Preventing printer anomalies and banding

 

 

Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)

Description:

This is a tutorial on how to minimize printing anomalies like banding and odd color variations. Incidentaly, this tutorial covers some photo correction technique which can be very usefull for adding detail back to images.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

Tutorial:

I have come upon a technique for reducing printer anomalies (Banding, color patches and ghosting) that is really quite simple.

When I say “banding” I mean where you visibly see color changes in a gradient or image as you can see here:

When I say “ghosting” I mean areas of light color around dark color areas which shows up when printing but not on screen. An example is shown here:

The main technique is to add enough noise. Adding noise to a gradient will reduce printer banding. This is also true for areas of solid color — adding a bit of noise can make the color print very even.

When it comes to photos, this technique can be used to give the appearance of detail. I use this after I have resized and color corrected a photo. It is amazing how effective it is in making the print a much nicer print.

Realize when I am talking about printing here, I am specifically referring to large format printers. The technique can be used successfully with other printers as well.

When you add noise, you want to add just enough to where it is just past visible. I will show you some examples here:

Noise added to a gradient:

Noise added to a patch of color:

Noise added to an image:

Additionally you can reduce ghosting by adding noise. Ghosting is where you can see lighter areas around dark patches. An example of adding noise to an image that might ghost when printed is here:

Experiment with your printer and different noise settings to see what comes out the best.

I have found this technique to be very helpful on my job as a designer. Hopefully this tutorial will help you as well.

Quality Image Cutouts

Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)

Description:

Have you ever tried to cut an image out of it’s background using Photoshop only to be dissapointed in the fact that it does no look good in its new background?

This is one way to do photoshop masking.

Here I go over 3 simple steps to make your cutout more realistic. This lesson was created for lower level users as well as advanced users. The technique used here to make the first selection is only used to keep the learning gradient easy. Advanced users would replace the selection steps shown below with what they know of with regard to making a selection.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

How to:

First select the polygonal lasso tool. Click and drag around the outside of the image you want to cutout.

  

Next use the lasso tool to cutout the inside parts of the image. You do this by holding [Alt/Option] and click with the lasso, then continue until you have covered the part you want to cutout. For this image you will need to cutout 2 places — the hole for the top ring and the hole for the bottom ring.

Next go to [Select->Modify->Smooth] and enter in a radius of 2 pixels. The radius is how much to smooth the selection. If the selection you made earlier is very jagged you might want to experiment with higher radius levels to smooth out the selection.

Next go to [Select->Feather] and enter in a radius of 1. This will blur the edges of the selection a bit and give it a more real look.

  

Next go to [Select->Modify->Contract] and enter in an amount of one pixel. This makes the selection a little tighter which also helps in making a nice cutout.

  

After you have done these steps, just copy and paste the part of the image you have now cutout.

The final image cutout looks like this:
Note: The grid you see in the back is used to denote transparency (Or Seethroughness) in Photoshop.