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Old 05-19-2006, 11:35 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Photos (scans) on newsprint

Scanned photos often turn out muddy when printed on newsprint.

Learning how to prepare halftone scans for newsprint seems like a good topic here, so I will start by sharing advice I got from the production manager of a printer I used for years on a quarterly newsprint newsletter. Other printers — knowing their presses and the papers they use — may have slightly different advice. But this helped me:


  • Photos prepared for printing on newsprint will typically look very washed out on the screen or in laser proofs.
    :
  • Newsprint (often) calls for an 85 line screen (LPI); that means you need an image resolution at final size of 180 to 200 dpi.
    :
  • If you are printing a color photo in B&W, scan in greyscale mode. (If your scanner does not offer this option, convert the RGB image to greyscale in Photoshop before placing it in your layout.)
    :
  • When you print an image on newsprint, the ink will spread a bit more than it would on smoother or coated stock. You might need to set the highlight (lightest) area to 3% to 5% dot and the shadow (darkest) area to 80% or 85% dot.
    :
  • Use Curves in Photoshop to create a gentle S-shaped curve to increase brightness a bit. (Have to confess I never quite figured this part out.)
Anyone else have any advice on this thorny topic? I know Elyse and I cannot be the only ones who have had to grapple with it. Surely the rest of you do not all do only multi-million dollar ad inserts for Mercedes-Benz!
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Old 05-19-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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kt:If you are printing a color photo in B&W, scan in greyscale mode. (If your scanner does not offer this option, convert the RGB image to greyscale in Photoshop before placing it in your layout.)
I wouldn't do it that way myself...I would scan in RGB and then more than likely use a Channel Mixer adjustment layer to convert it to greyscale or possibly Mode > Greyscale (not as flexible).

Before using Channel Mixer, take a look at the Channels Palette and look at each channel individually (just click on the channel) to see which channel has the "best" pic--best contrast. After adding the Channel Mixer adjustment layer, set that channel to 100% and add or subtract from the other channels to get the best pic. Theoretically all the channels are supposed to add up to 100% but that's not a hard and fast rule.


>>Use Curves in Photoshop to create a gentle S-shaped curve to increase brightness a bit. (Have to confess I never quite figured this part out.)

I have a hard time with Curves too so I would probably use a Levels Adjustment layer myself to lighten the image just a tad.

I'd probably do the Levels adjustment layer above the Channel Mixer adjustment layer and then add a new layer and do a merge visible. I'd then do a save so I have a copy of the original and then flatten and change the mode to greyscale (image shouldn't change and this assumes that production doesn't want RGB images) and save with a new name as a TIF or PSD--depends on what the specs are.

This approach worked nicely when I was doing ads for The Equiery which was printed on a web press on newsprint with a 30% dot gain. The production manager wanted greyscale (not RGB) elements at 150ppi/dpi.

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Old 05-19-2006, 12:08 PM   #3
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Kathleen
Would not the profile sort it - ISO Newspaper 26
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:25 PM   #4
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Kathleen
Would not the profile sort it - ISO Newspaper 26
Interesting question. I dunno about profiles (and certainly didn’t all the years I was doing that publication).

How much do presses differ on dot gain? And what about paper — just on that job, we often had quite different qualities from issue to issue (and at least once, within an issue). The printer there made it all work pretty well, and I never knew what it took.

   
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:56 PM   #5
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Kathleen
Would not the profile sort it - ISO Newspaper 26
Peter
You can use a generic profile like SNAP, but there are way too many variables in newspaper printing for a generic to have a hope of being close.

What press? What inks? What paper? Newsprint isn't newsprint... 40 gsm? 45? 48.5? What brightness? What's the humidity? Etc, etc...
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:54 PM   #6
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Someone on another site said you have these standards in the US
"SNAP" "GRACOL" and "SWAP" I think SNAP is the newpaper standard http://www.naa.org/
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:28 PM   #7
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Someone on another site said you have these standards in the US
"SNAP" "GRACOL" and "SWAP" I think SNAP is the newpaper standard http://www.naa.org/
I have never used it; nor did my printer suggest it.

Of course, I was sending in application files, not PDFs. They could have been using SNAP or some other standard and I would never have known.

What they did want me to do is make the placed images reproduce decently, so they offered the advice I posted here. Nothing very fancy or sophisticated.

   
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:59 PM   #8
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THis may show my ignorance here forgive me - but could u save the images with a snap profile and that would have sorted out the dot gain for u
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Old 05-20-2006, 05:57 AM   #9
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THis may show my ignorance here forgive me - but could u save the images with a snap profile and that would have sorted out the dot gain for u
I have no idea. That advice came from the production person I worked with; she said those values would work for them.

Nice to see that it can provoke a discussion!

(You’re not ignorant; I am.)

   
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Old 05-20-2006, 03:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ktinkel
I have no idea. That advice came from the production person I worked with; she said those values would work for them.

Nice to see that it can provoke a discussion!

(You’re not ignorant; I am.)
In the absence of specific guidelines, using SNAP for newspaper work is a decent default.

Our guidelines are 85% max black, 32% dot gain, 240% TIC, and GCR with medium black generation. Of course, asking an agency to come close to them is an exercise in futility, but that's the business as she is spoke.
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