Photoshop

This is the technical documentation for using software with the large format printer. Audience: Authorized operators of the large format printer.

Printing with Photoshop

  • Open a Photoshop file.
  • Go to Image Menu > Image Size. Check that the image resolution for the file is set to somewhere between 100 and 300 dpi at the actual print dimensions. Resolutions between 200 and 300 will tend to produce the best results. A test print we ran at 180 dpi at the actual print dimensions looks crisp. Resolutions below 150 dpi may exhibit some pixelation, depending on the nature of the photo. "Actual Print Dimensions" means the width and height in inches of the final print. For example, if you're printing an image 12" wide by 20" high, the file itself should be 12" wide and 20" high in the Image Size settings. At those actual dimensions, the resolution should be between the guidelines for resolution. Warning: If you take a small image and enlarge it in the Image Size settings, or if you take a small image and enlarge it by printing at a percentage size over 100% you can expect image degradation in the final print.
  • Check the look of the image on the screen in Photoshop. The monitor on the print station has been calibrated. It should look very close to the output of the Photoshop file when it is printed in most cases. Certain colors are unique to the RGB gamut of the monitor and cannot be reproduced exactly in the CMYK color gamut of the printer. Usually these colors are the extremely bright and saturated colors such as extremely bright orange, dark blue etc.
  • A series of standardized test prints should be printed periodically and compared to the image as seen on the monitor to ensure consistency between the image displayed on the monitor and the image printed by the printer. If a large discrepancy occurs, the monitor should be recalibrated to match the printer.
  • When you are satisfied that the image dimensions, resolution, and general colors in the image are set correctly for printing, proceed to the next step.
  • Go to File Menu > Page Setup. Click on the "Printer..." Button.

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  • Click on "Properties".

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  • Choose media type from the Main Tab.

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  • This will automatically select the appropriate print dpi for the print job. IE 1440 for glossy paper or 720 for matte paper. Note that print dpi is not the same as file dpi. According to the industry experts, setting file dpi higher than 300 dpi at the actual print dimensions will not create visible improvements in the print quality of the printout. This is caused, among other things, by compression and re-expansion of the image that occurs at the printer itself as the image is processed line by line for printing.
  • You can also set advanced settings if you set the mode to "custom". Then, click on “Advanced” to set up special settings. Note: you don’t usually need the "custom" > "Advanced" options. Only use for special jobs when the "Automatic" settings will not work correctly for your job. In "Advanced" you can set higher print dpi if you want to. You can also turn on finest detail here, or toggle on the superx microweave. These settings don’t seem to make much of a difference for most jobs. Color correct the printer with caution: not advised! The printer is calibrated to match the monitor as closely as possible. If you alter settings, be sure you know what you're doing.
  • Choose paper size from the Paper Tab. Note that this determines the size of the print when it is trimmed by the printer, including margins. The trimmer will only cut on the bottom of the print, so your paper width is a static value detirmined by the paper you use in the printer. Choose a paper size that is larger than your actual print to account for margins. An example: If you have an 8" wide by 10" high photoshop file, you'll want a paper size of about 10" by 12" which will give you a one inch margin around your photo on all sides. Choose "User Defined" only if you need to make you're own custom paper size. See below if you need to make a custom paper size setting.

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  • If you need to make a custom paper size, be sure to set the width and height and give the setting a name that conveys the details of the setting. For example, "10x12" is a good name. Note that there are options for how the dimensions are displayed. 100ths of an inch is a good one to use. In this case 1000 x 1200 is equal to 10 inches by 12 inches.

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  • Save your settings and close out of the page setup windows.
  • Go to the "Print with Preview" menu under “File”.

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  • Check your job visually. You can adjust print space profiles and size of the job here. Most jobs will be srgb format for the file and it’s best to use the same profile for the print job. So leave as “profile: same as source” for the print space.
    If you see the message below: you have not set your print dimensions for the paper correctly. This means you need to return to page setup and make sure your print dimensions are larger than the actual file so you get a white border.

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  • Once you've verified that you have the proper dimensions and everything looks good, hit print.