7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 14, 2013 6:04 AM by dmtetard

    Will subtle banding in gradient print?

    dmtetard Level 1

      I apologize for yet another topic about gradients and banding, however i could not find a reassuring answer to my question.


      As you can see, my gradient created in InDesign shows (subtle) banding on screen, both in InDesign as in Acrobat.

      I know capable RIPs handle gradients in way that's optimized for the device to prevent banding as good as possible. But... are RIPs capable of producing better results than adobe's screen rendering?


      What's the best way?

      1. Trust the RIP, and send the pdf with "real" gradients (smooth shades are they called i believe) in the pdf.


      2. Recreate the gradient in Photoshop with dither, which makes it look perfect on screen.


      The printer handles files up to pdf1.7, so assume their RIP is capable of optimizing smooth shades.


      subtle banding.png

        • 1. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Impossible to know if their RIP which we have no information about will handle the smoothing?


          Best way to know is to get a colour proof that has been ripped.


          Or you could alert your printer to your concerns and ask them for the best practice for their equipment.

          • 2. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
            dmtetard Level 1

            I did ask to the printer, unfortunately they didn't have a clue what gradients and banding are. Proofs aren't possible either (yeah i you feel you people coming it's an online printing company and i have no choice to order somewhere else)


            But lets assume the rip does handle smoothing... Then is it possible/likely that the gradient will be be better then acrobat's on screen rendering (output preview)?

            • 3. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
              Sandee Cohen Adobe Community Professional

              From your example it looks like your gradient is extremely short. This could give you the banding you're seeing in the PDF.


              If you want to be extra careful, export the gradient object as a high-res JPEG. Then open it in Photoshop and add a slight noise to the gradient. Save it as a PSD and place back into IND.


              However, this won't work if you have a spot color. Although I doubt an online printer even knows what a spot color is.


              Noise is the best way to avoid banding.

              • 4. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
                dmtetard Level 1

                Ok thanks for the info.

                It's all CMYK so i'll be the safest to recreate the gradient in photoshop with noise/dither.

                • 5. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
                  iam01printer Level 1

                  If you can see the banding on screen, there very little chance it is going to get better. A Printer can apply advanced smoothing and other options to make a certian job look better than on screen or to the customers hopes, but in a production enviroment, the RIP is set for what is best for their printer to acheive the best results based on files that do not need adjusting. Thats one of the bad parts of ordering online.

                  • 6. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
                    dmtetard Level 1

                    Thanks for tha clarification.

                    I used dithered gradients now btw, but i left some smaller parts as real gradients, so i'll have stuff to compare.

                    • 7. Re: Will subtle banding in gradient print?
                      dmtetard Level 1

                      I got the results of the prints. The printed versions look almost identical, but there is a noticible difference:


                      The real gradient:

                      - shows banding on screen

                      - shows NO banding in print! The gradient looks really clean.


                      The photoshop dithered gradient:

                      - looks better on screen (no banding)

                      - no banding in print either, but a VERY subtle noise (the dither) is visible


                      Conclusion (with this printer anyway): leave the gradient as a gradient!

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