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Old 05-19-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
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Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
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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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