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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Jargon Buster Part 2 – Artwork Files: 16th July 2019

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

This article is the second in our series to help you understand some of the terminology used in the duplication process

Artwork Files:

Beware, we are now moving into the area of artwork and the word image no linger relates to a disc image! When talking about artwork, and image is simply a picture, a graphic or photograph

 

PDF

PDF stands for “portable document format.” Adobe Systems designed this format, which has become the standard for exchanging electronic documents. Its a very complex and powerful format used extensively in artwork design and printing, perfect for supplying your artwork supporting the other artwork formats below, as well as special print formats, colours and vector graphics.

 

JPEG,  TIFF, and PNG

These image formats are ideal for photos and similar images containing many colours offering good quality and acceptable sizes are possible. The quality / file size of a jpeg can be altered through the use of compression.

The three formats all vary slightly in the way they apply compression to the images, each with its own advantages. For printing its best to keep the compression at a minimum so the files are larger and better quality.

 

PSD

This format is only used by the graphics programs Photoshop. The files are generally large and contain lots of additional information and layers which are not needed for print. The complexity of the files make them perfect for editing and designing, BUT not ideal for printing. You should save your artwork to PDF or JPEG when ready to submit for printing.

To learn more about artwork formats this article is a good place to start, offering beginner guides to the various types: Further information on artwork formats.

 

 

Jargon Buster Part 1 – Master Discs:8th July 2019

Monday, July 8th, 2019

As in most Industries there are many terms and abbreviations which are used in duplication, that have become part of our ordinary language. For the uninitiated these terms can sometimes appear complicated and a bit daunting. This is especially true of file formats as some terms are used to define different entity’s even when working in the same markets!

 

Our Director of Technology Mark Smith has written a series for articles that we will publish over the next 3 weeks explaining  some of the most used terms,in relation the the optical media (CD, DVD and Blu-Ray) market. With links for more detailed explanations:

 

Physical Masters:

This simply means a hard copy CD or DVD which we can use to duplicate from.

 

Disc Image Formats:

The type of images here are not photographic images. The term relates to a ‘snapshot’ of the contents of a disc, the format and the exact layout.

The most important thing when working with disc images is you are sure you have formatted them correctly. Failing to do this will result in any discs made from them to be faulty. If there is any doubt, or you are new to this area, ask for help and advice. We have a team here who are always available for email, phone or online chat and will be very happy to help and advise you.

 

ISOnrg

An .iso image is a computer file that is an exact copy of an existing file system. ISO files are typically created through a software application that will extract the contents of a CD or DVD, and then write then as an exact electronic copy of the original disc to a file (a .iso file). This allows us to burn to burn an exact copy of the original onto CD or DVD.

Iso files are perfectly acceptable for CD-Rom and DVD-Video, but should not be used for CD-Audio due to technical restrictions

 

IMG

This format is very similar to a .ISO image with a few subtle changes and features which are beyond the scope of this article. For our purpose they can be used the same as an ISO, but more in depth information can be found in this article should you wish to learn more.

Like ISO files, .img should not be used for CD-Audio discs.

 

NRG

These files are a relatively new proprietary optical disc image file format. NRG files are used in the same way as other image formats, but are a more advanced and very versatile.

NRG files can be used for any type and format of disc, CD-ROM, CD-Audio, DVD-Video, Blu-Ray, etc.

NRG files on Wikipedia

 

DDP

This stands for Disc Description Protocol and is commonly used for delivery of disc pre-masters for commercial Glass Master Replication. The DDP format is compatible with all CD and DVD discs and is the industry professional format used in mass manufacture of discs. Although becoming more common, its a relatively unknown format used mainly within the optical media industry for transporting discs electronically between production facility’s and mastering houses.

DDP files can be accepted the same as all other listed image formats for duplication, but are not a specific requirement in any way. Further more detailed information on this format is available here.

