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Quick Tips

Desktop Design has years of experience in all areas of design and production. On this page you will find some of our most popular and timely tips in PDF format. All quick tips are copyrighted and are for private personal use and may not be sold or redistributed without the expressed, written permission of Desktop Design.

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Page Building Tips

Always build your pages to the final printed size (trim size in printing terms). The New Document dialog box from QuarkXPress at right shows a page to be printed at 8.5" x 11", the final trim size. In this example the Margin Guides at the default, 1/2" or 3 picas. Facing pages is turned off and an automatic text box is turned on...

Grayscale Conversion

Converting to grayscale from a digital color image is more than just Image> Mode> Grayscale. Photoshop uses 30% Red, 59% Green, and 11% Blue in an RGB image when converting to grayscale. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for every image or even very many images so at best it generally serves as a comparison for other methods...


Processing Printing

Click here to check out this tip!The printing process starts with a digital file. The file is processed for printing during prepress and printed to an imagesetter or platesetter as process separations: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The process inks are translucent and printed at different angles. The printing plates are mounted on the press during what is called makeready...

Register and Trapping

Click here to check out this tip!Perfect register, exact register — sometimes called a “kiss fit” — is the printing term used to describe color objects that precisely touch each other. The GATF Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications uses the term, hairline register, and defines it “In process color printing, abutting successive colors with no color overlap.” (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) While this is very easy to create with an illustration program like Illustrator, it isn’t always as easy to reproduce when applying ink to paper...



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Overprinting and Rich Black

Overprints can be confusing as what you see on the monitor isn’t always what you get in print. In the example on the right, the top figure is what the monitor will show whether or not the word is set to overprint of knock-out of the background. The word should knock out of the cyan background and be trapped, otherwise the result when printed will look like example on the bottom. Print separations to your laser printer to see how the file will print on press...


Wrinkle Removal

De-aging: Wrinkle Removal

  1. Open an image to de-age.
  2. Create a new layer from the background image, Cmd/Cntrl-J
  3. Use the Healing Tool to remove wrinkles. Initially make a select (Option or Alt key) on a smooth area such as the cheeks.
  4. With all the wrinkles removed the image looks fake. Adjust the layer opacity to bring back some of the underlying wrinkles. Around 50% usually works well.
  5. To whiten teeth, use the Select> Color Range. This will select too much so use the Marquee and Lasso to deselect (with the Option/Alt key) unwanted areas...
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Image Touchup


There are a number of ways to remove blemishes and other undesirable elements in a portrait. Here are a combination of techniques to “improve” this image.

  1. Start by duplicating the original image.
  2. Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. The Preview box should be checked. Start with the slider on the left and slowly drag to the right until the blemishes disappear. The image will be very blurry, but the next step will fix it. Click OK.
  3. Window> History to show the History palette. Click on the icon of the image at the top of the palette. Click in the box to the left of the Gaussian Blur state. This will allow painting for the selected state on the original image.
  4. Select the History Brush. Choose an appropriate size brush. Change the mode to Lighten. Paint out the blemishes. The Lighten mode removes the blemishes without painting in blur...


Dark Shadows

Portraits can often be improved by lightening dark shadows under the eyes.

  1. Select an image that would improve with dark eye shadows being lightened.
  2. Use the Clone tool and select a brush that is a little smaller than the areas you want to cover in one pass.
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Bottomline for Vector Art

Vector graphics are made of bezier curves and created with object-oriented drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Macromedia Freehand, and CAD applications. Bezier curves are made up with points described mathematically on an x-y axis (Cartesian geometry). Vector graphics are resolution independent, unlike bitmap (Photoshop) graphics. They print out at the resolution of the printing device: laser printer, imagesetter, platesetter, etc. Vector graphics can be scaled an keep their clean sharp look...


Image Copyright

Copyrighting images to restrict image usage is a pro photographer stock in trade. Particularly for images placed on the Web for client review, stock or portfolio protecting images is essential. Photoshop will add copyright info to images when it is included in the File Info information and add the copyright symbol to the title bar. Consider making this function an action to save time when copyrighting a number of images. For proofs and images you may want to protect on the Web, add a copyright onto the image itself. Creating an action for this function is also useful to save time. Here’s how:

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