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Variable images (High-end photos) - who is doing these?

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  • Variable images (High-end photos) - who is doing these?

    I'm looking for some experienced folks working with variable images of high end photography... photos need to be of people, not just products.
    I need some advice of what types of alterations can be made to the photos prior to releasing to a printer to help get a better result on digital presses.

    The products looking to be printed are booklets, not just postcards - and in higher quantities (500k+).. so roll to roll digital printing not sheet-fed... (preferably in-line finishing) so bindery isn't done offline potentially screwing up mail sort order.

    anyone - have experiences they want to share?


    PS. sorry if this covered somewhere already - I didn't scour the archives.

  • #2
    Don't count on binding inline to keep the sort order. We had a booklet job of a couple of thousand records. We proofed it ok. We merged the data into the document and got one big PDF to print from. Something went wrong in the imposition settings, (I'm guessing), and and pages from one record ended up bound to pages from another record.

    The most reliable fix was to split the PDF into individual booklets, then load them into the print cue and apply the same presets to impose and print them.

    As far as the photos go, are they taken by the same photographer under similar conditions? If they're drastically different, (lighter, darker, redder, greener, etc), it could be a problem.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SimonJester753 View Post
      Don't count on binding inline to keep the sort order. We had a booklet job of a couple of thousand records. We proofed it ok. We merged the data into the document and got one big PDF to print from. Something went wrong in the imposition settings, (I'm guessing), and and pages from one record ended up bound to pages from another record.

      The most reliable fix was to split the PDF into individual booklets, then load them into the print cue and apply the same presets to impose and print them.

      As far as the photos go, are they taken by the same photographer under similar conditions? If they're drastically different, (lighter, darker, redder, greener, etc), it could be a problem.
      Thanks SimonJester753 - fortunately for me, I don't have to worry so much about the actual print production since I work in a marketing dept and hand over files to a printer.

      Regarding the photos - we have an in-house photo studio, so all of our photos are controlled, and color managed. I'm looking for tips on how to make sure they are prepped specific for digital printing to keep the quality of the print. Digital (from what we've seen) tends to be muddy, or less crisp than conventional offset. This tends to be okay when the variable image is just the product (i.e. Victoria's secret already does it on their mailers with bras, but it's JUST a bra, no model wearing the bra)

      My company is racing toward targeted mail that incorporates variable images of models wearing stuff we sell in the store.

      I appreciate your feedback, and hope to get more from others..

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      • #4
        Pick a couple printers, then give them the same file and see who prints closer to your expectations.
        If you're looking for optimal sharpening settings for digital, i don't think there's such a recipe, it depends on the photo/scaling and printing conditions combination.
        If you're set on a printer/shop for some reason you can also do some print tests to find what's best so when exporting from lightroom -or whatever dng processor your studio works with- apply correct scaling and sharpening on the fist place.

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