InDesign / Acrobat

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today’s the last session with Steve =(

We’re looking at Adobe Acrobat and the importance of it. Adobe thinks that Acrobat is the most important program of the Adobe suite; if you want to be a certified print specialist, you Are required to pass an exam in acrobat, and one of either Illustrator, Photoshop, or Illustrator.

To gain a full understanding of Adobe Acrobat, Go to Lynda, watch the Acrobat 10 essential, all 502 minutes of it (!!), by the end of my graduation, since it’s incredibly invaluable as a designer.

After opening Acrobat Pro, click on the ‘Tools’ menu. The print production menu is hidden, which is by far the most important tab, hiding by default, to view it simply click the top right drop down and tick ‘Print Production’. Acrobat distiller (different to Acrobat Pro) will convert a postscript file (a very cut down of a PDF (PDF being more advanced)), but isn’t used that much, I’d use this to convert any of these postscript files into PDFs.

Get into the habit of instead printing directly from the application (such as Photoshop, Illustrator etc.), using instead a PDF through acrobat, so then if there are any print problems, I can do it through Acrobat rather than the source document.

Acrobat allows me to troubleshoot separations (of colour (eg. CMYK)) amongst other problems:
‘Output preview’ > make sure that the (colour) separations I choose for my document are colours I wish to use, i.e make sure I don’t have any spot colours selected that I don’t want, as this can become very costly if undesired. To convert any back from pantone spot colours, simply untick the box. Make sure also that I’m printing in the correct output, such as CMYK or RGB, confirming that none of my files/colours are of a non corresponding format, for example, making sure it’s all CMYK with no RGB.

A PDF is a soft proof, which something on the screen.
A hard proof is the physical copy.

‘Object Inspector’ preview by default is blank, but by clicking on objects on the file with the crosshair cursor it will tell you if it’s protected or if there’s a problem, such as a missing typeface. This tool also gives the resolution, pixels, size, colour space etc. Whatever I click on, it will tell me about it, so it really depends what I click on what it shows.

‘Simulation Profile’ is what the print material will be; use the U.S Standard Web Offset Press if I don’t know what the print profile is.


This is like the mother of all dialogue boxes! This links back to the aviation industry, where a pilot would have a preflight check list, where they’d check petrol, wings, levels etc. The same principles are applied to the printer. Clicking the drop down ‘Show all’ will display other options to filter results:
‘Online publishing’ will optimise the print for online publishing
With this option, we want to fix the accidental spot problem > select the ‘PDF fixups’ tag, which will drop down > select ‘Convert to CMYK only (swop)’, converting the spot colour to a process colour > click on this option and press ‘Analyze and fix’ at the bottom right > saving it as a new file. When looking at the ‘Output preview’ now, the spot colour should no longer be present.
The ‘Flatten transparancy’ fix option is important, blelnding modes can cause a lot of problems, with little bounding boxes present, so run this fix up option to (hopefully) fix it.
Any errors with my document, always go on Acrobat and check on ‘Output preview’ & ‘Preflight’ to rectify any issues.

Trap Presets

Very technical and usually discussed by the actual printer themselves.
If there are colours together, such as blue or yellow, and the press slips a little, there will be a bit of green, however this isn’t important to worry about, as we’re not controlling the printing press.

Convert Colours

Clients may need to drop the price for various reasons, usually happening at the awkward stage of the printing stage, meaning you’d usually have to go back and alter the file(s) to comply with the new budget, however, there are other ways, pre-print. To set up criterea that converts all images to greyscale > under matching criteria > Colour type dropbox ‘Image’ >
Under ‘Conversion attributes’ Convert to profile > conversion profile drop down ‘Grey Gamma 1.8’ (1.8 being a lighter and white, and 2.2 being darker)

Set Page Boxes

changing page sizes

Add Printer Marks

adds ^^that^^

Fix Hairlines

Hairlines are straight lines in documents, such as borders. These hairline strokes can be a problem with print, with inconsitiency of these lines being present. This can occur whn you scale things, you increase/decrease the scale AND the stroke. In this option you can change rules that will replace hairlines that are meant to be the same but are not.

