I make illustrations in Illustrator using 6 to 8+ colours, masks, compound path and halftone colours and typography. On the current job (Poster Illustration without text only illustration) i needed to use textures so i copied and pasted the vectors from Illustrator directly into a new Photoshop document and applied the textures images using blending effects and masks. I left the vectors as Smart Objects.

I worked in Illustrator using CMYK and in Photoshop RGB colour settings. I converted the colour mode from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop after finishing the work rasterising all the layers, Smart Objects included.

I'm not dealing with the printer i'm only handling the files to the client. The client is going to print in CMYK colour. No Spot colours used.

I Know i can save the artwork on TIFF format, but i don't know yet if the client will accept it.

Here comes the questions:

1) If the client wants the PDF file and not the TIFF can i save the work from Photoshop in PDF using the option (PDF/X-1a)?

2) Is there any problem to save the PDF from Photoshop?

3) Do i need to know anything specific when saving as PDF format from Photoshop?

I usually save the artworks as Pdf from Illustrator i never do it from Photoshop. I would appreciate your help as the client is going to contact me soon and ask me to handle the file. I ask you please to keep your answers as simple as possible as i am a beginner regarding printing with a basic knowledge about CMYK and RGB principles.



  • When saving to pdf for print there several settings that must be considered, depending on what your client wants. Gradients and shadows can break in the print software. Marks and bleeds may be neccessary for their print process. CMYK can be assumed. At least 300 dpi. With complex, layered art your file may too big to send and slow to process (300 megs). Ive had great results retaining all layers and look and keeping file small simply using "Print to pdf" but you cant set printer marks that way. The file type wanted is up to your printer though, they may want .tiff, eps or even the .psd file. – Webster Feb 20 '17 at 16:27
  • I'm always torn between using all the graphics tricks to make it look good and keeping it small and printable. The "Print to PDF really solved a lot of my problems. I like gradients and shadows :) I suspect you may be asked to modify the files when your client gives them to the printer. Only then will you know the printers needs. The client will probably regret getting between you and the printer. I only made a comment, not an answer, because moderators on this site are sticklers for correct, thorough, technically accurate answers and mine are mainly anecdotal. Let me know how it goes. – Webster Feb 20 '17 at 17:16
  • Hi, thanks for the answer. i don't use gradient and shadows. I'm using purposely halftones flat colours to recreate shadows and avoid the any bad look of the artwork when printing. The file set up is at 300dpi, marks & bleeds are included in the design. The file is 700 megs. What's your suggestions, should i maybe save and send the artwork on multiple file format; .tiff, .eps, .pdf and psd to the customer and then when he sends them to the printer, they choose the preferred format? Thanks – Th-Ink Studio Feb 20 '17 at 17:16
  • i think i'll send multiple file format to be on the safe side Thanks thanks for support ! – Th-Ink Studio Feb 20 '17 at 17:20

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