Introduction to Book Layout and Preparing for Print

Introduction to book layout and introduction to preparing for print are two separate inductions that are both based in Adobe InDesign and both work hand in hand. Introduction to book layout covers how to set up and create a document for a book in InDesign, then introduction to preparing for print covers how to save and export the document correctly for printing as well as imposition.

When creating a document for print it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Audience
  2. Format (book size)
  3. Construction (binding)
  4. Extent (number of pages)
  5. Elements to include (special features, pop ups, flaps, gate folds)
  6. Deadline
  7. Printing needs (colour or black white?)
  8. How is it being printed (digital, litho, screen printing, letterpress)
  9. Book cover (soft or hard?)
  10. Do I have everything I need? (Photos, illustrations, 300dpi scans?)

Before creating the document it is important to create a flat plan detailing what will be included in the front matter, content and the end matter. Once this is done you can go onto creating your document. In this induction we looked at how to create a new document with facing pages, then how to create a grid and determine the font size and baseline grid. We then went on to learn how to create master pages, one for our grid to go onto and one for our numbering system. Finally we looked at type and how to create paragraph styles, frames and adding columns to a frame.

After setting up our documents we moved onto introduction to preparing for print. We began by learning how to find information on the images within the document in order to check their actual and effective PPI, as well as the colour settings for the document. Once all of those settings had been checked we started to look at how to export the document as a PDF for print, this included making sure the correct version of PDF was chosen, making sure the document was exported as spreads instead of pages, including marks and bleeds, and checking the correct colour conversion setting is selected.

Once the document has been exported as a PDF it can be opened in Acrobat Pro where you can use the colour output preview settings to make sure the document is exported correctly, as this is how the printing company will view your document when you send it to them.

Finally we looked at doing our own imposition for our documents, despite the fact most printing companies will do this for you it is handy to know in case they request you do your own or for printing your own mock ups before going to print. This stage included a lot of technical information as Adobe InDesign is not designed well for doing imposition, in order to correctly impose our documents we had to add a postscript file to our software. Once this had been done we went through the process of creating imposition preset using this postscript file as the printer. Using this preset we selected print booklet, chose the booklet type we wanted and the signature sizes and printed the file. This file when printed had to be saved with a .ps extension instead of an .indd extension, the .ps file could be opened once saved and then exported as a PDF which is the file type most printing companies will request.

This induction was incredibly helpful, especially preparing for print. Previously I had been afraid to produce books as final outcomes for my projects as I was unsure on how to correctly set up a document and how to do the imposition for my pages, although I could easily find information online on how to set up a document I was unable to on how to impose my pages therefore this information was invaluable to me. Since doing this induction I plan on creating many more as part of my coursework as I can now confidently and efficiently create the documents and print them, therefore allowing me to focus more time on creating high quality content.

Introduction to Better Typography

In this induction we learnt how to use many of the features and functions in Adobe InDesign for typography. We began by learning how to reveal hidden characters within a block of text, which is especially useful if the text is provided to you by a client as you are able to see where paragraphs have been inserted. Then we moved onto how to apply paragraph styles and special character styles, as well as how to insert footnotes, hanging punctuation, ligatures, tabs, indents, bullets and rules. Other important skills we learned was how to balanced ragged text and remove runts/stubs, which is something that is always necessary when working with large bodies of type.

Out of all of the software inductions I have been to so far I felt that this one has definitely been the most beneficial to me. With many software packages a lot of the information can be learnt online however this induction covered a wide range of skills and tips that I otherwise would not have thought to look up or would have struggled to find information on, for example how to reveal hidden characters which is not a function I would have ever thought to use.

Etching Induction

In the print workshop I was inducted into the process of etching. We began by creating a hard ground etching onto a zinc plate. The process for doing this is as follows: file the edges of the plate at a 45 degree angle, polish the plate, rub the plate with degreaser, rinse the plate, dry the plate with a hairdryer set to cool, heat the plate and apply the hard ground with a roller, leave the plate too cool, scratch in your design, place in the acid bath for 1o minutes, rinse the plate and finally print. After experimenting with a hard ground we created another plate using soft ground, this uses the same process however the soft ground never sets, so instead of scratching the design into the surface a design can be traced on or an object can be pressed on.

Brighton Beach Rust Photography

For my hard ground design I scratched the photograph above freehand onto the plate. I chose this image as I believed the linear qualities of the texture would work well as an etching. Furthermore the imagery I chose was from my art of the accident project therefore my prints could be used as part of my materials and processes experimentation. I then played with printing the plate in black and orange inks, orange to represent the rust colour. I also experimented with printing onto newsprint, for my project I have been experimenting with the idea of creating a book printed onto transparent materials, as I couldn’t print a plate onto tracing paper or acetate I choose newsprint instead. This was a challenge as the paper was to fragile to be soaked in the water bath so had to be sprayed with a water bottle instead, however the print did turn out successful.

