How to best prepare for printing CMYK and Flatten layers?

Talk about Pixelmator Pro, share tips & tricks, tutorials, and other resources.
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2019-03-16 09:43:21

Hi all,

I need to get a banner printed and have done it in Pixelmator Pro 1.3.2

I have read a lot on this forum and others and understand that best for the file to be in PDF and CMYK and layers flattened.

I believe that PDF CMYK soft proof export is not supported in Pixelmator Pro 1.3.2 but JPG TIFF is.

What does everyone suggest is best, PDF not CMYK or JPG or TIFF with CMYK?

Also how do I flatten the layers, looks like I just select the layers and click Merge Layers in bottom left of the inspector.

See screenshot below.

I welcome all comments and thoughts on how best to proceed.

Printing will be a canvas banner but want to know when also printing leaflets, flyers etc for the future.

I don't have Adobe InDesign or Photoshop, so can't put file into theses apps for conversion which some forums have suggested, seems to defeat the purpose of buying Pixelmator Pro if you just have to finish off in Adobe apps.

Thanks for all advice.

Cheers Scott
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2019-03-17 04:36:55

Hi Scott.

I'm in a similar position in that I'm working on some images that are going to be printed CMYK. It looks like you're further down the road than me, though.

Here are some things that I think may help you on the way:
1. This viewtopic.php?f=12&t=16671 advice from Andrius.
2. Work with your printer if you are able. They'll have seen it all before and may have some useful advice to give. They may also be able to supply a proof that can give you an idea of what your colours will look like on a smaller cheaper print before you commit to the banner.
3. Print out the image on a colour laser or inkjet printer. Sure, it's not going to be the same process or the same inks that you will be using for the final print but it is a CMYK print and the simple act of moving out of the RGB colour space like that may help inform your choice of colour.
4. Assuming I understand you correctly, don't worry about flattening. If you're keeping your Pixelmator Pro file as a PXD, you'll get to keep the layers for future prints. If you export to a file format that doesn't use layers your image will be flattened on the way out. If you're exporting to a file format that does have layers then I'm guessing that anybody that is happy with that file format will be happy having layers in it.
5. Avoid JPEGs if at all possible. The compression artefacts are just nasty.

Post back and let us know how you get on? What you learn on the way may help me in my journey.
I hope some of this was of help. All the best.
- Stef.
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2019-03-17 09:12:51

Hi Stef,

Thanks, yes I had read the post from Andrius and used the CMYK slider to adjust some of the colours, that was very good advise.
I'll try want you suggested about printing a test on a laser printer to see how it comes out.
Just checking is JEPG same as JPG or do they use different compression...sorry if this is stupid question, I have always assumed they are the same.

Also, I have also read somewhere that someone put their PDF RGB image into Pages then exported from Pages as PDF as CMYK as Pages can do that format. I wonder if anybody else has experience with this method?

Cheers Scott
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2019-03-17 10:43:01

JPEG/JPG are the same. The story, as I understand it, is that the suffix was JPEG on Unix systems but JPG on Windows due to the old 8.3 filename character limit. So now we have both suffixes.

I'm not going to be of any help with CMYK profiles, though. The work I am doing needs to end up as a PNG, which is RGB only. I just need to make sure that I design using colours that can be successfully printed using CMYK. Hopefully someone else can help with profiles and other methods.
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2019-03-17 11:02:57

Oh and one more thing (which you may or may not have taken into account). Apologies if you have. I get the impression you're designing something to be viewed from a distance so you may want to consider the resolution that you need.

The angular resolution of the human eye is about 0.02° or 0.0003 radians. Math-fu (small angle approximations) tells us that someone with decent vision will start to spot pixels when they are bigger than 0.0003 × the distance they are from the image.

So, if the image will generally be viewed from 3 metres away, the pixel size should be smaller than 0.0003 × 3 = 0.0009 metres or about a millimetre.

Hope this helps.

- Stef.
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2019-03-17 11:07:50

wow...thanks, very detailed. I set it to 300dpi, should it be more?? It is 1500mm x 610mm banner
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2019-03-20 14:03:27

Generally speaking, 300 PPI is safe for viewing at any distance. If you're working on a poster, you can definitely use lower resolutions as 300 PPI would be overkill. The page below includes a rough guide: ... ce-dpi.php