General PhotoShop Tips

Adobe Photoshop’s Purpose

Adobe Photoshop is a program designed to edit and alter photos, and to create certain other types of art that cannot be created in vector art format. Certain effects and filters are available in Photoshop that are not available in other programs. However, Photoshop is not a layout program. If you use Photoshop as your layout program your job WILL incur additional charges.


Create your files at a minimum of 350 dpi at the size they will be printed. Anything less may result in choppy looking images. We are not responsible for poor print quality if you do not use the correct resolution. Although you can open a low resolution file (say 72 dpi) in Photoshop and up-sample the resolution to 350 dpi, it will not improve the quality of the image. With the exception of stock photography purchased off the web, images captured off the web are not print quality. They are almost always 72 dpi.

Process Printing

Color Space: For all 4 color process jobs, convert all images to CMYK. Do not send RGB, LAB, or Indexed color files. Keep in mind that scanners, monitors and digital cameras see color using the RGB color space, but printing equipment utilizes the CMYK color space. This will result in your colors looking slightly different on the monitor than on your printed piece. To keep this difference to a minimum, please adjust your monitor calibration to match final printed pieces.

About text

Do not set text in Adobe Photoshop unless absolutely necessary. Text should be set in a layout program, ideally, or in another vector-based program, such as Adobe Illustrator. Text set in Adobe Photoshop will be lower resolution and will not print as cleanly.


When putting multiple photos, effects and/or pieces of art together in a single Adobe Photoshop file, always create a layered file. When finished, save the document as a psd file with the layers intact. This creates a file that can be easily edited in case changes are needed. Flatten the layers, convert the color space to cmyk mode if you haven’t already, then save a second file as a tiff or eps. This is the file that should be placed in the layout program. If you do not flatten your files and you have used a font we do not have, your job will be delayed while we contact you for new files. Your job will also incur additional charges.

Preparing Images for Placement in Layout Programs

The steps used in preparing an image for a page layout program depend upon the file formats the program recognizes:

• Adobe InDesign can place Adobe Photoshop PSD files. Transparent areas display and print as expected. It is not absolutely necessary to save your Photoshop image to a different file format. However, we do not recommend placing Adobe Photoshop PSD files in Adobe InDesign unless there are transparency issues involved.

• QuarkXPress requires you to save the image as a TIFF or EPS file. However, if the image contains areas you want fully transparent, you must first define those areas using a clipping path. Follow these steps:

1. If your image contains a transparent background or areas that you want to be transparent, create a clipping path around the opaque areas of the image. Even if you have deleted the background around the image, you must define the area with a clipping path before converting the file to TIFF or EPS. Otherwise, areas that are transparent may print as white in the page layout program.

2. Choose File > Save As.

3. In the Save As dialog box, choose the appropriate format from the Format menu. The format you choose depends upon the final output for the document. For printing to non-PostScript printers, choose TIFF. For printing to PostScript printers, choose Photoshop EPS. Then click Save.

4. In the TIFF Options or EPS Options dialog box, set the options as noted below. Leave any remaining options at their default setting, and click OK. • TIFF Options dialog box: set Image Compression to None. • EPS Options dialog box (Windows): set Preview to TIFF (8 bits/pixel) and Encoding to ASCII85. • EPS Options dialog box (Mac OS): set Preview to Mac (8 bits/pixel) and Encoding to Binary.

NOTE: If the layout program displays transparent areas as white, try printing the document. Sometimes clipping paths do not display properly but print as expected.

Formats for Saving Your File - (not using a layout program)

If you are not using a layout program to design your art follow the steps below when saving your images. Be sure to save a .psd (Adobe PhotoShop's native file format) copy of your artwork with all layers intact in the event any revisions or changes are needed.

Verify CMYK Color Space
From the Image menu, choose Mode and click CMYK. Always follow this step to ensure you are saving the image in the CMYK color space before you save the image as a TIFF or EPS. Sending your images in the wrong color space may delay your project until we have recieved your files in the proper format.

Save in TIFF format
From the file menu, choose Save or Save As. In the Save or Save As window, choose TIFF Format. Click on the Save button. In the TIFF Options window, either byte order is acceptable, whatever system you are working on. Please do not check LZW compression.

Save in EPS format
From the file menu, choose Save or Save As. In the Save or Save As window, choose EPS Format. Click on the Save button. In the EPS Options window, choose a TIFF (8 bits/pixel) preview, and binary encoding. Leave all boxes unchecked.

Note: if you choose not to use an acceptable layout program we may not be able to use or edit your TIFF or EPS files. We may require you to send us the native, layered .psd file file along with all fonts used. This request will almost certainly be accompanied by additional charges.

Please do not send DCS, PICT, GIF, or BMP files.

NOTE: These instructions and screen captures were created using Adobe Photoshop v7 on a Macintosh. You may need to adjust slightly for different versions or platforms