Despite the claims of some industry pundits, print is not dead! We may rely on more different kinds of media for our information and entertainment than we did a decade or two ago, but almost every creative professional ultimately needs to print page layouts created in InDesign, or drawings produced in Illustrator, or images built in Photoshop. Many of us also need to publish this material, which requires preparing our files for commercial printing. And if we care about the accuracy of our printoutsespecially if commercial printing is involvedit is important that we check our files ahead of time to make sure they met our expectations.
The process of analyzing and checking files as an early step in a print workflow is called preflighting. This industry-standard term, originally coined by consultant and writer Chuck Weger, derives its name from the checklist that pilots use when preparing to fly. The process of translating a file created on a computer screen to one that prints as we expect can be a rocky road. Many things can go wrong along the way. Thus, most print workflows mandate preflighting, by the file creator as well as by others who may receive the file later in the process. The Adobe Creative Suite 2 applications feature numerous tools to ensure that the file is created correctly. (InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat include these tools, but not Photoshop, because printing pixels directly from an application usually does not require them.) In this chapter we cover how you can use the CS2 application tools to preflight a file, including the following tasks:
We also discuss the myriad kinds of printing that the CS2 applications support: You may print to a low-resolution inkjet printer or produce continuous-tone output from a film recorder or dye-sublimation printer. You might also use a printer that uses screens to simulate shades of gray or colors. You could even print high-resolution, color-separated output to imagesetters and platesetters, but this is most often done by a print service provider.
This chapter covers the issues you need to understand to produce different kinds of output. We provide tips for working with print service providers, and information about how they, too, can learn more about printing from the CS2 applications. Finally, we cover how Acrobat 7.0 Professional can be used preflight, correct, and print PDF files.