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  • Printing a gradient fill

    I generally don't use gradients in my work, but I'm thinking about using the for the background on a catalog cover. It's a blue gray fade into almost white. I'm wondering what's troubles I could run into during printing. Right now, I am using a 4C gradient, but could possibly change it to be a spot color. I'm concerned about banding and things like that. Thoughts? Advice?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    My advise is to create your gradient in Illustrator not Photoshop. All the gradient problems I've had in past in my shop have been Photoshop gradients not Illustrator. Also, I've not had problems with Quark or Indesign gradients. If you create your gradient in Photoshop then I would make it spot colors instead of cmyk.
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    • #3
      Thanks. It is in Illustrator at the moment, just wondering if I stand decent chance of still getting banding. I think I read somewhere once, that you caan create a gradient in photoshop, but to eliminate the banding issues, you should add a gaussian blur to the gradient. Not sure if that's better than Illustrator or not.

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      • #4
        Your gradient should be ok in Illustrator. Unless the printer has some serious limitations I see no problem. Not all gradients in PS band. My experience has been certain color combonations have caused the banding. For example I had a job that contained several PS 4/c red and yellow gradients. The Cyan in the red was causing most of the banding but not all. What I did to fix it is to convert the file into lab color space and add a small amount of noise in channel A, which masks the banding. You can add a blur but on the printers end it would be a blurry banding file. my thinking is the banding is caused by the limitations of the imagesetter and resolution in most cases but not all. I think your Illustrator file is the best choice. Imagesetters seem to handle vector gradients better than raster.
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        • #5
          Great information. I appreciate the help jimking. I'll talk to the printer, of course, but I'll plan on staying with Illustrator for the gradient.

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          • #6
            Illustrator gradients, depending on the color combo, are usually ok at small sizes. Like under 10".

            For large stuff, the steps tend to become more apparent and the transition less smooth so we have to recreate in Photoshop ($), and add noise to get them to print smooth.

            Ask your printer. You may not want to go completely to 0% on your grade because much below 10% isn't visible anyway.

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