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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: Seamus on May 31, 2009, 09:46:09 AM



Title: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Seamus on May 31, 2009, 09:46:09 AM
So I am getting ready to layout my first book in INdesign. Done several dry runs without art. Our illustrations and cover art will be ready soon. People tell me I must use photoshop to put art in my layout. Is this true? Why? Can I just use the images that my artist sends me (which he sets up in photoshop anyways), without using photoshop myself? What are the cheaper alternatives if I really need to use a program like photoshop. Are there any problems I should be aware of when putting art into my INdesign layout?


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: reason on May 31, 2009, 03:09:03 PM
It's not true. Use GIMP. There's probably a fair 0.1% of instances where you'll need to do something that turns out to be easier in photoshop, but you'll never save enough time to make it worth paying for.

http://www.gimp.org


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Ben Lehman on May 31, 2009, 03:28:13 PM
You should be able to place (File->Place) into InDesign with no difficulty whatsoever.

yrs--
--Ben


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Vordark on May 31, 2009, 05:34:41 PM
Regardless of what anyone else might tell you, Photoshop is the best choice for image editing software, and will likely be for the foreseeable future.

But...

You almost certainly do not need to use it.  The GIMP is free and it's basically equivalent to the second-to-last version of Photoshop.  There may be some brand spanking new features the latest version of Photoshop has that aren't in the GIMP, but it's unlikely your project will absolutely require them.  The only real gotcha with the GIMP is that it's interface isn't as slick or as intuitive as Photoshop's, but this is less true of the latest version of the GIMP.


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: greyorm on May 31, 2009, 06:54:54 PM
Not to mention, most of the brand-spanking new features found in Photoshop are things only super photo-editing geeks and digital artists will ever really need to use or care about, and even they will never use all the tricks available. You can easily get by on a version of Photoshop from a number of years ago, so not having the latest and newest will really not cause you any harm, as the basic, core features are likely all you'll ever find yourself utilizing (meaning: just because the GIMP is behind the curve, it doesn't matter one bit for your, or most people's, purposes).


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on June 01, 2009, 02:10:46 AM
What you specifically need an image editing software for is this: you need to be able to change the color spec of the document, you need to be able to resize it, you might need to be able to cut it and you might need to save it in a different format. Last I checked, GIMP can't handle CMYK color files; a stupid limitation, but if it's still in place, the program simply isn't suitable for print-ready layout work in color.

It is theoretically possible that your artist will bring you image files that never necessitate any of these simple procedures: if he knows the file format, image size, color spec and other qualities you need, then in theory nothing would prevent him from sending the files to you ready to use. In that case you would not need an image editor, as you could just put whatever you get directly into your layout.


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Double King on June 01, 2009, 05:35:16 AM
Photoshop is great.  I hear good things about Gimp.  Keep in mind that if your system software is fine with it, you should be able to find an older copy of PS on ebay with valid serial codes much below retail pricing.  Until Apple mandates i migrate to the newest version of Adobe software, i plan on sticking with the CS3 era products.


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: greyorm on June 01, 2009, 12:43:19 PM
Last I checked, GIMP can't handle CMYK color files; a stupid limitation, but if it's still in place, the program simply isn't suitable for print-ready layout work in color.

That issue has been solved via plug-in for years.


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Seamus on June 05, 2009, 12:14:52 PM
I decided to go with GIMP, since I am already familiar with it from my old job.

Greyorm: I just downloaded the most recent version, do I need to do anything else in order to get the plug in for the color issue?


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: greyorm on June 05, 2009, 01:37:02 PM
You'll need to download (http://cue.yellowmagic.info/softwares/separate.html) and install it. Link provided for the former, check the directions in GIMP for the latter. (Honestly, though, I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to use CMYK, so I don't know if you'll ever actually need to use it unless your printer specifically requests it or an artist sends you a CMYK file.)


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Carnifex on June 11, 2009, 05:26:45 AM
You'll need to download (http://cue.yellowmagic.info/softwares/separate.html) and install it. Link provided for the former, check the directions in GIMP for the latter. (Honestly, though, I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to use CMYK, so I don't know if you'll ever actually need to use it unless your printer specifically requests it or an artist sends you a CMYK file.)

I bet you don't know the difference between RGB and CMYK. 99% of everything you print is printed with CMYK. You can't actually print anything in RGB (you could maybe send it to the printer as RGB but it WILL be converted) .

