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ATPM 4.12
December 1998


How To


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Art Department

by Jamal Ghandour,

QuarkXPress Trapped

[artQuark graphic]

Trapping: A slight overlapping that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of graphic elements in film separations because of misalignments of plates in the press.

Even thought the above definition of trapping may sound scary, the truth could not be more further away. However, to understand trapping, a minimal knowledge of commercial printing is required (in specific knock-offs.) In commercial printing, all colors are made up of the four primary colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). Thus, the wide gamut of colors is obtained by mixing the primary colors. For example, green is made up by mixing Cyan with Yellow as shown below.

[artMixed graphic]

Now, imagine you wanted the yellow to actually overlap the blue and not overprint (visible mix of colors.) Then the films would look something like this (this is not100% accurate but shown like this for simplicity’s sake):

[artKnocked graphic]

Notice that the Cyan is actually “knocked off” where the colors overlap.

As simple as it looks, the very essence of this procedure makes way for the most overlooked pitfall of most DTP operators. The flaw is visualized in white fuzzy lines around small graphic objects such as text (normally due to the “montage” operators’ misaligning separation films slightly). Trapping a graphic object is simply bleeding (expanding the edges) slightly as a safe guard. The visual below shows this clearly:

[artOverprint graphic]

How to trap in QuarkXPress?

Trapping could not be easier in QuarkXPress, simply:

Select the desired graphic object to be trapped (highlight it).
Choose Show Trap Information (View Menu) option-F12
Fill in the desired amount of trapping

[artTrapped graphic]

I hope everyone had a Happy Turkey trapping day! : )

[apple graphic] Copyright © 1998 Jamal Ghandour, Jamal Ghandour is
currently the Executive Manager at SwiftAd international.

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Reader Comments (2)

Susan Bibeau · January 16, 2003 - 13:00 EST #1
What are the recommended trap amounts? I assume it is based on the line screen? Is there a site you could direct me to with some specific guidelines, i.e. amounts? Thanks. I love this site!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 16, 2003 - 23:16 EST #2
Susan - it completely depends on the press you are using, so you should ask them. Registration has improved dramatically over the years. It used to be that a full point of trapping was advised. These days, a half point is generally safe and perhaps even a bit less for 4-color work. Your press should have guidelines for how much trapping is recommended for their equipment.

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