The following GNU/freeware procedure results in a TIFF file with CMYK color separation that has successfully worked for Lightning Source, Inc. POD customers, including Into Your Hands LLC. Lightning Source generally prefers the PDF/X-1a:2001 format for file uploads, but also accepts the High Quality Print setting for color cover uploads when using Adobe Distiller as well as TIFF and PS files from other software applications (Lightning Source File Creation Guide 9.0, p. 12). The following procedure uses the GNU software GIMP to generate a CMYK color separated TIFF file that has been acceptable to Lightning Source for color book covers in the recent past.

These instructions are offered for consideration by those who prefer to use GNU and freeware software and do not have Adobe Distiller, but please proceed at your own risk recognizing that Into Your Hands LLC cannot guarantee that this procedure will always be acceptable to Lightning Source.

  1. Install both GIMP and the Separate+ plugin.
  2. In GIMP, Edit / Preferences / Color Management to set the following:
    1. Mode: Color Managed Display
    2. RGB Profile: Adobe RGB (1998)
    3. CMYK Profile: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v. 2
    4. Monitor Profile: Adobe RGB (1998)
    5. Check Box On for Try to use the system monitor profile.
    6. Display rendering intent: Perceptual
    7. Print Profile: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v. 2
    8. Softproof rendering intent: Perceptual
    9. Check Box On for Mark Out of Gamut Colors
    10. File Open Default: Keep imbedded profile
  3. Create the image and save it. Be sure to use a Lightning Source-generated template, set the resolution to 300 ppi, etc. (Refer to Lightning Source's instructions.)
  4. File / Save As to new file, with “flattened” appended to the filename. (This will preserve your layered file under the old filename, in case you need to make changes to it later.)
  5. Image / Flatten
  6. File / Save.
  7. Image / Separate / Separate:
    1. Source: Adobe RGB
    2. Destination: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v. 2
    3. Intent: Perceptual
    4. Options: check Preserve Pure Black (unsure whether checking Overprint Pure Black matters).
    5. Click OK.
  8. Within the new set of images (layered as C, M, Y, K), select Image / Separate / Export:
    1. Format: TIFF
    2. Imbed Profile: U.S. Web Coated SWOP v. 2
    3. Check the Box for Compress Pixel Data (to ensure a file size small enough for the LS upload).
    4. Click Save


Into Your Hands LLC welcomes your feedback as to how well this procedure has served you.

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