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Best rasterized font smoothing for print?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by ppc_michael, May 14, 2012.

  1. Guest


    I'm designing a DVD package for some people, and they've chosen a print shop that requires 300dpi rasterized RGB images. This seems odd to me, but I have no control in the matter.

    So I was wondering if anyone has advice as to what font smoothing I should use for the least fuzz? It's a DVD case, booklet, and label, so lots of small black text.
  2. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    I have four suggestions:

    1. Consider changing the design so there is less small text and fewer curved edges.

    2. Experiment with the choice of font and the text anti-aliasing methods (Sharp, Crisp, Strong, Smooth) in Photoshop.

    3. Rasterize in Photoshop and view the results both zoomed in and zoomed out, to see just how pixelated the elements of your design get and how visible the flaws seem to be.

    4. Let the print shop and your clients know that this is insufficient resolution for the best quality and this print shop should not be chosen the next time.

    It's too bad if you have to make compromises with the design, but as you said aren't in control.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Anti-aliasing isn't your key problem -- I use the Type Optimized (Hinted) anti-aliasing option with 300dpi TIFFs exported from Illustrator on pages that have text at 5.25-6pt without any issue.

    The problem is RGB: at some point, possibly at the RIP, these will be converted back to CMYK and your black text will likely be reconstituted as a rich black. In order for your text to look good, it needs to be straight K100 with no other colours, and to overprint. Neither of these specifications will survive in an RGB version of the document.

    You need to be very, very clear with your client that their choice of print shop is going to significantly impact the readability of the text and that there is nothing you can do about this from your end of the process.


  4. Guest


    Thanks for the advice!
  5. macrumors 6502

    One thing I didn't see mentioned... You might ask your client for a direct contact at the print shop. It's possible you'll be able to work directly with them to get a better format for submission. If the print shop is used to dealing with people who don't know the details of printing, they may default to the simplest format for folks to produce, but will accept different formats from someone who can produce them correctly.
  6. Guest


    That's good advice. I had contacted them and they told me they only accept 16-bit RGB BMP. (BMP!) I thought they'd at least want TIFF.

    Anyway I guess I'll just do my best. lol
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Is this for the paper package art or the printing on the disc itself?

    If those are the requirements for the paper packaging, I wouldn't hold your breath for tons of quality on the finished print.

    You don't often hear the words print shop, rasterized, and RGB in the same sentence.

    If it's for the disc art, that may be the requirements of the ink jet equipment they are using. I've seen very similar requirements with other ink jet equipment.
  8. macrumors 6502

    LOL - Ain't that the truth! Unless it's a print shop educating a client or designer about what's NOT ideal. :)
  9. macrumors 6502

    I've run into having to supply RGB images to inkjet people before. There's a process they use for those instore cosmetic backlit panels that requires it (possibly Lambda?). Did give impressive results but at a cost.

    Of course it might be that the 'print shop' are just sub-contracting the files to the local photo print place. ;)
  10. Guest


    Rasterized RGB for both disc and package art.

    Just an update: I finished the design and had it approved, we sent it in and got an evaluation copy back. The blacks were nice and black, but the colors were way off as I had feared. I was pretty annoyed, but the client was extremely happy with it so I guess that's all that matters. They hired me for another project, but this time I have a say in the choice of print shop. :D

    Thanks again for all your input!
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Yep, that's the only result that counts. Thanks for getting back with an update -- delighted to hear that it all worked out OK!



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