ARTWORK & DESIGN

Design Instructions: CMYK Disc Printing 

Before You Begin: The production assets you supply to us are deemed to be in final form. This means you have checked them thoroughly and confirm they are ready-to-manufacture without the need for modifications.

Design Software:

We strongly recommend you use either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign for general layout and typesetting, and Adobe Photoshop for processing your photos/images. Free fully functioning 30 day trials of these programs can be downloaded from adobe.com 


Design Templates:

You designs must be supplied on the appropriate Precision Disc Design Templates We can not accept the templates from other manufacturers or ‘home made’ templates. 

 

Basic Design Rules:

 Important: When creating/using "rich" black colour values it's possible to have the values too high, which can result in oversaturation of ink and cause ink adhesion issues. Based on our printing presses, we find that a good rich black can be achieved with the following CMYK colour values: C:25 M:25 Y:5 K:100.

 The template should be the top layer in your Layer Menu so you can always see it for visual reference while you are designing.
 Colour mode for page properties, colour values and images: CMYK
 Resolution for page properties and images: 300 ppi (pixels per inch).
 Always allow 1/8” (3mm) of bleed past the finished edges of your design (see Image #1 below).
 Don't crowd the edges with text - using a margin of no less than 1/8" (3mm) is generally recommended. 
 The ink density for the colours in your design should not exceed 300%. You can determine the ink density for any colour by 
   adding up the individual CMYK values of the colour. For example: The total ink density of C:100 M:98 Y:19 K:16 equals 233%.

 When using transparencies, gradients, drop-shadows or anything less than 100% solid colour, the tonal range should between 
   15% and 85%.

 Flatten/rasterize any transparencies, gradients and drop-shadows you create in your design.


Text:

 Minimum recommended type size for dark coloured lettering on a light coloured background: 5 points
 Minimum recommended type size for light coloured lettering on a dark coloured background: 6 points
 For best print results do not use fonts with thin/fine strokes for small text (especially when using light text on a dark background).
 If using Photoshop: Small text and line-art created in Photoshop tends to look fuzzy when printed so we suggest you either: 
(A) Process your photos and images in Photoshop, then import your imagery into Adobe Illustrator or Indesign where you can assemble your images within the design template and add your typsesetting... or ...
(B) Complete your design in Photoshop (including text) but do not rasterize your text layers or flatten your design. Keep all of your design layers editable. Save your design and supply it to us with all of the font files you used in your design.

Image #1: The red circles in the design template represent the maximum
printable area, but your design must 'bleed' or extend past the red
circles by at least 1/8" (which is represented by the blue circles).



When Your Disc Design Is Completed

STEP 1 - Embed Your Photos/Images

Illustrator and Indesign: Go to your Menu Bar, select 'Window' and then select 'Links' to open the Link Menu on your screen. Click on an image in your design, click on the Menu button in your Link Menu and then click on 'Embed Image'. Repeat as required for other photos/images in your design. 

Photoshop: Rasterize the layer in your Layer Menu.



STEP 2 - Covert Text To Outlines

To avoid font substitution errors please convert all of your text into 'outlines'. In the image shown below the word "Text" on the left has not been outlined, and the word "Text" on the right has been outlined. 

Illustrator and Indesign: Select all text, go to your Menu Bar, select 'Type' and then select 'Create Outlines'.

 


 



STEP 3 - Turn Off The Template Layer

When you have finished your design please turn off the "Template" layer in your Layer Menu (after doing so, the template's red circles and blue circles should have disappeared). The "Registration Mark" in the center of the template must remain visible - do not cover it, delete it or turn that layer off.

In the image shown below, the Template layer has been turned off but the Registration Mark layer is clearly visible. This is how we want you to supply the file.

STEP 4 - Saving Your Design

You must save your design as a high resolution PDF. Please name your artwork file with your order number and the product name. For example: 32543_CD.pdf

In your Menu Bar select "File", then "Save As" and then select the PDF file format. A dialogue box will then appear (see example shown below) and in the "Adobe PDF Preset" field you select the "High Quality Print" option. Then click "Save PDF".

Design Instructions: Spot Colour Disc Printing (200+ Units)

Before You Begin: The production assets you supply to us are deemed to be in final form. This means you have checked them thoroughly and confirm they are ready-to-manufacture without the need for modifications.

Design Software:

We only accept vector based (line-art) graphics for silkscreen printing artwork. Please use either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign. Photoshop files will not be accepted. Free fully functioning 30 day trials of these programs can be downloaded from adobe.com 

Design Templates:

You designs must be supplied on the appropriate Precision Disc design templates. We can not accept the templates from other manufacturers or ‘home made’ templates. 


Basic Design Rules:

 All artwork must be supplied in vector (line-art) form. Unless you are experienced with designing for silkscreen print do not include
   bitmap images in your design (for instructions please contact us).

 Your design must be properly colour separated using your Layer Menu. For example: Let's say you are creating a two colour 
   design using PMS 101C Yellow and PMS 107C Blue. Dedicate two layers in your Layer Menu for these two colours. All of the 
   design elements that will print as PMS 101C goes in one of those two layers, and all of the design elements being printed PMS 
   107C will go in the other layer (see Image #1 below).

 All design elements must be specified with the appropriate colour value from the Pantone Solid Coated "C" colour menu.
 Always allow 1/8” (3mm) of bleed past the finished edges of your design (see Image #1 below).
 Don't crowd the edges with text - using a margin of no less than 1/8" (3mm) is generally recommended. 
 Do not add trapping to your design layers - our pre-press personnel will add trapping where necessary.
 Do not use transparencies, gradients, drop-shadows or anything less than 100% solid colour unless you are experienced with 
   designing for silkscreen print (the finished print will not resemble the smooth and consistent image you see on your computer 
   monitor). If using less than 100% solid colour, the tonal range must be between 15% and 85%


Text:

 Minimum recommended type size for dark coloured lettering on a light coloured background: 5 points
 Minimum recommended type size for light coloured lettering on a dark coloured background: 6 points
 For best print results do not use fonts with thin/fine strokes for small text (especially when using light text on a dark background).

Image #1: The red circles in the design template represent the maximum
printable area, but your design must 'bleed' or extend past the red
circles by at least 1/8" (which is represented by the blue circles).



When Your Disc Design Is Completed

STEP 1 - Covert Text To Outlines

To avoid font substitution errors please convert all of your text into 'outlines'. In the image shown below the word "Text" on the left has not been outlined, and the word "Text" on the right has been outlined. 

Illustrator and Indesign: Select all text, go to your Menu Bar, select 'Type' and then select 'Create Outlines'.

 


 



STEP 2 - Turn Off The Template Layer

When you have finished your design please turn off the "Template" layer in your Layer Menu (after doing so, the template's red circles and blue circles should have disappeared). The "Registration Mark" in the center of the template must remain visible - do not cover it, delete it or turn that layer off.

In the image shown below, the Template layer has been turned off but the Registration Mark layer is clearly visible. This is how we want you to supply the file.

STEP 3 - Saving Your Design

You must save your design as a high resolution PDF file. Please name your artwork file with your order number and the product name. For example: 32543_CD.pdf


In your Menu Bar select "File", then "Save As" and then select the PDF file format. A dialogue box will then appear (see example shown below) and in the "Adobe PDF Preset" field you select the "High Quality Print" option. Then click "Save PDF".

To print on a white flood or not?

When creating the design for your CD/DVD disc, there can be confusion about the need for adding a "white flood" (aka: white back-print). In the vast majority of cases a white flood is indeed used, but here's an explanation that should help you decide what's best for your design.

The colour of the material affects the colour of the print

Printing onto a white background is the standard for most types of printing applications because 'white' is a neutral colour that doesn't affect the colours being printed on top of it.

A simple way to illustrate this would be to print your design onto a white sheet of paper, and then print the same design onto a coloured piece of paper. You should see a difference in the printed result, because the ink colours are influenced by the colour of the material it's printed onto.

Based on this, printing directly onto the aluminum colour of CD/DVD discs without a white flood can affect the appearance of the print. In addition, if you require the colour "white" in your CMYK design it's normally provided through the use of the white flood/back-print.
 

