20 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2011 11:44 PM by MogDaa

    Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer

    MogDaa

      Recently we got the below printer for large-format prints such as posters, banners and the like.

       

      http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/18972-18972-3328061-12600-3328080-4122732.ht ml

       

      However so far when printing directly from InDesign and Illustrator there have been problems with "banding" (alternating stripes of darker and brighter colors on the paper when printing).

       

      It seems that this could have something to do with either the type of paper and/or the OS (we use both XP and Win7) on which CS5 runs but I am still unsure if these are the real causes.

       

      After having talked to a certified HP-technician (not only a support employee!) the technician pointed towards the CS5 package as the culprit.

       

      At the very moment we are using a workaround that the before mentioned technician advised us to use which is basically the following.

       

      Illustrator --> Saving the Ilustrator file, then opening it in Photoshop and saving as a tiff raster image in the relevant resolution, then importing the tiff raster image into HP's HP own "Instant Printing Pro" printing application.

       

      InDesign --> Saving the InDesign file as a pdf, then opening the pdf in Photoshop and saving as a tiff raster image in  the relevant resolution, then importing the tiff raster image into HP's  HP own "Instant Printing Pro" printing application.

       

      These two solutions both work without banding on the final print.

       

      However, sometimes - as mentioned before - it seems that the paper might absorb the ink better if it's of a better/thicker quality when banding doesn't seem to occur (at the moment we mostly use plain paper settings in the local printer settings display when loading a roll of paper which also is a cheaper type of paper) and while banding seems to occur mostly when printing from XP machines it doesn't always seem to occur when doing so from Win7 machines.

       

      What's the score on the above?

       

      Any help and input is welcome and appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          MogDaa wrote:

           

          At the very moment we are using a workaround that the before mentioned technician advised us to use which is basically the following.

           

          Illustrator --> Saving the Ilustrator file, then opening it in Photoshop and saving as a tiff raster image in the relevant resolution, then importing the tiff raster image into HP's HP own "Instant Printing Pro" printing application.

           

          InDesign --> Saving the InDesign file as a pdf, then opening the pdf in Photoshop and saving as a tiff raster image in  the relevant resolution, then importing the tiff raster image into HP's  HP own "Instant Printing Pro" printing application.

           

          These two solutions both work without banding on the final print.

           

          It may work, but it's an absolutely horrid workaround. How does it do if you try to print the PDF directly from Acrobat without rasterizing in Photoshop?

           

          Are you using the Postscript driver? Is there a RIP driving this plotter?

          • 2. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
            MogDaa Level 1

            Hi Peter,

             

            yes, it seems a ridiculous workflow but at the time being this is the status quo - unfortunately.

             

            We do not have a rip (it's one of our dreams in the marketing department but yet to come when the means are available) and we are using the PostScript driver for the printer. We have - as a general rule - network drivers installed on our network for all the printers but I also installed the relevant PS-driver locally on my machine to be 110% sure that it's all working fine.

             

            To your question about printing directly from Acrobat without rasterizing I think to be able to remember that banding occured on my machine as well in the past (not 100% sure anymore though) and I also think to be able to remember that the Win7 machine did some banding initially when printing from pdf which was why we found the workaround that the HP-technician advised us to use and that we used so far.

             

            Did this help...?

            • 3. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I'd try PDFing it and then printing from that.

               

              Although banding will happen with gradients from InDesign or Illustrator as it's based on gradiated steps held in vector information. So banding is more prominent in larger patch sizes.

               

              Saving as a tiff (or rasterising the gradient) forces it into pixels - then by adding 1 or 2 % noise to the gradient you can force the printer to print per pixel rather than per gradient step, producing a sharper more evenly toned gradient.

               

              A bit of trial and error - I'd try the PDF route first to see if that makes a difference (postscript problem perhaps?).

               

              But most large format printers I know always reproduce the gradient in Photoshop instead of Illustrator or InDesign.

              • 4. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Just for fun, try printing a PDF directly using both the Postscript and the PCL dirvers, and see if there is a difference.

                • 5. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                  Could this problem relate to transparency? Can you post a photo of the banding effect?

