Website News | May 2009

It's been a busy few months in the studio - and we never stop learning new software and techniques. Just when you think your Adobe CS3 upgrade will be good for a few years they go and release CS4! We'll be updating a number of tutorials and articles at Graphic Design in due course, but meanwhile I hope you find this brief newsletter of interest. And don't forget, if there's any graphic design-related problem or query which you'd like us to help you solve, just send us an e-mail.

Keep Submitting Your Portfolios to GDE

In response to feedback (and so that the site can become a more practical tool for employers and employees alike) I have created a new resume & portfolio submission section. It's here that aspiring (as well as established) graphic designers get the opportunity to showcase their work and get exposure to potential employers. The submission service is free, and in order to maintain the integrity of the site, each portfolio and resume will be vetted before going online.

So if you're a designer trying to get your foot in the door, looking for more freelance work, or just want to show off you work, please consider submitting your portfolio to Graphic Design Start by clicking here.

If you have any requests, criticism or enquiries about our site, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Please contact us here.

Thanks for all your feedback, and I look forward to hearing more!


Nick B Davies

Reader Enquiries

Photoshop and Illustrator:
I have received a number of EPS images which have huge file sizes. I thought EPS files were supposed to be small in size. Why are they so big?

Just because a file is an EPS format does not necessarily mean it has been created in Illustrator (or Freehand). If the image contains rasterized images, it could well have been saved as a Photoshop EPS - a completely different animal to an Illustrator vector-based EPS file.

Alternatively, a photo might have been imported (and embedded) into Illustrator for some reason and saved as an EPS - something that will increase the file size considerably.

If you can't see any photos in the file when you open it, make sure that all the layers are visible - they might be hiding a raster image or two. This might be because they were used as templates to create the original file and were forgotten about. Also, check the LINKS palette which will show whether or not any images have been imported. Another thing to look for is a masked-off imagery. A photo might be hiding because a clipping mask has been created and is concealing an image. Open any sub layers in the LAYERS palette to be sure.

Generally speaking, vector graphics tend to be saved as Illustrator EPS files, and photo/raster image cutouts tend to be saved as Photoshop EPS files (with much larger file sizes). Of course there are always exceptions - Photoshop is capable of including vector information in an EPS file just as Illustrator is capable of creating raster information in its EPS format... but if everything was simple, life wouldn't be any fun!

Another pitfall about EPS files is that some people make the assumption that they can be scaled up to any size without losing quality. This is true of vector-only graphics, but not true of raster graphics - so beware.

I followed your instructions to create clipping paths and I have one question... every time I do it the points are added but the image is filled in with white (since it is the color I have as the default in the palette). I notice in your demonstration you can see the points, but the image remains visible... how do I do that?

When the pen/paths tool is selected, in the Options palette there are a couple of buttons on the left which you need to find. One is called SHAPE LAYERS and one is called PATHS. The Shape Layers button (the name pops up when you roll over it) creates path shapes filled with colour. The button icon looks like a solid, filled rectangle. Next to it, the Paths button looks like an empty box with the pen tool over it. This is the one you need to select in order to create non-filled shapes in Photoshop.

What is the best tactic to take with color management?
1. Leave files unmanaged and in the hands of the printer to resolve?
2. Manage color yourself and take all the blame for everything that goes wrong, including those factors out of your control?
3. Change careers, and avoid the issue completely?

Color management is a sticky problem - always has been, and there is no magic answer I'm afraid. That's the bad news...

Speaking from my own experience, most of the work I have sent to press has contained images which have been saved with Color Management Off... and 99% of the results have been great. Of course, it helps to have a good printing house to rely on, and as long as you give them instructions about what sort of hues to achieve, they should be fine.

For example, one of my clients uses the Pantone color 3025, but most of their work is printed in CMYK. I know that the CMYK values should be 100C 17M 0Y K51 for this blue, and I make sure that this is always the case - and as long as I have a previous sample for the printer to match, this works very well.

If you want to be really certain, you need to press-pass the project - it's the only way to be sure.

On the other hand, I have another big publishing client who insists on all images and documents having the color settings Europe ISO Coated FOGRA27 applied. They've had bad experiences with their books containing lots of images with different color profiles assigned, resulting in a nightmarish patchwork of varying hues. This has been resolved because of the introduction of the above setting for everything.

So I suppose the short answer is BE CONSISTENT. Although there will always be an element of risk when you try different things, as long as your color settings are consistent, you will reduce the margin for error.

I have designed an advert and added a yellow background behind it. I then gave the background of the ad a transparency of 25%. When I place this ad on my different color large background area which also has a transparency of 25%, the background area shows through, changing the color of the entire ad. The ad looks like it's in the background but it's not. What can I do to make the ad look like it should?

It sounds to me as if you're making the mistake of using the Transparency Palette to give the background color a tint instead of the Tint option in the Swatches Palette.

When you give something 25% transparency, if the object is on white it will have the desired effect. However, if anything is placed behind it, the object behind will show through.

What you need to do is give both the background and the advert 100% transparency. Then go to the Swatches Palette and at the top you'll see a "Tint" field. Enter 25% tint for the yellow, and 25% tint for the background color (whatever it is).

The background will no longer show through.

New Articles

What the Font?! An excellent online font recognition resource

Color Management in Adobe CS4 and Preflighting InDesign and Quark

Convert Quark to InDesign CS4 Using Markzware Q2ID InDesign Plugin

Convert InDesign to Quark Using Markzware ID2Q Quark XPress Plugin

Other good tutorials and resources

Iron Hero Tutorial by David Occino - nice little tutorial

Font Recognition by

Before & After - How to Design Cool Stuff

© Nick B Davies 2009
training, advice, resources, confidence building