Even in the age of digital mapping, many organizations and mapping agencies still produce and rely on printed maps for sharing geographic information. At version 10.1, Esri Production Mapping supports print production workflows using the new Production PDF exporter.
Let’s begin exploring some of the features in the new Production PDF exporter by using a topographic map designed for print.
Overprinting allows two distinct colors that overlap to mix when printed. Typically, overprinting improves the quality of printed maps as it allows small mis-registration of the printing plates to go undetected as adjacent colors blend and mix. Overprinting of black text is very common for this reason.
The map below was exported using the standard ArcMap PDF exporting capabilities and has no overprinting assigned. With the black layer turned off there is a knockout effect (the white areas that cut through the map) such as with the “FOREST” text which is designed to be black. Also, notice the cyan colored hydro text and features don’t exhibit the color mixing effect with the underlying brown and green features that is visible when there is overprinting.
This same map was exported using the Production PDF exporter with an overprint on both the black and cyan features. Notice the cyan hydro text and features now blend with the green forest boundary and brown contours. The overprint effect is harder to see with black features (the “FOREST” text in this case). Same as before, to more effectively show overprinting with black features, the black layer has been turned off to illustrate that the underlying features and colors (contour lines and forest boundary) are not being knocked out as in the previous example.
Sometimes when printing a map, greater control is required over the specific colors that are displayed on paper. For example, if a map is to be used under certain reading conditions such as red or blue light, greater consideration must be given to the design of the map and the ink colors used. A small variation may result in the map not functioning for its intended audience.
Process color, also referred to as CMYK, print production uses only four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). This method of printing is the most common and cost effective as other colors are achieved by mixing the four inks. However, it is limited in creating and consistently reproducing any specialized colors. Spot colors, on the other hand, allow for greater control of ink colors and can be used to supplement process color print production when required.
A typical example is printing brown contours. Because brown is reproduced by mixing all four process inks in almost equal amounts, it can be difficult to get the desired look and feel. The Production PDF exporter allows colors in ArcMap to be remapped to new color values in the resulting PDF, including remapping a process color in ArcMap to a custom spot color.
The print industry has standardized on the use of PDF files, primarily because of their support of advanced printing techniques . One of these features of is the ability to support “In-RIP separations.” In the past, printers typically had individual files (EPS/PS or TIFF) for each unique ink/separate. With In-RIP separations a single PDF file can store unique separation settings for each ink, including the frequency, angle, and dot shape when mapping a printing plate. The values for these settings can be set and applied using the Production PDF exporter Separation Settings dialog. When a map is exported the values are embedded in the PDF file for the printer to use when making the printing plates.
Production PDF directly supports print production requirements without the use of third party applications, allowing you to simplify and streamline map printing workflows. Here I’ve highlighted a few of the capabilities of this new tool; in a future post I’ll explore conversion workflows for existing SeeSpot command users.
Content Contributed by Clint Loveman