The example on the left is printed on a white -finished CDR inkjet printable disc. The colours are richer, the light colours are brighter, and there's more contrast between the light and dark colours. The example on the right is printed on a silver -finished CDR inkjet printable disc. The print is slightly darker and the colours are more dull in appearance.

CMYK inks are translucent

A reason why a white flood (or white back-print) improves the visual appearance of the print is because of the type of ink being used. Commercial printing is commonly done using the CMYK colour mode:

  • C = Cyan

  • M = Magenta

  • Y = Yellow

  • K = Black

Because CMYK inks are printed on top of each other they cannot be opaque - instead they have to be translucent. This translucency means the colour of the material underneath the print is partially visible through the ink. Typically, the colour of the material should be more noticeable through light print colours than through dark colours. 

Sometimes the results can be subtle enough where the design isn't negatively affected, and then other times the results can be very obvious... it all depends on the design. 

CD DVD Colour Accuracy

A big graphic design challenge for CD duplication and DVD duplication is colour accuracy… the colours you see on your computer monitor can be different than what actually prints. This isn’t uncommon and has caused problems for designers regardless of their experience.

Computer Monitor Display

Have you ever gone into an electronics store where they have a row of televisions on display all lined up side-by-side, and all displaying the same channel? Even though they are all displaying the same channel, did you notice that the colouration of each television’s display was slightly different… or even a lot different? 
 
The same holds true for computer monitors – most computer monitors don’t display true colour. The result of that means (a) the colouration of your finished print may look different than what you view on your computer monitor, and (b) the colour of your CD duplication or DVD duplication design may look different when viewed on different monitors.
 
This can help: To improve the colour accuracy of your computer monitor you can have it colour calibrated (“calibration” means having the monitor’s display optimized for colour accuracy). Mechanical calibration using a sensor is a popular way of calibrating a monitor, but, while calibration can ‘improve’ your colour display you cannot rely on it to be completely accurate. You should be able to buy a mechanical calibration kit from an electronic store that carries a good range of software titles.
 

 

RGB versus CMYK

Computer monitors display imagery in the RGB colour mode (red, green, blue) yet commercial print is produced using the CMYK colour mode (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). 
 
Because RGB has a larger ‘gamut’ (ie: range) of colours than CMYK, it’s possible to design using RGB colours that are outside the range of what CMYK can reproduce. When converting an RGB design to CMYK, any RGB colours that are outside of the CMYK gamut will be automatically converted within the CMYK gamut and the visual result will be a less vibrant colour.
 
This can help: Always set your design page properties to CMYK before you begin designing your CD duplication or DVD duplication design, and then only work with CMYK colours.
 

 

Richness Of Colour

All of the colours you view on your computer monitor are created through the generation of light, thus you’re able to achieve very vibrant and rich colours in your designs. When it comes time to print those colours, the application of ink onto paper (or plastic, in the case of the CD or DVD disc) is not going to be able to produce the same vibrancy and richness of colour that your monitor was able to display. The result is typically a flatter or duller appearance on the finished print than what you viewed on your monitor. 
 
This can help: If you have any concerns about colouration of the final print, hard-copy printed proofs are recommended. It is important that the hard-copy proofs come from the same company that will be producing your finished CD duplication or DVD duplication product because different printing equipment, calibration, inks and substrates can produce different results.

A big graphic design challenge for paper print is colour accuracy… the colours you see on your computer monitor can be different than what actually prints. This isn’t uncommon and has caused problems for designers regardless of their experience.

Computer Monitor Display

Have you ever gone into an electronics store where they have a row of televisions on display all lined up side-by-side, and all displaying the same channel? Even though they are all displaying the same channel, did you notice that the colouration of each television’s display was slightly different… or even a lot different? 
 
The same holds true for computer monitors – most computer monitors don’t display true colour. The result of that means (a) the colouration of your finished print may look different than what you view on your computer monitor, and (b) the colour of your print design may look different when viewed on different monitors.
 
This can help: To improve the colour accuracy of your computer monitor you can have it colour calibrated (“calibration” means having the monitor’s display optimized for colour accuracy). Mechanical calibration using a sensor is a popular way of calibrating a monitor, but, while calibration can ‘improve’ your colour display you cannot rely on it to be completely accurate. You should be able to buy a mechanical calibration kit from an electronic store that carries a good range of software titles.
 

 

RGB versus CMYK

Computer monitors display imagery in the RGB colour mode (red, green, blue) yet commercial print is produced using the CMYK colour mode (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). 
 
Because RGB has a larger ‘gamut’ (ie: range) of colours than CMYK, it’s possible to design using RGB colours that are outside the range of what CMYK can reproduce. When converting an RGB design to CMYK, any RGB colours that are outside of the CMYK gamut will be automatically converted within the CMYK gamut and the visual result will be a less vibrant colour.
 
This can help: Always set your design page properties to CMYK before you begin designing, and then only work with CMYK colours.
 

 

Richness Of Colour

All of the colours you view on your computer monitor are created through the generation of light, thus you’re able to achieve very vibrant and rich colours in your designs. When it comes time to print those colours, the application of ink onto paper is not going to be able to produce the same vibrancy and richness of colour that your monitor was able to display. The result is typically a flatter or duller appearance on the finished print than what you viewed on your monitor. 
 
This can help: If you have any concerns about colouration of the final print, hard-copy printed proofs are recommended. It is important that the hard-copy proofs come from the same company that will be producing your finished product because different printing equipment, calibration, inks and substrates can produce different results.

Design Instructions: Printing on Paper and Cardboard

Before You Begin: The production assets you supply to us are deemed to be in final form. This means you have checked them thoroughly and confirm they are ready-to-manufacture without the need for modifications.  If your project is colour critical than we suggest you request a hard copy proof.  What you see on your RGB monitor may be quite different than what is printed on paper.

Design Software:

We strongly recommend you use either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign for general layout and typesetting, and Adobe Photoshop for processing your photos/images. Free fully functioning 30 day trials of these programs can be downloaded from adobe.com 


Design Templates:

Your designs must be supplied on the appropriate Precision Disc design templates. We can not accept the templates from other manufacturers or ‘home made’ templates. 


Basic Design Rules:

 Important: When creating/using "rich" black colour values it's possible to have the values too high, which can result in oversaturation of ink and cause ink adhesion issues. Based on our printing presses, we find that a good rich black can be achieved with the following CMYK colour values: C:25 M:25 Y:5 K:100..

 The template should be the top layer in your Layer Menu so you can always see it for visual reference while you are designing.
 Colour mode for page properties, colour values and images: CMYK
 Resolution for page properties and images: 300 ppi (pixels per inch).
 Always allow 1/8” (3mm) of bleed past the finished edges of your design (see Image #1 below).
 Don't crowd the edges with text - using a margin of no less than 1/8" (3mm) is generally recommended. 
 The ink density for the colours (other than solid black as noted above) in your design should not exceed 300%. You can 
   determine the ink density for any colour by adding up the individual CMYK values of the colour. For example: The total ink density
   of C:100 M:98 Y:19 K:16 equals 233%.

 When using transparencies, gradients, drop-shadows or anything less than 100% solid colour, the tonal range must be between 
   15% and 85%

 Flatten/rasterize any transparencies, gradients and drop-shadows you create in your design.
● 
Artwork files for stapled booklets must be supplied in printer spread format.

Text:

 Minimum recommended type size for dark coloured lettering on a light coloured background: 5 points
 Minimum recommended type size for light coloured lettering on a dark coloured background: 6 points
 For best print results do not use fonts with thin/fine strokes for small text (especially when using light text on a dark background).
 If using Photoshop: Small text and line-art created in Photoshop tends to look fuzzy when printed so we suggest you either: 
(A) Process your photos and images in Photoshop, then import your imagery into Adobe Illustrator or Indesign where you can assemble your images within the design template and add your typsesetting... or ...
(B) Complete your design in Photoshop (including text) but do not rasterize your text layers or flatten your design. Keep all of your design layers editable. Save your design and supply it to us with all of the font files you used in your design.

.

