Friday, April 3, 2009

Output Levels

More printing problems. It's tough to get prints looking just right. A reader asks about targetting for a specific printer with a small gamut (name withheld to protect the company from needless scorn). He said that the shadows just look solid black and the highlights lack detail. I pointed him to the book and to the Levels Adjustment layer.

Often overlooked at the bottom of the dialog box, the Output Levels controls help solve this problem. They allow you to take the current levels and compress them into a saller space. When you use this technique, the levels are remapped. The resulting image has less contrast but should be able to print out on low end printers.

You may want to perform a few test prints to get the print looking right. Once you've found the magic numbers, make a note of them. Chances are, you'll be needing them again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If it is a colour printer, there by be an exacting solution that can be applied here without manually constricting the quality of your image data.

Silverfast ( is a software application that is used for calibrating and getting correct colour out of scanners. In the way that apps of this type work, it scans a known 'target' and then calculates the difference between what it knows is there and what the scanner saw.

They've taken it a step further where you can print out a test pattern from the software and then have this scanned in by the (calibrated) scanner and Silverfast. Silverfast then generates a colour profile for your not-so-good printer.

As long as you are using software that can make use of a colour profile for your printer, then this would give the optimum solution for the problem.

Andrew Smith
Brisbane, Australia.