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Optimising designs for printing

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by STU9000, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    Anyone know how this might look printed on card stock? I don't have any information about the printer, it's just a hypothetical question.

    What do I need to do to make things like this more printer friendly?

  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    There is hardly any contrast between the parts in the dark area and it may blur into one big dark section, you will get much better results on a coated stock as opposed to uncoated.
  3. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    Yes I thought so. I had something similar printed off recently and exactly what you just said happened, twice. I'm afraid I have little control over the printing process in this situation. Is there anything I can do to optimise it in photoshop anyway?
  4. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    The only way really is to make more of a contrast between the darker areas/details, if you have a large dark section with very similar colour values the above does tend to happen, although as mentioned on an uncoated stock this would be much worse, you need to speak with your chosen printer who will advise.
  5. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    I'm trying to find that out, but my best course of action is to just try to make it as printer friendly in general as i can, if that is possible.

    I did an auto levels on it, not sure what that does but I think this would probably look better on print?

  6. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Looking at an image on here is of no use really as it's the colour values that need to be looked at, although I think you will struggle with this image. Have you had these printed litho or digitally in the past?
  7. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    No idea. It's hard to explain why right now. Both of these look really dark on my mobile phone, even with the brightness turned up.
  8. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Viewing it on screen is not really going to help you determine if it will print accurately.

    You're better off sending a few variations to the printers and ask them to print you a sample of each one.

    Most printers have the ability to attach a small job onto the offcut of another print job on similar stock.

    Any time I used to do this for clients there was no charge for the samples.

    Viewing colours on monitors/phones/tablets that are uncalibrated is surefire way to get your print job incorrectly printed.

    You will need to liaise with the printers on the colour and the values of each colour you use.

    For example, the black in the middle - if that's 100% black (with no CMY) and you have part of your image running underneath it - then you'll most likely see that image under the black in the final print.

    The only way to guarantee quality is to talk to the printers.
  9. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    I keep having to explain this, you see unfortunately I cannot make this printer friendly by the usual means, ie. communicating with the printer. I just need a few pointers so I can adjust it and make the best guess I can with my monitor and photoshop. It looks ok on my phone now that I managed to work out how to turn the backlight on without it defaulting to off again before I opened the pictures.

    I'm also looking to scale this down in size and up the DPI from 72 to 300, as that is part of the requirement. Maybe I can adjust the Y, or the contrast somehow to make it look more printer friendly, and maybe even better anyway...
  10. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    There really shouldn't be any guess work.

    You need to adjust the image in CMYK mode in Photoshop - but to do that you need to know the output intent, is it Coated Fogra, Uncoated Fogra, Euroscale Coated or Euroscale Uncoated, is it Toyo or some other colour model.

    What are the pixel dimensions of the image (width and height)

    and what's the width and height of the business card being printed on?

    These are factors to consider.
  11. andybdesign

    andybdesign Active Member

    I would aim for something closer to this below. It's still a bit rough and potentially still a bit dark in the centre, but will produce much better print results.


    You can take a look at the PSD file here and see what adjustments I made.

    With such a contrast between the background and the foreground I tried to split the adjustments by masking off the areas. Otherwise if you brighten the centre part you'll lose the detail in the background. Take a look anyway. Hopefully that helps.
    STU9000 and Stationery Direct like this.
  12. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    That looks great, thanks a lot man! can you explain a bit more about this and how you did it, how you traced the masks etc. I am just looking at it and trying to work out exactly what you did. I get the idea though. It looks to me like you have traced several gradients roughly over each mask in order to cover the foreground or background respectively, and the top mask is what? I'm not sure...
  13. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    I'm guessing it's just a simple layer mask and playing around with the foreground to transparent setting until it looks right?
  14. andybdesign

    andybdesign Active Member

    No problem.

    I'll go through it layer by layer from the bottom up...

    Layer 1 – You can ignore this, I was just messing.
    Layer 2 – This is your original image you posted.
    Curves 1 – This is a curves adjustment layer. I've created a mask and used the brush or eraser tool to remove some of the mask. With this layer I only want to brighten the centre section so this is what the mask does.
    Curves 1 (same name different layer) – The same as above, but this time focussing on the background.
    Curves 2 – This last curves adjustment layer is just to punch up the contrast a little for the whole image. There is no masked areas on this layer.

    Hope that clears up what's going on.

    Last thought. Hopefully you have a higher resolution version of this image because this file is very small and as a result is going to look pretty pixelated if you print it. Unless you're printing it very small.
    Stationery Direct likes this.
  15. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    Yes it is a reduced version of the actual size I'm intending for it to be. Can you explain how to create a curves adjustment layer? Are you creating an area using the magic wand? I'm just playing around with a second brighter layer and foreground to transparent masking, which allows a rough shape to be traced. Should be possible to achieve the same result this way I think.

    How much can I rely on the gamut warning after I think I have go it in the right form?
  16. andybdesign

    andybdesign Active Member

    Command–M (Mac) or Control–M (PC) to create a new curves layer.

    You can then click the mask in your layers palette and brush in areas or remove areas with the eraser tool. I used brushes not the magic wand.
    STU9000 likes this.
  17. STU9000

    STU9000 Member

    Thanks for the advice, I am now working on some other stuff. Right or wrong, it is what it is and will either print or not.

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