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newbie - advice on which adobe software

Discussion in 'Adobe Forum:' started by Yusgur, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Yusgur

    Yusgur New Member

    Win 7 Ultimate
    Adobe Master Collection CS5

    Hi all, a bit of advice please:

    i've done a little GD for print (a couple flyers & packaging labels) but didn't really know what I was doing & one of the things i created in photoshop ended up as a very large file (nearly 35Mb), though I thought it did look ok! I've also been learning some web design.

    so, my question is, which application is best to use for designs intended for print & ditto re graphics for web pages?

    I'm a bit confused about which to use for the little projects i've been doing....I thought InDesign, but then read somewhere that InDesign would only be necessary if doing something longer like a magazine & that a vector editor like Illustrator might be better for print layout/DTP.

    Any clarification & advice on this would be much appreciated!
    TIA
     
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Illustrator is primarily for anything involving vector graphics, such as logos. Whilst you can use it for creating documents (any many people do), InDesign is better for anything involving a decent amount of typography, as it allows you more control over the text, and allows you to update and change things much quicker. Many people find Illustrator easier to use at first than InDesign, but once you've mastered InDesign, you'll wonder how you managed without it.

    Photoshop is for editing images, but can also be used to design pixel-perfect screen-graphics (I use it primarily for designing websites and user-interfaces). It's not really intended to be used to design for print, since it can't easily add things like a bleed, and manipulating text is very clunky. Plus, it works in pixels, not vectors, so it creates very large working files, that can quickly slow down your system. It also won't output text as crisply as ID or Illustrator because it works with pixels.

    So to summarise, in an ideal world you would use;

    Illustrator for vector-based graphics (anything that needs creating at different scales without losing quality, i.e. logos or vector based illustrations/imagery).

    InDesign for single-page documents, booklets, magazines and other publications (I use this to create my invoices).

    Photoshop for adjusting and manipulating pixel-based images, and designing websites and screen-based content at a specific size.
     
    TradePrinting UK, Edge and Yusgur like this.
  3. TradePrinting UK

    TradePrinting UK New Member

    I'd be old skool enough to agree with everything Paul has said above, although the Adobe packages are more grey & beige in their everyman usage nowadays than black & white this does this, and that does that e.g. Photoshop can handle vector graphics on their own layers in conjunction with other pixel-based layers. Personally I'd still prefer to see a "flattened" file coming than a layered one (a lot of designers still forget to rasterize their fonts as they don't travel well), or know it was a flattened element within a PDF.

    The two major areas that can still cause major graphic hassles for printing companies are font-related and transparency / overprint related. Everything else is pretty much sorted by the software these days.

    However, I would like to add that it doesn't actually matter what you design it in anymore as long as you supply it in CMYK mode as a high-res PDF for the majority of non-spot ink/Pantone print work, most printing companies will be happy enough. We still love our Quark Xpress (v9.5 here with 10 sitting there in its early days of ongoing development) for everyday print work, design and file manipulation.

    For graphics on Web pages, again if you can stretch to Photoshop, well it does everything and rules the roost, but if you want to just do a few graphics for web then Adobe's other little app from Macromedia's days called "Fireworks" also still does a decent job for the RGB environment. You can get it cheap on their Adobe CC subs set-up.

    There are also quite a few shareware apps out there that are okay at emulating what the big boys do, but really, in the professional world... Adobe rules.
     
  4. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    That's a loaded statement.

    There are Smart Vectors - which are used by placing a vector in Photoshop - this means it can resized within photoshop without losing quality - however on export to any file format it's converted to a pixel image at the image resolution stated in the document.

    Smart Vectors never output (unless printed from photoshop) as vectors. Ever.


    Fonts are not designed to "travel" - in fact your fonts should be embedded in a PDF file rather than supplied.

    The only file formats worthy for print from Photoshop are

    PSD or TIFF for purely raster images.

    PDF (saved with Photoshop compatibility so it can be opened in Photoshop and edited.

    For this it would require also supplying the fonts.


    The only vector elements that export to PDF from photoshop are Vector Shapes, Vector Masks and Text Layers.

