Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our staff uses IBM computers and digital images must be in this format ... wait ... what?

My daughter is taking out a senior ad in her yearbook.

Part of the "instructions" state:

"Our staff uses IBM computers and digital images must be in this format."

It also says, "... images must be saved on disk, CD, or zip disk" ... okay ... I'll make sure to put it on zip disk.

I just thought this was interesting ... since pretty much day one of digital imagery the format has been .jpg hasn't it?

I mean professional images are in the raw format ... but wouldn't it help to have something saying .gif, .jpg, or .png instead of this?


Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I was in publishing, but my understanding is that ZIP disks are still common as many pre-press machines accept them. ZIP drives were in common use before USB was even invented (and before flash memory was affordable) and before CD-Rs existed.

Keep in mind that upgrading printing equipment is not like upgrading computers. They are large, permanently installed machines designed to run for decades.

Also JPG is fairly uncommon for print (actually it's a horrible image format for a lot of reasons, which is why PNG and RAW are gaining wider use). RAW is too new (and there seems to be no standard file or data format) I doubt any equipment can accept RAW. Also neither format is suitable for text, as they are both raster formats, not vector.

Typical file formats for press would be PS / EPS or TIFF.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to address this... "since pretty much day one of digital imagery the format has been .jpg hasn't it?"

Unless you meant digital photography instead of digital imagery, that's wrong.

GIF, TIFF and BMP were far more popular before digital cameras came along. The problem with those formats was of course giant file sizes, or in the case of GIF, that it's palleted.

JPG is a highly lossy format designed for photographs -- images with smooth gradients and low contrast / soft borders. That's why text in JPGs looks so awful. And because of the compression, every time you edit and save a JPG you lose fidelity.

JPG was never intended to be a general purpose image format, and is rarely if ever used in digital print production.

FYT said...

Thank you for all the information ... It's certainly more clarification ... BUT

1) I realize Jpeg is a lossy compression ... It's still what the majority of digital CONSUMER cameras use ... including the iPhone.

2) I worked on the publications (annual) staff in high school

3) I was more or less pointing out no matter what the format is ... you can almost 100% be assured that a mac user will be able to be compatible.

4) I'm also pointing out that there is no effort to say eps tiff or jpg - or raw. I'd submit that you would get rejected if you put your photos in raw or eps because they may not have the right reader on their IBM formatting gizmo.

FYT said...

Oh ... I almost forgot ... while it's possible that they are able to read iomega storage ... It hasn't been available at retail for 5 years at some places 2 years at most places ... Almost non existent today ... It is a waste of ink to say anything other than CDr ... Also ... this isn't prepress it's student layout sent to a publisher.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the yearbook (or whomever put out the requirements) simply copied & pasted whatever copy their printer provided.

Recently my dad who is a technology neophyte wanted to have some business cards printed. He didn't want the cheap laser-type you often see in the back of MacWorld, he wanted offset press. He went to a local print shop and asked for their specs. They came back with this same sort of gibberish. I told him to ask if they wanted CMYK or could work with RGB, they didn't know.

My experience with most printers mirrors this. They're lazy with technology. They don't try to learn it, and expect the publisher to know what to do. In fact, some publishers simply ask their printer "what equipment are you using" and the publisher then looks up the best way to deliver the assets.

Anyway, they would absolutely support EPS, Acrobat opens it. I think the "IBM" requirement meant no HFS formatted disks.

FYT said...

I'm sure you're right about the intentions ... I just thought this was funny ... it is also this laziness that perpetuates the Macs are good at graphics and PC at everything else mythos.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty funny, because the last time I can think of IBM meaning a format is about 15 years ago when you bought Mac floppies or IBM floppies.

All this talk of publishing and printing got me thinking how easy iPhoto makes it (I assume Pages has similar features) to print a book or other publication. No thinking about file formats, color space, or anything else. If iPhoto opens it, you can get a high quality print.

What would be quite interesting is a yearbook published entirely by students using either iPhoto or Pages. It'd be really neat to see what students would come up with, and it'd show how much can be done with some creativity and a $1,000 MacBook.