Below are my hard ground etching prints:

Hard Ground Black Ink Etching

Hard Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching onto Newsprint

Hard Ground Black Ink Line Work with Orange Overprint Etching

For my soft ground design I traced the photograph above onto the plate. I then used my fingers to create tonal areas.

Below are my soft ground etching prints:

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Second Print Etching

In my opinion my these prints were highly successful, especially the prints where I have overprinted black and orange ink, and hard and soft ground plates. Therefore I hope to find a way to incorporate them into my final book.

Grids Workshop

Exercise 1 – Proportion

 Josef Muller-Brockman and Dieter Rams are both designers who had systems and rules for approaching their work which would allow them to quickly produce good designs. Grids are a form of system that allow designers to effectively organise content for their work. The Fibonacci sequence is a system of numbers commonly seen in nature, with a ratio of 1.6 between the numbers. The numbers are as follows 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc. This ratio can be utilised to create visually appealing designs. The golden spiral uses fibonacci numbers to create a grid that is meant to be visually appealing, the impressionists were particularly fond of using this grid in their designs.

For our workshop we were giving a template with a 233 x 144mm spread marked out, then using cut up paper we had to create compositions within the template. The elements we could create using the paper however had to have Fibonacci numbers as the measurements for their height and width. This meant that all of the elements were using the golden ratio. Below are contact sheets of the spreads that I produced. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this and believe layout and spread design will continue to be an area of interest for me.

Exercise 2 – The Golden Section

Exercise 3 – Van De Graaf Canon 

Exercise 4 – Layout

To explore composition we were tasked with drawing a 9×9 rectangular grid, onto this grid we then experimented with the composition of text and shapes of varying sizes. Above are my experiments, initially we used only text of the same font size, then we went on to introduce a variety of font sizes as well as some shapes.

Overall I found this workshop particularly useful in helping to understand layout and composition, especially through the application of grids which I had previously not worked with before. This workshop will greatly aid me in my current project exploring the use of grids for layout design.

Vertical Project: Green Screen Workshop

On Tuesday the tutors ran a one day workshop on green screen effects, which they linked to our current project, the vertical project. However, in order to slightly distinguish the projects from another they set the theme of the workshop to be fake memories.

For the workshop me and 11 other level 4 students, a mixture of graphic design and illustrations students, grouped together and began brainstorming ideas. The idea we decided upon, inspired by the theme of fake memories, was the lies your parents would tell you as a child. The lies we came up with was getting curly hair from eating bread crusts, when an ice cream van plays music it means they are out of ice cream and when you eat apple seeds an apple will grow in your stomach.

For our green screen short film we decided to focus on one lie as the film could only be a maximum of 1 minute long. The lie we chose was when parents tell their children that if you eat apple seeds a tree will grow in your stomach. To visually convey this we created several vines (which consisted of cut out paper leads threaded onto ribbon), and our short film would involve one member of our group eating an apple (a prop made of card), and then having vines appear and grow from her stomach (which would be controlled by other team members wearing morph suits). To utilise the blue screen we made a cardboard cartoon outfit for the team member to wear on top of a morph suit with a flap in the centre to conceal the vines which would soon appear.

Currently our footage is being processed and compressed by their tutor who ran the workshop. Hopefully soon the footage will be returned to us so that we can edit and add sound to our work.

Introduction to Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects

Early in the year I attended an introduction to motion workshop where we editing footage using Adobe Premiere Pro. Today I attended a short introduction to Adobe Premier Pro workshop which focused more on how to use that specific software package, where as the introduction to motion workshop focused more on video editing. The workshop also introduced how to use the software Adobe After Effects.

Premiere Pro is for video editing and you can use it to compose original work, After Effects on the other hand is for creating animations and can be used to create original artwork. Both software programmes are project based, therefore all assets must be saved in the same folder to maintain the links.

We began the introduction with looking at Adobe Premiere Pro. We looked at how to get our photographs safely off the camera, how to correctly format our projects and how to import our photographs into the software. The we began to look at the uses of some of the keys terms, something we had not previously covered in the introduction to motion workshop. The tools we looked at was the ripple edit, rolling edit, slip and slide tools, all designed to manipulate how footage, images and audio are positioned on the timeline. Finally we looked at how to render our final outcome in Premiere Pro. We looked at how to test render a small selection of footage from the film, which is useful to when working on large projects, as well as how to fully render your film with the correct formatting.

