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Old 01-08-2018, 02:20 AM   #1
Stewart Vernon
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Lettering + Comic Page Pasteup Questions

Ok, so I'm hip on how to color files and what to provide... I'm also hip on how to letter files and what to provide... but I recently ran into a situation where the person I was going to do some work for was asking me for file formats that weren't going to produce the best results.

Basically, I was being asked to supply TIFF files for the lettering... and while I could do that, I didn't think that was optimal, so I volunteered myself to just combine the color TIFF source and my lettering EPS source for him.

I have Adobe InDesign, and I made a test case earlier tonight to see if I knew what I was doing... and I believe that I do, except the PDF I output from InDesign looks "blacker" than the mock PDFs I was making for review while I was lettering in Illustrator.

I'm guessing that there is some overprinting of the blacks going on but I'm not sure where that is happening and if the output I'm seeing is what it is supposed to be. I'll be sharing that file with the guy tomorrow as a preview.

But... anyone in here have experience in using InDesign to layout EPS lettering + TIFF color files for production? Even if I can make this work for his satisfaction, I'd like to know the "proper" or recommended way to use InDesign for this work.

Unlike lettering and coloring when I was first learning those, I have not found good examples of people telling how to use InDesign to layout the pages since it's kind of an oddball thing for the letterer or colorist to do, since it usually would be done at the printer... but if I ever self-publish my own stuff it will come in handy to know then as well.

FYI, I am using Adobe CS6 suite in case that changes the answers.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:10 PM   #2
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From what I've learned, you can place any file (rgb or cmyk) in InDesign and later export/convert to your desired color profile. I think RGB files are better because of less file size and has bigger color space.

In regard to PDF being blacker, perhaps check the color settings and transparency blend space (make sure they match) along with the color profile that's being exported.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:35 PM   #3
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Thanks... I accidentally stumbled upon the black setting. What it was... was the "Absolute black" setting that displays a richer black. It wasn't so much that it was a problem as it was that I couldn't figure out at first why it was different than my original TIFFs.

Setting the page size and bleed is easy... and placing the files (art first, then letter EPS on top) is straightforward enough.

From a little digging around I saw where most were downsampling to 400dpi for print-optimized PDFs. I couldn't find any instances of anyone wanting a PDF at a higher resolution than that so that's what I went with for print-optimized.

For digital optimized I'm still wrestling with settings... because I thought I had read some of the newer tablets are close to 200dpi equivalent... so I was thinking the digital optimized one might still ought to be set for 200-300dpi.

Any thoughts/recommendations there?

I'm learning some of these bits on the fly, not so much because I don't know how to use InDesign but because I haven't tried to use it to layout a comic before in this way.
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:37 PM   #4
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I also found another setting where the colors were changing after I output to PDF even though I didn't want them to do so... so everything is consistent.

i.e. The TIFF file I drop in there for the colored art looks the same in the output PDF.

So I think the only things I don't know in general are:

1. Digital DPI vs Print DPI when outputting my PDF file
2. Whether to use RGB for my digital PDF vs CMYK for the Print optimized file.

Unrelated to the process, but related to the work I was doing... I'm not sure I had correctly sized art because the art files sent to me were 6.875 x 10.4375 and that included the bleed... which means the trimmed page size would be 6.625 x 10.1875 and that doesn't seem right to me... but I'll cross that bridge later!
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:34 PM   #5
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1. I believe 300 dpi for both is the best to output.
2. And definitely RGB for digital and CMYK for print.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:24 PM   #6
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Thanks again for that. I ended up going with 400DPI for the print version and 300 DPI for the digital version. If any problems come up, I can regenerate them quickly.

I was torn between RGB vs CMYK for the digital version because... when you work in RGB for coloring (which many people including myself do) and then convert to CMYK at the end, your colors can shift a bit... which is fine, but if I then used the RGB version for my digital PDF it results in an online version of the comic that differs in appearance from the print version.

That might be ok... or it might not... so I guess that will be a wing-it situation depending on what the client wants.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:20 PM   #7
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Related question too... this page size thing is bugging me.

The art files I have are 6.875 x 10.4375 and I'm told that includes all the bleed.

The problem is, the math doesn't work if I understand the standard comic to be 6.625 x 10.25 after trim... so I would expect art files to be 6.875 x 10.5, no?

All the stuff online I've seen leads me to believe I should be (and am) asking these questions, but I don't want to be causing trouble if I'm misinterpreting something.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:16 PM   #8
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I found an older thread here discussing trim size of 6.875 x 10.4375, which makes it sound like some comics are produced at that size.

IF that was the case, then what I have are trim-sized art, but no bleed included... so either they need bleed added all around because the artwork definitely goes out to the borders (some of the background color and some of the blacks as well) and if trim isn't accurate, would end up with white spaces unless bleed is added at my current file dimensions.

I'm going back and forth with the artist to figure this out at the moment to see where we land on page size.
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