Prepare Photo for Newspaper Ad (grayscale)

Posted By
Jul 21, 2006
Hi, we’re designing an full-page ad for newsprint. Not sure what newspaper it will be in yet, so don’t have specific specs.

I’m curious to know specifically how to optimize a photo best for newsprint. We haven’t done this for a long time, so it kind of slips my mind.

Specifically, the line screen is much lower than the standard printing we’re used to, and the dot gain is obviously much higher.

– So what settings/techniques allow for a great looking photo when printed in an average newspaper? (The main image will run full-page (about 21" tall). )

– How do you best setup profiles and view onscreen how things will look with the increased dot gain (don’t want it to be too dark, but also don’t want to lose all contrast)

– Do you sharpen more than usual?

Thanks a lot! All tips are appreciated!
Jul 22, 2006
Start your dot at 8 to 10%

Pull the 1/4 tones down to give contrast.

Max dot should be around 85% Solids can be 100% but not advised in picture images.

Gains can vary between 25 to 40% so without knowing where it will be printed – it’s a crap shoot.
Jul 22, 2006
If you can’t get a setting or profile from the printer what Mike said is a great starting point.

I always put my highlights at 5% but then thats me.
Jul 22, 2006
I suspect that most newspaper printers receive files from users far less detail oriented than yourself Kenny, and therefore are submitted with one Photoshop default or another.

So they probably do all the compensation themselves somehow… the most likely way being the pre-color-profile method of applying what amounts to a transfer curve at their imagesetter/platesetter.

So if you DO do something to your grayscale, be sure to let the printer know so they don’t double compensate.

The wisest course may be to do nothing.

As far as getting profiles from a newspaper printer goes, I still think that the average printer will look you straight in the eye and ask, "What’s a profile?"

It’s getting better though

If you can’t get a setting or profile from the printer what Mike said is a great starting point.

If you DID get a profile, then you wouldn’t need to do what Mike said at all. The profile would do it for you.
Jul 22, 2006
Again, It’s a crap shoot. Some news houses pull back files – some don’t. Most have gains set at the platemaker. Without knowing the specifications – you’re at the mercy of the shop. THAT"S WHY THEY PROVIDE SPECS!

It’s your job to ask! If you don’t know – you’re screwed and you get what you get.
Jul 22, 2006
Also, I found when I submitted grayscale ad’s to newspapers that they wanted the images to be over sharpened. You might want to ask about that…
Jul 24, 2006
I never send solids to a newspaper for a grayscale image. Dots should range from 5% to 85% (mo gives ’em more to work with on the starting end.) Just figure that gain varies throughout the run depending on the speed that the press is running at and also 50 other variables. I’ve got a theory for best results on any given image on newsprint and it’s not available on paper. I look at a given range of samples from the newspaper (they all look different to me – just compare the Sacramento Bee to the SF Chronicle) and come up with a tonal range that matches the press output. Sure, I will be booted off these forums for saying that, but in the end, do you want to fight with pressmen or get a good result? You choose.

Study the big boys, Ford Motor Corp, Neiman Marcus – you’ll get plenty of direction if you take a loop and make notes in formulating your own approach to newsprint.
Jul 24, 2006
just compare the Sacramento Bee to the SF Chronicle)

Oh please!

They can’t even get registration fit 2/3’s of the time.

Jul 24, 2006
Two plates went to the Bee and Two plates went to the Cronicle.

Now that’s ‘off register.’

: )

Still a fascinating business. A challenge for the designer to do something that comes out well. Good clients with good designers and pre-press can pull it off. The big department stores put a lot of class into their work. I give the people who put it together a big ‘hats off.’

J. Walter Thompson was practically the inventor of newspaper advertising, had to do something appealing to sell advertising space when newspapers across this country were in their infancy, and wound up giving birth to what eventually became the world’s greatest advertising agency.

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