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Tips for setting up maps for print?

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#1
David Medeiros

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Need some advice on the best practices for setting up files for print, magazine print in particular. Most of my maps are done in Illustrator with the use of MAPublisher and typically include a shaded relief background layer imported from Photoshop as a .tif. I usually save these out as PDFs once completed (or an EPS to PDF via Adobe Distiller). I’m printing a few of these for my portfolio and several of them are going to a magazine for print.

When setting up a file like this for print to either a high end laser printer or for magazine print (heavy weight glossy pages, think National Geographic print quality), what should I be doing to get the best reproduction of these files, minimize printing glitches and create manageable file size?

dave

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#2
Charles Syrett

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I've found that the only way to really avoid nasty surprises is to make your own hi-res tiff. No font issues. No overprint surprises. WYSIWYG. (Of course if you're doing a billboard size map you may want to look at another approach.)

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

Need some advice on the best practices for setting up files for print, magazine print in particular. Most of my maps are done in Illustrator with the use of MAPublisher and typically include a shaded relief background layer imported from Photoshop as a .tif. I usually save these out as PDFs once completed (or an EPS to PDF via Adobe Distiller). I’m printing a few of these for my portfolio and several of them are going to a magazine for print.

When setting up a file like this for print to either a high end laser printer or for magazine print (heavy weight glossy pages, think National Geographic print quality), what should I be doing to get the best reproduction of these files, minimize printing glitches and create manageable file size?

dave



#3
David Medeiros

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I've found that the only way to really avoid nasty surprises is to make your own hi-res tiff. No font issues. No overprint surprises. WYSIWYG. (Of course if you're doing a billboard size map you may want to look at another approach.)

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


I considered this but was afraid of either losing the quality of reproduction on the vector portion of the maps, or having a prohibitively large TIF. Is a TIF the preference for magazine publishing? I’ve asked the design editor but she said PDF, AI or TIF would all be acceptable. Size in this case is 8.5x11. My maps for portfolio are mostly 11x17 100lb paper.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#4
Charles Syrett

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You'd be amazed at the quality.....you'd never know it was raster (as long as you're at 300 ppi or more, of course). If any of your graphics are degraded by a raster at this res, you're in a fool's paradise anyway. Letter and tabloid sizes should be quite manageable.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

I've found that the only way to really avoid nasty surprises is to make your own hi-res tiff. No font issues. No overprint surprises. WYSIWYG. (Of course if you're doing a billboard size map you may want to look at another approach.)

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


I considered this but was afraid of either losing the quality of reproduction on the vector portion of the maps, or having a prohibitively large TIF. Is a TIF the preference for magazine publishing? I’ve asked the design editor but she said PDF, AI or TIF would all be acceptable. Size in this case is 8.5x11. My maps for portfolio are mostly 11x17 100lb paper.



#5
Dave McIlhagga

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We've been using PDFs with embedded rasters at 300 DPI for our upcoming custom wall map service. The files are big (10-50 megs) but the quality is awesome.

Dave McIlhagga
www.mapsherpa.com
Dave McIlhagga

www.mapsherpa.com

#6
Dennis McClendon

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I think the best approach is the one you're already taking: making a PDF with Distiller. Just be sure you use the right color options (CMYK) throughout the process, and make sure you choose Press Quality to save the shaded relief at an appropriate resolution. The only problem I've really encountered with this is clueless designers who try to open the PDF in Illustrator rather than simply placing it in the InDesign document.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
natcase

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I'll echo what Dennis said: PDF with embedded Hi-res TIFF.

A caveat to what Charles said about hi-res TIFF: the sharpness of your image depends both on the resolution of the image (dpi) and the density of the line screen (lpi) being used to print. 133-line screens will fuzz small type and delicate linework, no matter how high the image resolution. 300-line screens, which are about as high-density as you can get these days on offset, are a whole lot better. And a laser printer, if is using a stochastic-like (random dot) pattern as most of them do, will also work pretty well. But I still prefer maintaining vector linework as vector all the way to the RIP software and plate generation. Just safer that way...

One very useful thing to do in prepping the file is to use Acrobat to carefully look at the PDF you've generated. Go via the menu to Advanced>Print production>Output preview. Here, check that the PDF doesn't have more inks than you intended (forgot to make "all spot inks to process" in InDesign), that you don't have rich blacks you don't want (turn off the black ink check box and see if the black linework and type actually disappear), and that you have the overprints you want (are all your whites actually appearing? are any of the blacks you want to overprint failing to do so? etc). Many headaches at Hedberg Maps have been saved by this useful little tool...

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com






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