Calling All Folks with "Print" Experience

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jaw04005, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I recently moved our business over to Mac OS X, and I have a few basic questions about "print" that I hope you could answer.

    1) What is a PPD? And does/can it have anything to do with quality of prints (inkjet or laser) in programs such as InDesign or Photoshop?

    2) What is a RIP Program? I just purchased a new Canon S9000 printer, and received some brochures on iProof systems trying to sell me a RIP program.

    3) What is Postscript? I thought this term had something to do with Adobe and high-end laser printers, but I'm not sure. Can someone please explain.

    4) What is ColorSync? I understand its a calibration system, however is there any good resources that tell how to use it, is it still usuable or is it a dead technology?

    5) Where can I find any other specialty papers for my Canon S9000? Canon only offers Photo Glossy and Photo Paper Pro. I'm not seeing impressive results for either paper. I have set the printer driver to the correct media type, and selected "print top quality photo", is this all I'm susposed to do to print a high-res image? Many times the prints are grainy or blurry even at lower print sizes (my camera is a 4MP Canon Elph). I previously had an Epson 1520, and I guess I was just used to the variety of papers Epson offers.

    6) Why is InDesign CS's print engine so slow? It usually takes a typical layout (with maybe one or two high-res images, say a poster) at least 5 to 6 minutes to "render", and then the result after printed is nowhere near what I expected. Should I just get used to this? I am previously a PageMaker 7 user.

    I realize these questions are complicated, however I tried the Apple Support Boards and noone seemed to help. If anyone has any links to websites that give more information that would be great.

    I am running a Powerbook 12" 1Ghz with 768MB of Ram and plenty of hard drive space.


    Thanks,

    Josh
     
  2. JDar macrumors 6502a

    JDar

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    #2
    I have a few basic questions about "print" that I hope you could answer.

    Josh,

    a recent book that will tell more than you want to know is Harald Johnson's Mastering Digital Printing -- The Photographer's and Artist's Guide to High-Quality Digital Output.

    It's actually fun to read and tells all, even about Giclée.

    Available from the usual places. Enjoy!

    JDar
     
  3. sonofslim macrumors 6502a

    sonofslim

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    #3
    in a nutshell:

    PPDs are printer descriptions; they hold information about what kind of media a printer accepts, the resolutions it supports, etc. usually you have one PPD per physical printer, but if you're dealing with PDFs or PostScript files, you can have all sorts of PPDs. i use Adobe's generic Acrobat Distiller PPD for run-of-the-mill PDFs, but i might use a specialized one if i'm sending a file to a commercial print jobber. but both describe one 'virtual' printer that i use to make PostScript files and eventually PDFs. PPDs aren't new to OS X, by the way -- they've been around for a while.

    PostScript itself is a page description language created by Adobe. it uses vectors to describe a page, rather than rasterized (bitmapped) images. in very simplistic terms: instead of a file carrying information like "red pixel, red pixel, blue pixel, etc" it will carry information like "circle, origin xy, radius a." it's essentially a blueprint for how to make a page, rather than a "picture" of the page laid out pixel-by-pixel.

    some printers support PostScript files natively; that is, you can send a PS file to the printer and its own hardware will sort out how to put that image on the page. i'm not familiar with the Canon S9000, but i'm guessing it's not PS-compliant. this means that your computer needs to take the PS information and turn it into a bitmap format that the printer can understand.

    that's why InDesign is taking so long to print. InDesign files are actually a PS format. when you print one, your CPU has to render it before sending it to the printer. if your printer supported PostScript, your computer would just hand it off to the printer and it would print much faster.

    a RIP program is a specialized bit of software that handles this rendering. if you didn't have InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat, or any other piece of software that supported PostScript, you wouldn't be able to render them before printing and they would look terrible on the physical page.

    a lot of people experience this with .EPS files and QuarkXPress, because Quark will happily import the EPS (which is a PostScript format) but it can't render it before printing, so it looks pretty bad on paper. but take that Quark file and turn it into a PDF and it will print just fine, because Acrobat will render the PostScript information. that's what Acrobat is -- a program that takes these vector-based page files and allows them to be output independent of platform or media. mac, windows, your old dot matrix printer, etc.

    did all of that make sense? feel free to ask questions -- i know i left a lot out.
     
  4. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #4
    Nice job, sonofslim. I'll add a little to your response.

