlambson not 100% sure about all of this but i do know if I want to print something I will create it using CMYK. RGB looks great on the computer screen but the prints are not the same. In my experience it always comes out dark.

    If you first create it in RGB and convert it to CMYK there will be color changes that you will have to fix in order to bring it close to what you had in the RGB format.



  • You cannot view CYMK files on a screen and judge the quality of the conversion. The only way to assess the quality of a CYMK conversion (no matter who does it) is to have the files printed and compare the print with the reference on your screen. There are just too many variables in the printing process: the machine, the type of printing (offset or digital?) and, in a very big way, the paper. Coated and uncoated papers, for example, will look completely different, no matter what file you send.
    That is what print-proofs are for. And professional printers, who know how to adjust things. You, as artist, should receive print-proofs before the book is printed and either adjust the file or give instructions to the printer as needed. If it´s an offset printer, the various ink loads can be adjusted directly on the machine.
    As for layers, if it´s only for printing they can be flattened (unless there is some special coating in certain areas, like glossy text or stuff like that). You only need layers for yourself (to make adjustments) or if it´s planned to separate out some elements of the image, for example for animation or promotion.



  • Thank you both @smceccarelli and @Chip-Valecek ..that's the information I needed. Although, it means I now need to go back and re-do 3 pieces of work..that's the great thing about digital though, isn't it.



  • @djlambson You don't have to rework them from the beginning, just tweak them in photoshop, vibrance, contrast, curves.... Advice: if you work in RGB and want to convert to cmyk first flatten all the layers and then convert. Also, there have to be some difference in cmyk because rgb has some range of colors that can't be printed. My advice is, if you plan to print your work, always draw in cmyk mode and later convert to rgb. The thing is, it's easier to convert cmyk to rgb without loosing quality of the colors. I hope this helps, if you have any trouble, I can help with tweaking in photoshop, just send me a message.



  • CMYK images will not display accurately on any monitor, you can get close with a calibrated monitor but a screen is a different technology than a printer.

    Remember that the color gamut of RGB is different form CMYK. Here is a worthwhile article to understand the differences.

    You should supply the files however the printer will require them. If your publisher is unfamiliar with how the printer needs them than a conference call with you the publisher and the printer may be beneficial.

    Also, when you actually do look at printed proofs - it is important to look at them under the proper light using a light box.



  • @marina Some of this advise is the very opposite of what Will and Jake recommend