Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book 8 runs into a problem

Here is my hilarious tale. My comic files are coloured in photoshop in RGB, then placed in an RGB Illustrator file to get they balloons on, then I stick em up on the web. When I do a book, I just open the illustrator files in photoshop, convert to CMYK make some tiffs, stick em in InDesign and go away rejoicing. It's not a perfect way of doing things of course(it's not very professional). But on this occasion, the same printer who was happy for me to do this twice before has told me that the panel borders and text have to be 100% black (not the loony rich black that working in RGB gives you). I think they figure that it might not register perfectly. They managed it fine before but I imagine they were cursing me the whole time.

I can open up the RGB Illustrator files (with their placed, unlettered PSDs) in Photoshop, convert to CMYK, and convert all the blacks in the file to 100% with relative ease, but that leaves me open to trapping errors. I can't use the BPelts trapping plugin to fix this because I use a lot of rich greys that confuse it. As far as I can work out, I am going to have to individually edit every single file, probably by selecting the text in the balloons and the borderlines and painting over it with 100% black.

I don't see a way to rectify this that doesn't involve days of work. Just writing about it was complicated!

Ha ha ha! Aaaargh. This is particularly infuriating because this the the printer that did such a good job of books 6 and 7 at a pretty unbeatable price.


sleek said...


I deal with this stuff all the time...

I don't know if this helps, but what about going to the AI files, before the tiff changeover, then changing the colors in illustrator?

If you go Select>same>fill color, you can select all objects of a certain color and change them at once...

Mind, this only works for path objects, so it'd catch all of the text and balloons...which is where your problems will be (the borders shouldn' be that reliant on registration...

But you should be able to set up an action in AI that would open each page, select all of the blacks, convert them, convert the text to outlines (to avoid font problems) and then close the it would jsut kind of do it for you...

Then update the links in your pre-existing indesign layout to use your new Illustrator files instead of the tiffs...could work without (too) much heartbreak!

Will B. Minus said...

Convert the comics without text to CMYK tiffs and drop them into illustrator to add the panel borders and text over the top. Tasty clean vectory text.

Lisa said...

Alternately, hire someone else to do it for you. I don't know the policies governing hiring interns, but you could probably get a student from your local university for free.

If you're feeling particularly wealthy, there are always freelancers (myself included). But interns are cheaper and useful in a variety of ways.

George Pantazis said...

Have you tried this in PS?:

1) Duplicating the layers as a flat image.

2) Removing the CMY from the duplicate in the levels, leaving the black plate.

3) Thresholding the results to remove any lingering rich greys.

4) Replace color, set destination color to 0/0/0/100

5) Select color range for the new 0/0/0/100 results, mask it.

6) place on top of original image.

Not sure if that's going to be helpful without seeing your high-res files, but hopefully it'll at least put you in the right direction. Good luck, sir!

Anonymous said...

I know GIMP can do batch actions (and I suspect PS can too). It might be worth your time experimenting on a folder with a couple of images to see if you can record a batch process, and then just let it rip on the full folder.

Joe Taylor said...

I do a lot of printing these days - I remember the first time I came across this.




John A said...

Guys so many helpful tips, I really appreciate it. If they aren't ones I can use now, I forsee myself definitely using them later. George's thresholding of rich greys is definitely going to be employed for other tasks!

I will record exactly how long the process of fixing these pages took me, I can guarantee it will be much shorter now.

It's times like this I realise that I've been out of the studio environment for 7 years and what that can cost you. Thanks, thanks again!

R.Fiction.Esq. said...

I understood "book 8" and "problems" then it all turned to code.

But that was enough to make me very sad.

Best of luck getting it sorted, I need more SGR in my life.

Lissa said...

That sounds like a big pile of problems :(
even if it takes a while, i'm willing to wait for it. in ten years, when it's finally done, i'll still buy a copy of book 8. i'd guess that i'm not alone in this sentiment.

wishing you smooth sailing!