If you plan on making best quality printed stuff you have to be able to work in CMYK. Haven't used GIMP but I doubt I'd be satisfied with it with the high demands for speed and quality that I have.


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: guildofblades on June 11, 2009, 08:17:39 AM
>>If you plan on making best quality printed stuff you have to be able to work in CMYK.<<

It should also be noted that TVs and most printed only show you RGB. And yes, there are usually subtle differences between the RGB and converted CMYK outputs for the sale file. That said, unless you have an art monitor that is showing you the CMYK, then its still probably best if you work in RGB anyways and simply let the printer convert as is necessary for them. All modern digital printers will do that conversion automatically without the operator needing to do a thing.

If exact color tone is highly important to you however, its best you start by getting a graphical monitor that can display in CMYK.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.gobretail.com
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: greyorm on June 11, 2009, 08:45:21 AM
I bet you don't know the difference between RGB and CMYK.

...

"I bet..."? Seriously? Oy.

Alright then.

I've been doing design for years. Long enough to know plenty about the differences between additive and subtractive color palettes, long enough to have studied running four-color presses before deciding I wasn't interested, certainly long enough to have had to work with CMYK, more than long enough to know that working with CMYK on an RBG source is still a crapshoot (since one is trying to emulate subtractive color schema on an additive screen, and can't thus get a true feel of the actual values you'll see until one runs a proof), and long enough to know that the majority of printers today convert it for you -- I haven't had a request for CMYK files from a printer in years, even when I ask if they want it. Hence my statement to Seamus about his probably never needing to use it.

Quote
If you plan on making best quality printed stuff you have to be able to work in CMYK. Haven't used GIMP but I doubt I'd be satisfied with it with the high demands for speed and quality that I have.

Take a minute here and check what you just said: you "bet" I don't know what I'm talking about, and then state you are making an opinion based on having never actually used the program you are decrying.

Yes, there are some good reasons NOT to use GIMP in a professional setting -- lack of a Pantone color license for spot work (since use requires a fee), less sophistication in the tool-set (as Eero said, second-to-last version) -- though "I've never used it, but I bet it isn't any good" is not one of them. But the chances of Seamus running into any of those issues given what he is going to need and use it for is slim.

But as Ryan notes, the CMYK issue is moot if you don't have a correctly calibrated monitor (and even then, a monitor still can't display the colors of pure cyan or yellow inks as they print because it can't create those tones correctly, and conversely you can't print some of the colors you can see on your monitor as they display, particularly the more luminous shades -- which means you're back to printing proofs anyways, which is what you should be doing). Which is all, I'm thinking, far more design intensive than Seamus intends to get into or needs to get into for an RPG book (particularly if only the cover is going to be in color, and particularly for a small press book).


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 11, 2009, 08:57:10 AM
Carnifex, you have stepped over the bounds of courtesy here at the Forge. When someone says something you disagree with, it is all right to say so. However, it is not all right to turn disagreements into a status game about superior knowledge.

There is no need to respond to this post or to react to Raven's response (which was courteous). Continue the converation with my moderation in mind, is all.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Carnifex on June 12, 2009, 06:54:01 AM
Carnifex, you have stepped over the bounds of courtesy here at the Forge. When someone says something you disagree with, it is all right to say so. However, it is not all right to turn disagreements into a status game about superior knowledge.

There is no need to respond to this post or to react to Raven's response (which was courteous). Continue the converation with my moderation in mind, is all.

Best, Ron

Im very sorry. I saw that it sounded awful when I had posted it and if I could I would have changed it afterwards.  :(


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Carnifex on June 12, 2009, 10:10:09 AM
Ok. Now I have tried out GIMP trying to find out the differences between Photoshop and GIMP. This post is a mix of my opinions and what I think is fact :)

GIMP
GIMP is a nice program. It's free and has alot of nice tools for working with images. Most of those tools work as in Photoshop. I recommend it if you don't have the money to spend on Photoshop. GIMP is easy to use - easier than Photoshop. Some major drawbacks include good support for CMYK and the advanced user will miss many many tools from Photoshop.
PRO: Free and easy to use
CON: Not made for printing

Photoshop
Photoshop is the choice of the professional graphic designer. With it you can prepare images for printing. There are loads of very powerful tools to quickly work with all kinds of images. It's much quicker adjusting images than GIMP - so if you plan to work alot with high resolution images you'll save alot of time. For the professional user there are loads of nice functions not present in GIMP. If you need photoshop but donīt have the money you could try to buy an older version of the program (on Ebay etc).
PRO: Made for printing. Lots of nice tools. Fast and powerful.
CON: The high price. A bit complicated.

