InDesignSecrets Podcast 096

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  • Why “Simulate Paper White” usually looks gray
  • Prepping screen captures for commercial printing
  • Blog posts (and discussions) of interest:
    • Downsave snippets
    • Photographic frames
    • Callout lines with white edges
    • Yearbook layouts/Contact Sheet placing in CS4
  • New Podcast Giveaway: Each episode, an ID Keyboard Shortcuts poster goes to someone we randomly pull from our mailing list or twitter followers. This week’s winner is cjmadigan
  • Obscure InDesign Feature of the Week: Reset Workspace

20 Comments on “InDesignSecrets Podcast 096

  1. I agree with you, that screen captures should not be resampled (and btw they should not be saved with JPEG compression any time). But I know, that there is (unfortunately) a good reason, why publishers or printhouses call their customers to upsample screenshots to 300 ppi (hopefully with the nearest neighbor method!). Their problem is, that some prepress preflight tools will reject PDFs, if there are images with a resolution below a certain value. So a human employe have to manually check this pages for bad resolutions. Same problem is with transparency flattner settings, which produce smooth shades at a lower resolution, what visually may be OK, but freaks out some prepress people. Conclusion: We need preflight tools with artificial intelligence. Todays systems check what we’ve done, but not why we’ve done it.

  2. Yo, ‘sup – Thanks for the explanation on the Simulate White Paper function. I still don’t get it? Only kidding, I understand the principles of it now. It’s all about understanding the nuances and nuisances. I can happily leave that function off on uncalibrated monitors.

    Screen captures – I use SnagIt, and I find it wonderful. You can capture whole web pages that scroll down. You can do time-delay captures (handy for when you want to show a fly menu or something similar). There are other good things about it that I won’t get into. The only bad thing I have to say about it is that the Short Cut for entering the capture mode is similar to an InDesign Shortcut (can’t remember which one) and it’s irritating when you have the application running in the background as it activates the application. I guess there is a way to change the shortcuts – but I haven’t tried to change it.

  3. David is spot-on about *everything* regarding screengrabs: their effective PPI on output is entirely irrelevant, no matter what anyone says, including overzealous preflight systems (although integer-steps of Nearest Neigbor resampling in PS can be used to bypass their overzealousness). But you didn’t *fully* discuss the CMYK separation issues regarding screengrabs, also crucial for quality reproductions. David was a bit rusty here! For using the Maximum Black custom CMYK setting isn’t enough: you have to also set it to GCR, Total Black Ink 100 and Total Ink Limit 400. Yes, 400 — a seemingly crazy figure! But it will never be more than 300 in practice, since there’s also 100 % GCR.

    Finally, the Clear Type text anti-aliasing on Windows (does the Mac have something similar?) should be disabled for screengrabs, as that creates weird color halos on all text, subtle but really annoying. Use instead the Standard mode.

    Finally, all bitmap formats are fine for screengrabs — except JPEG, as that, even at high quality settings, royally messes with the pixel quality.

  4. Thanks for the link to David Creamer’s PDF, Eugene. That’s very helpful. I disagree, however, with his comment about resizing to even numbers (50%, 25%, etc.). That has not been my experience over the past 20 years. I scale down to whatever size makes sense for the layout.

    I would agree with Klaus that increasing ink limit above 300 is a good thing, but I wouldn’t go to 400%. The reason: Often the screen capture actually has color images in it! For example, a screen capture from Photoshop that shows a photograph… you need to treat that a bit more carefully. But if it’s just a dialog box… probably safe-ish.

    Thanks to all who mentioned JPEG… yes, should have said that: JPEG and screen shots don’t mix well. I like what Creamer added, that you should specify Zip compression in PDFs that include lots of screen captures. (Because PDF defaults to JPEG in many of these cases.)

  5. I agree w/David, I just scale screen grabs in print projects without regard to even percentages; haven’t heard or seen a problem with it.

    I have more issues w/how screenshots look in PDFs viewed on screen than I do w/how they look in print.


  6. Well, I didn’t really agree with specific scaling percentages either. Perhaps he meant the zoom level, as we know Photoshop CS3 and lower didn’t deal with odd number zoom levels well and the resulting on screen image looked disheveled. I didn’t see a mention of scaling the images in InDesing, I think he specifically referenced photoshop, not that it makes a difference?

    I read through the PDF before posting, and most of it was a good reference for doing what Klaus described. It was written in 2006, so it’s a bit outdated. And now that everyone has cleared up the good and bad points, I hope we can all make super screen grabs :)

  7. David, now you’re wrong: with these settings, it’s *impossible* to get high Total Ink Limits, for the extreme GCR utterly prevents that. And full color photos turn out pretty crappy with my recipe, as all shadows lose color, so — if I really needed a good photo included in the screengrab — I’d copy-paste in the photo, done with a good but plain-vanilla CMYK conversion.

  8. Great show…

    Anne-Marie mentioning the InDesign Contact Sheet feature of Bridge, which was in CS2 and CS3 (Tools > InDesign > Create InDesign Contact Sheet) but is no longer with us in CS4.
    It was replaced by the further enhanced, much more robust Output super feature, with which you can generate either a PDF contact sheet or Web Gallery of selected content from Bridge CS4. A bit more complex to use (at first) but much faster…
    It will also catalog InDesign documents that were saved with preview images.

  9. I like your idea of creating a composite screen capture from two different CMYK conversions, Klaus! I remember doing that years ago on a project.

  10. One crucial step I use for screen grabs is to turn off the black plate (after Maximum Black Generation, natch). I then look for black text and lines over coloured areas and paint the background in over the text. Since Black is not highlighted I’m only painting in CMY.

    This effectively makes those areas print as though the black is overprinting. For textures, gradations, or photos I either clone or smudge.

    Finally upsample 400% using Nearest Neighbour.

  11. Oh, but I agree 100% with David that upsampling does nothing but add to file size without in any way improving quality.


    Many of my screen grabs are interface windows or web pages that will go into ads. Those ads are PDFed and sent to magazines with varying levels of production experience and automated workflows. I don’t like getting calls from my boss or client that the magazine said my images are too low-resolution. I then have to check the file to make sure it’s just the screen grab; call the publication and argue with a receptionist and an account rep so that I can talk to a production guy; and convince the production guy that the image is fine, which is often yet another argument. Pisses me off, pisses the publication off, and does not make me look good to the guys that sign the cheques.

    There can also be a risk of a “thorough” preflighter upsampling “for” me.

    NN upsampling ducks all of that, at a minor cost in file size. LZW TIFs can be very small when they are screen grabs.

  12. Olav had an article in an old Adobe magazine that I used for creating screen shots for print. I copied it and still have it! It has almost all of the pointers mentioned in above posts. One main difference now is that my flat screen is 100 ppi and with that and reducing the size of my shots in InDesign I get great results with just Print Screen on my Windows machine. Though, I had to train the writers to save as 24-bit BMP or I’d get fugly-jpeg-banding on gradients.

  13. Regarding snapshots of entire Web pages, Mac users should try Paparazzi, a small utility that just does that, and does it well, with a bunch of nice features. Unfortunately, is in an eternal beta stage. But works flawlessly in Tiger and Leopard.

    For those who don’t like to run beta software in their systems, there are at least two Mac-compatible Firefox extensions that take screen captures of the entire page: Screen Grab! and Abduction! Before you ask: yes, for some reason, Firefox extension names must end with an exclamation point.

  14. Greg, you’re right, that is strange. We have outside help with the transcripts; I’ll follow up with them and see what’s up.

    I’m curious, what do you use the transcripts for?

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