Flatten transparency (in preflight)

If theres’s a transparent PNG ewith an image in the middle, there’s sometimes a bounding box, this will flatten the image and fix the problem

JDF Job Definitions 

here you can add comments and any specific details, “designed to simplify information exchange between different applications and systems in and around the graphic arts industry”.


if anything foes wrong, PDF my document and run Acrobat



Cinema 4D / Keyframes & Animation

March 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Select an object (with the timeline set to 0) > The grey circle next to each attribute is the equivalent to the stopwatch tool in After Effects > cmnd/ctrl + click = a new keyframe > dragging along the timeline and doing this will create motion > the dashed line shows the motion paths of the animated object.


In right menu > Mode > Project > FPS (default =30) to 25 > change the timeline frames to 100f


It’s good to get into the habit of doing this: Render settings (with the cog icon) > changing the frame size to the output size that we want: 960 x 540, Frame rate to 25.

If you don’t see the black line > mode > view settings > tick ‘action safe’


Making some scenery:

Create a selection of object, making colours in the material editor > select ‘floor’ to create a floor object, moving the objects up if the floor is in the way.

Edit the frame (using the perspective settings in the top right) if the objects don’t fit on properly. Drag the colours onto the objects to colour them.

Animate the objects using the cmnd/ctrl + select animate button in the coordinates menu> to copy the first frame and use it at as the last frame: cmnd/ctrl + select and drag the first frame and drag it to the end, creating a loop.

The default setting for Cinema 4D is to ease the animations (starts slow, speeds up, finishes slow), like you can do in After Effects, to change this: ‘window’ > ‘timeline’, this brings up the curve editor, which displays the objects I’ve created along with the keyframes. If you expand these out you can view the line it follow, which is a Bezier curve which I can alter in any way I wish, using the buttons at the top you can use default settings, ‘linear’ makes the movement constant.


Creating a camera
When a camera is created, it automatically assumes the view in the viewport as you have it, however, if, after you’ve created the camera, you move the viewport and want to go back to it, you select the cross hair next to it in the object menu.

Next we select the top viewport > zoom out > create ‘null’ object which is an empty object used as a helper > drag the camera into the null object (in object menu) > we want the camera to rotate around the point of this object (at 0,0,0,0 on the axis). Drag timeline back to the start > cmnd/ctrl + click animate button on the rotation setting in ‘coordinates’ > go to last frame > change rotate to 360 + animate, now the camera rotates, but technically it’s the null object with the camera attached, this is a very safe way of animating things.  The camera has the same default settings as the objects, so to change this simply go back to windows > timeline > change the rotation heading setting to linear to create a constant motion, making it loop.


Edit Render Settings > in output we need to set the ‘Frame Range’ to ‘All Frames’. Go to ‘Save’ > click save > format: ‘QuickTime Movie’, then changing the compression settings (‘options…_’to ‘H.264’ > FPS to 25 > un-tick ‘Key-frame every’. This box can then be closed after saving location.

Rendering straight into a USB drive may not always work, so it’s worth first saving it to the main computer drive, then copying it over.


Press the middle render button to bring up the dialogue which goes through all the frames, rendering the finished movie, then close the dialogue.



InDesign / Printing

March 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Windows > ‘Output’ > ‘Separations Preview’

This menu lets you alter the CMYK channels, turning them on and off, as well as being able to add more.


If you start using the colour swatches properly, the printer will know exactly what to do


Colour swatch > New swatch

Sometimes as a graphic designer we must make the most cost effective


Can use a tint of black rather than a processed colour

‘New Tint Swatch’ > uses a tint of a shade, such as process black.

25% C, M, Y, K

Process colour means it creates a colour out of varying percentages of CMYK


Spot colour is a ready mix of an ink to create a colour

For instance, a metallic coating, luminesce colours, for these you’d add the colour (such as ‘pantone’ metallic) to the 5th roller in the printer.


New layer named ‘metallic’ > new swatch > change from ‘process’ to ‘spot’ > Pantone 784C = metallic > now there’s a new colour in the colour separations, which is this newly added colour.


If I want a varnish > new layer named ‘Varnish’ > ‘New colour swatch’ > name it ‘Varnish’ also > CMYK >there’s no colour for varnish, so it doesn’t really matter what colour it is > ok

What if it’s not text? Then you create a box with a fill but no stroke > select varnish from swatch > put the box over the images you wish to be varnished.


