Preparing Files for Plates

I’m new to manipulating files in photoshop so I have a very basic question.

To save money they say to group your images in the file?
Due to my lack of experience I’m not clear how you would do that in CS4.

When I searched I kept coming across how to combine pictures but nothing that would explain something as basic as moving several images into a single file and then how to manipulate those images once they are placed in the file.

I’m probably using the wrong term to search…

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Log in to reply   13 replies so far

• Manipulate your images in Photoshop and Save
• Open Indesign go to File>Place your image onto the page. Repeat if you want more images.
• Export as high res pdf.

Those are the basics.

I’m going to download a trial version of Indesign and try it out.


Be sure to save photoshop files as 1bit (Black & white) TIFF
You don’t want JPEG or any grey values in the file.
Type should be produced in Illustrator or Indesign if possible!


Just for info purposes, there are alternatives to InDesign and Illustrator.

A program called “Scribus” is a great layout program, award winning in fact. And free. As is Inkscape , a replacement for Illustrator.

InDesign and Illustrator represent a sizable investment.


I know this is a late post but I am trying to learn Inkscape now. Does anyone know how to set a color as a PMS color? The only option seems to be RGB.

I’m no Inkscape expert… I’m not sure if there are PMS swatches available for Inkscape. Just curious though, this is a thread about preparing files for plates, so I’m wondering if you are preparing a file to be output which will be printed a certain PMS colour. If so, it doesn’t really matter what colour the vector art is. Make sure it is clearly separated with layers and named appropriately, and most everyone doing output should be able to handle it.

In Creative Suite stuff, the workflow is optimized so that during print/output all Pantone spot colours are automatically separated, but it’s just as easy to do the separations manually, especially if you’re working in Inkscape I would guess. Not sure if there’s host-based separation support in its print dialog either way.

If, however, you are designing something and want to see how it looks and are not concerned about a Pantone colour for output, what I say doesn’t really matter. Be careful there, too, though—PMS colours look different on screen than on paper.


The problem I am encountering is when i printto seprations from Inkscape files they split into CMYK not the spot colors. I get 4 screened images. No Bueno!!!

In InDesign and Illustrator’s colour pallettes, you can designate your colours spot or process and this will determine how it prints separations from the file; all spot colours are printed as a sep, all CMYK colours are interpreted into 4 CMYK seps.

If that option isn’t available in Inkscape you will probably have to separate all of your colours into separate, 100% black CMYK objects and output each colour on its own.

Good luck, not sure how many Briarpress folks are using Inkscape…

hello all,, I’m trying to get an ivitation software and wanted to ask around to see which is a good compatible software to use if I wanted to send out for letterpress plates…..most of the ones I have searched are emphasis on home digital printing…another words my questions is
what is a good program to create my invitations to submit for plate making


Adobe Illustrator. If they are heavily typographic you may want to work in InDesign.

great, thanks a lot


There is some basic information in response to your question here:


We use both Inkscape (primarily) and Scribus (secondarily) for our file preparation and have been very happy with them.

I can’t help with Inkscape separating to CMYK rather than spot colors though since we just separate manually.