                  • 6. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                    Bo LeBeau Level 4

                    Is the banding happening mainly with gradients or is it occurring on all prints even those without gradients?

                     

                    This may be a bit off the wall, but in both Indesign & illustrator you can adjust your Transparency Flattener Presets (under Edit menu in both ID & AI).

                    You can change the Gradient & Mesh Resolution and set it to a higher PPI. You can also adjust the Raster vs Vector balance, dragging this to the left will rasterize everything. New presets can be created and will appear along with the default presets that can be selected in your Print dialog under Advanced.

                     

                    Since these are Transparency Flattener presets they should only kick in when there is a transparent element in the document. Blend modes and also special effect like Drop Shadows, etc., all involve transparency. Even if your documents don't have any transparency, perhaps placing a small transparent element to trigger the Transparency Flattener might help?

                     

                    Also in Illustrator under the Effects menu is Document Raster Effects Settings where you can change the resolution of the rasterization.

                    I use InDesign a lot more than Illustrator so I'm not sure, but maybe this might help with Illustrator documents even when there is no transparency in the document?

                     

                    Since the HP "Instant Printing Pro" appears to solve the problem, look closely at all the setting in this application and maybe you can get some ideas of things to adjust in either InDesign or Illustrator.

                    • 7. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                      MogDaa Level 1

                      Thanks for all the great info and ideas.

                       


                      I have - to make things a bit easier and "due to popular demand" - taken  a few pictures of the banners that are banding when printed directly to  the printer from within InDesign or Illustrator.

                       


                      These can be seen here... (the first three links all show prints done on  cheaper, thinner HP bright white paper whereas the last link shows the  same print on thicker, higher quality paper and all these prints where -  to my best recollection - printed directly from Illustrator to the  z5200 printer).

                       

                      http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd519/MogDaa/illustrator_to_z5200_thin_lower_quality_p aper_jpeg_1.jpg

                       

                      http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd519/MogDaa/illustrator_to_z5200_thin_lower_quality_p aper_jpeg_2.jpg

                       

                      http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd519/MogDaa/illustrator_to_z5200_thin_lower_quality_p aper_jpeg_3.jpg

                       

                      http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd519/MogDaa/illustrator_to_z5200_high_thick_quality_p aper_jpeg_4.jpg

                       

                       

                      I read with great interest what some of you suggested using a pdf as a test-print as well as the info about the flattening settings etc. but it'll take some time until I will be able to respond and try these things out since a) although we do print banners frequently we don't print them every day and b) the paper for the printer is quite costly here and thus we need to be careful with the consumption.

                       

                      However I'll try to incorporate all the suggestions that were given here in the near future and then turn back with more info and results.

                       

                      Until then - if anybody should get a sudden ingenious idea - please do knock yourself out and post it in this thread...!

                      • 8. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        You should be able to tell what's happening in your test prints by printing at reduced scale to save paper.

                        • 9. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                          I just looked at your images, and that's very strange, indeed. It doesn't appear that there should be a gradient at all, and the plotter is simply not spraying enough ink on alternate passes. I would escalate the case with HP. Tell them that if they can't figure out how to print a PDF correctly you'll return the printer and get one that will.

                          • 10. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                            Jeffrey_Smith Most Valuable Participant

                            Do you have the ability to choose uni-directional and bi-directional printing? Bi-directional is where the print head will images as it goes to the left as well as back to the right. This will print faster, but the quality is not as good as uni-directional. And it sounds as though there may be a number of quality setting/options buried within the driver that you may not be aware of.

                            • 11. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                              MogDaa Level 1

                              Hi Peter!

                               

                              Yep, you are right. It sure does look weird. And no, the black and red background respectively are solid color blocks. There is only a soft gradient in the white pattern in the centre which overlays the black banner but apart from that there is no gradient at all.

                               

                              What you said about HP is tempting. However there are two problems here. a) We are a wholesaler for HP-products and among those this printer and similar one's are brand new in our stock. So suggesting to take them out of stock and telling HP to go where the pepper grows with this product I don't think will be well received in neither the purchasing department nor with the head of the company and b) I'd really like to get Adobe's take on this situation. I hope some of them is trawling these forums and from time to time looking into the problems at hand. Especially because the HP-technician pointed towards the Adobe software as the responsible factor. We all know and hate the situation where one as a consumer get's stuck between two companies pointing fingers at each other but especially therefore and in order to avoid that I'd like those two talking directly to each other about this problem and then turning back with their results.

