Learn to Love Color Separations – A Boxcar Press Checklist

To guarantee a happy, press-ready Boxcar plate, follow our Top 10 checklist before finalizing and clicking UPLOAD to your job ticket. These handy steps will go a long way towards a smooth, quick platemaking turnaround. If you are having files created for you – pass these on to your graphic designer so they too can follow this Boxcar Checklist.

1 ) Are the file dimensions 17″ x 22″ or smaller? Is the file size less than 26 MB? (Our maximum plate size that we can proof at this time is 17″ x 22″ – if you need larger, please call.)

2 ) If my plate type is the KF95, Jet 94FL or 94SB, are my lines 0.25 pt or thicker? Are my dots 1 to 1.25pt thick? Dots (in a dotted line or by themselves) need a greater minimum thickness so they can hold on the plate by themselves.

3 ) If my plate type is KF152, 152SB, 145HSB, or 148SHSB, are my lines 0.35 pt or thicker? Are my dots 1.25pt thick?

4 ) If I created the art in Illustrator or InDesign, is the artwork in 100% CMYK Black (as in 0% Cyan, 0% Magenta, 0% Yellow, and 100% Black)?

5 ) If I’m doing color separations, are they assigned to a spot color or a Pantone Swatch Color?

6 ) Is my text outlined into vector shapes if I’m using InDesign or Illustrator for the text? (You can convert them to shapes by selecting the text and going to Type>Create Outlines in either Illustrator or InDesign.)

7 ) Have I indicated what linescreen (LPI) I’d like in the comments section of my ticket if my image is in greyscale or halftone and I want to keep the tonal qualities of the image? (We like 100 lpi for all plate types)

8 ) Is my image converted into bitmap mode of tif if I’m using only Photoshop (and not choosing a linescreen) ?

How to easily create an image in bitmap mode of tif:

    • Opening your image in Photoshop and selecting Image > Mode > Grayscale*.
    • Select Yes if a window asks about discarding color.
    • Then Select Image > Mode > Bitmap. A window will pop up looking for info – use a resolution of 600-1200 dpi and an output method of 50% threshold.
    • Save your file as a tif (with LZW Compression) and either send us the tif or place your tif into illustrator or indesign.
    *Images in higher resolution (600-1200 dpi) will give better, finer results than images in lower resolutions (72-300 dpi). If your images lose a lot of detail, you can either re-scan or adjust your levels of black (Image> Adjustments> Levels or Brightness Contrast). For info on this, please call 315-579-3366 for instructions.

9 ) If I have added crop marks to my file, do they meet the minimum line thicknesses? Are they in registration black if I have more than one color?

10 ) We don’t need a faxed hard copy of the file, simply a PDF and the original file. Are these both uploaded? (e.g, an .EPS and PDF of the same file.)

Stay tuned for more in-depth blogging on file prep when we amaze you with “Did You Know That…”!