Me vs Printer


New Member
Hi all,

I recently designed and had printed some business cards for a client (actually, my girlfriend) and I'm slightly troubled over the results. Just a bit of pre-production background for you which may/may not be relevant:
I printed the logo from a Lino cut, which I then scanned and imported into Photoshop.
From there I masked certain areas which I created spot channels from.
This file was then saved as a Photoshop EPS, which was then placed into an Indesign file and exported as a PDF/x-1a:2001 which retained the spot colours.

So far so good. The file looks crisp and the printer can see no issues.

However, the printed results are not so good (Litho print, by the way). All around the edges of the image are uniform jagged lines. I admit, I’m pretty fussy. The marks are small (my girfriend didn’t even notice till I pointed it out). But it doesn’t have the sharp, quality print I expected (and paid for). These jagged lines are not on the file I sent over, and, before you ask, they not a result of the original lino print.

My printer says that you get this result when printing from photoshop files. That, if it was created from a vector program, then it’d be sharp. Now I’m not vastly experienced and, yes, this is my first print job from a photoshop design. But surely if the jagged lines aren’t on the file, they shouldn’t be on the print? They are too big to be pixels also (the original scan was a whopper).

Then again, how could they get onto the Litho plate if it wasn’t from my file?

I’d be really grateful if anyone has any idea of what I’m on about or advice they could give me to get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

Really appreciate the reply Peter, thanks.

In your experience, would neglegting to anti-aliase be likely the jagged effect? I've never even heard of it before! If the explaination's simple, could you tell me what that does? I want to go back to my printer armed with knowledge!
It is difficult to explain without a bit of very dry theory..

Antialiasing is smoothing the edges of the images or text so that the lines appear smooth and not jagged. it is the process by which vector elements such as text and graphics are converted to images - rasterisation. The software uses intermediate colors to ensure that the image is as smooth as possible; i.e. if the line is black and background white, the intermediates are greys.
Thanks again Peter.

I've been doing a bit more web research and have come across some very useful info on anti aliasing in programs such as photoshop, but nothing to do with it during the Litho plates process so far. In any case, I can go back to my printer with this (dry!) theory now and will be better prepared for any similar future printwork.

Hi Andy,

Just wanted to add that I would always look to create all artwork in vector format where possible, using illustrator for example you may have been able to vectorise your scanned logo or recreate quickly (depending on the design). Also illustrator will save your spots in all different elements and shapes, plus just using illustrator would enable you to stay in the one program and no need to use InDesign or Photoshop. If you are new to illustrator I would definately recommend getting to grips with it - if you had gone to print with a truely vector design then your printer wouldn't have a leg to stand on... With rasterisation there can be problems - but I can't really comment unless I was able to view the artwork myself to check if there are any problems.

Hope this helps a little for next time...

Kindest regards,