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Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Hi everyone,

I've been struggling with this problem for a year or more and my pressman and I are getting really frustrated. When I place an Illustrator .eps file into Quark, it loses all trapping capability (except overprint stroke and overprint black). We're having fitting problems with our (poly) plates, and to compensate we really need to be able to trap everything.

We're a small shop (I'm both the design and prepress departments and we have only one pressman)... so we can't afford expensive IN-RIP trapping software. I haven't had much luck online finding something inexpensive -- I actually haven't found many price listings at all. Right now it's all a little over my head... I'm not even really sure what to look for.

Does anybody know how to trap eps files once they're in Quark? Is it even possible? Can you recommend some trapping software; either in-rip or to install on the computer I'm designing/sending from? Should we consider going to a pdf workflow? What does everyone out there do? Any ideas, suggestions, information at all would be MUCH appreciated!

- Charlotte

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Hm... well I haven't gotten a Quark book since version 4, and we don't have that anymore. I've searched online and in Quark help and I've asked other designers and associates what they do, and I'm not getting any answers. For the most part, the designers I know don't deal with trapping and the printers I know all have trapping software.

Does anyone else encounter this? If so, what do you do about it? I've been really impressed with all the knowledgeable participants in this forum, so of all my resources, I feel this is my most reliable.

Thanks in advance for any help at all - even if it's simply "I don't have to worry about it!" (Just so I know people are even looking at this!!) I don't mean to be redundant… I'm looking for any tidbits at all!

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Sorry about the bluntness signal49.
You obviously have looked into this.

Here goes...


You can specify trapping for any Quark box, it's contents (except for imported pictures), it's frames, and it's background. The fields that are available in the trap info box will differ depending on the type of box you are traping and it's contents.

It then goes onto say you can also do it by putting a stroke double the .144pt (defult) around the EPS and using the same colour as the background in Quark.

Hope this helps in some small way.
The Press shop should have some trapping software to take care of all that anyway. (unless you are a Press shop)


RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Thanks for your suggestions Marcus.

I hadn't thought about the border around the entire box to trap with the background… I'll keep that in mind. Most of the time, though, the background isn't the problem. I do know about trapping Quark boxes and the individual contents with the trap info box.

The specific problem I'm having is only with 2-color Illustrator files. When the colors in the actual Illustrator file touch, Quark will not trap them; it creates a dead fit. I need to be able to trap the elements of the eps file with each other, not the edges of the picture box with a Quark background color, if you can follow…

Quark will trap its own things fine, and Illustrator will too, but they don't seem to get along with each other. It seems less and less likely that I'm going to find a friendly, inexpensive solution to this issue. Does anyone have experience with a pdf workflow? Would it allow me to control the trapping of each element in the layout? I have Acrobat 6 Professional and the new CS suite, but I'm hesitant to switch to InDesign. I've used it for some jobs, but it takes me 5 times as long to do anything. (I'm not trying to start a QXP vs ID argument!)

I'm getting to the end of my rope!  :-(  Thanks again for any suggestions. (Does anyone know of any other forums for this sort of thing?)

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Oh, ok, I was under the impression eps's kept their own trap.


You can trap EPS pictures created in other applications to a background colour created in Quark. Elements of EPS pictures can knockout or overprint Quark background colours, depending on how you specify the elements in your Illustration application.


RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

OK, I will chime in with my past experience in similar situations...

When i worked prepress I used freehand instead of AI, but it was always very easy just to do my trapping manually, then import the eps into quark. (Freehand has a built-in function now to 'create trap' for you.) Many times a client would fax their art with written comments on top. so I found i usually could recreate most vector based art in less then an hour with the correct trapping where butt registration was previously. Quark is great for multi-page layouts, but if its only a small amount of text with 2 colors then I wouldnt even bother with it... just do the whole thing in your illustration program and charge them a small fee to clean up the art.

I think if you are going to look into a pdf workflow, then you might want to check out Pitstop to see if it will allow you to do what you need.


RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Thanks for your suggestions, both of you!

I'll keep plugging away at this… if I learn anything new, I'll be sure to post it here, too.


RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Manual trapping is your best and most reliable option. There are programs that apply trapping to your graphic, but I feel that those are for people with too much money and not a lot of skill. It may sound like a hassle, but once you get familiar with manual trapping it becomes second nature. It sounds as if your graphics are not too complicated. One thing to note though, if your graphic is scaled when placed you need to compensate for the amount increase/decrease or make sure you're placing it at 100%. If you apply a .25pt trap but the graphic is scaled down to 50% your trap will only be .144pt.

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Thanks for the input, Matzki.

"…once you get familiar with manual trapping…"

That's exactly what I'm trying to find out, for eps files placed in Quark.

I know that in Illustrator I can create a stroke that will overprint, but that only works if it's on a solid single-color background, which is hardly ever the case. And I can set black to overprint, so I can design a spot color as black to force it to overprint, but I don't always want it to overprint everything. **I need to be able to choke or spread and keep those settings in Quark.** I already do trapping within Quark, but it doesn't effect the Illustrator files placed in the layout. I will have to start doing simple layouts directly in Illustrator and more complicated ones in InDesign, but I am much more proficient with Quark. And I still have to experiment with InDesign's trapping capabilities… I assume it works more smoothly with the other Adobe products since that's the whole point of the suite. Does anyone know if Illustrator trapping settings "keep" in InDesign?

"There are programs that apply trapping to your graphic, but I feel that those are for people with too much money and not a lot of skill."

I agree to a point… But as I'm experiencing, I think there are some limitations to certain products. I feel that I have moderate skill with this although I'm fairly new to trapping concepts; I have to figure out a way to make this work because my shop cannot afford, and doesn't do enough of this work to warrant, a $5,000 trapping system -- and it's looking like that's the only way to get this to work, with the workflow I have.

I'm going to try to figure out how to put a sample up here so you can all see what I'm talking about! It's very specific instances that this is a problem, but it's quite a common problem for me. I've heard similar complaints from other designers/printers and they didn't get any responses from the places they've posted their questions, so I do REALLY appreciate every tidbit that you've all posted!! THANKS AGAIN! (Keep it coming! )

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Illustrator does have a trapping filter that works pretty well. If you select the items you think need to be trapped and select "Trap" under the pathfinder tab, that might be a little easier.

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark


Do you mean if I set the job up in Illustrator and print from there?

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Ok, it looks like I can only post an image if it's on a web server… Is there some way to post a sample that's saved on my hard drive?

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

The Illustrator trapping feature work the same as if you did it manually. Just apply the feature and save the graphic as usual. This helps determine what needs to be trapped, but your'e letting Illustartor do the work so be sure to check the work.

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Thanks I'll check that out

RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

you can use a free web host like http://www.domaindlx.com/ and link to your image there. that way we can see what you are talking about.


RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Contrary to what Matzki thinks automated trapping is not just for people with too much money and not a lot of skill . . . I process between ten and fifty files a day that require anywhere from 20 to 500 elements to be trapped . . . you do the math . . . plus the computer controlled trapping solutions can trap things that you can only dream about trapping manually - try trapping two blends that overlap each other . . .in different colors and directions . . . I'm afraid that the only solutions are the automated ones that will trap any file in any workflow such as Trapwise, Trapeze, and rip specific ones like the Delta trapping from Heidelberg or in rip trapping from adobe . . . all I could advise is keep looking of ebay or talk to your local pre-press equipment supplier for used copies of trapping software that might become available when people upgrade to automated trapping or change work flows - I have an older  copy of trapwise that is elgible for upgrade drop me a note and I'll ask the boss what he wants for it. . .



RE: Trapping Illustrator Files in Quark

Yeah dabob, those are exactly the kinds of issues I'm having. I'm not just dealing with solid-on-solid colors… there are gradients and white space, etc.

I tried the Pathfinder Trapping function a little bit, and it's not exactly what I need. It's adding a "trapping" border around the objects I select, but that border shows up no matter what it's trapping with. Example: There's a red shape that overlaps a black shape and some white spaces. I don't want the screened border from the red object to print on the white spaces, even though it may be helpful for overprinting with the black. And I don't want to set black to overprint, because then you'll see the black through the red shape when it's printed. If I adjust that with the pathfinder functions, etc, I still have the same problem with trapping the black and red. I have to be able to tell each color exactly how to act with the other color(s), like I can to individual Quark elements. It sounds like neither Illustrator nor Quark can let me do this.

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