inDesign/Photoshop/DIY comics question
September 24, 2008 7:09 PM   Subscribe

self-publishing/layout question: I've drawn my comic to have 8.5" X 11" (21.6 cm X 27.9cm) dimensions. I want to shrink it down to fit in a 17cm X 26 cm comic book.

I've scanned and saved each drawn page of the comic book as tiff files (with no crompression). I need to edit some small details in photoshop too.

Here's what I want to know:

a) After I'm done editing the work in Photoshop, what file format should I save it in? I plan to be laying out the comic in inDesign.

b) is there a particular way I should go about scaling down my work? I want it to be the best quality for when I take it to the printers.

Thanks for your help.
posted by radiocontrolled to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First, I'll point out a problem: the smaller paper isn't the same ratio as the letter-size. Do you mean 17cm x 22cm? If not, there will be some white space at the top and bottom of each page.

Second, answers:

a) Tiff is generally the standard for print production. Flatten layers in this version, because they will just make InDesign have to work harder (but be sure to keep your original layered one if you are doing coloring or anything else). You can use some of the tiff compression in Photoshop – in the "Tiff Options" box it is usually okay to use LZW compression, especially with InDesign.

a.1) The images should be in CMYK or grayscale format if they are going to be printed. It might be easier to add/mix color in RGB mode in Photoshop, and then convert before saving. There will be a slight color difference after conversion with this approach.

b) Don't scale using InDesign. To find out which type works best for you in Photoshop, view the image at 100% and then do it once with Bicubic Sharper (sometimes adds halos), and again with plain old Bicubic.

*Interesting choice of species...
posted by PixelatorOfTime at 8:14 PM on September 24, 2008

Just to keep the opinions varied...

a) Yes, the printing industry perfers the TIFF format, but please don't use LZW compression. First, the compression is negligible. Second, it makes some RIP systems freak out.

a.1) Yes. Yes and yes.

b) I've never had a problem downscaling in InDesign; I also find it's best to keep the originals at full size and resolution in case adjustments need to be made after the fact.

What resolution did you scan your artwork at? Photos are usually printed at 300 dpi/ppi, but with grayscale artwork like you have on your website, I'd personally suggest 600 dpi.
posted by lekvar at 10:47 PM on September 24, 2008

Response by poster: thanks PixelatorOfTime and Lekvar.

Lekvar - I've scanned the pages of the book at 600dpi. But the images on my site now were done at 300dpi.
posted by radiocontrolled at 8:13 AM on September 25, 2008

I think a few missing data points here are: what output (ie: file type) is your printer expecting? What printing method will they use and - most important - at how many lines per inch will they be screening your artwork?

Because if you're exporting your indesign file to a PDF (which - in most cases - is the sensible thing to do), unless you're tweaking parameters in the Indesign export box yourself, you'll be outputting images to 300ppi with JPG compression anyway, leaving to ID the task of downscaling all unnecessary data (which is actually a lot: unless we're talking art books, offset printing isn't that faithful) and compressing them to JPG at the moment of exporting. ID "Press" default settings are good for most uses, but yours might be different, so input from your printer is required.
posted by _dario at 3:39 PM on September 25, 2008

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