 

Bin/Cue

This is a versatile image file format particularly useful for CD-Audio. The consist of two files,

  1. a binary data file (.bin file), This is the raw data of a disc, a solid block of information with no organisation.
  2. a Cue sheet (.cue file). This is a descriptive file, used to give structure and organisation to the raw binary (.bin) file.

Each of the Bin & Cue files are meaningless on their own, and must be provided together with their specific and matching partner, never mixed or edited. Further information of this file type can be found here.

 

 

Join Us On Instagram: 20th June 2019

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

multi coloured shape logo for instagram appWe have started to share Amazing Artwork and Important News on Instagram.

Dont miss out on seeing some inspiring and cool art from customers along with Important News and Offers.

Follow us on Instagram..and keep in touch …

.https://www.instagram.com/duplicationcentreltd/

 

Being Environmentally Aware: 21st May 2019

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Playing our small part and being responsible for our own footprint, is our starting point with environmental issues.

CD, DVD & BluRay has traditionally been a very plastic orientated industry, with the CD Jewell Case and the Standard Plastic DVD box being for many years, the norm for packing and presenting your discs.

Over the last few years, and in conjunction with current responsible thinking we have been  keen to promote our Eco-Friendly casing options.

We have developed our own templates and sourced FSC certified Sustainable card stock to provide our customers with a high quality, low price, ecofriendly range for CD, DVD & BluRay packaging.

These include:

  • Single Card Wallets
  • Double Card Wallets
  • Lancing Packs
  • 4 page Digipaks
card lancing pack with cd with woman and man in swimming costumes and a booklet

CD Lancing Pack with 4 page booklet

two card wallet with cds being inserted ,picture of a band in 40's clothes and 5 piece band

Cd single card wallets

As a result of this we have noticed a huge shift in the choice our customers make when deciding on their cases.

Our card wallets by far exceed the popularity of all our plastic options.

At the same time we are very respectful of peoples right to choose and still stock all the traditional case choices. Where possible and where the quality is good enough, we use eco plastic versions like the ecolite Amaray cases for our traditional dvd packaging.These are both fully recycled and  recycleable.

 

All of the templates for designing any of our card products can be found here:

https://www.duplicationcentre.co.uk/artwork-pdf-guidelines.html

Barcoding your CD’s & DVD’s & BluRay’s: 1st May 2019

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

It’s easy to buy a Barcode from us, just email una@duplicationcentre.co.uk requesting a Barcode and she will send you a PayPal payment link for £25 plus vat.

You can then add the Barcode to the artwork you prepare for us when we run your CD, DVD or Blu Ray job for you.

If you are selling in shops and online you will need a barcode. Remember too that if you sell via Amazon you also will need to have us Cellowrap your job, as it’s an Amazon requirement.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

The Barcode is the unique number that when scanned will identify your product. You need a barcode for each of the individual products you have. Remember that the pricing information related to the barcode is set by each individual retailer. The Barcode simply identifies the product itself.

BARCODE

*Unique 12/13-digit code assigned to your product – guaranteed if you buy from us.

*Scanned in shop or online checkout by your retailer for stock management and sales data information.

*World Wide use

Barcodes are easy to insert into your artwork, (we provide them to you in a variety of different formats) and come with a certificate of authentication.

Alternatively, we can easily add the Barcode you have purchased from us to your artwork for you, just let us know when you order.

Don’t be fooled and get a Free Barcode…there are lots of fake ones out there!

 

 

Good Reasons to Publish Your Music: 4th April 2019

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

There is a great deal of information and research published about the health benefits of listening to and also of performing music.

Here at duplication centre we love to work with customers who are publishing as a solo artist or group/band and creating a hard copy CD,DVD or Blu-Ray to share with family, friends and fans.

Commit your work to CD for others to hear or just for your own enjoyment and pleasure.

Don’t forget to copyright your original music to ensure you receive any credits for use of your work.

You can find out about doing this on the PRS For Music website.

www.prsformusic.com

It’s satisfying and raises self esteem….and may even raise some cash!!

