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Typesetting for the Cover

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:52 pm
by Piperdog
I just finished up a nifty module cover in Photoshop, complete with cool typesetting. Then the commercial printer says that I shouldn't typeset in Photoshop; they want the cover art brought over to InDesign, and do the typesetting in there.

Is that the standard for doing a cover? At any rate, this is hastening my purchase of InDesign.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:33 am
by jaybird216
As a graphic designer by education and trade (10+ years now... yikes), I'd generally have to agree with the printer. If I were doing a cover, I'd do it in InDesign unless there were some sort of crazy extenuating circumstances. The main reason I can see for doing one in Photoshop would be the necessity for some funky graphic effects. Even in that instance, I would do the background, images and effects in Photoshop then and import that into InDesign as the background, where I would then lay in the typography over it.

The main benefit is that InDesign sets type up as vector art ("outlines"), so the edges are clean and never pixelated. The one major drawback to trying to do type, especially small type, in Photoshop is that the program rasterizes everything. That means it turns the text into pixels. If the resolution of the file is lacking, you'll definitely get some jagged edges to your type. I'm sure a decent explanation of vector vs raster is but a simple google search away, so I won't get into it here aside from to say that each has their strengths, and vector is the way to go with type while raster is the way to go with complex images and effects.

That being said, Peter mentioned in the layout thread that he did the PHB cover design in Photoshop. Taking a scrutinizing look at the nuances of the one on my shelf, I can find almost no instances where his text suffered from being done in Photoshop. This simply tells me that his final file was of excellent resolution, and Peter knew what he was doing. I also had a boss who would typeset everything in Photoshop. It drove me crazy, but the final product was good enough, since her final resolution was high enough. Obviously, then, covers CAN be supplied in Photoshop, but it's neither recommended nor the norm. [EDIT] However, commercial printers are finicky beasts. If they want a file in InDesign, even though it could work in Photoshop, that's what they'll get. I often wish that I had a printer's ability to say "Tough luck. Do it our way, on our scehdule." when dealing with clients.

Hopefully that makes clear enough sense. I'm up sick at 2:30am
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Jason Braun
Art Monkey for Hire
Three-Headed Troll Art Wurks

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:23 pm
by gideon_thorne
I'm routinely doing cover art and files in 600 + dpi these days. But when I turned it over to Steve its in the 300 dpi range.

No printer, no matter what they tell you, is printing anything out over 360 dpi. Thats major publishing house print standard.

The set up can be done in photoshop or indesign. Anything else is personal preference and affects quality not one jot if the initial dpi is high enough.

Sides. I do a lot of fudging on the fonts of things so no one else can exactly duplicate the logo's I design.

The C&C 3rd printing C&C logo fonts, for example, don't exist in any font family anywhere. Kinda hard to do in In Design. ^_~`
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"We'll go out through the kitchen!" Tanis Half-Elven

Peter Bradley

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:00 pm
by Piperdog
Thanks guys. This is all new to me. I am in the process of getting InDesign, but have already completed the cover in Photoshop, complete with the typesetting. I did everything in 600dpi, so it should be okay.

Since I just started getting comfortable with working with type in Photoshop, I am having fun seeing what I can do with it.

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:05 pm
by Piperdog
Okay, one more question for Jason or Pete, or whoever wants to jump in.

The whole ISBN and barcode thingy. Once you purchase your own ISBN, do you physically add that barcode/isbn to the back cover, or is that done at the printer for you? Again, thanks for any help you can offer. This forum has been one of my main avenues of research, and I really can't thank you guys enough for being so helpful.

See ya!

Eric Piper

Closet Gaming Professional

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:38 pm
by jaybird216
gideon_thorne wrote:
Sides. I do a lot of fudging on the fonts of things so no one else can exactly duplicate the logo's I design.

The C&C 3rd printing C&C logo fonts, for example, don't exist in any font family anywhere. Kinda hard to do in In Design. ^_~`

I totally agree, Peter. In that instance, I'd do all that logo work in Photoshop (or Illustrator, depending on whether or not it was a vector or raster logo) and include it with the background. I'd still do the rest of the type (back cover text, etc) in InDesign. But like you say, it's mostly a matter of personal preference. As long as you can pump out a press-ready PDF with bleeds and your original art was high-enough resolution to begin with, everything should be ok. We all know that one of the first things an artist learns is to know his tools, and then improvise like a madman!

I guess my point was that InDesign (or Quark, heaven forbid) is pretty much industry standard. Maybe I've been brainwashed by "them"...
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Jason Braun
Art Monkey for Hire
Three-Headed Troll Art Wurks

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:42 pm
by jaybird216
PIperdog wrote:
Okay, one more question for Jason or Pete, or whoever wants to jump in.

The whole ISBN and barcode thingy. Once you purchase your own ISBN, do you physically add that barcode/isbn to the back cover, or is that done at the printer for you?

I actually have no idea, Eric. I'm curious to learn about this myself. My gut says that the printer would have the appropriate software and can do it in pre-press, but I can't stand behind that 100%.
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Jason Braun
Art Monkey for Hire
Three-Headed Troll Art Wurks

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:05 pm
by gideon_thorne
PIperdog wrote:
Okay, one more question for Jason or Pete, or whoever wants to jump in.

The whole ISBN and barcode thingy. Once you purchase your own ISBN, do you physically add that barcode/isbn to the back cover, or is that done at the printer for you? Again, thanks for any help you can offer. This forum has been one of my main avenues of research, and I really can't thank you guys enough for being so helpful.

See ya!

Eric Piper

Closet Gaming Professional

Well, I know we do all that stuff before we send it off to print. Thats part of the standard cover layout that I put together at least.
_________________
"We'll go out through the kitchen!" Tanis Half-Elven

Peter Bradley