ON BEHALF OF MY FRIEND I’M GETTING REALLY ANGRY THAT MISINFORMATION IS BEING SPREAD ABOUT PRINTING AND IT’S RUINING HER PRINTS AND FILES AND DKSJFKLSDJFKS
OK HERE’S THE RUNDOWN
1. SAVE YOUR FILES AS PNG OR PDF.
Do NOT use JPEG FOR THE LIFE OF YOU DON’T DO IT because every time you transfer or resave the files (eg. try uploading it on your printing website) you LOSE DATA. It is a LOSSY FILE FORMAT and every time you resave it pixelates and distorts and blurs your image so please for the love of god don’t use jpeg. I want to list alternate uses but….i really dislike jpeg in general so just don’t use it, it’s awful and it will ruin your images.
PNG and PDF are more reliable because they are not lossy files. They will retain every pixel you drew in that drawing.
Unfortunately, png sometimes doesn’t look good on tumblr and other art websites because the website will resize the image while the image is trying to retain all of the information (which causes it to look too “”“sharp”“” in a way that you can see individual and sometimes “random” pixels in the image. This is a common complaint but for printing it doesn’t matter because you want the best quality picture you can get on the paper. How it looks on paper will be very different from what it looks on the screen. If you’re really worried about that pixel look then I guess you can use jpeg for online but don’t ever use jpeg for printing).
Personally I like using PDF. Even though the file size is bigger, I feel like it’s more universal and printing companies can handle it easily versus image files like PNG. Just my opinion.
2. CONVERT YOUR FILES TO CYMK (if it’s in RBG)
I’ve tried working in CYMK and it’s a pain in the ass, because the colors are completely off from what you want to see on your screen. What I recommend is to work in RBG (Red Blue Green, for the LED lights in your computer screen. Basically it’s calibrated to look good on tv and computer screens, and things that are made of lights behind a glass in general). This will produce the best color combination that you are able to work with without any limitations.
Once you have finished your image in RBG, save a version, and then save a separate version as CYMK (Cyan Yellow Magenta BlacK, ink, calibrated to be read by printers). Make sure to flatten your image before converting so that the colorscheme doesn’t go wack when it changes file type.
It should look mostly like the picture you started with, though you might notice that some saturated blues and violets are looking greyish. That’s normal! Purple and dark blue don’t print well because it takes a sufficient amount of cyan, yellow AND magenta to produce those colors, and it tends to spread out to a greyish color because of the combination. I wouldn’t say avoid those colors altogether, but please be aware that this will happen if you use a sufficient amount of saturated blues and purples. With that being said, if you want a bright blue, instead of using ultramarine blue or some indigo color, try cyan or aquamarine. ;)
3. GENERAL TIP ON FORMATTING BEFORE I FORGET
Make sure to include BLEED. Bleed is a border of extended color from your image so that, in the case that the printer mis-trims the print, there won’t be this awkward white edge. Similarly, if it’s mis-trimmed to be too close to the edge, it won’t cut off part of your main image.
I took this straight from CatPrint which I use and I damn love, I def recommend for printing.
Basically, you need to give your printer an 1/8 inch leeway edge for them to cut without killing your image or leaving the awkward white. Sometimes I leave a 1/4 inch bleed for bigger images - you can’t go wrong with more bleed!
Anyway, this is my advice for printing, from my experiences! I made a lot of mistakes before and this is what I learned after a lot of trial, error and research. I would hate for people to make mistakes on the same stuff I did, so here is my contribution!
- PDF OR PNG
- CONVERT TO CYMK
- REMEMBER TO INCLUDE BLEED
If you’re reading this, most likely you have found yourself staring down the gun barrel of a commission/project estimate. You are probably nervous and afraid that you are going to overcharge and scare away a client.
I’m going to do my best to explain how I determine estimates, and hopefully you will find this information useful!
Before I get into estimating, I want to address what a lot of people have dubbed “artist’s guilt”. This feeling is very common among creatives and it is basically the side effect of doing something you love to do as a profession. Not only do you feel awkward/guilty for charging for something that you’ve probably done since you were a toddler, you also have to explain the value of your work to someone that may view your profession as childish or easy.
When you start feeling the twinges of guilt, remember that you are a professional. You have the right to enjoy your work and to be paid (properly) for it. You create and design what in most cases is the identity of a product. If you are a character artist in the game industry, your character designs will be what initially catches someone’s eye and those players will recognize the product based solely on you or your team’s designs. That has very real and tangible value!
If you design logos for companies/products, you are literally creating their brand. That’s insanely valuable and extremely important!
Artists are important, you are important.
Remember, if you don’t properly value your work then you cannot expect a client to value it either.
Whether you are doing commissions on the side or you are a full-time freelancer, estimating your commissions/rates should be treated in the same manner. Expenses like electricity, equipment, health insurance MUST be considered. Your clients won’t be covering any of this stuff, so it is all on you.
Keep in mind that these expenses aren’t luxuries, they are necessary for you to accomplish your task(s). It is your right to have access to all of that and you should never feel bad about considering them when doing your estimates.
To determine your rates, a solid starting point would be to use sites like indeed.com or glassdoor.com to see what people in your area and in your given field are making on average, and then adjust based on your own experience, keeping in mind that these salaries are taken from people that are working at companies that provide health insurance, electricity, equipment etc. Your hourly rates/estimates will be a bit higher for that reason.
If you live in a rural area, estimate based on the nearest and biggest city and then meet somewhere in middle, since the cost to live is most likely a bit lower in rural towns.
Just like most things in life, educating yourself is key. Not only will you be able to confidently make estimates, you will be able to explain your cost with confidence to clients that may not readily understand the value of what you do. Remember we live in a world where most people think that “the starving artist” is reality, and anyone that lives outside of that bubble has less passion for what they do.
No pay/low pay ≠ passion. That way of thinking is just dumb and irresponsible, it also devalues the actual work required to create things.
Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via twitter: @coltavara
OKAY, I’M GOING TO GO BACK TO DRAWING THINGS NOW! *blows up soapbox*