    Paper: experiment. Don't worry about manufacturer -- just experiment. As an example, I like to use Kodak's soft gloss paper because it is two-sided. The paper works great with my old Epson 850, but I have had troubles with my new Epson 960 (its the ink, actually). For glossy, though, I use some cheap paper I found at Sam's Club: Ilford Gallerie. I'm familiar with Ilford because I used to do a lot of "real" photo printing in my younger days. My Epson 960 prints beautifully on this -- yet it is very inexpensive paper.

    InDesign: I'm surprised your Mac is taking so long to render before printing. But this is a great example of why these damn G4 chips need to go.

    But I have some questions: what are the files being used inside InDesign, EPS? JPG? etc. What is their resolution? In publishing magazines we always use 300. Finally, are the pictures at 100% in the document -- or were they manipulated inside InDesign? (In other words, blown up or reduced within InDesign.)

    When I was publisher of a couple B2B magazines, I always told my art director never to do much manipulation inside Quark -- that we achieved better results if did all the manipulation within Photoshop, then simply placed the photos inside the layout program. Of course, they hated this, but we always got great results.
     
  5. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #5
    Nice job, sonofslim. I'll add a little to your response.

    Paper: experiment. Don't worry about manufacturer -- just experiment. As an example, I like to use Kodak's soft gloss paper because it is two-sided. The paper works great with my old Epson 850, but I have had troubles with my new Epson 960 (its the ink, actually). For glossy, though, I use some cheap paper I found at Sam's Club: Ilford Gallerie. I'm familiar with Ilford because I used to do a lot of "real" photo printing in my younger days. My Epson 960 prints beautifully on this -- yet it is very inexpensive paper.

    InDesign: I'm surprised your Mac is taking so long to render before printing. But this is a great example of why these damn G4 chips need to go.

    But I have some questions: what are the files being used inside InDesign, EPS? JPG? etc. What is their resolution? In publishing magazines we always use 300. Finally, are the pictures at 100% in the document -- or were they manipulated inside InDesign? (In other words, blown up or reduced within InDesign.)

    When I was publisher of a couple B2B magazines, I always told my art director never to do much manipulation inside Quark -- that we achieved better results if did all the manipulation within Photoshop, then simply placed the photos inside the layout program. Of course, they hated this, but we always got great results.
     
  6. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #6
    Thanks.

    Thanks for the in depth explanation, sonofslim and numediaman. That answered alot of my questions. I was actually in Sams the other day and looked at the Illford Pearl paper, I will have to give that a try. Thanks again.


    Josh
     
  7. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #7
    Wow, Pearl. That name goes back quite a few years -- as does Gallerie. Pearl is a semi-gloss, almost matt finish paper. High gloss is usually better on modern printers. If they don't have Gallerie you might buy the Kodak High Gloss -- that's pretty chear there, too.
     
  8. Unclej78 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    #8
    How do I set up my OS 10.2 Jaguar to print to postscript from Quark w/o a postscript printer. This was/is very easy to do from Quark 4 on OS9. But I'm at a loss. I've tried to do this in Quark 6 and get a message telling me I need Laserwriter 8.x, but can't seem to fiqure out how to set it up to print to a file.
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    All you need to do is get a postscript printer driver. I'm sure there's a way to do this with out a postscript printer, but I just hooked my computer up to my wife's postscript printer and the driver automatically installed. Then you'll be able to print to postscript--you won't need the printer after that first time.
     
  10. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #10
    i think you can get ps file from any app - just print it and when the settings window opens, change the "copies & pages" combo box to "output options" and select the "save as file" checkbox. there should be pdf and postscript options available.
     
  11. Biggun macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    #11
  12. Sparky's macrumors 6502a

    Sparky's

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    #12
    Here's a page (or 2 ) that will shed a little light on the Postscript issue.

    http://www.linuxprinting.org/kpfeif...tScript-and-PPDs/III.PostScript-and-PPDs.html

    When I print to my Epson (non-postscript) from any application I only get a message that says "some parts of this document contains postscript language, you may not get the results... yadda, yadda...and it prints. Not good, but it prints. I have never seen a postscript "driver" make any differnence in the way ps information prints to a non-ps printer. If the printer itself does not have a ps card installed then it will try to rasterize the image and usually it turns out lousy.
     

Share This Page