SUMMARY
Buy Photoshop if you have the money and need to work professionally with images. Use GIMP if you don't have the money or don't work alot with images. The programs are quite similar when it comes to general colour adjustments and simple photo manipulation. The main advantage of Photoshop is the many advanced and powerful tools and when you work with preparing images for printing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RGB vs CMYK
First I will say that i will not try to explain the quite complicated matters of RGB vs CMYK.
1. You cannot print in RGB directly - this is an absolute fact. Most print shops (99%?) work in CMYK to print colour images - CMYK. (If you have a printer at home they might use more than 4 colours to create better, richer colours.)
2. While you certainly could work in RGB the result on paper will be different. As RGB can represent more colours than CMYK (but not all) most CMYK colours can be watched on a computer screen.
A Quite Nice Summary From Wikipedia:
"While processing a digital image, the most convenient color model used is the RGB model. Printing the image requires transforming the image from the original RGB color space to the printer's CMYK color space. During this process, the colors from the RGB which are out of gamut must be somehow converted to approximate values within the CMYK space gamut. Simply trimming only the colors which are out of gamut to the closest colors in the destination space would burn the image. There are several algorithms approximating this transformation, but none of them can be truly perfect, since those colors are simply out of the target device's capabilities. This is why identifying the colors in an image which are out of gamut in the target color space as soon as possible during processing is critical for the quality of the final product."

Here's some info from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RGB
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMYK
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut

/Claes

(Note: I don't know everything but I have worked a long time in the graphic business - 3 years in a print shop doing prepress work, 7 years as a graphic designer and art director, and the last 2 years I have worked as a teacher in Photoshop and InDesign etc.)


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Seamus on June 12, 2009, 12:29:10 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. My only color image is the cover art and logo. Everything else will be black and white. What should I do to ensure best results on the cover image if I only have GIMP and INdesign? (we will be using Lightning Source for most of our printing if that makes a difference). I don't know what the colors will be, but believe it is going to be an orange/red theme.,


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: Ben Lehman on June 12, 2009, 02:18:50 PM
Use file->place to place the images into InDesign. As long as the graphics files aren't screwy in some way, that should work fine.

yrs--
--Ben


Title: Re: Photoshop: Do I really need it and why?
Post by: greyorm on June 12, 2009, 02:56:09 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. My only color image is the cover art and logo. Everything else will be black and white. What should I do to ensure best results on the cover image if I only have GIMP and INdesign? (we will be using Lightning Source for most of our printing if that makes a difference). I don't know what the colors will be, but believe it is going to be an orange/red theme.

Note: IME oranges and reds look brighter on the screen than they ever do in print. You should be able to get them close, but keep that in mind.

First, always follow your printer's instructions for size, bit-depth, bleed, color mode, and so forth.

Second, the answer depends on whether you are creating the cover yourself, or have an artist creating it for you.

If the latter, it is (or should be) part of his job to make sure the cover art is print ready, meaning you should receive the piece already prepared and proofed in CMYK mode and your job will be to drop it into INdesign. However, if he doesn't do this, and your printer requires a CMYK file, then you will need to convert it yourself via GIMP and check it.

If the former, and I can't emphasize this part enough: Calibrate your monitor first. There are numerous free tools and sites on the web that can help you with this. Find one that works for you (Google "monitor calibration" and start reading). Then make sure the image is in CMYK mode to get an idea of what the cover will look like, also printing a copy on your home printer or down at the local print shop to see the "actual" output.

Always get a proof from your printer -- it's the only way to tell what their press is going to do with the image (every machine produces slightly different results -- one extreme example: when I was with the resort. We outsourced a run of brochures to a local print company instead of our regular printer, and despite our screen and our own proofs having rich blue water--and our regular printer's output of the same product matching ours--the local printer's proofs came back with the water tinged a ghastly purple).

(I have no experience with LS, so I don't know if they send you a proof or not as part of their process, or if you'll simply need to order a copy to see what their presses do with it ala Lulu.)