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Old Jun 12, 2012, 03:07 PM   #1
cambookpro
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Optimise Printer for Dark Colours (Photoshop)?

Hi,

For an art project at school we have to compose a few pieces of music then design a CD case and then shoot and edit a promotional video or music video.

Now, I have designed my case in Photoshop, but since I've never really printed anything like this before, I obviously used colours that don't print well as they all seem the same. I've fiddled around with the printer settings but all I can do is make it very dark or too light.

Here is the picture:

Thumb resize.


I have a Samsung CLP-320 if that helps.

It's a shame as I made almost exactly what I was imagining and I'm pleased with the result - oh well, I'll know for next time. Never make the same mistake twice!

If anyone can suggest anything to make the colours slighltly more distinguishable I'd be very grateful. And you can suggest anything for the actual case while you're at it if you like

Cheers.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 05:08 PM   #2
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This could also have to do with the medium you are trying to print on. When I am trying to achieve an exact match, I will generally print it out on photo paper. Yes I realize this is expensive but it works well. Unless you have a proofing system at your access this is the way to go. Your printer will do the job. I usually set my printer to maximum dpi and photo paper. This can all be done from the Photoshop print dialog box. This works for me but I also have an HP printer and work for a printing company so I have many different options. But I still get my best proofing for smaller images by doing what I stated above.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 05:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by firedept View Post
This could also have to do with the medium you are trying to print on. When I am trying to achieve an exact match, I will generally print it out on photo paper. Yes I realize this is expensive but it works well. Unless you have a proofing system at your access this is the way to go. Your printer will do the job. I usually set my printer to maximum dpi and photo paper. This can all be done from the Photoshop print dialog box. This works for me but I also have an HP printer and work for a printing company so I have many different options. But I still get my best proofing for smaller images by doing what I stated above.

Thanks. I was printing on normal paper as it was just a draft, but I've since found a pack of unopened matte photo paper for laser printers, so I'll have another go tomorrow.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 07:35 AM   #4
jeremy h
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As Firedept has said the paper makes a huge difference. If you can afford it a pack of top quality presentation inkjet paper from a graphics shop will make a huge difference.

If you've 'got what you've got' in terms of a printer and paper to get the exact effect you want you might need to play with your image to get the exact result you want for a particular printer. (I suspect it'll be easier to adjust a copy of your image than try and adjust a cheap inkjets settings)

You can do this by say setting up a new document and dropping on a swatch of your colour and then duplicating this a few times but each time vary the colour a bit on those (remember to put a label on each of them as to what the adjusted colour is.) In your case you might want to include a bit of red writing accross each colour swatch as a further test.

Print the page of swatches and you can pick the one that's most accurate then adjust on a copy of your master image for a perfect printout.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 11:18 AM   #5
kevinfulton.ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cambookpro View Post
Hi,

For an art project at school we have to compose a few pieces of music then design a CD case and then shoot and edit a promotional video or music video.

Now, I have designed my case in Photoshop, but since I've never really printed anything like this before, I obviously used colours that don't print well as they all seem the same. I've fiddled around with the printer settings but all I can do is make it very dark or too light.

Here is the picture:

Thumb resize.


I have a Samsung CLP-320 if that helps.

It's a shame as I made almost exactly what I was imagining and I'm pleased with the result - oh well, I'll know for next time. Never make the same mistake twice!

If anyone can suggest anything to make the colours slighltly more distinguishable I'd be very grateful. And you can suggest anything for the actual case while you're at it if you like

Cheers.
Pretty much what firedept said. The more subtle the colour variations the better the paper and printer you'll need to reproduce the effect. Another tip would be to make sure that you're working in the CMYK colour space and not RGB. This could be causing problems since printers print in CMYK and your colours may shift and wash out. Another tip would be to take your darkest blue and convert it to black (in CMYK use the values C=50 M=40 Y=40 K=100 for the deepest black) then lighten the rest of the blues to increase the distance between shades. This will increase the contrast and will help when printing on regular paper and less expensive printers. Hope this helps!
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Also, make sure that only photoshop OR the printer handles color management, not both!
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 11:48 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, I've got it to print at least partially better than before without completely redoing it. Much appreciated!
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Old Jun 30, 2012, 10:31 AM   #8
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Not a printing here, but I am self taught and getting good printing results.

1) Monitor Calibration. Critical in this case, as you need the monitor to show accurately what Ps is trying to show you.

2) Paper profiles for your printer. You can download these from the various paper maker's websites. This allows Ps to predict how the inks will react when used on the various papers. If you need just a couple of sheets, consider one of the sample packs (package of ~2x each different types of paper) that a paper makers put out. You use the sheets you need, and you sell or trade the sheets you don't to other students in same situation.

3) Photoshop can "soft proof" an image.. if you have the correct paper profiles installed. This allows Ps to show you sorta kinda what the image will look like when printed. Adobe recommends this for advanced users, but you may be get some insights. You can download the profiles for free, soft proof them to see what you like, and then buy that particular brand.

4) Adobe recommends that you stay with RGB colour space. The software will translate the RGB to CMYK as needed.

5) Note that not all screen colours/tones can actually be printed. You may be outside of your printer's abilities. Start thinking about a plan b, or go to a professional printer. If you are music student, I think it is entirely reasonable to suppose that you don't actually need to know how to set up difficult printing processes. I am a photographer, and a good printer. If I wanted some music for a portfolio presentation I wouldn't try to compose it myself... it's not what I do. Printing your CD cover is not the easiest project... get someone to knows printing to do if for you... perhaps they need some music for their portfolio presentation?
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