Registration colours will print on every single plate (from printer)/ colour, this would be good for something like a bounding box / margin around the whole of a page.


The printer might want some guides/instructions on what to do > Create a new later > name it ‘Instructions’ > un-tick ‘Print Layer’ since we don’t want this to print


If you use a certain substrate it may change the colour, such as glossy papers = more luminosity, matte = less luminosity


If you wanted to create one copy of a book you’d use a digital press, through a website like ‘’, you could then download the blurb InDesign plug in, this appears as ‘Blurb book creator’


‘Create pages template’ which you then save, this is then used as a guide for your own book’s creation, based on the settings you put. This can also be done for the spine,


If you’re not happy with the printed book, you can request a new one.

Cinema 4D / Materials & Lights

March 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

> Firstly we need to create an environment, this is done using the environment object (top button bar), creating a (infinite) floor. Using the same tool, but holding it, select ‘background’.

> Next we use the material editor (bottom window) > Create > New material (or double click) > dragging it then to the floor, and the background on the object list.

> To change the aspects of these objects > select object (such as the floor) > right click ‘Cinema 4D tags’ > ‘Compositing tags’ > then turn on ‘compositing background’ which allows the floor to be transparent, this is good as it allows for shadows to be captured.

> Next we create some lights on the scene > after inserting the light, select it in the object window > go to the ‘coordinates’ tab, positioning it to (x)600 by (y)1000 by (z)-1000; this is the main light and will cast shadows. > Light (form objects) > ‘general’ tab > from the shadow drop down select ‘Shadow Maps Soft’.

> To be able to see the shadows in the viewport, go to the ‘Mode’ tab on the attributes window > ‘view settings’ selecting ‘view’ and ticking ‘shadows’ and ‘enhance openGL’ this allows the graphics card to see the shadows. While in this menu tick ‘Action safe’ so you can see a border on the viewport

> Next we create some objects > create a sphere > by dragging it up and down you can see the shadow. Adjusting the coordinates in the attributes for this shape you can change where the shadow appears, for this reason you want to have the shadows viewable so you can actually see what attributes you’re changing, visually.

> To create a material for the object: double click the material editor > go to the ‘colour’ tab > using the sliders to change the colour, or clicking the swatch using the editor > to apply the material either drag the material onto the object in the viewport, or onto the object editor.

> To sharpen up the shadow > go to the light object > ‘Shadow’ tab > shadow map is set to 250×250 (this is how many pixels are used to generate the shadow), increase this to increase shadow clarity > 750×750 gives a slightly soft edge, whereas 2000×2000 gives it quite sharp edges.

> The ‘shadow density’ can be changed to change the intensity of the shadow, making it more or less harsh, you can also change the shadow colour in the shadow options.

> The highlight on the object is called specularity, this emulates light hitting the object, this can determine what the object’s material looks like. To change this > click on the material that’s applied (in the material editor) > go to the ‘Specular’ tab > change the settings here.

> To apply a reflection to an object > click on the ‘Basic’ tab > select ‘reflection’ > to maintain the colour click on the ‘Reflection’ tab and turn down the brightness.

> To adjust what the reflection looks like, we can add a ‘texture map’ in the reflection channel > click the ‘texture’ button > select ‘Fresnel’ > this adds a gradient to the reflection, adding more reflection to the edges and less in the middle > this can be adjusted > this setting overrides the brightness setting.

> Depending on the desired effect, these materials can be very simple, or very complicated.

> Using the ‘noise’ texture, you can gain the appearance of roughness to an object, such as bumps to a material (bump channel can be selected in the ‘basic’ tab) > go to colour tab/channel > to copy the noise texture you’ve created: click the texture channel > ‘copy channel’. Next go to the ‘bump’ channel (tab) > paste the texture in the same manner > next selecting the preview box > the bump channel only works in black and white > this gains the bumpy texture of the original image (following the same patterns/lines/etc.) > the bump settings can be altered, changing the strength of it


George / Interactive PDF

March 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this afternoon’s session, we learnt how to use InDesign to create an interactive PDF.

