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Old 09-22-2006, 05:50 PM   #1
marlene
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Default How to set up a PDF for final output?

I produce a magazine (usually 44 or 48 pages) in Quark 6.5 (PC). It's four-color with a full bleed, saddle stitched.

This afternoon the printer suggested that I send a press-optimized PDF instead of the native Quark files (we've been hitting snags when they open my Quark 6.5 files in Quark 7). I asked lots of questions about how to set up the PDF, but I forgot one important question. The printer is expecting me to upload the PDF this weekend so he can start working on it first thing Monday. I have no way of reaching anyone at the printing company over the weekend.

I didn't ask about page imposition. My Quark file is set up in spreads, so when I create the PDF (including bleed area and crop/registration marks), my PDF pages include a little vertical "slice" of the adjacent page image.

If I sent the printer this file, is he likely to have a fit and tell me he can't use it? This is a fairly large printing company, FWIW. And I have absolutely no idea if page imposition is (or even can be) done on the PDF. And I don't know exactly what their printing process is -- I seem to remember that they don't output film, but go direct to plate (not sure, though).

This PDF is enormous and will take several hours to upload, so if the printer can't use the file I upload this weekend, we will lose at least half a day on Monday while I fix the file (assuming I can) and upload a new PDF.

Any suggestions, taking into account that none of us know what the printer needs? Does anyone know if my PDF with the adjacent page "slices" will most likely be unusable?

If so, I'll probably upload the native Quark files, but that will also slow down the process (it takes them longer to process native files than to output from a PDF), and the job is already behind schedule.

mxh
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Old 09-22-2006, 09:18 PM   #2
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I've sent up a flare to Mac Townsend, Marlene. I'm afraid of giving wrong advice because it's been awhile since I've had a really big print job!

   
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Old 09-23-2006, 02:51 AM   #3
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I do a quarterly magazine, saddle-stitched, that's uploaded to the printer's FTP site; and when they set this up and went to PDF work flow, they sent me their PDF preset along with the FTP address and password, which I've used ever since. It works like a charm.

But I'm using InDesign...

For the current issue (sent on Friday), I had a centre spread for the first time. What I did was to set the entire document up as spreads, and send each page as a separate PDF file with all bleeds, which showed all round when I looked at them afterwards in Acrobat. For the centre spread, in InDesign I was able to both select the two pages in the dialogue box, and check a checkbox for a spread. The PDF was perfect, with crop marks in the right places and the bleed around the outside only.

Apparently the printer's imposition software knows how to manage all the bleeds at the other end.

I hadn't thought of sending the pages as separate files until I quizzed the printer's rep about the centre spread on Thursday, and he casually mentioned that other designers always sent their PDFs as separate files for each page.

Nobody has rung and yelled at me, and I sent the files before lunch on Friday...

   
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:10 PM   #4
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How did you create the separate PDFs? Distill each page separately, or distill one big PDF and then break it up into pages?

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Old 09-23-2006, 10:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene View Post
How did you create the separate PDFs? Distill each page separately, or distill one big PDF and then break it up into pages?
I distilled them separately, doing the centre spread as one document, of course.

   
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Old 09-23-2006, 04:12 AM   #6
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Marlene
The pdf setting to use is pdf X1a I think it is in the distiller settings - This setting is the recommeded setting.
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Old 09-23-2006, 12:17 PM   #7
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Peter:

Quote:
The pdf setting to use is pdf X1a
Acrobat does do PDF/X1a (and also X3).

In my innocence (or call it ignorance) I had assumed that that was 'all' one had to deliver to the printer, since imposition depends on several things that an outsider can't know. I also supposed that the printer made use of one of the several imposition software programs available, some of which are tailored to suit Acrobat files. But now Ann Clarkson talks of sending each page as a separate file: is that general, or is that only for printers with a certain set-up?

   
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Old 09-23-2006, 01:15 PM   #8
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what we do is set up an imposition template which automatically imposes the pages ( or we can force it manually) so we would set up a 4pp or 8 page imposition and it sorts the back up for us - All impos work with pdf's - she doesnt need to send it as a seperate file though as when we piut it through our system it sorts it into individual pages it redfines it - it also preflights it ) if you take Polestar who print over a 1000,000 pages ayear thats what they use
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:23 PM   #9
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Peter:

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when we put it through our system it sorts it into individual pages: it redfines it [the PDF]
Damned clever, you printers! Thanks: no wonder they call your trade the 'schwartze Kunst' in German!

   
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:11 PM   #10
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I found this setting:

PDF/X-1a:2001

What's the difference between that and the regular old-fashioned PDF format?

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