Once we had covered Adobe Premiere Pro we moved onto Adobe After Effects, a software that was completely knew to me and one that i was eager to learn. Throughout the course so far I have worked on many projects that I would have liked to have created animations for, however I lacked the skills and found learning the software by myself to be a very steep learning curve, therefore this workshop was perfect for my interests.

We started by looking at how to import assets into the software, still single images and a sequence of images, and how to place them within the workspace. Then we began to look at how to manipulate those assets by applying position, scale and opacity effects. Finally we looked at applying effects that changed the visual qualities of the imported assets, such as linear colour key and compound arithmetic. Finally, like with Premiere Pro, we covered how to render our final animations and make sure that they are correctly formatted.

Overall I found the induction extremely useful as it was handy to recap on how to use Premiere Pro and learn more about the tools, but what I really found useful was learning about After Effects. After Effects is a particularly difficult piece of software to self teach due to the fact that it is so fast and is used for a variety of purpose and formats, therefore a concise induction into the software aimed at beginners has helped me to understand roughly how it works, and hopefully I can now continue to self teach myself the software a lot easier.

Introduction to Advanced Adobe Photoshop

10/02/2017

This induction was a sequel to the beginners Photoshop induction which I attended last year in October. During this session we developed our existing skills and also learnt new skills in the software.

Before photo editing

After photo editing

We began by looking at ways of editing photographs, we started by exploring colour correction using adjustment layers.The adjustment layers we played with were levels, to adjust the shadows and highlight, and vibrance, to adjust the vibrancy of colours as well as saturation. With colour correction it is important to make sure you create a duplicate layer of the original image before any changes are made so that you can compare the before and after, also it is important to make sure that the screen is properly calibrated to ensure that the colours are accurate.

Then we began to explore editing the content within the image through the use of the sponge tool, clone stamp tool and the spot healing brush tool. Each have their advantages and disadvantages and should be used where appropriate. The sponge tool can be used in two modes, saturate and desaturate, you can also adjust the flow of the brush for more control, the clone stamp tool requires you to select a target area to sample to clone which is time consuming but allows for more control than the spot healing brush tool which will automatically select a target area to sample however this can lead to poor results if it selects and undesirable target area.

Finally for editing photographs we looked at sharpening and high pass filter. To sharpen an image it was recommended that we use the unsharp mask or smart sharpen, which can be used to add more clarity to the image and reduce any blur in the image created through camera shake. We also used a high pass filter which allows you to apply a blend mode to only select areas of the image, therefore improving only the areas that require improvements.

Before extraction

After extraction

After looking at editing photographs we briefly revisited layer masks which we covered in the induction to Photoshop for beginners as well as how to create our own Photoshop brushes, and then quickly moved on to extraction. Extraction can be used to remove a selected area from an image. We used select > colour range to select the background colour which we the removed. Then we created a layer mask, refined mask edge and put on a smart radius which we adjusted, we switched on decontaminate colours which we adjusted, as well as adjusting the feathering in order to remove any of the remaining green contaminating the image of the monkey. Finally I replaced the green background with red.

Applying my knowledge of advanced blending and selections

Channels are not something I had previously learnt before in Photoshop therefore covering their uses was very helpful for me. We looked at creating crisp line work with channels by duplicating the channels, inverting the channels and using the dodge tool to further define the line work. Finally loading the channel as a selection to create a clean and crisp selection of the line work. It was highlighted that this way of working is particularly useful for screen printing and you can split channels to create multiple documents, each for a layer of the image, we can then be used to individually print each layer of a screen print.

Finally we ended the induction by looking at grayscale and duotone. Grayscale is particularly useful as printing in grayscale can save money, however in order to do this the image must be set to grayscale and not simply appear black and white. To do this you can use image > mode > grayscale, or you can choose image > adjustments > black and white, then manually adjust how the image appears in black and white, and once happy with the appearance select image > mode > grayscale, to discard the RGB or CMYK channels.

Examples of duotone

To produce duotone images you need your document to be set to grayscale first. The using image > mode > duotone you can select monotone or duotone. You can also use the duotone curve to change how each colour relates to each other.

Overall I found this induction extremely useful. I initially attended the induction to Photoshop for beginners which was handy for learning the correct way of doing things in Photoshop however most of the content covered I already knew, however this induction taught me a wide range of skills which I was either not confident in using or had never used before. A skill that I had never even encountered before was duotone, although I have seen many duotone images over the years I never knew its name or how to recreate it, therefore I think in the future that will be something I develop from this induction in my own time or in my studio work.

