Here we are, part 3! Time to get your images ready for print. Not too different from prepping for web, but with a few important distinctions. As noted in part 1, we’ve already determined that our images need to be at 300 dpi. Let’s go!
Just like web prep, the first step is to know what final size your image needs to be. In this case you’ll likely be guided by your print house’s specs, or by whatever guide you’re following for the piece you’re producing. For this exercise I’ll be using the same image as for web prep for my example. In this case, let’s say I need a final image size of 4.5 x 4 inches. Notice that we’ll be dealing with inches (or centimeters, whatever your preference) rather than pixels for the dimensions.
Same as for web prep. In this case, visually I want to keep as much width as possible, so I’m going to start by establishing my width first, then crop my image to achieve the height.
Open your image in Photoshop. Let’s start by giving the image the correct resolution.
1) Go to Image > Image Size
2) De-select the box that says Resample Image
First things first – we don’t want our image to increase in size, we just want to assign the correct resolution. If we don’t de-select the Resample Image box, we will increase the pixel resolution without allowing the image to adjust proportionately by re-sizing itself.
3) Type “300″ into the resolution box
You may notice that as you are typing, the numbers in the width and height boxes are also adjusting. Now that you’ve increased the resolution, your image will be smaller in width and height, to compensate for the resolution adjustment.
4) Click OK
Your image is now at the correct resolution for print. Yeah! Now let’s work on those dimensions.
5) Go to Image > Image Size
6) Re-select the Resample Image box
7) Enter the non-negotiable aspect of your image into the corresponding document size box
When preparing images for print, you can skip over the pixel dimensions width and height boxes and go straight to the document size boxes. Feel free to adjust the increments to inches in the drop-down menu to the right, then enter either the width or height you need for your image. In my case I will enter 4.5 into the width box. You’ll see that the height will adjust proportionally as the width is entered. There’s our motto again: no squishies, no stretchies. Just a nice, proportional image.
If the number in the height box does not adjust as you type in the width, make sure the Constrain Proportions box is selected at the bottom.
8) Hit OK
You now have the correct resolution AND the correct width on your image! Pat yourself on the back. If your image is looking a little small on your screen, you can either use the Zoom Tool (Z) from the Tools palette or go to View > Fit on Screen.
To finish up, we need to adjust the height. To do this, you’ll need to follow similar steps to those we looked at for web prep. Here we go:
9) Go to Window > Info
This opens up the Info palette. This will allow you to monitor the size of your selection.
10) Go to Photoshop > Preferences > Units & Rulers and set the rulers to inches
Alternately, you can right-click on the rulers along the edges of your document and select “inches”. If you don’t see rulers along the edge of your document, go to View > Rulers.
11) Select the Rectangular Marquee tool in the Tools palette, or hit M
Click and drag the Marquee tool to make a selection rectangle anywhere on your image – don’t let go of the mouse.
13) Hold down the space bar and adjust the position of your selection
While still holding down your mouse, hold down the space bar and use your mouse to drag your selection to the far left edge of your image.
14) Let go of the space bar and extend the width of your selection
Still holding down your mouse, let go of the space bar and extend your selection to the far right side of your image. Your selection should now span from one edge of your image to the other.
15) Adjust the height of your selection
To achieve the right height, continue to hold down your mouse (almost done!) and drag your rectangle either upwards or downwards while watching the numbers in the Info palette. Make sure to maintain the width all the way across your image while you are doing this – the Info palette should always say that your width is 4.5 inches. Once you’ve reached a height of 4 inches in the Info palette, you can let go of the mouse. Don’t worry, you still have time to move the selection afterwards.
16) Using the arrows on your keyboard, move your selection up or down
Be sure not to move the left or right arrows, otherwise you will lose the correct width of your image. Move your selection up or down until you are happy with how it looks.
17) Go to Image > Crop
And voilà! You have an image that is set to 300 dpi, is 4.5 inches wide and 4 inches high. No weird crunchiness or excessive file weight. No stretchies or squishies. Hooray! If you like, take some time to do some photo retouching. Then, you need to adjust the colour profile and then save it.
18) Go to Edit > Convert to Profile
This part could also be a whole other lesson, but today we’ll stick to the basics. If your image has come right off your camera, it will be in RGB. As a last step before sending your image to print, you need to convert it to CMYK.
19) Select CMYK – Working CMYK – U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2
There are many options here – feel free to explore and get to learn how these work, but generally this one should cover your bases.
20) Go to File > Save As
Save your image to the appropriate folder – for print, ideally you would save as a TIF to maintain as much file information as possible, but JPEG can work too. Now go celebrate with some cookies, and then prepare a few more images.
Any questions or feedback? Please don’t be shy!
Hugs and kisses, the Graphics Governess.