Preflight Adobe Illustrator prepress with Markzware FlightCheck preflight software for prepress:
How to Prepress ai File – video
Today’s how-to, How to prepress ai file. Here we have a little Illustrator sample file. We want to use this within an Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress file later on. How can we best prepress this element which will be used within a larger piece of artwork or desktop publishing layout? We will show you that today in this quick tip.
I did a Google search for “prepress ai files” and what we see here on my screen is how to do that. This little helpful digital prepress checklist is telling us how to use elements within InDesign or Quark, desktop publishing (DTP) layouts. We read here about raster graphics and things like that. We see specifically what they ask for or recommend with Adobe Illustrator vector graphics, for four-color process printing process.
Some preflight elements to consider:
- Avoid spot color swatches in images (process CMYK color swatches are recommended)
- Avoid font problems by converting text to outlines
- Save the graphic as an EPS file
Preflight your InDesign or QuarkXPress file using Markzware‘s FlightCheck. Which is, of course, very wise. What many often forget though, about checking upstream an Adobe Illustrator AI file, is that the preflight process should begin there. Preflighting should start at the beginning of the larger graphic design workflow. This is where you can stop these prepress problems.
Make sure there are no spot color swatches, make sure the color model is in CMYK, and make an EPS, but many printers ask for fonts to be outlined. We will show you how FlightCheck can help you avoid that one and package fonts used in AI files! So, that preflight process should not only happen here in Quark or Adobe InDesign, It should also begin when you are in Photoshop or Illustrator working on elements that will go in your desktop publishing or DTP layout.
So, how can we, in practice, check this AI file? Well, we can try to do it manually, or we can use Markzware FlightCheck. Let’s see how that works. OK, so here I am now on my DTP layout machine. I am now the DTP layout artist in InDesign CS6 or CS5.5, CS5, etc. I also use QuarkXPress 9 as well. I got this Adobe Illustrator AI file in from our graphic designer, upstream in our graphic arts workflow.
The first thing I will want to do is check it out with FlightCheck to see if it meets our standards. So, I will drag and drop this .AI Illustrator file onto FlightCheck. That’s right, FlightCheck checks Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and many other files in addition to Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress. We get a full preflight check and you see here the FlightCheck eagle, very quickly doing its work.
The first window we see is the FlightCheck Results Window. Let’s have a closer look at this now. We see here that FlightCheck tells us that we have a screen font missing… (Hmm, maybe we should have created outlines on the fonts used in that file after all!) …and the printer font is missing. We see here all of the fonts are missing (in red). From screen to printer font, not activated anyway and likely missing. Corporate fonts, that is something not to worry about here, but that is something cool in FlightCheck. You can add fonts in the FlightCheck Ground Controls that you do not want used. This can be for either licensing reasons or corporate reasons, like house-style guidelines.
Now, let’s go take a closer look at the FlightCheck main screen where we get all the prepress details about the AI file we just preflight checked. What we can see right away in the FlightCheck colors section is that the colors are in CMYK – exactly what that checklist asked for.
And we see with more details that we also have those fonts missing. One thing to know about FlightCheck is that if we were back on the graphic design machine, is that we can also collect or package all fonts and images used within this Adobe Illustrator or .AI file. So not only can we package InDesign to Quark DTP files, but also in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
If there are fonts and other placed elements used, FlightCheck will collect them. In this case, if the graphic designer would have used FlightCheck, he or she could have easily sent the AI file to prepress WITH all used fonts and images! Naturally, in Illustrator you can also create outlines out of fonts and we have other videos show how to create outlines in Illustrator and I will link to that. Yet in many cases, maybe you will be asked to NOT create outlines out of your used fonts, for that Illustrator file will need to be greatly edited or changed. For instance, in packaging workflows and in flows where that AI file will need to be highly adjusted and perhaps the text changed, like with outdoor banners and artwork like that. Then you will not want to outline the fonts, but keep the native used fonts in there. So, FlightCheck is very handy to package your AI files for prepress, as well.
There you see it, FlightCheck lets us see exactly that we meet the prepress specifications for AI artwork, as we saw on that checklist. Very cool. There you have it, now you can see how you can preflight the individual elements BEFORE you bring them into your layout or DTP files. It is important to have a quality assurance check. Not only at the end in InDesign or QuarkXPress, but for each element in the graphic design workflow with Markzware FlightCheck preflight software for prepress.
Here is a little diagram which highlights the importance of preflight, in this “Quality Triangle”, (preflight, generically speaking) from design, DTP layout, prepress and right up to before you print to the press or plates. What you see is, that if a simple preflight error in your DTP file goes all the way to press, then you’re talking potentially thousands of euros or dollars.
However, if you catch that same problem, say within your AI file, all the way back here at the graphic design stage, when we are working in Adobe Illustrator, and if we preflight Adobe Illustrator prepress files before we put them into the DTP layout, and before we go to the prepress department, and before we go to the printing press, then we can save A LOT of money and time. That one little prepress problem in Illustrator at the design stage will only cost us 10 Euros or dollars to fix – this is where the preflight process, say with FlightCheck, should begin – and then go outward and continue preflighting throughout the entire process or graphic arts printing workflow… some great tips and tricks for graphic arts and printing and DTP publishing in general.
If you would like to test FlightCheck for yourself on your AI Illustrator or Photoshop files, not to mention on your DTP layout files like Quark or Adobe InDesign, then go over to Markzware.com and click on the Products section and then on FlightCheck. There you will get full details on FlightCheck, more instructional videos and a 30-day free trial version of FlightCheck which you can download and get started with today. How to prepress AI file, David Dilling from Markzware, signing off, have a great day.
FlightCheck preflight software for prepress: Preflight Adobe Illustrator prepress!