Screen Printing Induction

20/01/2017

Coating

  1. Choose a clean trough with no damage that is an appropriate size (within the area of the mesh)
  2. Clip on trough ends
  3. Hold trough in the palm of your hands with your fingers resting on the trough ends
  4. Pour an even amount of photosensitive solution throughout the trough
  5. Coat the back of the frame first
  6. Start 1cm from the bottom of the mesh
  7. Tilt the trough until the emulsion touches the screen
  8. Progressively stand whilst applying the emulsion
  9. Stop 5cm from the top of the screen, remove the angle of the trough and carry on moving the trough upwards for the remaining distance to ensure no drips

Drying Cabinet

  1. Place screen frame side up on the ridge
  2. Coated screens at the top of the cabinet, wet screens at the bottom

Cleaning

  1. Rinse the front of the screen
  2. Remove the unexposed emulsions from the back of the screen
  3. Can use a rag to remove any emulsion that won’t come off
  4. Rinse the front of the screen again
  5. Use a window wiper to remove any excess water
  6. Put back into the drying cabinet

Designing

Screenprint Design

For my design I used a photograph from my transmogrify contact sheet. As our final prints would consist of 2 or 3 colours we were recommended to choose images that could simply be split into 2 or 3 layers, therefore I believed that the simple geometric forms and monochromatic colour scheme of this image would make for an effective print. To get the image ready for print I made the image grayscale, increased the levels and printed it onto acetate as a 300dpi TIFF file. For the next layer I traced the black forms from the initial image onto acetate, I draw these forms on roughly with black ink to create texture. For my final layer I made simple lines onto another piece of acetate to highlight some key forms in the image.

Printing

  1. Fix the frame into the jaws
  2. Screw the bolts onto the corners of the frame
  3. Check the snap and adjust as needed
  4. Attach squeegee, make sure it is in the centre of your design
  5. Adjust the angle of the squeegee for printing and flooding
  6. Register
  7. Adjust the table if needed
  8. Apply a generous amount of ink (printing ink should be 50% paint, 50% mixing medium roughly)
  9. Test print
  10. Make any adjustments
  11. Can use screen filler to fill in any holes in the print on the screen
  12. Print
  13. Flood after each print to prevent the screen from blocking
  14. Don’t flood on your last print
  15. Wash the screen, squeegee and any other materials

Introduction to InDesign

11/11/2016

Adobe InDesign is important in graphic design and illustration for producing publications and other printed material. This workshop not only equips me for producing my own publications and printed material in the future but also helps me in producing the  ‘Learning the Ropes’ typography archive that I am currently working on and which has to be produced in Adobe InDesign.

We started by setting up a new document and becoming familiar with the different options that can be adjusted; intent, facing pages, columns, gutter, margins, bleed and slug. Once the document was set up we became familiar with the pasteboard and adding, moving pages and placing images. To add content to the pages we first looked at type which has many different options available, more than the other Adobe softwares. For producing typography you have control over the font, font size, colour etc. like most design software however you also have control over the leading, tracking, kerning, vertical scale, baseline shift, skew, overrunning text and paragraph formatting.

Colours are another important part of the software as you can mix and add colours to the swatches palette , however for more accurate colours you can use the Pantone system which is mainly for text or large blocks of text. To use the system you can purchase different swatches books from Pantone for different stocks of paper, you can then select the colour you want from the book and enter the Pantone number into InDesign which will then select that exact colour on screen. This ensures that when you print your work it will be the same colour as it was in the Pantone colour swatch book.

Out of all the software introductions I have been to so far I have found this one to be the most useful. I started this introduction with no knowledge of the software, where as with the other introductions I was already familiar with them to some degree, and left feeling confident with using the software independently to produce work which is essential considering its importance to my course.

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator

04/11/2016

Photoshop uses pixels to create imagery which can be used to describe fine detail whereas Illustrator use vectors, these are mathematically plotted points which means quality isn’t lost when the image is blown up to a large scale. This is useful for producing graphics for brands and companies where the imagery needs to be used at a variety of scales, such as billboards. Vector images are also useful as they have smaller file sizes than images consisting of pixels. In conclusion Adobe Illustrator is a very important software for me to learn due to how useful it is within graphic design.

We covered selection, placing images, tracing images, creating paths, joining and editing paths, paintbrush tool, pencil tool, blob brush, geometric shapes, expanding objects, shape builder tool, gradients, appearance panel, type, templates, the pen tool and creating patterns. Adobe Illustrator offers a lot of features unique or vastly different to other Adobe softwares, such as the pen tool, although present in other software it is primarily used in Illustrator. Previously I had tried to self teach myself the software but found this difficult due to the large amount of new tools to learn, where as the workshop allowed me to not only have it explained to me in a way I could understand but to also try it for myself and have my progress reviewed.