Why do colours look different on my Monitor and Printer?

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Why is it that your printed colours look different to what you see on your monitor? Everything looks great on the screen but the prints come out subtly different.

The truth is you will never see a perfect match between images on the screen and images on paper, they are simply put, two very different entity’s.

Colour Space, RGB and CMYK

You monitor image is made us from pixels, these are thousands of tiny lights, and each of these lights can produce around 16 million colours, which is more than our eyes can recognise! These lights are know as  the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour space.

A printed image is made up from dots of ink splashed on a piece of paper. We use 4 ink colours for this, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key black. These 4 make up the CMYK colour space. The first three colours are used to reproduce colour, in a similar way to your monitor, the final ‘Key black’ is needed for practical reasons, but its not so important to this topic.

When light hits an colour ink splash on the paper, only the same colour light is reflected, which is a small part of the light which hits is. In contrast the same dot of colour on screen it a light source itself and much stronger than a reflection. So it should already make sense why printed paper would not be as bright on screen, they exist in a smaller range of brightness!

There’s also another restriction on printed images which is because the reflected light is relatively small they only produce a relatively small range of colours, perhaps a few thousand at the most. This is a big reduction from the 16 million available on your monitor! Now you don’t need to worry about this too much, our computers and printers are very good an handling these difficulties, but you should try to keep in mind the subtle details in images can be lost, for example, dark grey text on a black background that is only just visible on screen, will probably as solid black.

You cannot print light!

The next experiment, take a printed image and hold it next to the computer monitor. Now turn the lights off, which one can you see!

The fact is you cannot print light to a piece of paper. So the bright and florescent Reds, Pinks, Yellows, etc which which have so much energy can only be produced with a light behind them. The moment you convert them to print they will be much duller. There are techniques which might help a little when converting them, but really is no fix for this one. If you are designing artwork for print the ideal solution is to use the CMYK colour space from the beginning. This way there are no surprises at the end.

Other factors

The reflection of an ink splash on paper is only a close approximation of the intended colour. Even the type of light bulb in the room your in can affect the colours you see! The same is true for the type or paper you are printing on. So imagine if the the papers are different, or one of them is not paper at all, perhaps a plastic CD. Or maybe the printers are made by different companies, or use different printing technology. Variation is the prints will be expected.

Again, this is not something you need to look at fixing yourself, printers and the things they print on are carefully ‘tuned’ so they produce images as accurately as possible.

The Proof is in the pudding

So you’ve carefully designed some art, keeping in mind all the possible variations, but have you done it right?

You could ask us to check, we’re the experts right? Well yes, but even experts can make mistakes but more importantly this is the first time we have seen you art. We have no way of knowing what effect you are trying to achieve, we don’t know if you have a golden Sun tan or an orange glow, we don’t know if the car in the background should be Green or Blue, or if there way supposed to be the outline of a cat in the shadows.

So who is best placed to check this then? Easy, the same person who knows exactly what the artwork should look like…. You!

I know, we’ve gone full circle, but the solution to this problem is a proof print. Proofs are very common in the print industry and will show you exactly how the print comes out. They are not always necessary, especially if your experienced enough to know what you might receive but if this is you first venture into print, and the details for this one need to be perfect then a proof is definitely the way to go.

 

 

Printed Parts Are Important

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

All of our customers are producing a CD,DVD or Blu-Ray to communicate Audio and/or Visual, Music, Spoken Word, Information or Performances to their audience/customers. This is the main event!

With a physical CD, DVD or Blu-Ray however there is another dimension/medium available to express visually in Word, Picture and Images through the use of printed covers and booklet inserts. This recruits yet another of our senses and gives an additional aesthetic dimension to your product. For most customers this is a really important feature of the duplication process and for many is not just the imparting of information, but another expression of art.

Our clients can spend a great deal of time designing artwork for their orders so with this in mind we invest in a State of the Art printer technology which is second to none for print production.

