Thursday, April 23, 2009


I have arranged for the CS3 thesis student's photographs to be printed by a professional lab in Foxrock and there are certain requirements for the preparation of the files before presenting them for printing.
The photographs need to be assigned the colour profile Adobe RGB (1998)
The resolution needs to be set at 360dpi
And you need to save your file as a TIFF.

The prices quoted for this are very favourable. For an A4 (roughly) size print within an A3 size page he is charging €6.00 (normally €8.45 plus VAT). These prices are very good and are based on us providing printer ready artworks and all supplied in one job lot, ie. 6 people having 30(ish) print files supplied in the one order as a job lot from me. No messing with the order arriving in bits and pieces by individuals over a protracted period. He will need a week to complete the order.
I will deliver the files to him on friday afternoon and collect them again next week when they are ready.

The images below show how to prepare your files for presenting to the printer.
The very first thing that you must do is to duplicate all your photographic files and place them in a new folder separate from your original 'Master' images. Keep your Master images safe so that if, by some misfortune, you make a mistake when doing the stages below then your original portfolio of images is safe and secure. You now work on your duplicates.

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When you open your image, you can now flatten it. At this stage we can assume that all processing is complete and these images are now the finals for printing. By flattening, you will reduce the file size and the processing times for the steps below will be shortened.
First you need to ensure that you have assigned the correct colour profile. In photoshop, go to 'edit' at the menus along the top and select 'Assign Profile'. This panel will appear:-

If in the box, it says at the button 'Working RGB' that it is Adobe RGB (1998) then you need to do nothing. If, however, something else is written there, then you need to tick the button marked 'Profile' and select the proper profile in the drop-down menu. Then click OK and that is your colour profile sorted.

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Your resolution now needs to be set at 360dpi and your image size set appropriately. In the menu bar, click on 'Image' and then select 'Image size' in the drop-down menu. This panel will appear:-

The dimensions for an A4 page are 210mm by 297mm (21cm by 29.7cm). Before you change anything, make sure that the boxes at the bottom of the panel are ticked. This is important as it will ensure that the ratios of your picture's proportions are retained.It is unlikely that your image dimensions will exactly match the proportions of an A4 page and when you set your width in the box of the above panel then your height will not match the other required length. This is not a problem but you need to decide which of the boxes will have the appropriate correct dimension.
I would recommend that when you set one of the panels, you check the other and if it is only slightly larger than the required A4 dimension, then this is acceptable. It means that your image dimensions are only marginally bigger than A4 which is more desirable than marginally smaller.
You then set the resolution box to 360 and ensure that the drop down menu to the right is set at 'pixels/inch'. It is important that your resolution is set properly as it will effect your picture size considerably - 360dpi = 360 pixels/inch.
If you look at the top of this panel you will see two figures to the right of the heading 'Pixel Dimensions'. The figure in the example above says '38.2M (was 34.9M)'. The figure in brackets if the picture size as it is before the change in measurements, the figure on the left 38.2M is the size that the new image will be when you apply the changes to this image. An A4 image with a resolution of 36odpi will give you a file size of about 38M. This will fluctuate slightly if the measurements aren't quite 29.7cm by 21cm.
Now click OK.

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Your next stage is to set your canvas size. In the menu bar select 'Image' and then select 'Canvas Size' in the drop down menu. This panel will appear:-

The dimensions for an A3 page are 297mm by 420mm (29.7cm by 42cm). Your canvas size needs to be A3 and you need to ensure that the A3 dimensions follow the same format as your original image, ie. if your width in your 'Image Size' is your longest dimension, then your width in your 'Canvas Size' should also be your longest dimension.
Make sure that the orientation ('anchor' in the panel) of the image within the canvas is centered, this is the default option in the panel so you shouldn't need to change it.
Below the 'anchor' box you will see a caption 'Canvas Extension Colour'. Beside that you will see a panel for a drop down menu and beside that again there is a small square. In this example here you will see that the menu is set at 'Background' and the small side box is set to white. This refers to the background colour that you have set in your Photoshop 'tools' panel. Whatever colour is set for you background colour, in this case white, will be the colour of the A3 canvas space that is not covered by your A4 image. You can, if you want, select white in the drop down menu and use that or you can click on the small white box to the right (just to verify that it is definitely white) and a colour picker palette will appear. Select white in the top right corner of this palette and click OK.
Now click OK. You should now be looking at an image which is of an A4 image set on an A3 canvas with a full white border filling the canvas behind your image.

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The final stage is to save your file as a TIFF. Simple, go to 'File' and select 'Save As' in the drop down menu. Assuming that you don't want to change the name of your file, click on the 'Format' button and then 'TIFF' in the drop down menu. You will then get this window appearing and the options ticked are the ones for you to select.

Then click OK and you're finished. All you have to do now is repeat all this for each photo that you are submitting to be printed,