That's a pretty good writeup of what the heck is going on with halftones. I've seen student newspapers where apparently nobody pointed out that just making plates of photos and sending them to be offset printed wouldn't work so well, and they ended up with big smeary messes.
I remember waaay back when, my high school newspaper had various sizes of halftone screens for printing photos... That was before desktop publishing, though. I think laser printers have made it too easy, since you CAN mostly get away with just printing photos like that, and it's only when you get to actual ink printing that halftones become an issue.
It's been a while since I've had to deal with this stuff though, so I may not be remembering quite right, but every so often (I work at a college) I run into another newspaper or magazine where they didn't halftone the art or photos and it makes me sad.
Many imagesetters still make film for use with screens to create the printing plates, but it's nice knowing that much of the technology has been replaced with laser technology. It's a heck of a lot cleaner, neater, and uses far fewer chemicals. But even with laser-made plates or direct laser printing, they're still printing in b/w halftones, the same as a film. It's just the printer usually choosing the kind of halftone to use.
Which creates all sorts of problems in the long run ... ;_; It's easier to send an image to a laser printer without understanding the technology than it would to create a screenprint by hand.
Yeah, it definitely is.
I think the problems I've seen have been people using laser printer default lines per inch, which although they're okay for toner, they're too small for ink on newsprint and they get smeary as the ink in those little tiny dots bleeds.
Ah! I'm so happy I'm not the only one who sees the problem in that! ;_; You are SO gonna love the rest of these lessons because they address EXACTLY that: figuring out the optimum ideal resolution for each individual print job is a heck of a lot more complex than the usual "300 dpi" so many people quote. And also people who tone WAY WAY WAY too dark, not realizing exactly what you pointed out: that there's gonna be dot gain, and instead of the nice, crisp tones they're getting on their screen, it's gonna be one giant blob of muddy ink.
Cool. I'm looking forward to the rest, then!
...of course, I don't really do anything with printing any more, but I know people who do... Every year students at the printmaking department at UC Santa Cruz hold a print sale. I have a bunch of lithographs and photo intaglio prints and stuff from the past couple of years' sales. This I was moving house and totally forgot to go. :(
That all ends up being pretty different from making plates for printing on newsprint, though, I think. You have to know your medium pretty well...
Also, way back when I was messing with Aldus Freehand (yes, Aldus. It was that long ago.) it had the option to print photos using line screens rather than dot screens. That was a really neat effect, especially if you took something with strong vertical and horizontal lines and overlaid a really low LPI diagonal line-screen. Uh, I guess it _was_ the 80's, so triangles and drop shadows and junk like that was fashionable, but still. I liked that look. 8)
Oh, swift. Thanks for delving into this. And illustrated to boot :)
2009-06-19 02:19 pm (UTC)
Great comic. I really liked the lettering. I'm looking forward to the entire series.
P.S. Van Gogh's Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings. I'm glad you used it.
Thanks! I actually struggled with the lettering, at least the body text lettering. Doing fun header fonts is the easy part, but making a crisp, readable body text by hand ... I had to reletter it several times just to make it legible. And I think there's still lots of room for improvement. Lettering with capitals is not my forte.
And originally I was going to use a Seurat painting, but I couldn't find any that were high enough resolution to see the individual dots and also appropriate for the context. but Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is still similar and has way more visual impact than a Seurat, IMHO.
Awesome. This is desperately needed! Thank you!
That was quite useful. 'im looking forward to see the continuation of thoses.
Oh, wow, this is very useful! Can't wait to see the rest of these tutorials!
I look forward to the rest of the series! :D
2009-06-21 01:11 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. I've been wondering about these things lately but didn't know where to start. Thank you very much for doing this. -Sam
This series is a great idea. I could have used the whole thing now :( I'm currently prepping my book to be professionally printed (full color) and it's all kind of overwhelming.
So I'm learning on the fly, trial and error. I'll be sure to stick around to see what I should have done. So thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. It really is quite nice of you.
Thank you! Though the series is dedicated to black and white printing, I'm sure you'll find a lot to apply to color printing as well, especially the first few (LPI & Resolution) and the last ones about outsource printing and choosing paper.
I love print. It gets me as excited as making comics does, and it's a real treat to discover that I can combine the two while adding in a dash of my passion for sharing knowledge. It's a fascinating field, and even having worked in all aspects of it for over ten years now, there's still more that I'm learning every day!
2009-06-22 08:34 am (UTC)
This is a wonderful tutorial, and I really love the combination of substance and entertaining presentation. I know nothing about printing, don't really need to know, but am looking forward to learning more just because you make it so entertaining to read about. Wish there were more tutorials like this!
This looks to be an excellent resource; I'm glad you're doing it. I added you, by the way.