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What to include in a prepress portfolio?

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2007, 01:16 PM
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AdamZx3 AdamZx3 is offline
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What to include in a prepress portfolio?

I am starting out in the prepress industry for now so I can at least move out and get started up, and would like to do photo retouching on the side soon after.

Anyway what should I be putting in the portfolio? Nothing over the top and excessive I would think, mainly color correction? I would assume a good cover letter and a sit down test would show knowledge of trapping, preflight, imposition, getting ready to rip...etc, etc.

Also would it be ok to put some of my design stuff in the back to show I have a background in design? That's what I went to school for but there's not a lot of demand around here.

Would the before and after attached below be over the top as they wouldn't care because thats not what they do? I don't think it'll hurt but was wondering what your opinions where.

For anyone who's curious, heres my design portfolio so far (don't have the website up yet)
Design FlickR Portfolio

Thanks in advance guys!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg olivo_before.jpg (81.8 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg Olivo_after.jpg (95.3 KB, 56 views)
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:31 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

in general have a variety of samples, but i have found your portfolio will only get you in the door..how you do on the test they give will determine whether or not you get the job, i know this doesn't sound fair as you could have 10 years of experience with a degree as well and you're being judged on 90 minutes of work...
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:35 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

If it's primarily a prepress outfit, your skills in certain assembly and rip software will be most valuable to your employer, retouching second, although they will be happy to have someone on staff they can fall back on if the retouching load gets heavy. If you want to show your design work, fine, but put a lot of emphasis on your ability to jump through hoops using, say, InDesign or Illustrator. Don't expect anyone to be impressed with asthetics.
Most prepress/retouching firms keep color people and assembly people seperate these days. I used to do a lot of assembly work, but I avoid it like a bad cold, because it's a pain in the neck, and somewhat thankless, because the smallest mistake can land you in a heap of trouble, while retouching results are primarily subjective, unless you really screw up. Retouching usually pays better, too.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:02 PM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

Thanks for the replies guys that's kind of what I was expecting. I hope I can get more into the color correcting but I will take whatever, beats working in an industrial shop I bet they give you hell if your mistakes make it to film or worse to press!

My first stop will be probably be at MPI Label's, My dad has a friend who is a some kind of manager there and that might help. They have a hefty client list too, such as Wal-Mart, HP, Tide, Hoover, etc.. and they do everything in house.

I've read a couple of pre-press books and will be scouring all over lynda.com with the $30 a month deal to learn hours and hours of indesign, quark, and others ( They also have a Prepress essentials by Taz Tally for photoshop and indesign to make rip ready files)

Is there any software here that I don't have listed that I need to be proficient at?
Photoshop
Illustrator
Acrobat
Distiller
Indesign
Quark
Suitcase
Pitstop (to modify PDF's )
Flightcheck (Do a lot of companies use this??)
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:07 PM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

I would say all of those, with Photoshop at the bottom for now. You will also be using a Rip software like Nexus or some other brand the shop you're going to is using. I can't see how they would expect you to know that without training from them.
Suitcase is also very important, because the mysterious and buggy world of fonts awaits you. And some people, even very high end agencies, still desgn entire ads in Illustrator.
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:06 PM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

Thanks Benny !

The rip software was something I was wondering about....I've used Colorburst but I would assume thats pretty stripped down compared to theirs

I use Suitcase fusion on my Mac-Pro so I have an understanding of how it works, I think MPI used Suitcase Font reserve on a font server, but that was a few years ago when I got a tour.

I was told font usage was the number one thing that goes wrong when sending a job to the printer, so I am studying up on font management. I had a whole class on just typography so hopefully that will help. Is Opentype still the preferred font type followed by Postscript ?

Yea photoshop is defiantly on the bottom of my list! I have 40-45 hrs of indesign and around 20hrs of quark material to soak up, I wish I knew my way around those like I do in Photoshop

Last edited by AdamZx3; 12-22-2007 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:10 AM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

As I said, if the outfit is savvy, they'll commit to a modern, fast PDF making machine like Evo or Nexus. But the stuff is expensive, and needs special training to use. I've been long enough away from using the stuff, but close enough to watch to know that it's not easy, if it's used for different workflows. If it's adapted to one little workflow, or product, it's as easy as pushing a button.
Fonts are mysterious, for sure, but the most important marriage between prepress and printer these days is color management. If they get that right, people are happy, very happy. If i was to forge a career in prepress today, i'd aspire to be an expert in that discipline.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:17 AM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

Cool, i'll pickup a color management book too, the Real World Color Management book seems to be a pretty good one from the reviews. I've learned about basic color management for outputting to an inkjet, but a CMYK workflow will be a new thing for me.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:32 PM
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamZx3 View Post
Real World Color Management book

Excellent choice. Good luck, and happy holidaze.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:34 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: What to include in a prepress portfolio?

has Real World Color Management been updated recently, i was thinking of getting the color management book by Eddie Tapp...
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