Image #1: In the design template shown below, the solid red lines represent the trim line
for the finished product, but you must extend (aka: bleed) your design past the red
line by at least 1/8" which is represented by the template's dotted 
blue lines.



When Your Disc Design Is Completed

STEP 1 - Embed Your Photos/Images

Illustrator and Indesign: Go to your Menu Bar, select 'Window' and then select 'Links' to open the Link Menu on your screen. Click on an image in your design, click on the Menu button in your Link Menu and then click on 'Embed Image'. Repeat as required for other photos/images in your design. 

Photoshop: Rasterize the layer in your Layer Menu.



STEP 2 - Covert Text To Outlines

To avoid font substitution errors please convert all of your text into 'outlines'. In the image shown below the word "Text" on the left has not been outlined, and the word "Text" on the right has been outlined. 

Illustrator and Indesign: Select all text, go to your Menu Bar, select 'Type' and then select 'Create Outlines'.

 


 



STEP 3 - Turn Off The Template Layer

When you have finished your design please turn off the "Template" layer in your Layer Menu. After doing so, only the thin black "Crop Marks" should be visible. In the image shown below the Template layer has been turned off but the crop marks remain clearly visible. This is how we want you to supply the artwork file.

STEP 4 - Saving Your Design

You must save your design as a high resolution PDF. Please name your artwork file with your order number and the product name. For example: 32543_CS1000.pdf

In your Menu Bar select "File", then "Save As" and then select the PDF file format. A dialogue box will then appear (see example shown below) and in the "Adobe PDF Preset" field you select the "High Quality Print" option. Then click "Save PDF".

Creating CD DVD Booklet Printer Spreads

For inexperienced designers, figuring out the correct page sequencing when designing a CD Booklet or DVD Booklet can be rather confusing. This article is intended to clarify the difference between what looks right and what is actually right. In short, Printer Spreads versus Reader Spreads.

If you’d like to include additional information in your CD duplication or DVD duplication project you will likely need to incorporate a booklet into your budget and designs.

Booklets tend to be more popular than “folders” because we’re much more accustomed to the format of a booklet. Just like a book or magazine, a booklet is folded in half and is stapled in the middle, so they are very compact and easy to browse through.

 


Printer Spread Page Sequencing

Designing the booklet for your CD duplication or DVD duplication project shares many of the same design rules that apply to every other aspect of your project, but there is one commonly overlooked aspect we want to bring to your attention: Printer Spreads.

Through a whole lifetime of familiarity with books and magazines we know that ‘page 3’ comes after ‘page 2’ and then ‘page 4’ comes after ‘page 3’. This is absolutely correct after a book has been printed, cut, assembled and stitched but you actually have to design it counter-intuitively.

For the purposes of your CD duplication or DVD duplication project your ‘booklet’ is a series of 2 panel folders that are stacked together, stapled and then folded to create the book. There is a specific page order required to assure the booklet has the correct page sequence after it has been assembled, and this sequence (or page order) is referred to as Printer Spreads.

 


Create A Mock-Up

The best way for you to see this is to make a Printer Spread mock-up of something simple. Here’s how you can create a Printer Spread mock-up of a 4 panel (8 page) booklet using two pieces of scrap paper:

  • Stack two pieces of paper together (face to face).

  • Fold the stack evenly in half.

  • Put a staple in the fold to keep the two pieces of paper together as to create a booklet.

  • Now number each page beginning with the front cover as ‘page 1’.

  • After you’ve finished remove the staple and take the booklet apart.

If you’ve done this correctly you should have a total of eight pages that relate to each other as follows:

  • Page 8 - Page 1,  Page 2 - Page 7,  Page 6 - Page 3,  Page 4 - Page 5
     

 
What is "Reader Spread" Page Sequencing?

Now having said all of that, and we don’t want to confuse you, but it is important that you know the difference between Printer Spreads and “Reader Spreads”.

Due to the counter-intuitive page sequence involved with Printer Spreads it’s easy to image that proofing a large booklet for your CD duplication or CD manufacturing project could get rather confusing.

Reader Spreads can be created so the pages are formatted in the same intuitive way that the “reader” would experience them when viewing the finished booklet (after the booklet was assembled and stitched). As you learned from creating your mock-up, while “Reader Spreads” are all well and good for viewing the pages in a more true-to-life manner you cannot use Reader Spread page sequencing for printing or it would lead to rather disastrous results.

Printing On 'Kraft' Paper Stock

A lot of people like the idea of ordering their print on Kraft paper stock because it's more organic-looking and eco-friendly. What they may not realize, is that printing on the brown coloured material is going to make their design look a lot different than printing on standard 'white' coloured paper stock.

The colour of the material affects the colour of the print

Printing onto a white background is the standard for most types of printing applications because 'white' is a neutral colour that doesn't influence the colours being printed on top of it. A simple way to illustrate this would be to print your design onto a white sheet of paper, and then print the same design onto a coloured piece of paper. You should see a difference in the printed result, because the ink colours are influenced by the colour of the material it's printed onto.

Important: What looks good printed on a standard white paper may not look so good on the brown/Kraft stock. Despite this, it's still possible to create some really effective designs but it would be advisable to get a hard-copy printed proof for final approval in advance of the order going to press.

Example No. 1

In this side-by-side example, the same design was printed on standard white cover stock (15pt C1S) and on Kraft stock. You will notice that any 'white' colour that may be in the design is replaced with brown/Kraft because white paper stock is used as a substitute for white ink when printing. If you need the colour 'white' in your design, your printer may not be able to help you as many CMYK printing presses don't have the ability to add 'white' as an extra colour.

This design was created as a black-only print (the grey in the design is a 50% tint of black). Bold designs using dark colours tend to work the best. Trying to be subtle and/or using light colours doesn't tend to reproduce well.

Example No. 2

In this side-by-side example, the same design was printed on standard white cover stock (15pt C1S) and on Kraft stock. Again, you will notice that any 'white' colour that may be in the design is replaced with brown/Kraft because white paper stock is used as a substitute for white ink when printing.

This design was created for CMYK print, and actually reproduced better than we expected. Even so, you will notice (A) how much darker and grainier the print has become, (B) how much the colour of the dark blue sky has been affected, and (C) how the lighter shades of colour (the light skin tones, clouds, and the light blue sky at the bottom of the design) have become muddy in appearance.

Example No. 3

In this side-by-side example, the same design was printed on standard white cover stock (15pt C1S) and on Kraft stock. As in the previous two examples you will notice that any 'white' colour that may be in the design is replaced with brown/Kraft because white paper stock is used as a substitute for white ink when printing.

This design uses the same photograph as shown in 'Example 2' but was converted to Grayscale for printing. You will notice (A) how much darker and grainier the print has become, (B) how the lighter shades have become muddy in appearance, and (C) how, overall, there is a yellow/brown tint to the print.

CMYK inks are translucent

A reason why traditional 'white' coloured papers improve the visual appearance of the print is because of the type of ink being used. Commercial printing is commonly done using the CMYK colour mode:

  • C = Cyan

  • M = Magenta

  • Y = Yellow

  • K = Black

Because CMYK inks are printed on top of each other they cannot be opaque - instead they have to be translucent. This translucency means the colour of the material underneath the print is partially visible through the ink. Typically, the colour of the material should be more noticeable through light print colours than through dark colours. 

Sometimes the results can be subtle enough where the design isn't negatively affected, and then other times the results can be very obvious... it all depends on the design. 

Problems Using Photoshop For Typesetting

Adobe Photoshop is world class graphic design software for photo/image processing, but it's not the best design tool for typesetting and line-art graphics that are destined for commercial printing... especially silkscreen printing spot-colours.

We always recommend that clients process their photos/images in Photoshop and then place them into 
Adobe Illustrator orAdobe Indesign for assembly with design templates, line art graphics and text. 

Why is that? The image shown below displays the problem:
 

 
The letter "A" on the left is line-art text from Illustrator... and the letter "A" on the right is from Photoshop. They were both created using the same font and point size, and the image was saved at 300dpi which is the most common resolution for commercial print in the 
CD manufacturing and DVD manufacturing world.

As you can see, the Photoshop generated letter is noticeably fuzzy... and this is because it is a bitmap image as opposed to line-art. Such fuzziness isn't as big a problem for the large bold text in your design, but it can become problematic in smaller text and finer styles of fonts. 

