randwolf (randwolf) wrote,

The latest and hopefully final version of the portfolio is now at the printer for proofing. Whew!

What I have learned from this experience:

  1. Most common computer printing technologies cannot achieve their published resolutions on real documents; to get the most out of them one must run one's own tests or stay well under their limits--usually by a factor of three or four.
  2. A 600 dpi black bitmap can probably be printed at full resolution on a 600 dpi laser printer--but run tests.
  3. The range of colors ("color gamut") of most printers is much smaller than the range of colors of most monitors, and both are much smaller than the range of colors which can be perceived. See the clear diagrams in Caponigro's Photoshop Master Class.
  4. The color gamut of the "Adobe 1998" RGB color space includes most of the US standard four-color press color space.
  5. There is only a finite number of inks in printing. Most printing processes lay them down at small numbers of levels. [Added later] Exceptions: dye sublimation, direct-to-film and direct-to-photographic paper technologies.
  6. Color laser printers typically only print 256 colors per pixel--three levels each of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. More tones are achieved by ganging pixels together, sacrificing resolution. Registration at the pixel level is uncertain, and one gets the damndest shifting color casts from moire patterns between overprinted lines black lines and a CMY "grey." Color profiles for these printers are hard to come by.
  7. Inkjet printers use complicated patterns of dots to get their effects; there apparently is no pixel grid as such and, as with photographic film and paper, resolution must be measured. A master printer I know informs me that the new HP 7960 will resolve 15 lines/mm, as good as a photographic print made from a medium format negative (2.5" square or so, more-or-less), and that Epson 2200 printers produce considerably lower resolutions.
  8. Adobe transparency processing generates greys by mixing CMY. It is not to be trusted if one is working in greyscale. The best way to use it, I now believe, is as a proofing technology; if the final print is on a composite printer, it is probably best to replace the transparent elements with Illustrator pattern hatching, Photoshop half-toning, or some other monochrome representation of tone.
  9. I can find no way to get the scale of a placed graphic from Adobe InDesign. Architects and would-be printers of architecture publications beware.

Nice PDF file. Please print. Pretty please?

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