Printing book using InDesign

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by vale_surfer, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Hi
    I'm designing a 10 x 8 photo book in Adobe InDesign and had the following questions:
    • I edit my photos in ACR and Photoshop CS5 on a Samsung SyncMaster 2233 monitor.I will give the printer a pdf to print. Do I need to calibrate my monitor? I don't have a calibration device yet but am planning to get one.
    • I have quite a few panoramic photos (that I stiched in Photomerge). The pages will have only a little bit of text. Is InDesign a good choice for page layout? Is the choice of size (10 x 8 ) ok?
    • Do I need to talk to my printer about resolution and manage my photos or do printers also make color and contrast corrections? The photos that I printed on my Canon Selphy were very out of sync. The printer will print in CMYK.
  2. Hi,
    Yes on all three, in short.
    For sure you need calibration - going from RGB (monitor) to CMYK (print) is one of those steps where colour accuracy is most tricky. So, preferably also get the colour profile of the printer, but be sure to calibrate each step on your end. It does not matter which photoshop you use, best thing is to have CMYK TIFFs as output from Photoshop to use in InDesign (which is also a colour managed program).
    I do not quite get the second question; you are using InDesign, but you wonder if it's good for page lay-out? It's one of the two best tools for exactly that (the other being QuarkXPress) - page lay-out is what InDesign does. Be sure to add text etc. in InDesign and not in Photoshop.
    You definitely need to talk to your printer - to be sure 10x8 is a right size for them, and if you need to take margins or page bleeds into account; to know which resolution they'll print (usually, you need a minimum of 240dpi). The printer shouldn't make colour corrections or contrast changes, but check with them. Also verify with them how the PDF should be you deliver to them. Some printers work with CMYK seperated PDFs (one page per colour channel), others will have a normal PDF, and again the page size of the PDF (considering margins and bleeds) may matter. Ask them if they're also OK with you delivering the entire InDesign project (with fonts and photos) instead - you might avoid a lot of issues as PDFs can get tricky too.
    In general, you need to talk a lot to the printer to fully understand what to send them, and as they'll have experience they can also share with you important do-and-don't tips and tricks. DTP and commercial printing isn't quite as straightforward as pressing CTRL+P :)
    (Just to be sure: it's been numerous years since I dealt with this, so hopefully some of these tips have been resolved with newer versions / newer processes at printers - but the times I worked with printers, I ended up avoiding PDFs - instead sending the Quark or Indesign files with all TIFFs and font files)
  3. Is this an independent printer you are talking about, and not some kind of online service that is available? For example, I do my books in InDesign for publication with Blurb provides templates for InDesign, which also install a plug-in converting your RGB to appropriate CMYK settings in the PDF creation process - so far, I have been surprised at how accurate the colour comes out in the end.
    @Wouter: indeed a lot has changed. I deliver only PDFs for print these days, and any serious company will deliver serious results!
    It is recommended you use a resolution of 300 ppi for printing. What worries me more is to have panoramic shots which spread across pages - this isn't so critical anymore with the recently trendy "lay flat" bindings, but may still leave out some essential piece of information. You may want to check that all critical image information is not in the centre itself.

    10x8 is already a nice size to hold in your hands. I've done several like that (where cost is still acceptable).
    Selphy is a printer using a thermo system to reproduce colour, and insofar completely different to most other printers. I would not rely on that for accuracy. What you may ask your printer for is to inform you about the printing profile they use and softproof your images. In Germany, most printers work with FOGRA27 standard profiles (which are also a worldwide standard, albeit not really, as Americans seem to favour a different colour set). Assuming that you are located in the US, you'd probably use US coated or similar. If you have a hold on the accurate profile, you're a bit farther.
  4. Monika, thanks - good to know things changed, my only experiences with PDF were massive headaches.... Next time, I'll cut back on the advice from 'ye' ole days' :)
  5. As I commented in this article:
    Holy Grail #1: Able to make prints closely matching what are on the monitor.
    Holy Grail #2: Able to make books closely matching the prints.​
    IOW, if you have made prints you are happy with, they can become references for judging how close a book can duplicate the color and contrast. If you don't have prints as references, you have no bases to judge a book.
  6. >>> I'm designing a 10 x 8 photo book in Adobe InDesign and had the following questions...

    When you say "photo book," do you mean a traditionally printed book made on a four color offset press, where you would typically order a large
    number of books up-front (say, 1,000 units). Or a print-on-demand book, such as from Blurb, MagCloud, Apple, MyPublisher, which use digital
    presses (HP Indigo), where customers will order one book at a time, with no upfront cost to you?

    There's a huge difference. Both in up-front cost, required expertise, and design layout considerations. If you are considering print-on-demand
    books, and if you do not own or have experience with InDesign, I would consider another method of book design. I use InDesign exclusively for
    my publications and can say that it is a deep program, like photoshop. There are good reasons for using it, but it is not a requirement and there
    are other less costly and complex options. Typically you would supply an InDesign-generated pdf to the book printer, and the color conversions
    will be done on-press.

