Preparing your print and play
Continuing from the last tutorial we can actually save the data set in batches. All files can be saved in a single folder with the variable changes applied for each card. This is how our team was able to produce a 300+ card set over a weekend and patch changes that would range from 10 to 50 cards at a time.
Once your data set settings are complete, you can choose to export each individual card as a file with the variable changes. To do this go to the file menu: File > Export > Data Sets as Files. This will give you many options to save your files. We would version control our patches and version changes and put that into the file name of the PSD so that it would be easier to handle. Once the settings are done click "OK" and watch Photoshop magically generate all the cards.
If you plan to create a print and play, then 8.5"x11" will be your favorite resolution. This is because most people will be printing on standard letter-size papers and not on industrial cardstock sheets. Keep in mind that all resolutions should be 300 DPI. Make sure to verify this or you'll end up with pixelated colors. CMYK is another standard that you should be aware of. This is the color profile that is used when printing. Make sure your files are set to CMYK and 300 DPI (always double check this).
Start linking your files to the print template file. Do this by going to file menu: File > Place Linked. This ensures that when you change the individual file, your print templates will also update. Creating a patch or a new version is as simple as updating the link and printing that sheet. You can confirm if the file is linked with the small link icon on the layer.
Saving as a PDF is a better option than saving as a JPEG/PNG file. JPEG and PNG formats will introduce data compression and might make the final outcome look wonky. After your file is saved, print away!
And that concludes our 3 part tutorial of how to create a Print and Play set. I have left the comment section below open to answer any questions.