    And PDF is the preferrred file format for printers.


    If these companies haven't updated their technology in 20 years then that's their problem!

    Fonts embedded correctly in PDF should be no hassle.

    Transparencies and Overprint shouldn't be any hassle to a printer that has kept their business up to date.

    It's essential that the correct tools are used.

    However, once the PDF passes the tests and prepress - essentially it doesn't matter.

    But what does matter is future jobs. No point in designing 16 page document in Photoshop or Illustrator (yes I've seen it and worse try an 96 page magazine all individual tiff files!)

    You can't really design a truly print ready and editable file for a client in Photoshop - it's completely irresponsible to begin with.

    Photoshop for photos - clue in the title

    Illustrator for Illustrations

    InDesign for Design

    yes there are other products like Gimp, Corel, Quark, Inkscape etc. but none of which are retaining compliability with modern print standards and workflows.



    Photoshop is more for mainstream photos and editing.

    Fireworks actually produces higher quality lower file size jpegs. It can also handle layered PNGs, and other things.

    Fireworks is much better suited for web graphics and making buttons that work well with Dreamweaver and other things.

    Fireworks is also Free not "cheap" with the Adobe CC - you sign up for Creative Cloud and all the Adobe tools are available for you to download.



    Indeed - Adobe does rule the professional world.


    Sorry for nit picking - but I simply don't agree with what you said on the most part.


    I feel if people ask a question they need to understand there are caveats to going outside the box when designing, say choosing Photoshop over InDesign.

    File Formats, resolution and other things really come into play when deciding.
     
  5. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I'd just like add

    Most places charge extra for having to fix files or work outside the norm.

    You should always consult your print provider before starting to find out what software is best to work with and how you should supply files.
     
  6. TradePrinting UK

    TradePrinting UK New Member

    Forums are about opinions and thoughts and I welcome and love to hear everyone elses, nit-picking or not. :) I just say it how I've seen it and experienced it.

    I could have gone into mega detail too (on the whole I agree with what you said - and you're not actually disagreeing with what I've said if you read it back), but didn't want to overwhelm the guy who started the thread, and he hasn't really stated what budget he's got to work with, although he did list that he's actually got access to the full "Master" collection from the CS5 era already on his Windows set-up, so pretty much has access to everything from the modern Adobe CC era.

    As we're both "in" the industry we know that anybody that wants to be a pro, really needs to think professionally and pony up to the big boys toys and on the whole that basically means, decent Mac + Adobe + whatever else.

    Would disagree with you casually chucking "Quark" in with Gimp and the rest though and stating "none of which are retaining compliability with modern print standards and workflows." I did chuckle at that. We run a Quark environment and I can assure you it beautifully integrates with 2014 print standards and workflows, with everyone here also on a full Adobe CC set-up.

    There are so many flavours of PDF and so many ways of creating it (heck, even lowly Word can produce a basic PDF that is better to receive from a naive clueless client than them sending a Word doc with reflows and dear knows what else causing head-aches all round), and if one even runs the Distiller PDF engine as a basis underneath all of the other Adobe tech, there are still plenty of ways to set it up.

    It's a fine art to make a PDF that is reasonable in size that is pretty much lossless in print (Adobe's 'Press Quality' .joboptions file doesn't go far enough), whereas [going on a slight tangent from what I've said above] many designers don't really have a clue how to optimise their system to make a PDF that is usable, let alone the Holy Grail of perfect that we all want from designers. I've seen Presentation Folders come in at 500Mb+ PDFs where not a single element was optimised properly and everything was pixel-for-pixel, way too big (600ppcm - not ppi - CMYK Tiffs), and the other side of the coin where Fonts aren't embedded [as you mentioned and I agree with] properly, or they haven't understood about Overprints/Knockouts etc.

    However, most do take advice on board and do learn from their mistakes and that's great. We all have had designer clients though that don't listen to a word you say and just do their own thing because it looks fine on their monitor. Shudder.

    Anyway, I hope Yusgur above finds out what suits and experiments, and thus progresses further into the design industry, sticks at it and learns the craft... whilst enjoying it too. :)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014

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