The fuzziness of text and graphics created in Photoshop can play havoc with the visual quality of silkscreen printed designs. What appears to be sharp and smooth on your computer screen turns into jagged and rough edges in the final print. On the other hand, line-art does provide sharp edges and smooth curves or silkscreen printing spot colours as well as all types of CMYK print.

Due to this (as noted above) we always recommend that you perfect your photos in Photoshop, save them in high-resolution form (such as a 300dpi .TIF) and then place them into your Illustrator or Indesign design page where you can add your line art graphics and do your typesetting.

The result will be sharper and cleaner text and graphics, which equates to higher overall visual quality and legibility.

Silkscreen Printing versus Offset Printing for your CD or DVD

At Precision Disc we provide two options for printing your replicated discs: Offset Printing (with CMYK ink) and Silkscreen Printing (with Spot Colour ink).

These two printing processes are very different and have very different strengths and weaknesses. Due to this, as a designer it is always in your best interest to steer your design towards the strengths of the print method or printing equipment and away from the weaknesses. By doing this you will get the best printed result.

Designing for Offset Printing is more intuitive than designing for Silkscreen Printing – especially for inexperienced designers – so we see quite a few designs that are set-up for Offset Printing that would have been much better suited for Silkscreen. Before you begin designing your CD or DVD, review this list of strengths and weaknesses and decide which printing method would be best for the design you have in mind:

 

Offset PrintingSilkscreen Printing
Strengths:
 

 Photographic images.
► Unlimited colours.
► Higher resolution.
Strengths:
 

► Large areas of solid colour.
► Bold designs.
► Gloss ink.
Weaknesses:
 

► Large areas of solid colour 
    (other than the white flood).

► Ink is not glossy.
Weaknesses:
 

► Photographs and bitmaps.
► Rasterized text and images.
► Small/fine text and images.
► Subtleties.
► Maximum of 6 colours 
    (including white flood).

 

Starting A New CD DVD Design Project Using Photoshop

It doesn't matter if you're designing a CD manufacturing or CD duplication project - you're in the realm of commercial printing, and that's different than designing for the internet.

When clients are using Photoshop for commercial printing, two of the most common problems that we face are (a) low-resolution artwork, and (b) incorrect colour mode.

  • Internet colour mode: RGB

  • Typical commercial printing colour mode: CMYK

  • Typical internet resolution: 72 dpi (or ppi)

  • Typical commercial printing resolution: 300 dpi (or ppi)

Whether you are importing/opening a file in Photoshop or you are opening a new page to begin designing from scratch, you need to set your design page properties appropriately.

When you import/open or begin a new design from scratch the "New" design page dialogue window (as shown below, or similar to) should appear first.
 

 
The name, width and height of your page properties can be left up to you as it will depend on which particular item you're designing, but make sure the resolution is set to 300 pixels/inch and the colour mode is CMYK.

In the event the "New" dialogue window does not present itself, you can still edit the settings by going to the top of your screen and selecting the following:

Image > Mode > "CMYK" 
Image > Image Size > 300 pixels/inch 
This should get you started with your design on the right footing!

The Pitfall With Identical Disc and Packaging Design

Some designers like to re-use their front-cover artwork on their CD or DVD disc face. While it is very tempting to re-use the front-cover design for the sake of creating some continuity between the disc and the packaging, there is a pitfall that you need to be aware of: 

Even though it's the same design, the colouration of the two prints may not "match".

Not everyone has the same expectation levels but, due to the fact some clients expect to see absolutely no difference in colour between the disc print and the packaging print, the situation needs to be explained.
 

  1. The disc is going to be printed using a different machine than the one used to print the packaging.

    The machinery for printing CD and DVD discs is very specialized, so a different printer would be used for printing your packaging materials. 

    (a) While four-colour process (CMYK) is the most common form of commercial printing, depending on the specific CD or DVD project there are a number of different CMYK printers that could be used. This includes CMYK digital printing, CMYK offset printing, CMYK inkjet printing, CMYK thermal printing, CMYK silkscreen printing.

    (b) Different types of machines and technologies generally mean that the types (or brands) of ink will also be different. The difference between two types/brands may produce subtle differences in printing characteristics.
     
     

  2. Printing onto different substrates can lead to different results. 

    (a) A CD or DVD disc is made of non-porous plastic, thus it requires ink that dries through evaporation. The substrates for the packaging print are typically board-stock or paper-stock which are porous materials, which require ink that dries through absorption.

    (b) The 'finish' of a CD or DVD disc is different than that of the substrates used for the packaging. Different finishes are going to affect how the print colours are represented.


    Factoring in all of the differences as noted above in items # 1 and # 2, it is logical to conclude that printing a design using different types of printing technologies, inks, substrates, and finishes, will create different results. Or in other words... they may not match.
     

Now the question becomes: To what degree?
  
Unfortunately there is no way of knowing in advance. 

Depending on the type of printer being used for the specific project, it might be possible for the print operator to adjust the colour output to aid in creating as close a match as possible but there is still no guarantee as to what results can be achieved. In addition, some printers may charge for such efforts.
 

Better safe than sorry!

Getting hard-copy printed proofs is always a good way to protect yourself from unexpected colour issues. Better to spend a little bit of money to be sure of your print colouration than get your order and not be happy with the results.

Ultimately, the safest way to go is to create a unique design for the disc face.

Silkscreen Print Design - Creating Colour Separations

This is a brief tutorial to help you get started with your design for Silkscreen Printing your CD or DVD discs. The information provided here is based an assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator or similar professional graphic design programs - the principles are generally the same.

The most important thing about designing for Silkscreen Printing is creating colour separations. In other words, you must be able to separate and isolate each individual colour from every other colour in the design. The easiest way to do this is to design each colour on its own design layer.

Looking at the ‘layer menu’ in the sample design shown below (you can click on the image to view it full-size), you will see that the design is based on three colours (109C Yellow, 072C Blue, and White) with each individual colour being isolated on its own design layer.

Even though there are seven horizontal yellow stripes in the sample design, if they are all the same colour (in this case they are all Pantone 109C) they all must go on the same design layer. If one of the yellow stripes was a different shade than the rest (for example, if one of the stripes was Pantone 102C) it would have to go on a design layer of its own, and the design would then be comprised of four separate colours (109C, 102C, 072C, and White) instead of three.You will also note that the design layers are positioned below the template layer - which is exactly how it should be done.

 

Click image to view full-size.

Remember:

  1. There are a maximum of six colours that can be Silkscreen Printed on your disc (including white). At Precision Disc our quotations normally include up to five colours in the price (including white).
     

  2. Your design colours must always be specified as Pantone “Solid Coated” colours. The correct designation for Solid Coated colours is “C” - for example “Pantone 109C”.
     

  3. Unless you are experienced with Silkscreen Printing design you should not design using transparencies or other effects that use less than 100% solid colour; such as drop shadows, gradients, and half-tones. Even though these effects look smooth and solid when viewed on your computer monitor, they actually print as a dot pattern and are very difficult to work with.

Silkscreen Print Design - Using Less Than 100% Solid Colour

This is a brief tutorial to help you get started with your graphic design for Silkscreen Printing your CD or DVD discs. The information provided here is based an assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of graphic design terminology as well as Adobe Illustrator or similar professional graphic design programs.

When Silkscreen Printing, anything less than 100% solid colour will not have the solid, consistent and smooth appearance that you see on your computer monitor. This occurs in transparencies, drop-shadows, gradients, and other similar effects.

"Example 1" shown below provides a side-by-side comparison of what is viewed on the computer monitor (shown on the left) against the actual Silkscreen Printed product (shown on the right). The imagery you are viewing was designed and printed based on two colours only (black ink printed on top of a solid white back-print). The 'grey' that is visible is not actually grey ink at all... it's a gradient created within the black print.

"Example 2" shown below provides a closer look at what is viewed on the computer monitor (shown on the left) against the actual Silkscreen Printed product (shown on the right). While the gradient in the design has a solid, smooth and consistent visual appearance when viewed on the computer monitor it will actually print as tightly packed series of 'dots'. 
 

click on the image to view full size

Why Does The Final Print Look Different Than What I See On My Computer Monitor?

