File Preperation

Probably the most important thing you can do to help CPL prepare your files exactly the way you want them printing. File preperation will make sure you get the best colour, sharpness and sizing from our printer.

Quick guide
If you are not using our colour correction service, your images need to be:

• Sized at the correct "physical" size (mm/inches), and at 300 Pixels Per Inch (ppi).
• If you need any additional borders, make them part of the physical size, so add the border to the file.
• Must be RGB, not Grayscale or CMYK.
• Convert to colour profile "Adobe RGB (1998)", sRGB profile will be OK, but not preferred.
• Save as TIFF (no layers or compression, and 8bit) or JPEG.

Full Guide
So if you need a little more help, then this is for you.
Most people use a version of Photoshop to prepare file, but some use programs like Lightroom or Coral. We work in Photoshop for any instructions below.

As a rule, you should never crop an image until you are sure what you want to do with it. If you crop first and then discover your frame or mount is a different shape, then you will have to start again, or apply a second crop.
So think about the output size you need, and then you can start sizing.

Example - simple print, 8x6 inch (203x152mm).

Open Photoshop, and go to: Image Menu > Image Size.
In the dialogue box, make sure the contents look like this, and then click OK.

If you find that one size will not enter without changing the other, then this is because the shape of the image is incorrect for an 8x6, and you will need to crop the image next. For now, just make sure the smaller size is correct.

Is your image is the wrong shape?
Let's use the example that your image is 9x6 inches, but you want it 8x6 inches.

With your image open in Photoshop, select the Crop tool, and change the width, height and resolution boxes, to match the info below. If you need to start again, click on "Clear".

Now drag your mouse across the image while holding down the mouse button.
You will notice that the resulting box will always stay the same shape, and you can change the size and position of the box.
Then press the Enter button, or double-click the mouse, to confirm the selection.

Adding a border.
If you want a standard 4-5mm border as part of the print size, then there is no need to add it yourself, just ask us to apply it at the time of printing. But what if you want a different border? If this is the case, then you need to add the border in Photoshop before sending the files.
Example: You want an 8x6 print, but the image needs to be smaller, leaving a 20mm white border all the way around the outside.

To do this you need to think of the paper (Canvas), and image, to be two different entities.
First you need to size and possibly crop the image, so that the image is 40mm smaller in both directions (20mm x 2 = 40mm).
Then go to: Image Menu > Canvas Size.
This will give you a simple dialogue box, where you will enter the total canvas size of the Paper (8x6 inches). Then press OK.
The result will be an image in the middle of an 8x6inch piece of paper.

You can now play around with various image and canvas sizes, creating even or un-even borders, of different colours, around images.

If you are using our Frontier Proof Service, for cheaper prints, we only use a fixed set of sizes, so refer and match your canvas sizes to these fixed sizes.
Please keep borders larger than 4mm, as the machine is not accurate enough to guarantee perfectly even borders, and this can be obvious on a small border.

All images need to be submitted as Adobe RGB (1998) colour profile. We can accept sRGB, but it is not preferred, because the colour information has been reduced to a level lower than our printing capabilities.

Colour management can be complex, but we need you to understand that without a full colour managed system on the computer you use, it is not possible for you to see what your image REALLY looks like.
If you colour correct your files without colour management, you are only guessing and as a result may not get the prints you expect from our printers. This applies to all printers and all printing labs.

An easy way around this is to ask for our colour correction service. At a small charge we can check over your images before printing, making sure there are no colour casts and exposure issues.
For important work you could sit with one of our technicians during the correction process and pay our "retouching" service charges.

Alternatively you could read our Colour Management section, and see if you could become fully self sufficient.

Like a filing cabinet, you cannot just throw files in randomly. Documents should be filed in sections and labelled to describe the contents. When it comes to organising image files for printing, it helps to use the same rules.
It may seem long-winded, but you need to tell us what you need somehow, and the other option is typing it all up into an e-mail. This system prevents mistakes at our side.

Start by creating a main folder, (on your desktop may be good). In this example I have called the folder CPL.

Create folders inside the main folder, and name them so they include the printing instructions -similar to what you see on the right.
If you want finishing services as well as prints, then use terms like:
gloss_laminate, or 5mm-Kappa, at the end of the folder names.

Please make sure your file names do not exceed 30 characters in length, and do not use the following text characters in the folder or file names, as they can cause errors with our software:

If you want to separate words, space will work most of the time, but it is always good to get into a habit of using _ or - instead.
If you are a Mac user, please make sure your files have the file extension at the end of the file name.

Then place the images inside the folders, and this means you can retain your original file names, so you have an original reference, and it helps that the file name will be printed on the reverse of the print.

Once your files are ready, Zip (compress) the main folder to create a single file. Read the "Zip Files" tab for more help.

If you wish to use the "Dropbox" upload system, then you need to make a single file to send us.
Although you can send multiple files easily, it is not so easy to download multiple files at our end, so to speed things up, we ask that you compress the files into one single file.

Compressing a folder is a lot easier than you might think. Both Windows and iOS do things in a very similar way.

Simply right-click (or Apple+click) on the folder, and go to:

Windows : Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.
Mac : Compress "File-name".

A new file will appear, with the same name, only with a Zip icon. - That's it!
Now you can upload this new Zip file to our Dropbox system.