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Help!!! Printing dark illustrations

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  • Help!!! Printing dark illustrations

    We have an illustration assignment for class. I wanted it very dark - looking with sensitive transitions between the shapes, but that created a big printing problem. The colors and shapes come out all muddy. I should have foreseen that black would mess things up... is there a way to save things? I've tried fiddling with opacity e.t.c. for a start, but the results aren't too good. (I'm attaching the illustrations in small size)

    Oh, and since we're into printing questions... my reds often come out wrong - even brownish. Are there any tips on how to make them cleaner and more shiny?

    Thank you in advance!
    Click image for larger version

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by Gina Black; 01-28-2017, 06:31 PM.

  • #2
    This is an object lesson in dot gain. Don't forget it. Conventional printing of reverse type and gradients over black is always a cost+ endeavor. Red over black is just asking for brown mud.

    About the only way to print these quickly would be to do so photographically. If you can find someone using true RGB photo processing, you don't get the dot gain you get with inkjet inks.

    How much money you got?

    Check around to see if there are any printers in your area with a Lambda printer. You may have to ask a place or two if they know someone with one as they are getting rare. Even rarer would be a Lightjet printer. Some places still have smaller photo imaging machines as well but those two are more common large format photo printers (I realize you aren't doing large format but trying to give you a fighting chance.) If you do find one, ask them to print at the 400 ''slow'' speed of the machine. It's a little more expensive, but the imagery holds finer details.

    There's a possibility a place that processes film might be able to take a .tif or .jpg format (I've heard Walgreens still has film machines) but not likely. You can try though.

    Another option is to work with a good art printer that uses high end inkjets for Fine Art (sometimes called ''Giclee" printing (ghee-clay ). They would be most likely able to adjust their profiling to get you your fine-line knock-out lettering on a decent paper stock as opposed to a general sign shop. Again, not cheap.

    Your art is very beautiful.
    And the subject happens to be a favorite of mine.
    I hope you can find a way to print it that does it justice.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-28-2017, 07:41 PM.

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    • #3
      If you only have school inkjets at hand, try using the various print profiles available and use a quick drying photo glossy paper. What works best is OEM paper for the printer being used. The profile is likely to get you a better color balance and the faster drying glossy paper will have less dot gain than any of the matte stock.

      Let me know what machine you are using to print.

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      • #4
        Many thanks for your reply!!!

        I know of 1-2 places, I’ll ask on Monday. If I can't find any such printers I can at least try with glossy paper. Wish me luck!

        I'm using an old inkjet printer for home testing, so I have to do the final printing in a proper bookstore. I don't know their printer specifics, but I suppose I can ask them for OEM paper, right?

        Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
        This is an object lesson in dot gain. Don't forget it. Conventional printing of reverse type and gradients over black is always a cost+ endeavor. Red over black is just asking for brown mud.
        Thank you for mentioning the “optical dot gain” term. I had no idea about it – all they’ve told us in class was to convert to CMYK and remember that black tends to “bleed” when we design. I understand what happens much better now!!!

        Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
        Your art is very beautiful.
        And the subject happens to be a favorite of mine.
        I hope you can find a way to print it that does it justice.
        Awww thank you! <3
        Last edited by Gina Black; 01-29-2017, 09:06 AM.

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        • #5
          Ask the bookstore to help you with the print dialog box to get the right profile for the paper they are using.

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          • #6
            In the end I didn't get a book as nice as I wanted, due to some "beginner mistakes" I did, but the result with the blacks was quite satisfactory and I passed the lesson. Thanks again!!!

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