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Best publishing application

Posted on 2003-02-23
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I work for a newly formed publishing company. They've used Serif pageplus ever since i got there. It's alright, but crashes a lot and i find myself doing the same thing 3 times sometimes because i lose a lot of work from these crashes.

It takes ages to print stuff too.

I like corel draw but im considering swapping to Quark and it seems to be the industry standard. However, it is more of a layout tool than a design application. each pulication we do has about 80 different adverts in, and i cant imaging doing them in quark as its not big on special effects.

Illustrator 10 is very good indeed and i've used it quite a lot, but it can't do multiple page publications like Quark and Corel Draw 10/11.

I could do the adverts in photoshop and import them into quark, but i image the final publications file size would be huge.

What is the best application or combination of applications to make a multi page publication with about 80 igh quality adverts in? small file sizes, high quality and fast printing are my main concerns.
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Question by:sturobinson17
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11 Comments
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 8004610
Quark was the "old school" standard but they've shot themselves in the foot by not releasing an update. The new defacto standard is InDesign by Adobe. Combining InDesign with Illustrator and Photoshop (all adobe products, and all compatible with eachothers file  formats) youll have the best suite money can buy. This is what people are using now.
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Expert Comment

by:tomgrin
ID: 8004644
In my experience, I feel that there really is only 2 industry standards as far as setup for pre-press for books like you put together.  
Quark, hands down, is the standard for most print shops and they'll be quick to tell you that.  (By the way, most print shops will be very happy to help you out with questions of this type, so that your end result comes out its best).  For multi-page books, there's practically no comparison.  You're right about effects, but on this level of publications, you should really be used to jumping back and forth from quark, to photoshop, and illustrator when needed.
On the other hand, Illustrator may not multi-page, but it certainly is one heck of a program for specific page layout
and design.  You would still be able to create files in photoshop, and "place" them into the illustrator file (make sure that linked file is in the same directory).  Most print shops welcome illustrator files as well as a 2nd standard.
A big part of your decision should be based in who prints the books once you are done putting them together, and in what format they will be printed.  My suggestion is to figure out whos going to print the jobs, then talk to them about things, i'm sure they'll be happy to help you out.

good luck.
 

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by:weed
ID: 8004802
These days you really dont have to match your layout program to what your publisher is using. This is primarily why InDesign has become so popular despite some publishers using old copies of Quark. InDesign's PDF support is far superior to Quarks which allows you to hand your publisher a file that they can print from Acrobat.
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 8006146
You mentioned slow printing and huge publications files.

Slow printing depends on file size and processing speed of your printer (I assume you have a PostScript printer; inkjets come in 2 speeds: slow and very slow). I have seen modern printers process more than 150MB in a minute. They sometimes process the data faster than the PC or Mac can generate it.

As for file size, Quark and InDesign normally link the image files, so the document always remains relatively small. You will however have to make sure that all those linked files are included on the CD you send to the printshop. If you create a PDF that will be taken care of for you and the file size will be much smaller, but you'll need to make sure you select an adequate resolution for printing (say 300 dpi).

For what it's worth, I'd recommend either Quark or InDesign for page layout, PhotoShop for image design and Illustrator for vector graphics design.
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Expert Comment

by:webwoman
ID: 8009161
If they've been using and are STILL using Serif PagePlus, I suspect they need a lot more than just software.

I suspect they need all new equipment -- if they don't have postscript printers (both color and B&W), and machines with good graphics cards, fast and big HDs, large monitors, CD burners, and anything other than Win2k or XP -- they need new equipment.

Because without good equipment, you're not even going to be able to USE the new software. ;-)
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by:sturobinson17
ID: 8010237
The equpitment we have is more than adequet.  We've got a colour laser printer, and fairly decent spec PC's based on at least 1000mhz with 256 RAM and a decent graphics card.

Illustrator and Indesign seems the way forward then. It just seems like a lengthy process compared to doing everything in one package. Does no-one recomend corel draw 11 suite then? It would save going from illustrator to photoshop to indesign, and then even to a pdf.

Would a corel publication not be smaller than an indesign publication as most of the graphics would be vectors? Rasterised or bitmap images tend to be much larger.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 8010309
Corel is probably the LAST tool i would ever recommend. Nor is it especially feature complete, compatible, or powerful.
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Expert Comment

by:tomgrin
ID: 8010325
Sure, if there were no raster images, the end product would be smaller (lighter weight) in any program or combination of programs, but your question was specific to needing AD insters, which standard would allow for raster images as needed in that space, and usually there is some sort of raster image in most, if not all advertising.

If you are going to print the books yourself, and you dont need any heavy raster work, AND you are comfortable with Corel Draw, then its a decent program and by all means you can stay within it.  But I think with this many people advising you that most publications or book designers jump back and forth between the top programs, then its probably a safe bet that theres reason to the extra effort. Most of the time, believe it or not, its to save time and effort, as each program has its own strength.  

I have a very good friend who loves corel and has used it professionally for years. He swears by it. But if this is any indication, when he's not freelancing at home on small projects (flyers, bcards, etc) he goes to work for a publishing company and works in Photoshop, Quark and Illustrator. (They don't use InDesign, but thats not to say its not a great app as mentioned by some of the other folks).
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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
weed earned 800 total points
ID: 8010485
The advantage of using a different app for each part of the process is that you get an app specifically written for that task. By using an app that tries to be all things for all tasks you end up with an app that doesnt do any of them especially well. Look at MS Word for example. As a text editor its fine but as soon as it tried to be a page layout app it all kinda went downhill.
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by:hdhondt
ID: 8011901
"Look at MS Word for example. As a text editor its fine but as soon as it tried to be a page layout app it all kinda went downhill."

AMEN!!

You still seem to be confused about vector vs bitmap. Both Corel and Illustrator are vector design packages, and both allow you to include bitmaps as part of the design. These designs can then be placed on the page in Quark or Indesign. The bitmaps themselves can be edited in PhotoShop (or Corel PhotoPaint if you insist).

One benefit of using industry standard packages is that you will not have any problems sending the files off site for printing. Any decent printshop will handle them. Corel also has severe problems reading and writing industry standard EPS files.
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by:sturobinson17
ID: 8012673
:) thanks for all your useful advice people. As i've already got corel graphics suite 11 i'll use that for our first publication this year, and next i'll switch to the adobe route. at least it gives me some time to get hold of the latest versions.

thanks for your help and advice.

regards...
stu
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