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3.4 Flatten for Print

In this lesson, we're going to discuss how to best flatten our image for printing. Many large printing companies don't accept layered images and request that you flatten them before hand. This reduces the file size and ensures that they will be fewer variances in how your image appears. Let's take a moment and discuss how this relates to offset printing. When you have multiple layers in Photoshop, they're operating separately from each other. So if you were to send them to an offset printing system with layers, it would be akin to sending multiple individual images. So they must be first flattened into one single image. And then this flattened image will be going through the four color process printing system. In which your single image will be separated into four different color values, also known as color separation. These four different separations are each transferred onto printing plates and printed onto a printing press using the four inks cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, also known as black. These four colors together will represent your original image. So let's walk through the steps of flattening our image. In most cases, you will have many more layers than this in Photoshop, especially if you've been performing a handful of edits. So we're gonna head up to Layer and then Flatten Image. Now for illustration purposes, I'm going to take a moment and look at my channels palette and observe each individual color. You can watch me do this. You don't have to do this part on your end. I'm going to temporarily convert my image to CMYK, in order to mimic the offset process. And so, you can watch as I head over to Mode and then select CMYK Color. And I'll select OK. And then I'll head up to Window and then Channels. In here we have cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. And so these are the channels that make up this flattened image. And just as I was mentioning earlier that with offset printing they make different colors separations that are transferred onto the printing plates. This can help you visualize that process. If I deselect all of the channels except yellow and black, you will see that our image mostly looks yellow. And if I deselect yellow and select magenta, then you'll see just the magenta tones within our image. And the same goes for cyan as well. And so all of these colors put together make up our image. So, we flattened our image. At this point some people like to save the file and then move on to the next step of lightly sharpening it, because they prefer not to save the sharpening adjustment with the file. However, for the purposes of this course, we're gonna move on to the next lesson and sharpen our image first. And then we'll save the file after that.

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