Alder File Setup

Set Your Files Up For Success

 

Print facilities say their biggest challenges to printing great color come in customer files. No matter how well a printer manages color in-house, the settings used on inbound files will always affect the quality and color of the final output.

So how should print files be set up?

Most importantly: If you have a specific print shop you plan on working with, always follow their artwork guidelines for the best color results. Following a printer’s specs will reduce the pre-press time required to prep your file for printing, saving you time and money. A printer will tell you what they need to get the best results for their process.

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Color Management 101: Color Spaces

 

Color Basics

Color is dynamic. We all see it a little differently, because color is the physical response of the eye to light + the mental interpretation of those responses. This makes printing color accurately a bit tricky until one has a basic understanding of color space.

First, all color starts with light. The color of a physical object is the result of projected light reflecting off the object. Your eyes + brain interpret what gets reflected, and the result is the color you see. A red apple, for example, reflects red wavelengths of light and absorbs all others. You see the reflected red wavelengths. As ambient light decreases, colors appear to fade because there is less light and, therefore, less color.

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Color Management 101 - Printer Consistency

Color Management 101: Printer Consistency

 

Let’s be honest, no printing device is truly consistent. Print variance is inevitable. While minor variation over the course of weeks is normal, what you should be concerned with is either a sudden change outside the normal variation or a slow degradation over time. Some variation is mechanical in nature, like a print head getting clogged, and some variation comes from external variables such as temperature and humidity.

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Color Management - Process Control

Color Management 101: Process Control

 

When was the last time you spent hours selecting colors on your screen for a project to then send it to print and have your colors come out looking totally different? Color management is the key to keeping your color consistent. Companies who invest in managing their color workflows will quickly reap the benefits of accurate color, less waste and higher productivity!  
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What is a RIP and should you be printing with one?

 

What is a Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A computer and printer speak different languages. The computer language needs to be translated to the printer language so the final print matches what is on the computer screen. If you were to travel to China without knowing Chinese you would need a translator to communicate with the locals. If your artwork does not have a translator for its trip through the printer, the final result could be very unexpected and costly.

Technically speaking, a RIP is software used in a printing workflow. It produces a raster image also known as a bitmap from a page description language such as PostScript, Portable Document Format, XPS or another bitmap of higher or lower resolution than the output device. The bitmap is then sent to a printing device for output.

  • Quick Tip: What is the difference between raster and vector images?

    • Raster images are made of pixels and are a set resolution. Photographs and scans are raster images.
    • Vector images are made of points, lines, and mathematical formulas. Certain logos and illustrations are vector images.
    • Postscript is used by applications like InDesign, Quark and Illustrator to describe the
      page (art) that has been created. Art from these applications can contain both raster
      and vector images.

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(Quick Tip Video) Installing ICC profiles on a Mac and Windows

 

If printing and color are important to you, ICC profiles will make all the difference in getting the results you desire! Here is a quick video and instructions of how to install ICC profiles on both Mac and Windows platforms.

Click here to go to windows instructions

Mac Instructions

1) Download the ICC Profile you wish to use.

Go to www.aldertech.com/support/icc/ to find a list of free Epson and Hahnemuhle profiles. From here choose your printer and media type and select “download profile” to the specified folder of your choice.

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Piezoelectric Print Heads Vs. Thermal Print Heads

 

For professionals and consumers alike, inkjet printing technologies have made producing full color high quality photographs, documents, and fine art reproductions easier, cleaner, and more affordable.

Today, there are two primary types of inkjet print head technologies in use: Piezo (Epson Printers) and Thermal (Canon and HP Printers). In this blog we will be exploring the main difference between the two, as well as some advantages and disadvantages of both.

How does Epson’s Micro Piezo print head work?

In the Epson Micro Piezo print head, microscopic piezoelectric elements (like crystals and ceramics) are built behind the print nozzles. When an electrical charge is applied to them, these elements bend backward, forcing precise amounts of ink onto the substrate (see Diagram 1). Because electrical charges can be turned on and off like a switch, there is a vast amount of control over the rate of ink being ejected through the nozzle Continue reading

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Printing with ICC Profiles

 

ICC profiles are one of the most misunderstood and misused tools for printing color. Many people do use them successfully, but many use them incorrectly, or don’t use them at all. Thus not achieving the full potential of the media or the printer.

Keeping it simple, here are the three things you have to remember about ICC profiles when it comes to printing.

  1. ICC profiles describe how a specific device prints color on a specific media. It translates file data being printed so the file prints color correctly on that media.
  2. Each profile is created using a specific set of printing parameters, resolution, media setting, quality setting, black ink type, etc.
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Matte Black vs. Photo Black

 

Most modern pigment inkjet printers use both a photo black ink and a matte black ink (not simultaneously though). In trying to develop a darker black ink for uncoated papers (cotton fine art, watercolor papers and other matte uncoated papers) the manufacturers were unable to get the ink to dry on coated papers, so they had to resort to two inks. Standard black, usually referred to as photo black, for glossy, semigloss, satin, semimatte, and luster papers, and matte black, which prints darker on the uncoated fine art papers but doesn’t dry on the coated papers.

Customers often ask if they need to use Matte Black ink with a certain paper. There are several ways to find out.
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