flattening and outlining text??
November 6, 2011 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Designing postcard for printing. Having trouble "converting to outline."

Hello, I'm designing the black back of my postcard in Adobe Photoshop 6.0. Everything is going well, except the instructions for doing this say to "outline the text."

Here is what the link says:

"Flatten Your Images

Before you send your design file, you must flatten your images and convert text to outlines. We do not accept layered or linked images. This prevents font defaults and other issues."

Well, I found some directions online to outline the text by selecting the layer of text, going to layer-->type-->convert to shape.

Seems to add the outline. But when I flatten, as requested, the outline goes away. I just sent the thing in flattened. I can't see how anything beyond flattening will help them. What should I do? I've asked but wanted to ask here, too.

posted by Salvatorparadise to Technology (7 answers total)
outlining your text is something done in illustrator. in photoshop, you want to rasterize your text.
posted by violetk at 9:27 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Flattening should work.

"Convert to Outline" is a step in Illustrator. It makes the font into vectors just like the rest of the graphic. Generally if you have a lot of text it's best to build the backgrounds/graphics in Photoshop and then import them into InDesign or Illustrator -- both are better equipped to handle text.

Again, if you don't have lots of tiny text, flattening should work OK.
posted by Ostara at 9:28 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

If they want it flattened, you've done it right.
You might want to explore doing text in Illustrator or Indesign in the future, though; text in Photoshop tends to get a little soft and fuzzy.
posted by bink at 9:28 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

bink is right. create your images in photoshop. bring it into illustrator. add your text. then outline.
posted by violetk at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're correct that in Photoshop, flattening the image means makes the outlined font go away. Flattening merges all the layers into one. (You may want to save a copy of your file with the layers intact, in case you want to make edits later.) So, for the purposes of the file you sent to the printer, simply flattening your image was fine.

As noted by others, you might want to check out Illustrator next time, but don't worry. I've made a number of postcards in Photoshop only, and they've all printed fine.
posted by asynchronous at 11:14 PM on November 6, 2011

It looks like what they want is a file that is a straight bitmap (picture/raster) of what you want to be printed. If you export the file to one of those formats (uncompressed or lossless TIF is probably a good one), you should be fine.

What they are trying to avoid is a file that expects the client to render the fonts. Suppose you want a card that just says "hello!" in white text on a black background. A straight picture format will just have a map of all the pixels that are on or off. A "smart" format like PDF will try to compress it to a sort of code. Instead of saying where the pixels will go, it just tells the client what to do, sort of like this:

IMAGE SIZE = 4" x 3"
BACKGROUND = 100% black
TEXT COLOR = 100% white
TEXT POSITION = centered
TEXT SIZE = 100 points
TEXT FONT = HappyFunTimeSans
TEXT = "Hello!"

That will probably work if they have that exact font on their machine. But if they don't, you'll get Arial. By forcing you to send it in a picture format, both sides' expectations are the same: print this picture.
posted by gjc at 6:12 AM on November 7, 2011

Responding to above comments: if you have the whole Adobe Creative Suite, it's easiest to do the layout in InDesign.
posted by radioamy at 10:16 AM on November 7, 2011

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