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Looking for best 'get me up to speed' resources for Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop & how to take jobs to printers.
April 5, 2006 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Looking for best 'get me up to speed' resources for Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop & how to take jobs to printers.

Just got a great new job, starting in 2 weeks. I have traditionally been the web guy at a company, and assisted with some print marketing but don't really know about it. I have good Photoshop experience, but nothing intense (Fireworks user), very little Illustrator and no InDesign. And never gone to a printer for press checks etc.

My new job requires some actual print experience. I did stretch the truth a bit to get the job, but I did not lie about what I have and haven't done. So, what I need are recommendations for books, websites, or guides that I can start working with to give myself a crash course in document layout, prep and getting to a printer, and how to guide the printer once the job is on press, etc.

Obviously the easiest thing would be websites, and I will buy books to use as reference at the new job. So what are your favorite tools for learning and referenceing these topics? None of the "learn XXX in 24 hours stuff", I am going to put some real time into this. I want quality resources.

I am taking our printers' info from my current job, and they are excellent at working with us, so I know they will also be a big help in teaching be that end of things. Anything online that is a good primer about how the process works, what I need to do to prep a doc for the printer?

Thanks
posted by Chuck Cheeze to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm sure you'll get excellent advice from others in this thread, but can I suggest going to a local printer and asking them? They'll probably be happy to tell you everything you need to know, especially if you'll be doing business with them regularly.

In the age of DIY publishing, most of them have dealt with people with little or no experience with print work a great deal and have gotten used to explaining it.
posted by empath at 4:06 PM on April 5, 2006


If you want to keep your printers happy, give them the following

a) your original live files, packaged (both Quark and Indesign have a good package feature) with all necessary fonts and links;

b) a full-resolution PDF, not just exported from your page design application but made from a postscript file (i.e., print to disk using the correct PPD, then distill).

also, feel free to email with specific questions. I prepare artwork for printers (4-c, web, litho, letterpress, diecut, etc. you name it) all day from lots of different software packages, and might be able to help.
posted by luriete at 4:21 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sign up for the 14 day free trial at O'Reilly's Safari Bookshelf. It gives access to craploads of good CS2 material. All books are well translated to HTML with images present.

It's one of those deals where you stick your credit card details on there and if you don't cancel in 14 days they bill you. I ended up failing to cancel because I was so impressed with it all.
posted by godawful at 4:22 PM on April 5, 2006


In Indesign play with preflight and package, and read all the options and error messages and warnings. They also have a good online help thing---click the butterfly on top of the tool bar. Peachpit Press has a few great InDesign books too.

Also, you must only use either postscript or opentype fonts for print, and all images must be 300dpi or above, and CMYK only. Make sure all colors used in the documents are CMYK too..no Pantone unless you're specifically allowed to use it (it creates a separate plate and pantone inks are more expensive).

google for "prepress tips" --- tons of printers have online checklists and lists of tips and specs.
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I recommend reading Williams' _Print and Scan_ book so you can know the whole print process. It is a bit dated but still very reliable and an easy read. If you want to impress further then read her typography book. If you know nothing about design her non_designer design books are the way to go.

There are plenty of books on Adobe apps you just need to know what your style is such as, lots of screen shots or just the bare bones. Try the quick start guides from Peachpit otherwise, there are online instructors and you can make an offer on Craig's list for someone to crash course you if your learning style is live person.
posted by jadepearl at 6:25 PM on April 5, 2006


Years ago, when I thought I wanted to do this sort of thing, our design instructor used the visual quickstart series to teach us InDesign. It's accessible, and covers most of what needs to be covered. You should go to a bookstore and see if it's useful for what you'd want to do.
posted by subtle-t at 6:36 PM on April 5, 2006


You might want to check out the video tutorials at lynda.com. I used their Dreamweaver videos to get up to speed pretty quickly. Each video series is organized into topics, so you can easily skip things you already know. Ordering physical copies of the videos on CD is pretty expensive, but a monthly subscription, which gives you access to all the videos (minus associated lesson files) is only $25/month. They have videos on all the topics you mentioned, including one on Prepress with Photoshop CS.

Another company called VTC has a similar subscription deal but isn't as focused on graphics.
posted by xulu at 12:53 AM on April 6, 2006


Getting "up to speed" on the applications is only part of what you need to know in order to create trouble-free files. In some ways, knowing what the buttons do could lead to real problems.
Since you have no training, I would strongly suggest you talk to a commercial printer to get clues as to how to properly prepare a file for print. They would much rather take the time to instruct than take the time to fix your files after you've delivered them.
And Kinkos does not qualify as a commercial printer.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:10 AM on April 6, 2006


I second checking with the printer--every printer you use may have its own requirements. Good luck with your crash course. You'll need it, to master all those programs. I started out in a commercial print shop years ago, and things have changed a lot, but the some of the terminology is the same. It took awhile to get up to speed. Depending on what your new company's needs are, "working knowledge" of various programs probably won't cut it, and may even harm rather than help.

If you have no experience at all, you'll have a huge learning curve. The Chicago Manual of Style is helpful on learning terminology and how a book is put together. This book by Marshall Lee might also be helpful (although I don't know what kind of publishing you will be doing).
posted by cass at 10:21 AM on April 6, 2006


All great suggestions everyone. I know the Adobe products but on varying scales, so its not a complete ramp up, but it will be some work for sure. I know the printers we have will help me out, so I am just looking for a good primer on the process, and good resources to help me learn more about the programs. I just want the process and terminology, as well as some methods for preparing files for print.

I think the resources cited above will get me where I need to be...I'd better get to work. Thanks all!
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 9:08 AM on April 7, 2006


email me if you have more questions on anything, Chuck.
posted by amberglow at 9:18 PM on April 7, 2006


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