To put it simply, the process of Silkscreen Printing is to push ink through a stencil that's imaged onto a fabric mesh... so it's going to have its limitations... and the 'dot pattern' relates to the limitations in the technology for imaging the design onto the printing Screens. Silkscreen Printing is definitely an 'old school' form of printing but when you understand both the strengths and limitations of this type of printing you can create extremely powerful designs that other printing technologies can't easily duplicate.
 

So... what if you really want solid, smooth and consistent print on your final product?

The answer is quite simple: Only design using 100% solid colours. Create a new colour separation for each individual colour in your design (to a maximum of 6 including the white backprint) and make sure the values are set to print at 100% solid colour. If you want to put emphasis on effects such as transparencies, drop-shadows, etc., perhaps it would be best to avoid Silkscreen Printing and, instead, design using CMYK values for our Offset CMYK Printer.
 

Here's how the 'dot pattern' works:

Let's say you want to create a shade of grey that is 50% of black (instead of printing grey on its own screen in 100% solid colour). This is called "half-tone". The only way for this to work is to create an illusion of the desired 'grey' colour by printing the 'black' ink in small dots which are spaced far enough apart as to allow the white background to be visible between the dots. This mix of black and white gives the illusion of the desired 'grey' colour. If you wanted a darker shade of grey (such as 70% of black) the dots would be spaced closer together to let less white show through. If you wanted a lighter shade of grey (such as 30% of black) the dots would be spaced further apart to let more white show through.

If you do want to create your design in this manner you don't have to create the dots yourself. Simply set the percentage of black (or whatever colour you want to use) to your desired percentage value and then our film ripping process will take care of the rest automatically.

Remember: As stated in our graphic design specification, the printable tonal range for anything printing at less than 100% solid colour is between 15% and 85%. If you use colours outside of that range the colours may not reproduce properly.

 

Silkscreen Print Design - Printing Without A White Flood

This is a brief tutorial to help you get started with your graphic design for Silkscreen Printing your CD or DVD discs. The information provided here is based an assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of graphic design terminology as well as Adobe Illustrator or similar professional graphic design programs.

It's possible to use the shiny aluminum/silver disc surface colour in your design. Doing so can be very effective but it's important to understand how much room you actually have to work with.

Regardless of whether you are creating a design with 'positive' print (solid lettering and/or graphics printing on the silver background) or a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) be aware that there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto:

A : The largest area is the aluminum/silver coloured area that holds the disc data/content.
B : Closer to the middle there is the "mirror band" which is a very shiny/reflect silver colour.
C : Surrounding the center hole there is an area which will either be clear plastic (as is generally 
     the case with a CD disc) or additional shiny/reflective silver (which is generally the case with a 
     DVD disc).

 

A replicated compact disc (CD) was used in the example shown above. In the left-hand column the example illustrates the process of printing a disc using a white flood (aka: white 'backprint') prior to printing the graphics. Most designers utilize the white flood print as it provides a clean white/neutral background for the graphics to be printed on as well as actually enhancing the colour of the printed graphics. This is much the same principle as painting the walls in your house... applying paint onto a white coloured wall provides a much better result than trying to apply paint to a dark coloured wall.

The example in the right-hand column shows what can happen if you create a design that utilizes the disc's surface as an element of your design (ie: no white flood) but not factoring in the three different components that make up the disc's surface. As you can see, the change in the background colour negatively affects the visual appeal and legibility of the design.
 

Avoiding The "Danger Area" In Your Disc Design

As noted above, there are actually three different parts of the disc that can be printed onto. If you'd like to utilize the aluminum/silver colour of the disc's surface in your design but avoid the hazards of any unsightly overlaps onto the mirror band and/or center section of the disc, the 'danger area' is within a 36mm diameter (18mm radius) of the center of the disc.

Important: By saying "center of the disc" it means measuring outward from the center of the center-hole in the middle of the disc... it does NOT mean measuring outward from the edge of the center-hole.

If you're creating a 'negative' print (printing a solid colour that utilizes the disc's surface as the colour for your lettering and/or graphics) the solid colour can still overlap the mirror band and center section of the disc... it's only the areas that knock-through to show the disc colouration that should be kept outside the 36mm diameter 'danger area'.
 

Getting The Best Of Both Worlds - Using A 'Custom' White Flood

It's possible to create a 'custom' white flood which allows you to be selective about what parts of your 'negative' print knock through to the silver of the disc and what parts knock through to the white flood. As shown in the example below, it doesn't matter that the "ABC123" lettering is inside the 'danger zone' because there's a white flood behind it, but the "@" symbol is well outside the danger zone so it can be knocked through to silver.

Depending on how many colours are in your design, your quoted price may not include a custom white flood should you require one. Please contact us to confirm.

Important: There are limitations to what can be effectively printed using a custom white flood. Small text/graphics, fine text/graphics, and very tight registration can pose problems and may not be printable. Additionally, when supplying your artwork that includes a custom white flood you must design the custom white as a distinctly separate colour (learn more about colour separations) and include a notation on your Order Forms that a custom white flood is required. 
 

1. "What proof options do you provide?"

Please know that client artwork files are deemed to have been supplied in 'final form' - this means they are supplied to our specifications, on our design templates, and require no modifications.

Proof Option "A" - Electronic/PDF Proofs

  • Allow up to 2 business days for your artwork files to be reviewed.
  • Electronic proofs are emailed to you for your review.
  • Electronic proofs provide warranty for physical layout only.
  • Electronic proofs do not provide warranty for colour correctness. If colour correctness is important we strongly recommend you order hard-copy printed proofs (see below).
  • Electronic proofs represent what will go to print. If anything is missing or incorrect you should reject the proof.
  • Once you have approved your proofs, Precision Disc is not responsible for any errors subsequently found in the print.
  • One round of electronic proofs is included in your quoted price. Requests for additional rounds of proofs incur an extra proofing fee (see below). Note: Re-proofing that is required due to our mistake is not charged for.
  • The production time-line for your order does not begin until your proofs are approved.
     

Proof Option "B" - Hard-Copy Printed Proofs

  • Allow up to 2 business days for your artwork files to be reviewed.
  • First, electronic proofs are emailed to you for your review.
  • After approval of the electronic proofs, hard-copy printed proofs are output for final approval.
  • Hard-copy printed proofs provide warranty for physical layout and colour correctness.
  • Hard-copy printed proofs represent what will go to print. If anything is incorrect you should reject the proof.
  • Once you have approved your proofs, Precision Disc is not responsible for any errors subsequently found in the print.
  • A colour variation of up to 10% between the hard-copy printed proof and the final product is possible, and is considered to be within acceptable industry standards.
  • The production time-line for your order does not begin until your proofs are approved.

Proof Option "C" - Pre-Approved Artwork Files

  • Selecting "pre-approved" means that you will receive no proofs - your files will go to print as supplied.
  • Due to no proofs having been approved, there is no warranty for the physical layout or the colour of the finished print.

2. "Will the finished print match what I see on my computer monitor?"

Aspects of your proofs may appear differently on your computer monitor or smart phone screen than they will when printed. Here are some reasons why:

  • Computer monitors typically don’t display true colour, so your electronic proofs are for confirmation of the physical layout only and are not to be used for colour reference.
  • Computer monitors display images through the generation of light, so the colours of the finished print may not be as bright or as vibrant compared to how they look on your computer monitor.
  • Drop shadows, gradients and tints may not appear as smooth or as solid when printed, compared to how they look on your computer monitor.
  • Subtle colour variations and values of less than 10% may not be as visible when printed, compared to how they look on your computer monitor.
  • Printing your electronic proofs yourself does not mean the results will be colour-accurate (see question #3 for explanation).

If you are concerned about how finished print will turn out we recommend you order Hard Copy Printed Proofs for final approval.

3. "How much do hard copy printed proofs cost?"

Important: Hard Copy Printed Proofs are output from a proofing printer that is calibrated to our printing presses, however, a colour variation of up to 10% between the proof and the final product is possible, and is considered to be within acceptable industry standards.