Why do I need an interactive PDF? An interactive PDF is something I, or someone, can interact with, with buttons and stuff that take you to different pages, this shows more initiative and skill on my part when submitting work digitally.

Window > Workspace > [Interactive for PDF]

We want the buttons to always be the top layer, so we put all the buttons and interactive objects on their own [top] layer: Layers > Create New

Buttons and Forms (in right hand tab) > more options > samples > this has a bunch of preset buttons to use

The button menu shows the options you can do for it, such as next and previous pages. You can assign custom commands for objects.

Roll over > change colour = changes the button when hovered over, you can also change the properties of ‘clicked’ objects.

Export > Open with Adobe Acrobat, the file can mess up when viewing with the previewer.

Next, we need to place more than one item onto the page > Create button out of image(+text), selecting ‘Hidden Until Triggered’ tick box.

> Didn’t have enough time to finish, so we should have also inserted a movie and made buttons which work with the images.

Steve Calcutt – Formatting & Output

March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

We’ll be looking at
– Printing technologies in industry + in uni
– How to format a page correctly – PDF
– Booklet creation
– Going to create some files and use these papers in an experimental way, setting up the printers appropriately


Offset Lytho Printer (CMYK) – flyers, newspapers etc. lots of commercial stuff. Called offset because of the numerous rollers/plates, it’s not printed directly. This is the most common commercial print process

Digital Press (CMYK) – instead of metal plates (or passes), these make the images digitally, a little like a laser printer, but more advanced. If I’m ever making one off books, then use this, it’s far cheaper! In Steve’s opinion, the Offset is still better than others.

Large Format Ink Printing (RGB) – digital process, but ink jet, it’s not a 4 colour process, unlike the other two, this is 11 colour process. This would be used for photography, gallery hangings, prints etc. not flyers, business cards etc. These are Y-gammat printers.

UV Curing Printer – this can print on solid surfaces like wood, metal, wire mesh, glass, as long as it’s a flat surface, also has flexible inks so it can wrap around things, without cracking. can print white and varnish. If I want to specialise in this stuff for final year, I can use this!

Laser Printer – more business type printers for documents and stuff, the colour reproduction isn’t accurate. Use the print bureau to get high definition.

Sublimation Printers – dye sublimation inks that turn into gases and go onto the material you’re printing on, like t-shirts and stuff, for example, all over print t-shirts. You can buy aluminium plates for this, which works well for photography. Hopefully this will be available next year.

Blurb is pretty good for book printing.

Going to set some files up and make some books, playing around with different colours, papers, and how papers
going to cmake 8 PDF files, firstly A5, black and white
Create 8 images, bold text, Icons, Images

When making a booklet make sure that the pages are able to be divided by 4

When setting up the printer:

– Special paper needs to go in the bypass tray (i.e. all paper other than stock)
– Need to fit paper in the tray to whatever orientation you want it to print out in
– When using uni printers, use the papers from the print bureau, as these have all been tested

Printers menu:

– Paper setting > bypass (on its own on the right)
– Tray settings need to be changed to whatever I want: size, orientation, paper tray, paper thickness etc.
– Accordingly match the printer settings with the document setup on the computer: size, orientation, paper type, tray etc.

When printing, select ‘Print Booklet’ rather than the standard ‘Print’:
– 2 saddle stitch
– Settings > Printer  > ‘ok’ > ‘Show Details’
– Layout > ‘Layout/Finish’  +  ‘Paper Tray’ > ‘Bypass’
– Print > 2 sided > ‘Binding position’ – left (determines whether the page is printed upside down if the position was set to ‘up’

– Linen paper = ‘Special’ paper, not thickness settings.
– ‘Paper settings for each tray’ on computer print options to change paper type in tray > match on printer
– Printer > Quality > Auto colour > change to greyscale
TIP: Changing the print settings to greyscale is cheaper, as it then doesn’t charge you for colour settings! Also, if you’re printing on coloured paper anyway, in black and white, then you also may aswell set the printer to this.

This workshop’s been good, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with printing on a variety of paper types, discovering the range of printers available to us, and ultimately learning how to properly format my print setup for work, which I’m sure will come in vitally handy in the near future.



Packaging / Outcome

March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

box outer die box inner die















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