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Technical - Premedia FAQs
- Can I email a digital file to you?
Emails are subject to incorrect spelling of addresses, spam filters, security problems, file restrictions, technical issues and often end up in cyberland. We prefer that files be submitted through our online "Request an estimate" or "Place an order" forms. It's simple and you also receive an email confirming that we have received it.
- Can you adjust the colour in my digital file artwork?
Usually we can, however colour adjustment should be made by the originator of the document, if possible. Ideally, the source file is the reference for future use and should be correct. Colour is also subjective but we will do our best to accommodate the request.
- Can you make changes to a PDF file?
In some cases we can make minor changes to a PDF, however PDF is a format for output to a printer or on-screen viewing and is not intended for editing.
- How can I pre-determine what colour will look like?
For single or spot colour printing, we have Pantone formula guides/swatches.
For CMYK process colour printing, we have customized CMYK colour guides which we encourage designers to use and are free of charge. Although the ink colours, calibration and digital processes are based on North American standards, they are unique to us. Therefore, this guide is better than any other CMYK source you may have for full colour projects printed by Fotoprint.
Please note that these colour guides are all printed on white paper stocks. If a colour paper is chosen, the end result will not match the swatch.
- I have a software question. Can you help me?
We will try. Call any of our customer service reps at 250.382.8218, explain your question, and they will be happy to transfer you to the person who is most knowledgeable to help you. You may also contact our premedia manager directly here.
- I supplied a PDF. Why do I need to see a proof?
You may have sent in the wrong file. It happens!
We could have retrieved the wrong file from our server (hey, we're human too).
When we convert or separate the colour, sometimes it can change the apperance of the file.
Transparency issues are often more visible after we have processed your file for printing.
Occasionally, unexpected results can appear once the file is imposed (printing multiple images up on a press sheet)
A surprising number of our clients notice typographical mistakes when they see a proof, even though they checked the document before sending it to us.
It only takes a minute to check the proof, but it takes much longer to reprint an incorrect job and costs a lot more.
- If I supply a digital file, is it checked/analyzed before you print?
Yes. All supplied digital files are 'flight checked' with our Xitron Sierra workflow software. If there are any issues, we will notify you before any costs are incurred.
- Should I impose my files multiple up on a sheet?
No. Our PDF workflow software automates this process and accurately imposes multiple up at no cost.
- What are bleeds and why do you require them?
'Bleed' is the term used to indicate the area of a printed image that will be trimmed off after the document is printed and cut to the finished size. Printed pieces that have a white border around all 4 edges do not bleed. Projects that make use of image bleed must extend any background and-or images 1/8" (3mm) beyond the final trim edge (crop marks). We create bleeds by cutting on the crop marks, through the enlarged image. Depending upon which software you are using, if you do not understand how to create bleeds, we can typically create them for you. Let us know when submitting your job or estimate request.
Fotoprint has a reputation for providing high quality printing and we can only produce this quality if we start with a properly created file. Some print shops will 'fudge' a bleed by enlarging the artwork or trimming under size. We will only do this as a last resort because doing so may affect the final size, fold/crease positions, or may have unwanted and/or uneven white lines around the document. We encourage you to visit this section for tips on creating bleeds properly.
- What are the limitations of soft proofing?
A PDF proof, or soft proof, is a useful tool but needs to be used with CAUTION. Specific limitations are:
- The colour of the printed piece will not match your screen/monitor. Even with the best calibration and monitor profiling, there is no reliable way to make an RGB monitor match a CMYK print. A hardcopy proof is the only option for making sure that the end result will be what you are expecting.
- It's human nature to skim over an item on the screen, where mistakes tend to jump out more on a printed page.
- Sizing, folding, pagination, and orientation are very hard to judge on a screen.
- Low resolution images won't be noticeable on the screen, but will stand out like a sore thumb on the hardcopy.
- Graphic designers utilizing transparencies, overprints, duotones, and other techniques need to see a hardcopy to determine how these will print.
For all orders at Fotoprint, we generate a hardcopy proof at the same time as the online version. Every proof except wide-format will be accurate to the finished print (wide format is a reasonable match, a stock-match colour-accurate proof can be obtained for an additional fee)
- What is Premedia?
Premedia is a relatively new term which covers everything that precedes print production, e.g. typesetting, creation of art and images, file preparation, preflight, scanning, colour management, proofing, imposition, etc.
Traditionally, this department was called Prepress, but the modernization of the printing industry required a reinvention of the process.
- What is rich black and how do I create it?
When printing in full colour CMYK, large black areas often need to be created as "rich black". By creating custom CMYK values of 30% cyan, 30% magenta, 30% yellow and 100% black, a far deeper and more consistent black will be realized. This should only be applied to larger solid fills, not to text or thin lines.
For most design & layout programs (InDesign, for example), it is simply a matter of creating a new colour in your colour palette. For entry-level programs such as Publisher or Word, it may prove difficult or impossible. In these situations, supply us a PDF and ask us to check your blacks. We can often convert them for you for our minimum charge of $27.00.
If you are unsure whether to use 'rich black' in a certain situation, please send us your file and we will advise you.
- What is the difference between RGB and CMYK colour?
RGB and CMYK are two different methods for generating/viewing colours. RGB files must be converted to CMYK before printing.
What is RGB?
The colours you see on your computer monitor, smartphone, TV, digital cameras, etc. are in RGBÂ (Red, Green, Blue)
What is CMYK?
Commercial printers print with CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK), also known as '4 Colour Process'.
You convert from RGB to CMYK (recommended)
Many graphics software programs give you the option to work in either RGB or CMYK colour spaces. An image created in RGB is not going to look the same when it's printed using the CMYK four colour process. That means you should convert your images to CMYK before you pass the file to us. The best way to do that is by creating your document in a CMYK workspace and converting your RGB images to CMYK in Photoshop (ideally using the GRACoL profile) before placing them in your document. All of this should be done BEFORE you make a PDF, unless you are working in software which doesn't support conversion, like MS Word or Apple Pages. Other times it may be a matter of timing or necessity (e.g. you've collected a bunch of tiny logos from Web sites, and the output quality isn't critical for this project). We have set up a system at Fotoprint which scans your entire PDF and converts images to CMYK using the GRACoL profile, which is the profile our equipment is calibrated to.
Or... we will convert from RBG to CMYK
If you are a professional designer, we may assume that an RGB file was provided to us unintentionally, and we will advise you accordingly. For the majority of jobs, however, we will proceed with converting and outputting a proof, but will advise that you see the proof in person to confirm the conversion meets your needs.