Output Sharpening

March 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment |

Image source, frequency of detail, subject, personal preference, output device, substrate or presentation device, and presentation size all play a role in sharpening.The art of sharpening gives you precise control over various image characteristics—contrast, saturation, contour (halo and line), texture and noise. It's best applied in three stages: capture, creative and output.

While there's an art to sharpening, which provides extraordinary creative freedoms, some aspects of sharpening are best automated, such as output sharpening.

Output sharpening is used to compensate for the softening of detail that a specific device produces. Ink on paper, whether applied with an offset press or an inkjet printer, is notably susceptible to this. When drops of ink hit paper, they deform on impact and spread more or less based on the absorption characteristics of the substrate. This is called dot gain; the dots gain size. Dot gain varies with the type of printer, ink and substrate used. It also can be impacted by environmental factors such as humidity. Output sharpening typically also factors in file resolution and the scale of the final product, which is used to determine an ideal viewing distance—though the actual viewing distance is usually variable.


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My Fine Art Digital Printing DVD offers many simple solutions to common problems. Here’s one …

overinking

Problem
My prints looks slightly granular and dark with lost detail in deep shadows.

Solution
My prints looks slightly granular and dark with lost detail in deep shadows.Make sure the Media Type is specified correctly.

MediaSetting_USFA

Then reduce the ink limit with the Advanced Media Control Color Density slider.

ColorDensityDryTime

This happens most frequently with third party papers, where the ink limit needs to be adjusted from another manufacturers defaults. Start with the nearest paper type for the Media Setting and then use Advanced Media Control to reduce the Color Density or increase the Drying Time or both.

Learn more in my Fine Art Digital Printing Workshops.


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Printing – Humidity

September 16, 2008 | Leave a Comment |


Extreme humidity can impact print quality. This is particularly true for but not exclusive to matte papers, which are more absorbent.

We printed for my Annual Exhibit in high humidity. The paper had absorbed a lot of moisture and so there was substantially more dot gain. The prints were coming out substantially darker and we were having trouble maintaining shadow detail. It's made me want to store all of my paper in a climate controlled environment (using a dehumidifier or air conditioner). Or, climate control my entire studio. Rather than reprofiling for an atmospheric condition that changes unpredictably, we compensated with proofing. We lightened the files selectively before printing. With a little testing, we came up with standard adjustments that could be used on multiple images, with customized shadow masks for individual compositions. It pays to think about the impact of humidity on your printing. Control humidity when you can. Compensate for it when you can't. You get better prints.

What do you do to compensate for excessive dot gain due to environment or overinking? Comment here.

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Find out about my The Fine Digital Print Workshop Series here.


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