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Exploring how ink behaves on paper

From: Print Production Fundamentals

Video: Exploring how ink behaves on paper

When you start combining multiple inks-- and let's face it that's almost all the time--you have to consider how interactions of ink on paper are going to affect your artwork. For example, if you have small white type and a dark multicolor background, there's a potential for all that ink to sort of pile up and encroach on the type and it might deform the edges of it. Now modern presses are much more precise than in the olden days, but misregister could still cause the type to be unreadable. And the opposite is true. If you create especially small text out of multiple inks, misregister can occur and it's going to deform that text, make it look a little bit blurry.

Exploring how ink behaves on paper

When you start combining multiple inks-- and let's face it that's almost all the time--you have to consider how interactions of ink on paper are going to affect your artwork. For example, if you have small white type and a dark multicolor background, there's a potential for all that ink to sort of pile up and encroach on the type and it might deform the edges of it. Now modern presses are much more precise than in the olden days, but misregister could still cause the type to be unreadable. And the opposite is true. If you create especially small text out of multiple inks, misregister can occur and it's going to deform that text, make it look a little bit blurry.

Now your printer maybe able to provide specifications that spell out the minimum size for white text or multicolor text or fine rules and things like that, take that advice seriously. Also, there's a limit to how much ink you can pile up in one spot on a given stock. It depends on the stock. It depends on the press. If you exceed that limit, you use adherence. Ink laid down by the previous unit might get picked up in spots by the subsequent unit. This is called total ink coverage or total area coverage, TIC or TAC.

For newsprint, for example, that falls between 240% to 260%. On a sheet-fed press running coated stock, that total area coverage might be 320% to 340%. And you're thinking, wait, how you can have more than 100%? Well, here in Acrobat using Output Preview I can sort of interrogate my file. As I move my cursor around, watch the numbers that are in the Output Preview and you'll see them changing. As I hover over this area there's a rich black background, 60 cyan, 40 magenta, 40 yellow, and 100 black. See, all those numbers add up to 240% percent.

It's probably not a problem. If I hover over this image on the left, you'll see in that lens, in the darkest shadow, that adds up to 294%. So again, it depends on what press and what stock that combination determines how much ink you can pile up. But there's a great way to find areas that exceed a given specification. At the bottom of Output Preview ,if I choose the Total Area Coverage, there is a little warning color that tells me if I'm over the allowed amount. So if I'm running on a press who's maximum Total Area Coverage is 280%, all of these areas that are highlighted in green are going to present a problem on press.

What if I'm running on a sheet-fed press that can accept much higher piles of ink in the area? Well, then that's not a problem. If you examine your files in Acrobat like this, and they're just little tiny green areas, that's probably not going to be an issue. But when you have large areas showing that you've exceeded the Total Area Coverage for that press and stock combination, what can do you? You have to go back to your original image and re-separate it or modified in some way so that Total Area Coverage is not going to exceed the specifications.

Again, keep in mind your printer can tell you what those values are. One of things that can happen when you're applying ink on paper is you could have misregistration. So what does that mean? Well, that means as the individual colors are laid down, maybe they don't line up from unit to unit. Again, this is very rare. But what happens when it does happen? Well, this is bad register. You've probably seen this on the Sunday funnies in the newspaper. You can see the colors don't quite line up and you get sort of a rainbow effect around.

Now I've highly exaggerated this, and as I mentioned earlier modern presses really don't have the problems with registration that ancient presses did. But it's still something to consider. And how do you consider this when you design? If you want to make sure nothing like this ever happens, you might want to modify your design. In this case, maybe I don't need a black background. Maybe I'll just have my color type and maybe I'll make that word Design and the word At black have it all fall on a white background, then there is much less chance that anything is going to be out of register.

One of the ways you can fix misregister is by adding something called Trapping. Now trapping is not something you ought to have to do. It's something that happens at the printer. We're going to zoom in on this text. This is a spot color orange and it's against a spot color blue. So as each color is laid down, again if there's any misregister between the subsequent units of the press, you can see a little gap between the colors, and you don't want that. What trapping does is create little overlapping areas.

It's sort like a little rim around each color where the colors don't have inks in common and those little areas have a combination of the inks. So this looks really ugly at this magnification, but in real life you're really not going to see those little rims. They're much less unattractive than any white gap between the colors. So trapping is preferable to not trapping. In those little dark borders what you're going to see where the orange type hits the blue type is really a combination of 100% of the spot orange and 100% of that spot blue.

And again, if there is a little bit of leeway on the press you're never going to see that white gap. Keep in mind that you don't have to perform trapping. It's not something you have to worry about. It's something that happens at the printer. They have specialized software as part of their workflow that creates straps. We don't have to make them by hand anymore.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Print Production Fundamentals
Print Production Fundamentals

68 video lessons · 23845 viewers

Claudia McCue
Author

 
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  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 49s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 54s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 49s
  9. 13m 52s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 23s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 53s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 48s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 8s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 21s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
      58s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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