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  Working With EPS Files in QuarkXPress™ and Photoshop® - Part One

I've received a few emails about EPS files and decided to publish this tutorial to clear up any confusion that may arise when using them in QuarkXPress or Photoshop. EPS files are PostScript® and the letters "EPS" stand for "encapsulated PostScript". There is some basic data about EPS files in the tutorial found here in the "Read Me First" section of the site. This tutorial details some of the aspects of using EPS files in QuarkXPress or Adobe® Illustrator®. Adobe Photoshop5.5 was used to create the example EPS files.

This tutorial covers two points of particular interest:

a.) Why EPS images sometimes appear jagged onscreen and when printing them out.
b.) An EPS file saved with a clipping path is supposed to make the background appear transparent (more on clipping paths here). This tutorial covers why after making an EPS image with a clipping path, the background sometimes appears white when placed in a page layout program.

1. For this tutorial we will need to make two simple EPS files. Start by opening an image in Photoshop, then create a path to knock out the background (more on creating paths in Photoshop here). The image used here is called "CD.psd" and is found in the Training:Tour folder on the Photoshop CD. Give the new path a name. The deafult name Photoshop assigns to the new path is "Path 1".

2. Next, assign "Path 1" to be the clipping path. First make sure the path is selected then click the small triangle in the upper right corner of the Paths palette to access the Paths palette menu. Choose "Clipping Path" from the menu.

3. In the "Clipping Path" dialog, click the drop-down menu and select "Path 1". Click "OK" when done.

4. Next, click File > Save a Copy. In the dialog choose "Photoshop EPS" from the Format drop-down. Give the file a name (in this case name the file "CD.eps") and click the "Save" button.

5. The next dialog gives you some choices. The only two things we're interested in here are the preview image and the encoding. A preview image is a low resolution bitmap image which is saved with the EPS data. It can be either TIFF or PICT format. This example is on a Macintosh® so we will choose "Macintosh (8 bits per pixel)" (although TIFF would work equally well on the Mac®). The "Macintosh" choices use the PICT image format. A preview image allows you to see the EPS file onscreen for programs that don't render onscreen graphics using PostScript. It also allows the printing of a low resolution proof of the EPS file to a non-PostScript printer.

Next choose "ASCII" for the encoding. In this exercise we will open the EPS file in a text editor. Choosing "Binary" makes a more compact file.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 and save another EPS file, this time choosing "None" for the preview. Name this one "CD no preview.eps".
postit.gif   Note: Please note that you can save the EPS file with a choice of color depths (more here on color depth). In this case we are using 8-bit color (256 colors max).

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