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Prepping PDF for Printing

Explorer ,
Aug 27, 2022 Aug 27, 2022

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Hi!  I just finished illustrating a 52 page children's book in Illustrator.  The company printing the book needs it in PDF format.  The pages are borderless and in full color, many with LOTS of complicated layers.  I'm not sure how to proceed.  I can PDF each page separately, then PDF the PDF-ed pages...but I found that if I just drag the Illustrator .ai file into Acrobat, it PDFs it very nicely.

 

My concern is - would the quality of the final PDF be the same with separate PDFs vs.  dragging the .ai files into Acrobat?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you could give me! - Marilyn

TOPICS
Create PDFs , How to , Print and prepress

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Guide ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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You used Illustrator to create a book? Weird. Normally, all documents made for printing are set up from the very beginning to have a bleeding edge so that all graphics which are supposed to be printed until the edge are wider to fill that bleeding edge. Example:

 

DocMaik_0-1661859457742.png

The black line is the page/sheet edge, the red one the bleeding edge. This is for later cutting the printed books to its final size. The example is from Indesign where you can setup the bleeding quite easily, which later is used to create a print production ready PDF with extra markings. 

Should your Illustrator PDF have enough bleeding edge you could do following:

  • Start Indesign and create a document of the targeted size, your book
  • Set the bleeding edge to what the printing company suggests, perhaps 3mm or 1/10 inch or whatever
  • Place the Illustrator exported PDF pagewise in the center of every page
  • Enlarge every placed PDF page as much as need to fill the bleeding
  • Export to a printable PDF -> perhaps the printing company can give you a ready-to-use PDF export profile for Indesign

The final PDF should have marks sort of like this in the corners:

DocMaik_1-1661859852554.png

 

   

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Engaged ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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as a print provider, be sure to offset your print marks by the amount of your bleed -- the default size is too small.  bleed is useless if the crop marks are touching (or too close)

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Guide ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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It was an example to show what bleed is. The second picture shows two marks with the outer crop marks having more than two times of the bleed offset.

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Engaged ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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I apoligize, I was not commenting on your image.  I was commenting on the common mistake we encounter when people provide bleed, but then make it unuseable by offsetting the crops by a smaller amount.

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Guide ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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That's why it's best you guys give them an export profile and some values. ;o)

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Engaged ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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We can point people in a direction, we can't stop them from running backwards 🙂

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Community Expert ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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I agree with Doc Maik - If the printer is requesting a PDF for submission, they should have very specific guidelines they should share with you regarding how the PDF should be created. I'd inquire to see if they will provide guidance on how to produce the best PDF for their output configuration.

My best,

Dave

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Explorer ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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Hi!  This printing house is actually very good and very accessable.  I zapped them my PDF yesterday and spoke with them on the phone today - they had review my files and let me know there were 2 where I had forgotten to add the bleed area.  I appreciated that!!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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If you have one Illustrator file with 52 Artboards, you can save a pdf from Illustrator and submit that to your printer (File> Save as> Adobe pdf). You will need to include bleed in your Illustrator document setup (File> Document setup, generally .125") and insure the elements on each page extend into the bleed, (excluding the spine, for most book binding). PDF/X-4 is a good general pdf setting, unless your printer tells you otherwise, note you will need to "Use Document Bleed Settings" under the Marks and Bleeds settings. Most printers don't need crop and bleed marks, but you can include crop marks if you want.

If you have 52 individual Illustrator files, you could copy/paste each page into a new, multi-artboard file, or place each page into an InDesign file and export to a pdf.

Illustrator bleed.png

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Explorer ,
Aug 30, 2022 Aug 30, 2022

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Hi -  I didn't need crop or bleed marks, since everything was Clipped into the exact size.  I zapped the PDF to the printer, and they said everything looks good.  Thanks for your help!

 

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