  • CMYK Inkjet printed disc: $25 per disc, per round, plus shipping.
  • CMYK Offset or Silkscreen printed disc: $125 per disc, per round, plus shipping.
  • Eco Sleeve, Digipak, Jewel Case, DVD Case: $35 per round, plus shipping .
  • Any stapled booklet larger than 4panel (8page): Item "3" price plus $35, per round, plus shipping.

4. "I got my proofs but I need to make changes to my artwork and get new proofs - is there an extra fee?"

If you need to submit new or modified artwork files AFTER your electronic proofs have been generated, another round of proofing will be required.

Due to the extra work and time involved, an additional proofing charge of up to $40 will apply; and the ready-by-date for 'Rush' or 'Deadline' orders may be delayed.

  • One round of electronic proofs are included in your quoted price.
  • Additional disc proofs: $10 per each additional round of proofs.
  • Additional Eco Sleeve, Digipak, Jewel Case, DVD Case proofs: $15 per each additional round of proofs.
  • Additional complete set of proofs for stapled booklets larger than 4panel (8page): $15 per each additional round of proofs.

The only exception to extra proofing fees would be if we make a mistake in the proofing process, or if we send you a file to illustrate something you to fix and resubmit to us.

5. "What if I see something wrong in my proofs?"

If something is missing from your proofs or if you can see something that shouldn’t be in your proofs (other than design template reference lines), you must reject your proofs and inform us of the problem(s) you’ve found.

Important: Review your proofs thoroughly. Once you have approved your proofs, Precision Disc is not responsible for any errors subsequently found in the print, or any costs relating to the re-working of materials.

6. "I see thin white lines in my PDF proof - will that show up in the finished print?"

In the pre-press process it might be necessary to flatten transparencies contained within your design. The flattening combined with the version of PDF file you're viewing might make some thin white lines appear along the edges of the areas that were flattened.

In the vast majority of occurrences this is just a visual anomaly on your monitor that will NOT show up in the finished print.

One way to check for yourself is to zoom in/out and see if the thickness of the line never changes despite how close you zoom in. If the line doesn't change thickness it is indeed a visual anomaly. You might also notice that the line(s) may disappear and reappear as you zoom in/out which, again, signifies a visual anomaly that only appears on your monitor (not in print).  

7. "Some of the letters in my PDF proof look 'fat' or 'bold' - will it look like that in the finished print?"

In the pre-press process it might be necessary to convert your text to "outlines" (aka: "curves"). This means the text is being changed from an editable font into a graphic.

When viewed as a PDF, some of the converted lettering may appear to have become 'fat' or 'bold' - this is most commonly seen with simple rectangular shapes such as lower-case "i" lower case "l" and upper case "L" of sans-serif fonts. Fortunately this is just a visual anomaly and the lettering will indeed print normally.

To check for yourself, zoom in (to a very high magnification level) to view the affected lettering and you will see that - up close - it is normal.

8. "This needs to match something I had printed before - will the colours match?"

Different printing equipment can provide different results even if the artwork file is the same. This is due to differences in printing equipment, processes, inks and substrates.

If you want us to colour match something that you had printed previously, you will need to provide us with a sample print for colour matching. While we cannot guarantee an exact match, we will endeavour to come as close to a match as our equipment will allow.

It is possible, and considered within industry norms, for there to be a small variation in colour when re-printing from the same printer. Generally this doesn’t pose a problem for clients, but it’s important to be aware that the possibility of a slight colour variation exists.

If an accurate colour match is important, we recommend that you order a Hard Copy Printed Proof in advance.

Precision Disc works with a 3rd party site which issues 'official' retail ready barcodes.

Visit http://www.gs1ca.org/pages/n/subscription/index.asp to apply today.

When you have finished your design you can upload your files directly to Precision Disc.

Please place all your files into one folder and have them zipped and sent to the link below.  Make sure you put your Job # in the subject so we can track your assets.

"Artwork Upload"

MASTER, CONTENT & DISC

Resources - Creating Your CD Master

Important: The CD Master you supply to us is deemed to be in final form. This means you have checked your Master thoroughly and confirm it is ready-to-manufacture exactly as supplied.

We prefer receiving your Master content on disc because it gives you the ability to review the disc thoroughly and ensure that it performs exactly as intended. Think of it as an actual 'proof' you need to approve for production use.

When you supply your Master content on disc we warrant that our duplicated or replicated copies will match the content of the disc you have supplied.
 


The Basics

  • If you are having CDs manufactured please submit your content on CDR (not DVDR).

  • Only use high-quality brand name blank media. Going with a cheap 'no name' brand isn't worth it.

  • Clearly identify your Master Disc copies with your Order Number.

  • Do not supply other files (such as artwork) on your Master copies unless you really want them on the final product.

  • Burn your Master and copies at the slowest possible speed to ensure the best image is being made on the media.

  • Send us two copies of your Master. If one copy fails we can immediately use the second copy.

  • Never send your originals - just send us copies. It is your responsibility to keep your originals for safe-keeping and your own back-up purposes.

  • The discs we produce will be exact clones of the Master copy you supply to us, so make sure you review your Master copies from beginning to end to make sure the content and meta-data perform/displays exactly as required.
     

Correct Formatting

Any reasonably good disc copying software program (we recommend using Nero or Toast) should ask you what type of disc you're trying to make (CD or DVD, and whether you're formatting for music or data or video) so be sure you check the various default settings before you create your Master and copies.

  • If you are creating a Music CD it must be formatted as an Audio/Music CD... not as a CDROM (which is data).

  • When you're preparing to burn your Master and copies you must ensure that it is as a "closed session" or a "finalized" disc
    (aka: disc-at-once). Do not supply an "open session" disc as a Master as that will lead to problems when we try to make the glass master and replication stamper from it.
     

Required Format for Music/Audio

  • File format: .AIF or .WAV

  • Bits per sample, per channel: 16

  • Sample rate: 44.1Khz

  • Channels: 2 (stereo)

  • Maximum audio duration for replication is 74 minutes.

  • When you create your Audio Master, the disc must be formatted as an Audio/Music disc... not as a CDROM (data).
     

Test Your Master and Copies

We do not review the Master content you provide to us. Why? Your Master copies are deemed to have been supplied to us in final form, which means you have reviewed the content and meta-data thoroughly and confirm it's ready to manufacture as supplied without the requirement for modifications.

  • It is very important that you review to your Master and copies from beginning to end - all the way through - to ensure they are formatted correctly and that they perform EXACTLY as intended with no errors, skips, pops, fade-outs, etc.

  • If you are including meta-data such as CD Text and ISRC Codes, please ensure it displays correctly.

  • Be sure to test your Master and copies on different play back units, both old and new, to make sure it does play back.

  • If you are creating a music/audio Master make sure you also test it on a traditional stereo (such as a car stereo) to ensure your formatting is correct. 

  • Remember: The discs you are getting manufactured will be exact clones of the Master copies you provide to us, so if there is a problem on your Master it will be transferred to the finished product.

 
CD Text


It's possible for you to add "CD Text" to your Master so that your Artist Name and Song Title information can be displayed on the play-back devices that support CD Text.

CD burning programs such as Nero and Toast allow you to enter in your Name and Song Title information and add it to the information being burned onto your Master CDR.

Important: Many computer-based applications such as iTunes and Windows Media do not read CD Text. Those types of applications generally get that information from online databases (such as Gracenote) which you can submit your track information to yourself. 

Having said that, be aware that different software applications may use different online databases, so you may have to enter your CD information into more than one database for the broadest possible coverage.
 


Package Appropriately

Please make sure you package your Master Copies appropriately to protect them during transit to us - this is especially important if you are using a courier service or postal mail. 

We recommend you place each Master Copy disc in its own Jewel Case or DVD case and then ship the cases in a bubble-wrap mailer.

Creating Red Book Standard CD Audio Files Using iTunes

While it’s good that many clients are feeling empowered enough to supply their own Audio CD files and Masters, the inexperience of many DIY'ers (ie: do-it-yourself’ers) can lead to some real problems when trying to produce replicated discs.

