Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your hidden microscope

When a loupe is just not strong enough, a microscope can be a great help in analyzing press problems – especially if it can capture an image that can be shared with coworkers, or sent to vendors or consultants for evaluation. However few printers can warrant the cost of such a piece of equipment. Fortunately most shops have an excellent alternative in the form of a flatbed scanner. Even a very cheap one can do a very respectable job. The two samples below were captured using a very basic $59 (USD) desktop scanner.First, a black and white halftone (original size at left and enlargement at right - click on image to enlarge)Next, is a scan of a color bar which shows a lay down problem with the black printer (original size at left and enlargement at right- click on image to enlarge):For best results use a scanner with the highest possible native (non-interpolated) resolution. Scans at about 1200-2400 dpi seem to work best. Have the graphic to be scanned placed in line with the direction of travel of the scanning head, and use a black backing to prevent show through. Finally, scale the image in Photoshop by changing the resolution (lowering the dpi) with "Resample Image" deselected.

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