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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • The Woes of Overprint Problems

    November 29th, 2006 by Russell Viers

    I had a customer one time who had a magazine cover go bad because they wanted a spot UV over an arrow, but didn’t set the art to overprint. When a bigillion of the magazines came off press and there was just a big white arrow on the cover instead of the photo with a shiny arrow over it, she threw up right there on the floor.
    Don’t let this happen to you. Take control of your files with an understanding of how to make things overprint, or not, depending on what you are wanting.
    Watch the video OVERPRINTING for a quick overview of InDesign’s default and customizable settings.
    One of the main things you want to know is that InDesign will overprint ALL blacks if you leave the default setting alone. If you go to preferences and turn it off, it will knockout ALL blacks. Those are your choices…on or off. Hmmmm…
    I always check with the printer or service bureau outputting my file to see if their RIP is set up to knockout and trap overprints if they are in the PDF file. I suggest you ask the same question.
    The reason that’s important is that you can knockout and trap overprinted black if it’s in the file, but you can’t overprint knocked out black later if you decide you need it.
    Should you decide you want black to overprint sometimes and knockout others, and you want to control this manually, here’s a little trick. Create a swatch called Knockout Black and make it 99.9 percent black. You can then use Black for all objects and type you want to overprint and use Knockout Black for all objects and type you want knocked out. The 99.9 percent black will plug up to solid on press.
    It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the Attributes Palette, where you can manually set overprinting on fills and strokes of type and objects. Just remember that for type you need to have the type highlighted with the Type Tool, not just selected with the Selection Tool.
    When checking your work, depend on your Separations Preview Palette, a video of which is available called…uh…Separations Preview Palette.

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