One increasingly common problem is the supply of off-spec CD Audio files from computers using iTunes. It seems that Mac computers and iTunes default to settings that do not comply to the CD replication Red Book Standard.

The Philips “Red Book Standard” for CD Audio replication is as follows:

  • Sample Rate: 44.1 khz
  • Sample Size: 16 bit
  • Channels: Stereo
  • Maximum Duration: 74 minutes

Here are the steps for creating on-spec CD Audio files using iTunes:

  • In the Menu Bar…. Click on “Edit” then click on “Preferences”
  • Under the “General” tab there’s a title that reads “When You Insert A CD”. Select “Ask to Import CD” from the menu.
  • Next to the menu you just selected from there’s a button that reads “Import Settings”. Click on the button and a new window pops up.
  • Where it reads “Import Using” … select either “AIFF encoder” or “WAV encoder”
  • Where it reads “Setting” … select “Custom” and a new window pops up.
  • Where it reads “Sample Rate” … select “44.1”
  • Where it reads “Sample Size” … select “16 bit”
  • Where it reads “Channels” … select “Stereo”

Click “OK” on each window to get back to the main iTunes window – now you will be ready to create your Red Book Standard CD Audio files.

As always, for best results when creating a Master use quality blank media, use the slowest possible burn speed, and ensure you are created an Audio/Music disc and not a Data/ROM disc. Always keep the Master Copy yourself for safety/backup purposes.

When you have made your Master and copies you should listen to each disc from beginning to end (every single minute) to make sure there are no glitches or errors of any type. Once satisfied that your Master and copies are perfect (both the audio and the meta data) you are ready to submit your Master copy for replication.

Understanding CD Text

In the past year there has been a noticeable increase in audio clients who are creating their own Master CDs. While it seems most of the audio clients have an understanding of what CD Text is, there is still a lot of confusion about how to create CD Text and where you can view it. This article was written to clear up some of the confusion.
 


What exactly is CD Text? 

CD Text is a technology that is used on audio CDs which enables low bit rate information such as the song name and the name of the artist to be stored on the within the disc itself. If CD Text is included on an audio CD, specific devices and applications that are able to read and display this information will recognize this information, retrieve it and, in turn, display it to the user.
 


Is CD Text visible on all players and programs?

No - and this happens to cause a great deal of confusion and worry for clients because the client often thinks there is something wrong with their CDs because the CD Text isn't being displayed. A notorious culprit is Windows Media Player  - while it is one of the most commonly used computer programs for playing music, it doesn't display CD Text unless you install a plug-in.
 


Creating CD Text

It's actually quite simple to create your audio Master for CD duplication or CD replication, but you need to be using a disc burning program (such as Toast or Nero) that allows you to enter in the appropriate data.
 


I've already made my CD Master - can I add CD Text to it?

No, it is not possible to add CD Text after you've already created your audio Master. If you've already created your CD Master and you want to add CD Text after-the-fact you will have to create a new Master.
 

Adding song info onto iTunes, Winamp, Yahoo, etc.

Some applications display artist and song title information through connection with the Gracenote music recognition service (originally known as CDDB). Visit Gracenote to learn how to submit your song information to their database. Once your CD track listings are in their database, anyone playing your CD with an application connected with the Gracenote database will have your songs recognized by the service.

Be aware that different software applications may use different databases, so you may have to enter your CDs information into more than one database if you want to get the broadest possible coverage.
 


What if I can't add CD Text onto my master?

Precision Disc can help you if you can't add your CD Text data yourself - but there is a fee involved. Please contact us if you require assistance.

Understanding ISRC Codes

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments.

The ISRC system is the key to royalty collection for recordings in the digital information age. ISRC is a unique, reliable, international identification system. ISRC provides a unique tool for the purpose of rights administration. ISRC is a useful identification tool in the electronic distribution of music. ISRC coding is compatible with standards developed in the field of consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry.

ISRC is cost effective - it can be put into operation without requiring special investment in equipment or technologies. The ISRC consists of twelve characters:

  • Country (2 characters)

  • Registrant (3 characters)

  • Year of reference (2 digits)

  • Designation (5 digits).

Important: The four elements should be separated by hyphens and the letters ISRC should always precede an ISRC code.
  


ISRC Elements

The code elements appear in the following order:

  • Country Code: represented by two letters eg (CA) which identifies the country of residence of the registrant at the time the ISRC is allocated.

  • Registrant Code: represented by three digits eg (AA2) assigned in sequence from the AVLA database that are unique for each record label/master owner. This code does not change if ownership of the recording changes or if licensed to another repertoire owner.

  • Year of Reference: represented by two numbers eg (08) identifies the year in which the ISRC is allocated to the recording which will usually be the year in which the full mastering process for the recording is finalized.

  • Designation Code: five digits assigned by the producer/owner as they choose eg (00001).
     

Where To Get ISRC Codes in Canada

For additional information, frequently asked questions and to register for your own ISRC Codes please visit the Connect Music  website.

Connect Music Licensing is a non-exclusive agency that provides licences on behalf of record companies and producers for the purpose of broadcasting or duplicating audio and video recordings in Canada.
 


Adding ISRC Codes to your Songs

As stated in our Terms of Business, our client's production assets should be supplied "in final form and in proper working order (ie: ready to manufacture as supplied)" so your ISRC codes must already be embedded in your audio files when you supply your Master content to us on CDR.

If you wish to upload your content files electronically for Precision Disc to assemble your files and create your Master there is a fee involved. Included in the fee is the addition of relevant CD Text and ISRC Code data that you supply to us. 

Understanding Gracenotes

Well, you know how your iTunes player seems to automatically know the names of songs, albums, and artists when you put a CD in your computer? That’s the work of Gracenote! Basically, your iTunes player queries their database to match the disc’s musical “fingerprint.”

It’s important that your CD be registered with Gracenote for the sake of your fans. You don’t want them to have to type out the song titles by hand when they put your disc in their computer, right?

But the early bird gets the worm when it comes to initially submitting track info to Gracenote. So make sure you submit your album info correctly and soon!

With iTunes 11, the way in which you enter your track’s information into the Gracenote database has changed a bit.

Adding Track Information to Gracenote with iTunes 11

[ “in iTunes 12 the option to submit track names has moved to the gear icon in the upper right of the UI. The process should be the same, where you update track names, add the album artwork, then submit.“]

Here’s some instructions

1. Open iTunes

2. Insert CD

3. Locate CD in iTunes (do NOT import yet)

4. Highlight all of the cd tracks

5. Right click and select “Get Info”

6. Click the “Info” tab

7. Change the album title/artist name/year/genre

8. Click “OK”

9. Now use this procedure for individual track names

10. Highlight track 1 and right click to select “Get Info”

11. Click on the “Info” tab

12. Update the “Name” and then click “Next”

13. Once you finish writing in your info for all tracks click “OK”

14. Highlight all of the tracks again

15. Click on the “Options” symbol on the upper right corner of the tracklist window

16. Select “Submit CD Track Names…”

17. Allow the progress bar to complete

Only 17 steps? Yep, that’s it! Then give iTunes a couple of weeks to sync up with the Gracenote Database. 

 

CD DVD Replication Explained

The difference between CD DVD Duplication and CD DVD Replication tends to cause confusion with clients. While the end result may not seem to be noticeable or of any consequence, the processes and the final product are actually very different.

The difference is important to know when you're preparing a project, because the difference between CD DVD Duplication and CD DVD Replication affects price, the product turn-time and the quality.

In short, replication is a manufacturing process that creates CD and DVD discs from scratch with the data being integral to the discs when they are made. This is much different to duplication which uses pre-manufactured CDR and DVDR discs (the "R" stands for "recordable") that have the data content added to the disc after the fact.
 

The Benefits of CD DVD Replication

  1. Higher quality data image than CD duplication or DVD duplication.

  2. More resilient and greater durability than duplicated discs.

  3. No playback issues.

  4. More cost-effective in larger quantities.

  5. Perceived as the standard for professional quality by consumers.
     

   
 
This video features our DVD5 replication line in action.


Glass Master and Stamper

The first step in the replication process is creation of the 'stamper'. While this process is highly specialized and technical, the following explanation is intended to be very basic.