We only use the highest quality card and paper on all the associated printed parts that come with CD, DVD and Blu-Ray Production.

How often have you pulled out a CD/DVD booklet that is thin and shoddy quality? We know that you want your duplication order to be of a professional standard so we only use card that is 350gsm and 170gsm papers. These are good to handle and allow the print quality to show at its best. Your carefully planned project deserves no less than the highest quality printed parts and that is what we provide.

We also manage to remain Eco-friendly whilst maintaining this high quality by using FSC certified sustainable stock for our printing 🙂

Lightscribe Technology – is it as good as all the hype is making out?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Lightscribe technology - the new way to make pretty discs!

Some years ago, Hewlett Packard became increasingly frustrated with its own home-CD-printing software: It was a hassle to print out and stick labels on CDs and it was very easy to get it wrong! So their developers began to come up with a new plan; why not use a laser to etch the CD label onto the disc instead?

The technology to achieve this was developed, dubbed Lightscribe Technology, and software and etching devices were unleashed onto the market. Lightscribe has been a massive success so far, allowing consumers to produce professional-looking CD labels at home by etching labels onto discs rather than printing and sticking.

But how does this new technology work? Allow me to explain; First, there is the Lightscibe drive, a disc-drive which etches your CD label design onto your CD. To use one of these drives, you must have compatible media (Lightscribe-printable CDs are very clearly labelled and available on the internet with a quick search-engine check) and the appropriate software installed to your computer. Hook the Lightscribe drive up to your computer and away you go!

The drive itself works by using the same kind of laser that burns CDs to engrave an etched image of your CD label onto the front of your disc. However, it has a ‘control feature zone’ which not only allows it to take in the full dimensions of your disc, but also means that every time you insert the disc, it begins printing in the same place again. this means you can print multiple times on the same disc, adding a title or extra image if you wish. It is no problem if you forget something: You can always just insert it later on!

While this breakthrough is a marvelous development, it does come with some drawbacks; it takes a very long time to etch a CD label onto even one disc – up to thirty minutes, dependent on how complex your design is! – while printing and sticking usually takes between three and five. Also, while thermal and inkjet printing allow for variants in colour, Lightscribe is simply monotone.

However the quality of the CD label is guaranteed to be superb and the etching effect does look incredibly professional: Much more so than a CD marker pen!

And bear in mind that this is very new technology: Developers have a lot of time to work on improving the current model and fixing the problems that have occurred in it. And, as always, the more we as consumers invest in a product, the further the product will develop over time!n

How to Use Duplication Centre’s Artwork Creator

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Duplcation Centre's artwork creator will help you make stunning CDs and DVDs

It can be very difficult to get a CD design which is right for your product: But, thankfully, with Duplication Centre’s new online Artwork Creator, you can design and make your own CD design! And, to help you even further on the way to getting the design you want, here are some helpful tips on how to use it…

To begin with, let us examine the basic screen. At the top, from left to right, are the options for a ‘New Design’, to ‘Load Design’, ‘Save Design’ or ‘Upload Image’ from your computer. Below is the ‘Clip Art Gallery’ at the top of which is a drop-down list allowing you to select which category of clip art you which to have displayed. Beside this is the ‘Text Tool’ and to the right of this is the colour chart which can be used to select the background colour. At the bottom of the screen is the ‘Workspace’ in which you create your image.

It is here that the first step in design occurs: Here you pick which aspect of the CD you are designing. You are given the choice to design a 4-page booklet for the insert, the CD/DVD body, a plain card for the insert, the inlay for a Jewel case, a DVD book or DVD wrap. Each option gives you a different space to design in, specifically measured to the design requirements of a CD: The CD body is the actual size of a CD body, the 4-page booklet, the correct dimensions for a 4-page booklet insert. These options are selected by pressing the option tabs at the top of the ‘Workspace’.

