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Optimising Mono Print Settings - part 3 of 1 2 3

Published 01/04/2009

Having established the superior performance of the ABW/Light (our favoured setting anyway) we made a print and the shadow detail all came back!

Given that we established just where clipping of shadows was going to occur we could predict the effect on the file in Photoshop using either a 'Threshold' adjustment layer or by opening the file from Bridge in Adobe Camera RAW. Screen grabs from both are shown. The Threshold set to 6 RGB points shows much of the shadow area down at that value and so we now know from our test they will not print using the colour profile, but will print using ABW/Light. The tale is similar in ACR, with the shadow set at +3 units, the blue areas are those that will be clipped. A tactic that would be unlikely to work would be to adjust Trevor's shot, from the supplied JPEG.

The bit-depth available at these low values is very restricted and was already starting to 'block up' with the JPEG compression. Changing the levels slider might have been disastrous! The trick is to guard your precious shadows at the image manipulation stage and have due regard to the possibility of eventually reprinting to a matt, restricted Dmax paper. Trevor and Faye are fans of Kevin Kubota's actions which certainly produce some of their most striking images, the downside is that they must be used with care or problems can crop up of either banding, pixel blocking or both.


1. The Camera RAW dialogue allows you to review the shadow clipping. The areas marked blue are clipped below three units.

2.The Threshold adjustment layer is set to a value of 6 RGB points and shows (as black) all values at that value or less.

3.When all the testing is done you have to examine real prints. The difference should remain detectable after the page has come out of the printing press as printing RIPs are usually more forgiving than inkjet prints in shadow detail. If all goes to plan you should see more detail in the left-side print which was made using ABW on Light.


1st Published 01/04/2009
last update 12/11/2019 13:27:13



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