  • A piece of highly polished glass is laser-etched with the digital data from the client's content master. 

    Note: The data from the client's content master is not altered or changed in any way, it's strictly a transfer of data.

  • The laser-etching creates pits and lands in the glass in a tightly grouped spiral pattern emanating from the center and progressing outwards.

  • The Glass Master is then metalized, but it is far too fragile to be used to replicate discs so the data must now be transferred to another material that is resilient enough to handle the replication process.

  • The metalized Glass Master is electroformed with nickel to produce a "father" master which is a 'negative' image as it has bumps instead of pits.

  • The father master is then electroformed with nickel to produce "mother" masters which are used as 'stampers' in the injection molding process.
     

Injection Molding

Now that the 'stamper' has been made the replication of the CDs or DVDs can begin. Again, the process is highly specialized and technical, so the following explanation is intended to be basic.

  • Optical grade clear polycarbonate pellets are fed into an injection-molder which creates a clear CD/DVD disc in its finished size and shape.

  • During the creation of the clear disc, the injection-mold forces the molten polycarbonate up against the 'stamper' which embeds the pits and lands into the clear plastic.

  • An automated process using robotic arms with vacuum suction cups transfer the clear discs onto a conveyor line where they cool. 
     

Metalizing and Lacquering
  • The conveyor line carries the clear discs to be 'metalized' with a very thin layer of reflective aluminum (the laser light from your CD/DVD player reflects off the aluminum layer to read the pits and lands that were embedded into the plastic in the injection-molding process).

  • For CD replication, after being metalized the disc is placed in a spin-coater which spreads a UV curable clear lacquer evenly across the newly metalized layer.

  • Not only does the lacquer protect the metalized layer but it also provides a good surface for the printing of the disc graphics by either Silkscreen printing or CMYK Offset printing.

  • For DVD5 replication, instead of having a clear lacquer coat, an additional clear DVD disc is adhered on top of the metalized layer with a bonding agent. This additional clear disc provides the surface for the printing of the disc graphics.

  • To cure the lacquer (or bonding agent) the disc is automatically placed under a high intensity Xenon lamp.

After the lacquer (or bonding agent) has passed through the curing station the discs are automatically unloaded from the replication line and stacked on spindles with a count of 150 discs per spindle.

From there the discs are taken to the CD DVD disc printing department.

CD DVD Duplication Explained

Not everyone needs or wants thousands of discs, or even hundreds for that matter. Sometimes a small amount is all that is needed. If this is the case, the best option for your disc needs is CD duplication or DVD duplication. It is the quickest and most cost-effective way to produce small numbers of discs in a timely fashion.
 

What is "Duplication"?

Simply put, the process of duplicating a disc (also commonly referred to as 'burning' a disc) is taking the data from one disc and copying it onto another disc - this duplication of data is done onto pre-manufactured recordable CDR or DVDR discs (the 'R' stands for 'Recordable'). The CDR and DVDR discs used at Precision Disc are Grade 'A' quality to ensure the best possible results as we don't deal with economy grade discs. 

We duplicate the discs at a slow rate of speed to ensure the highest quality duplication of your data. Additionally, we provide a wide range of all the most popular print and packaging options so your project can look its absolute best.
 

What if I need a larger quantity of discs?

If you need a larger quantity of discs (over 300 units) then CD DVD replication provides the highest quality and most cost-effective solution. At Precision Disc the minimum order quantity for our replicated discs is just 500 units, so it's easy to get a great product and a great price without having to order hundreds more discs than you actually need or want!
 

Are Duplicated CD and DVD Discs an inferior product?

The quality of the packaging and the on-disc printing for your CD DVD duplication order lets it compare favorably to even large run manufactured product. Just because you only need a small number of discs doesn't mean that they shouldn't look professional so we ensure that your discs and packaging are the most professional image that you can project. 
 

A fast and affordable CD DVD solution

Not only is CD DVD duplication the answer for smaller quantities of discs but it's also the answer when you need a quick turnaround time. When there is a need to produce these discs in a hurry we can give you the goods in a hurry. 

For many companies and musicians, budgets can be a limiting factor so finding cheap CD DVD duplication is an absolute necessity. We're proud to provide a high quality product for a very affordable price, which helps to dispel the idea that a cheap price equals cheap quality. Whether you need a handful of discs, a hundred, or even a few hundred on a short deadline, CD DVD duplication will give you what you are looking for.
 

Three main reasons why people use Duplicated CDs and DVDs
There are many reasons to use the products that our company can offer to you. Here are a few of the top reasons that you should use our products for your business needs.

  1. When you don't need a lot of discs this is the most cost-effective method.
  2. When you need discs in an hurry this is the best process for your needs.
  3. Our duplication products dispel the notion that a cheap price must mean cheap quality.

We can also give you custom printing and packaging for all of your discs at a great price.

Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright

The following definition is provided by Wikipedia

“Intellectual property (IP) is a term referring to distinct types of ‘creations of the mind’ for which property rights are recognised – and the corresponding fields of law. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets in some jurisdictions.”

This is very important to note because, due to the legal aspects, you can violate copyright laws with your CD duplication or DVD duplication order if you are not the intellectual property rights owner of all content on your master. Violation of these copyright laws is generally referred to as ‘piracy’ and can be punishable in a court of law.

If you don’t own all of the intellectual property on your CD or DVD master you will need to get licensing for all un-owned content and then provide proof of licensing to the company doing the CD duplication or DVD duplication of your order.
 


Obtaining Licensing for Audio/Music Content

If all the songs on your CD are your own original compositions and you're not using audio samples or sound bytes that you took from somewhere (or someone) else, then you don't have any licensing concerns.

The most common licensing requirement for an audio CD is if you're performing a 'cover' version of someone else's song. If this is the case you require Mechanical Licensing - which is essentially a royalty for each CD that is made featuring the song. Separate licensing agreements must be made for each individual cover song.

▪ Mechanical Licensing in Canada: The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency - www.cmrra.ca 
▪ Mechanical Licensing in the USA: The Harry Fox Agency - 
www.harryfox.com

The second most common licensing requirement for an audio CD is if you're using a 'sample' or 'sound-byte' (regardless of the duration) that is not completely your own content/creation. This includes content taken from other CDs, television, movies, radio, etc. If this is the case you require Master Licensing for the right to use the 'sound' and then Mechanical Licensing.

Important: Taking a sample or sound-byte (regardless of duration) and altering it in any way does not make it your original composition. Licensing is still required any time you have used content or a creation that is not completely your own.

▪ Master Licensing in Canada: Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) - www.cria.ca 
▪ Master Licensing in Canada: Canadian Independent Record Production Assn (CIRPA) - www.cirpa.ca 
▪ Master Licensing in the USA: The Harry Fox Agency - 
www.harryfox.com 
 

Obtaining Licensing for Data/CDROM Content

Third-party utilities, drivers, applications and shareware commonly have licensing requirements - even if there is no 'fee' involved. This includes such common applications such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Quicktime, Real Audio, etc. Utilities such as these must first be checked with the vendor to see if they require distribution agreements.
 


How Long Does Copyright Last For In The U.S.A.? 

The following is based on information provided by Stanford University:

"How long copyright lasts depends on which country you are in. In the U.S., for works published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, if the work is a work for hire (that is, the work is done in the course of employment or has been specifically commissioned) or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work is published.

All works published in the United States before 1923 are in the public domain. Works published after 1922, but before 1978 are protected for 95 years from the date of publication.

If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, even if the author died over 70 years ago, the copyright in an unpublished work lasts until December 31, 2002. And if such a work is published before December 31, 2002, the copyright will last until December 31, 2047."
 


How Long Does Copyright Last For In Canada? 

The following is based on information provided by University of Waterloo:

"How long copyright lasts depends on which country you are in. In Canada, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years.

By contrast, in the U.S. and Europe, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, though it can differ depending on factors such as the type of work, the manner of publication and the date of creation. Generally, use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian rules for the duration of copyright protection."

Send you digital files directly to Precision Disc by selecting the link below.  Please "zip" your files in one folder and make sure you put your Job # in the Subject line.

"Online Master Upload"