Within the workspace, different coloured lines mean different things: A red line indicates the edge of your product, though to allow for cutting errors, your image should go at least to the edge of the page. The light green lines indicate the space in which it safe to put important information. Between the red and green lines will be on your CD, but, again, due to cutting errors, it is not a wise plan to put important information so close to an edge which could potentially be cut off. Dark green lines indicate where the pages will fold.

It is also important to know that at the top of the ‘Workspace’, beneath the aspect option tabs, are two tabs. One says ‘Workspace’, the other, ‘Preview’. By selecting the preview tab, a new window opens with a full preview of your work. To get back to the main screen from the preview, simply close the new open window.

Once you have selected the part of the CD which you wish to design, it is time to select your background colour. Go to the right hand side of the page and find the background colour selector. You can either select one of the colours displayed or click the ‘More Colours’ button to open a new internal window which will allow you to select a colour from a chart. To get rid of it again, simply re-click the ‘More Colours’ button which will now say ‘Hide’. If you have a colour you know that you want already, simply click the ‘Enter Own Colour’ button and insert the hex code before clicking ‘Accept’.

After you have decided on your background colour, it is time to put an image onto your work. To do this you can either use one of the existing images by single-clicking on it in the ‘Artwork Gallery’ (middle, left-hand side of the screen) or upload your own. To do this, click the ‘Upload Image’ button at the very top of the screen. Then, select from your files and folders the image you wish to insert, before clicking ‘Select’. The image will then be uploaded into the workspace.

Once you have an image in the workspace, you can drag it around until it is in the correct position. You can also alter its size by bringing the mouse to the edge of the image until it turns into an arrow. Click and drag until the image is the size you want it. You can make it smaller or larger by doing this!

By inserting an image, you have made a new ‘Layer’. Each image has its own layer. To view the layers, look to the bar at the bottom right side of the screen, alongside the workspace. Drag and drop the layers higher or lower in the list to bring them forward or back. Aside from this, you can edit the brightness and opacity levels from here by selecting the layer then dragging the slider up or down on the corresponding scale in the layers toolbar. Rotation can be adjusted here, too, allowing you to twist and spin your image as much as you want.

The final thing in the design process is to insert the words you want. You could just have a title or you may want to print some lyrics inside your booklet. Whichever way, turn now to the ‘Text Tool’ which is situated near the top of the screen in between the ‘Clip Art Gallery’ and the ‘Background Colour’ selector. First, roll your mouse over the ‘Font’ button (Top left hand corner of the ‘Text Tool’) to decide which font you like. As your cursor scrolls over the font, a preview of it is temporarily shown in the Artwork Creator. Once you see a font you like, simply click on it to select it. Next, choose the size by selecting it from the drop-down list beside the ‘Font’ button. To select the justification, simply click either the right-hand orientation or the centralise buttons (top left corner of the group of icon-buttons in the top right corner of the ‘Text Tool’). Similarly, the button with the double-ended arrow going from side to side orients the text horizontally, as normal. The button with double-ended arrow going from top to bottom orients it vertically and the arrow going in a circle makes the text go in a circle. ‘Bold’, ‘Italics’ and ‘Underline buttons are directly beneath the orientation buttons and the final button in that group, which is a ‘T’ with a coloured block beside it, allows you to select the colour of the text you want. To add the text, simply click ‘Add Text’ and then drag the text to where you want it once it has appeared in the workspace. If you wish to edit the text once it has been inserted, simply double click it then edit the options in the ‘Text Tool’ space.

Lastly, to save your design, simply click the ‘Save Design’ button at the top of the screen. Click ‘Ok’ is a screen pops up, and the image you have created should save on your desktop in and ‘Artwork Creator’ folder. To load a previous design, click the ‘Load Design’ button (left of ‘Save Design’ button) then select the folder in which you previously stored the design you made. Then select the only version of the design which is not greyed out (file type ‘.prj’).

And if it all goes horribly wrong, just click the ‘New Design’ button in the top left corner of the screen which will give you a fresh canvas!

I hope this guide helps you to fill your design needs easily and effectively!

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