Re: [PPLetterpress] Service bureau question
- A few comments about InDesign, PDFs, OpenType fonts, service bureaus,
and book printers:
InDESIGN If I had a choice, I would use InDesign all the time.
Unfortunately, most of the book publishers we work for require Quark
files--they have Quark in house and want to be able to "tweak" the
files themselves. Therefore, we must use Quark for most of our work.
For service bureau work (which, I realize, is the primary topic
here--getting negatives made to produce photopolymer plates): Of the
two services we use, only one has InDesign and is willing to use it,
but I send them PDFs anyway.
PDFs It is important, as others have said, to get exact
specifications from the prepress department that will be making your
negatives. Every book printer and service bureau I know has slightly
different requirements; some care about Quark settings for outputting
Postscript files (prior to making PDFs), some don't care about these
settings at all as long as you embed your fonts. Everyone has
specific requirements for Acrobat Distiller settings.
When producing PDFs for a book printer, I figure it will take me
about an hour to configure the Quark printer style(s) and Distiller
settings before producing the Postscript/PDF files.
Most book printers prefer PDFs to native Quark files, and some even
charge $1-$2 per page if the files are native instead of PDF.
Because I often make up new fonts using Fontographer for a particular
book, I feel safer if I produce PDFs with embedded fonts. (No matter
what fonts you use, I think it is never safe to not embed fonts when
OPENTYPE FONTS I have used these for a couple of books and have
been well pleased. For one of these I used Warnock, a face designed
by Robert Slimbach in honor of one of Adobe's founders and available
only as an OpenType face. I have to say, it's a blast to specify
old-style figures as a paragraph style-sheet feature; to know that
designating a group of characters as small caps will automatically
trigger true small caps, not the percentage-of-height-and-width
version; to be able to select swash and other alternate characters
without switching fonts; and to use fonts designed for specific
point-size ranges, like footnotes, text, and display.
(I still prefer, and use, Type 1 Multiple Master fonts with a
design-size axis when I want to control this area; I've found it
difficult to use OpenType Pro fonts in some cases for this purpose.
(Further: Although there are general warnings against using created
instances of Multiple Master fonts, I've not had a book printer
refuse such files--or screw them up, for that matter.)
Be aware that not all the OpenType fonts that Adobe is offering have
true small caps or old-style figures. I believe that typefaces like
Bembo, which had Expert font sets in Postscript Type 1 fonts, do have
these extra characters. (And this is true of most book typefaces
designed originally for metal.)
(I've found that most Monotype metal faces that have been done into
digital --Bell comes to mind--print nicely in letterpress. When
creating the digital version, Monotype must have used the original
drawings or cast faces of the type, which of course took into account
ink creep. This makes them excellent for letterpress, but a bit
spindly for offset.)
I have had no problems with sending InDesign files to my local service
bureau for about the past 18 months. In the early days, they were "pros"
about it and welcomed the challenge. Now it's business as usual. I did have
a problem a few months ago with a printer (offset) who went straight to
plate-- he didn't mind the InDesign file, but he had the heebeejeebees about
OpenType fonts and tried to talk me out of using them. In that case, I sent
a pdf with the OpenType fonts embedded. I usually make my PDFs in Distiller,
the resulting PDF seems to be sturdier than making it by exporting as pdf
from within InDesign or using the Create Adobe PDF thingie. In the InDesign
print dialog box, set your printer to "PostScript file", so that when you
print, you get a .ps file. Open that .ps file in Distiller, which makes the
PDF. Distiller has job options for fonts, color, compression, etc. The color
and compression settings are a gordian knot and if I ever need to change
them to something other than default I will need to dig out the Acrobat
Classroom-in-a-Book and figure them out. The font embedding settings,
however, are pretty straightforward, but be sure you DO embed the fonts and
your font licenses allow embedding. If you don't embed the fonts, and your
service bureau doesn't have your fonts on their system, you will get the
dreaded Adobe Sans or Adobe Serif (designed by Fred Brady, by the way-- it's
a generic-looking MM font that tries to simulate your missing font. It's
actually a technical tour-de-force and I only say "dreaded" because you
really don't want to see it appear when you're expecting something lovely
like Caflisch Script or Silentium or Wilhelm Klingspor Schrift).
I like InDesign *particularly* for the flexibility of working with OpenType
fonts, and for proofing the fonts I build myself with many alternate
xyz : Linnea
> My question is: Are folks still experiencing problems withGerald,
> this software and OpenType settings at service bureaus?. If
> so, is it best to generate as a PDF? (best to generate as PDF
> anyway?) and if so, any recommendations as to PDF settings
> for high-end output?
With ver. 2.0.1, InDesign is pretty stable and accepted by most service
bureaus on this side of the puddle, although many bureaus are switching
entirely to PDF workflows anyway, since trapping & four-colour
separation is supported and the embedding of typefaces and high-res
images make life alot easier. However, be cautious if you make
last-minute corrections in the PDF file itself. Although this is a
feature Adobe talks alot about, I've heard more than once that Acrobat
makes incorrect extraction of the typeface that makes the new word set
in a default system typeface, despite correct embedding (no subsetting).
Regarding PDF settings, I would recommend installing the Distiller
printer and use it for all jobs. It features a few different default
*.joboption files - Screen, Print, eBook and Press etc., and a good
start is the Press *.joboption. However, it needs some tweaking since
some of the settings are on the low side. For example, all line drawings
above 1800 dpi are downsampled to 1200 dpi, which I don't think is
enough for high-quality imagesetter negatives. Grayscale images are
downsampled to 300 dpi which would be sufficient for 150 lpi screening -
sufficient when printing grayscales from photpolymer plates but not e.g.