    If you are designing a traditional offset-press printed book, where separations and printing plates are made for each page, then InDesign is the right tool. BUT.... Make sure
    you are ready for the challenge and have the upfront $ available for your order of books (and a marketing plan to sell them). Also, talk to your
    printer early on and find out what his/her requirements are (how separations are done, how proofing is handled, costs, etc) in terms of what you need to
  7. InDesign is not essential for submitting a book for printing. If you are learning how to use this software such as in a school class, then stick with it. It will be needed for doing a submission for a large book order.
    If you are doing a very small edition Indigo printed photo book, you can just use Photoshop and the printing company's page templates for a ROES online submission. By using their templates you have all the bleed edges defined so you know what portions will display on the page. In Photoshop you can build the pages in layers and save them as PSDs. When a single page or two page spread is completed you can then flatten the layers and submit the whole page(s) as an uncompressed JPG. The Indigo system will be doing the four color separations for printing. My current book was done this way and is color and black and white imagery. It was also 11x14 horizontal so I had a lot of space for photos and the needed text. The cover was also a full wrap around panoramic. One nice feature to using the two-page templates is you design both of the pages together as a single unit. It looks better when the two pages appeare as an integrated visual layout.
    At this point in book printing panoramics will not reproduce well. The issue is a decent sized image will have to spread over two pages. A conventional binding will loose part of the center area. You might not have the loss with a hinged page binding. You might want to choose one favorite panoramic and use it for a wrap around cover. Depending on the length and height of the image you can choose to print your book 8x10 vertical or horizontal. I have done books both ways on 11x14.
    Good luck.
  8. Thanks, all !
    Wouter: I'm considering getting the Spyder Pro4 for monitor calibration.
    Monika, Brad, Mathew : For now, I'm looking at a traditional offset press printer.
    30 - 40% of my pics are panoramic so maybe its a good idea to use one of them for the cover.
    I also have a few B&Ws, not sure how the printer will mix color and B&W in the same book.
    You all have very nice pics on your pages. Brad: Golden pics of the city :)
  9. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Wouter: I'm considering getting the Spyder Pro4 for monitor calibration.​
    Look at the X-rite i1Display Pro as well. Might be a bit more expensive but you don't want a good instrument and crippled or less than ideal software.
  10. >>> You all have very nice pics on your pages. Brad: Golden pics of the city :)

    Thanks, Vale...

    Regarding adding B&W, it's only another plate (or two for duotone), and of course $.

    If you're set on doing it offset press printed, for sure I would first do a prototype or book dummy via an on-demand printer, such as MagCloud. Best to discover your subtle mistakes there, where it doesn't cost
    you anything. Rather than having to do another order of a thousand offset-printed books (and lots of $$$$)
    because of a subtle mistake in the first batch. I've seen it happen... You might even be happy with the
    quality of on-demand printing and save a lot of money in the long run.
  11. +1 to Brad's advice of having a prototype printed by a print-on-demand printer to test your layout and design. Of course color rendering between POD and offset printing will be different, but you will do a "press check" on the output of the offset press before printing the entire press run.

    You are aware, I hope that you must cover all the pre-press (i.e., color correction, plate making, etc) in addition to the per-copy press and bindery costs. Be sure your estimate from the printer covers everything from pre-press to packaging.
  12. Thanks again,Brad and Charles
    I am also getting a few of my pics printed on A4 paper, just to get an idea of the print quality while I continue designing the book in InDesign.
    Charles, when you say:
    >>You are aware, I hope that you must cover all the pre-press (i.e., color correction, plate making, etc) in addition to the per-copy press and bindery costs. Be sure your estimate from the printer covers everything from pre-press to packaging.

    Do you mean that the printer will do a lot of color correction as well? I'm calibrating my monitor as per the printer's settings and don't plan to give him any RAW images. I'd like to give him just the InDesign file with the jpegs embedded. Should I be giving him the RAW files as well?
  13. I'm calibrating my monitor as per the printer's settings​
    You should not do that. You should use a hardware-software monitor calibration package to calibrate your monitor to a repeatable real-world standard, then do your color-correction based on that. Then the printing company won't (hopefully) have to do any color correction. But they will have to do color conversion to produce the 4- or 5-color separation plates from which your work will be printed.
    You will get to see the results of that pre-press (or pre-flight) correction and conversion at your press check, where you actually check the output of the job, as it comes off the press.
  14. Latest update:
    I got a few A4 prints of the pics on an HP RGB printer, they came out really well.Exactly as they appear on my monitor.
    I also spoke to a local photographer - book designer and was disappointed when he quoted the equivalent ( I live in India) of USD 4,000 for designing, editing and printing the book. That's only an approximate estimate for editing the raw pics, choosing a layout, editing, overall book design and printing approximately 500-700 copies of a 24 page book.
    I wont need that since I'm designing the pages myself in InDesign and doing all the editing myself.
    I'm better off doing the first copy in Blurb - has anyone ever tried using the 'Hire an expert' services on Blurb and what's involved?
    Thanks, again, for your help !
  15. I'm willing to bet most of that price is in the actual printing. Can you get a quote for pre-press and printing only?
    The difference between 500 and 700 is too large. I wouldn't accept a price that simply said "between 500 and 700 copies..." Offset press runs are not exact, but if you specify that you want 500 copies, you should be quoted for 500 copies, plus "normal press overrun" which usually is 10-15%.
    Once you have 500 copies of your book, how do you plan to distribute them?

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