3 Replies Latest reply: Dec 6, 2012 11:18 PM by c.pfaffenbichler RSS

    Variations Plugin Workaround Suggestions

    DarinS

      I use the variations adjustment almost exclusively to manipulate art and prepare for flexographic printing. With flexo printing we can not let separations drop off to 0% within an image. We are still film based output. The smallest percentage for highlights that will hold on plate is 2%. If there are any areas within the image that fall below 2% the plate may or may not hold that dot which in turn may or may not result in mountain ranging or dirty print once on press.

       

      Using the magic wand > tolerance > contigous on or off depending of situation, I can make pinpoint selections to those problem areas then adjust using variations > highlights > fine > with each time I select darker it adds 1%.

       

      I'm using CS5 in 32-bit mode. Since upgrading to CS6 with no option of running in 32-bit mode I've been testing the shadows/highlight option for these adjustments. While it does work, it is not as accurate as variations.

       

      Curves seems to be the best alternative solution to variations. With the Pigment/Ink% selected and Output at 2% I've saved a preset that automatically adds 2% to each cmy. Or I can adjust individual channels separately.

       

      Using the variations option was much quicker than curves which overtime slows my production. I edit 15 plus images a day. That extra 2 or 3 minutes it takes me to perform the same task in curves that I could perform with varations adds up to about an hour a day.

       

      If anyone has other suggestions other than shadow/highlights or curves to make these adjustments I would be grateful. Or possibly a 3rd party plugin that performs how variations once did.

       

      I appreciate it.

      Darin

        • 1. Re: Variations Plugin Workaround Suggestions
          c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

          As Variations is destructive (edit: if I remember correctly) I consider it best avoided altogether.

          For getting all pixels to 2% I would recommend using a Solid Color Layer set to 2/2/2/2 (or 2/2/2/0 of you print photograohis images as 3C) and setting it to Blend Mode Darken.

           

          Using the variations option was much quicker than curves which overtime slows my production.

          What do you do with Curves exactly?

          Could you show an example and explain?

          • 2. Re: Variations Plugin Workaround Suggestions
            DarinS Community Member

            c.pfaffenbichler wrote:

             

            As Variations is destructive (edit: if I remember correctly) I consider it best avoided altogether.

             

             

            Not if used correctly. It's a wonderful tool.

             

             

            c.pfaffenbichler wrote:

             

             

            For getting all pixels to 2% I would recommend using a Solid Color Layer set to 2/2/2/2 (or 2/2/2/0 of you print photograohis images as 3C) and setting it to Blend Mode Darken.

             

            Most of the images I'm manipulating are not individual elements/photos that are then placed into page setup program like ID etc. A majority are complete artworks or documents not created by us. So your recommendation would add 2% to the entire document when I only need to correct certain areas within the document.

             

             

            c.pfaffenbichler wrote:

             

            What do you do with Curves exactly?

            Could you show an example and explain?

            Here is a cropped or piece of a document. The highlights of the inner part of the thermometer have areas that drop below 2% in the cm&y. To correct this so those areas don't print dirty on press I use the magic wand > tolerance at 3 to 5 (varies), contiguous checked and select the highlights ONLY on the inner part of the thermometer. Then to Image > Adjust > Curves where I apply my 2%cmy preset.

             

            The first image attached is the original. Second image is after the curve is applied. Of course it's in RGB but you can see the slight difference. You can save the images and convert to CMYK to see the changes.

             

            Thermometer.jpgThermometer Fixed.jpg

            • 3. Re: Variations Plugin Workaround Suggestions
              c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

              A majority are complete artworks or documents not created by us.

              If you should (at least sometimes) get layered files applying a Layer Style with a Color Overlay set to Darken from the Styles Panel might work.

               

              Not if used correctly. It's a wonderful tool.

              Ah, I had missed that it can be applied to Smart Objects.