Taking a job to the printer...some issues
I'm working on this 2006 Ireland calendar project, and have taken it to one of the better printers in the area. The reason I chose this particular printer is that they came recommended from a client that I have that uses them. Additionally, they have a Kodak NexPress 2100 digital printing press that is perfect for short runs, like my calendar.
They've had my files for nearly 2 weeks now, and I've been to 2 seperate press checks to see how it's turning out.
Problem is...it's not so good.
I'm finding out that I am actually doing a lot of education, both to my sales rep. and to the press operator.
I'm teaching advanced and complex color theory and color management techniques that they should *already* know in order to make the print job go well.
I was at this press check for nearly an hour, and we mostly went over Photoshop settings, ICC profiles, soft proofing and other geeky printing-tech stuff that would leave your head spinning.
I could see that I was losing him and that he was really in over his head on this job, and I'm starting to wonder how I proceed.
Here's the problem. The press that they have is absolutely fabulous. It will make this project look beautiful. But, the operator needs some training and is missing some profiles to make it perfect.
I've called Kodak and had their tech rep talk to the printer, and he's going to speak again tomorrow.
It just seems like I'm doing a lot of hand-holding and education, and it's me that's spending my time helping them.
I know that the project will turn out great, I've invested a lot of time with these guys, and frankly I don't have much time to find another printer before the end of the year.
I *should* have been doing this about a month ago, but you know how deadlines are...they sometimes get pushed back.
So...do I just eat my time and get through this project? Do I send them an invoice for my time and training? Do I pitch myself to the owner of the company after this is done and tell them that I can do some training with their staff?
I really feel like they need to reciprocate in some way here. I've been VERY patient with them and they will end up benefitting a lot from me raising the bar for them.
If they do a good job and everyone is happy with the final result, I'd say eat the time, and you'll have a good relationship with them in the future, and they'll know what you want, so it should be easier in the future.
Well, I've been preparing my design jobs for commercial printing for nearly fifteen years. I always press check as color can be bumped in small increments. Press ops don't necessarily see what we see. But a good operator will know how to adjust the color in increments to get what you want.
If you gave them a cmyk file, that's all there should be to it.
Did you give them prints to match from? That's a must.
I think you should ask them the questions you pose here, as they are the ones to deal with. I would leave them to figure it out and not waste your time. When they get a good match, go see it.
Choose a printer you've worked with next time, and one whose quality you are aware of. I've used the same printer for nearly the whole fifteen years for 90% of my jobs because of their QC.
But yeah, ask for a discount.
Matt's Photo Site
"I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin
Sorry to see you have problems with these folks. We have a Nexpress where I work too, it took a while to get things printing right, and I still like what comes off the offset presses better than the Nexpress. Nexpress reminds me of Crayola, it's a powder toner heat fused and the ink is not bonded to the paper well enough to prevent the ink from cracking when the paper is folded. It needs creasing with a letterpress before it will fold clean. If you ever get out east you could have a look at what these produce. Sometimes it looks pretty good. Peek at the link if you're curious about the place.
One of the reasons I went with this print shop is that they came highly recommended. Their other jobs they showed me when I went in for my initial meeting looked good. This is my first print job here in Salt Lake, so I was hesitant, but the recommendation was good.
I provided them with a complete set of soft-proofs, printed from my Epson 4000. They are using them as the go-bys.
The first press check was a disaster, and this one tonight was a lot better.
They're just missing the ICC profile to do the CMYK conversion. They couldn't provide it to me when I requested it, so I delivered RGB files in ProPhoto color space.
If you can e-mail me the ICC profile for that NexPress (glbeas), I think that's the missing link.
The printer is contacting his sales-rep to see if they have it or if it is included in the documentation and software for the machine.
Any help you can provide would be GREAT.
I knew APUG was a great resource, it's depth is amazing.
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I phoned Executive Printing today and ended up finding Michael McGaughey.
We spoke for quite a while, and he e-mailed me the profile for the NexPress you have in your printshop.
I'm converting one of my documents as we speak, will FTP it to my printer for them to run a proof on.
Cross your fingers!
Thanks for the lead...I appreciate it a lot.
I'm glad I could help. Next you need to look at how the finishing department is going to put it all together. Be sure any folds either have no ink or is scored before being folded to look good, unless you are wire binding which needs no folding. I work in the finishing end of Executive, so I've had my fun dealing with Nexpress output.
Do we get to see what it looks like when you are done?
This will be spiral bound on the short end of the 12x18, so no folding (I HATE folds).
They're going to die-cut out the little half-moon shape for the wire spiral binding, and the samples they showed me were nice.
There are SO many variables in the chain of production. I think of clear back to even buying my airline tickets to go on the trip these images were made on...even that had many variables. It just gets more complex from there.
I must warn you though, and for the APUG disclaimer, all of the images were captured digitally. I am a control freak, and maintaining the integrity of the files, the color management, the soft-proofing, the design of the calender, etc...was all done by myself. So, handing my baby off to the printer, especially one who needs a bit more training, is proving to be very frustrating.
Michael there at your shop has been VERY helpful. I'm sending him a copy of the final product, so yes, at least you will be able to see how this turns out.
I have a limited number of months hidden away on my website and can load them all if folks really want to see how this is going to turn out.
EDIT: Here are a few small .jpgs of some months I uploaded.
Thanks again...I just missed you when I called earlier. They said you had just left. I'm thinking you headed out for some Christmas shopping.
Originally Posted by Michael Slade
Do you always start your week on a Monday? It would cornfuse me.
tim in Sunday starting San Jose
Where ever you are, there you be.
Your experiences sound very similar to mine (though on a much more professional scale - fortunatly I just dabble in these things).
A recent visit to a local pro-lab showed that while they had a practical colour management system in place, they had little understanding of it, and their workflow was far from optimal. Most questions or sugguestions were met with "thats what the machine does, and we work with what comes out".
My dealings with a MAJOR international publisher weren't much better - upon asking about gamma and/or colour space I was met with blank looks from the production staff. Their solution was for me to keep sending them adjusted images, and they sent proofs back until it looked right.
As it's your reputation on the line, and YOU want it to look right, all I can sugguest is you keep working with them (and be greatfull they're happy to keep working at it) until it looks right.