Thursday, June 19, 2008

commercial printing part 4 - file formats

Photoshop is a wonderful program that can handle a ton of different file formats. Add Bridge and Lightroom's support for the various RAW formats and we lose count of just how many supported types there are. But what about the world of commercial printing?

In the world of commercial printing where Postscript is king, there are just two file formats that you will want to work with, EPS and TIFF. In our world, we'll want to stick with TIFF. Why? EPS files can contain a both raster (pixels) and vector information (lines and objects defined by math). TIFF is limited to raster. We're probably not working with line-art and other vector type pieces - so there's little need to concern ourselves with EPS. TIFF gives you the option of compressing, but don't take the bait. Many print houses don't recommend using compression, even LZW, with their presses.

The biggest thing to remember is to include all images with the text that you send for print. If you send the text in an e-mail, attach the files. If you place the files in a Word doc, send the doc and the images as well.

Here's a typical specification sheet from a commercial printer.

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