                               

                              Jeffrey Smith --> I am unsure whether or not the printer is using uni-directional or bi-directional printing. You are right, there might be things overlooked in the print driver but I am not certain that it would change the banding. At the moment - as mentioned before - I am personally using the PS-printer driver. I am not sure if there would be a conflict installing the last driver on top because I'd like to see if that could make a difference with the banding.

                               

                              If you or anybody else know anything about that issue I'd be more than happy to hear about it.

                               

                              Thanks again for all help.

                              • 12. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                Well, I have no official connection to Adobe, but any manufacturer who sells a product targeted at the graphic arts industry, and then says that the reason it doesn't work is because there's a problem with the software produced by the graphics industry leader needs a reality check. Printer manuafacturers have had access to Adobe for years, so there's really no excuse for an incompatibility problem.

                                 

                                Your company is a vendor? Get escalated. HP should be all over getting this to work correctly, including providing a RIP for you if that's what it's going to take to implement proper printing. How do the expect you to demonstrate or recommend this printer if it stripes the background?

                                • 13. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                  macinbytes Level 4

                                  I'm guessing they have the same crappy Colorburst software that shipped with the HP we got and it's never going to get good with InDesign or Illustrator transparency. We have the thermal printer that is 6x more expensive and the software is still bad. At version 9.3 it still fails on InDesign transparency.

                                   

                                  We just make tiffs or normalized PDFs for files containing InDesign transparency. Illustrator transparency generally works better than InDesign, but isn't infallible. Anything that uses the gradient feather tool in InDesign I don't even bother with a test print to see if it gets it because I know it will fail 100% of the time.

                                   

                                  If they are a vendor they are in a Catch 22 if they do it right and go for a solution that normalizes the files properly before sending to the garbage software that ships with it. When you are talking about an entry level thermal inkjet the software package isn't going to be robust. Something like a GMG or other solution to handle all the show devices files works, but at best you are disingenuous about how files are being handled with your clients and face pushback when they can't run all the cool tricks to them when they get it out in the field.

                                   

                                  Happens with Colorburst, happens with Colorgate, happens to a lesser degree even with the lower end Creo RIP. Fiery seems to get it good somehow, but doesn't power a ton of inkjets.

                                   

                                  HP support is phonetag hell anyway for inkjets. They buy out tons of companies that produce anything printing like ColorSpan and provide bare minimum support on the products they slap an HP tag on. They want to sell inks and papers. They don't make the software and license it in bulk like the crap they load on their computers. They also usually ship with old software that needs at least a couple point releases before it is current, but even the current software on their thermal printers sucks at InDesign transparency. HP may need a reality check on their software, but I doubt they get it. They've got a sufficient stranglehold and supporting what is essentially a bottom of the barrel portion of their printing business is in the high maintenance low yield square for them.

                                  • 14. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                    MogDaa Level 1

                                    Well, I have no official connection to Adobe, but any manufacturer who sells a product targeted at the graphic arts industry, and then says that the reason it doesn't work is because there's a problem with the software produced by the graphics industry leader needs a reality check. Printer manuafacturers have had access to Adobe for years, so there's really no excuse for an incompatibility problem.

                                     

                                    Your company is a vendor? Get escalated. HP should be all over getting this to work correctly, including providing a RIP for you if that's what it's going to take to implement proper printing. How do the expect you to demonstrate or recommend this printer if it stripes the background?

                                     

                                    Peter -->

                                     

                                    You are right about basically anything that you said and I agree that this should be HP's headache. But it's not so simple at the moment.

                                     

                                    First of all I'd hate to stand back like a dummy if it would turn out to be a minor driver setting issue or another insignificant problem that creates the banding. On the other hand it would of course also be the local HP-support failing since they didn't manage to tell us about it in the first place and that's really their job and responsibility but under any circumstance, I'd like to give the ideas and suggestions from the other participants further up this thread a chance and see if the pdf-printing or other ideas work. In other words..., if I'd complain to HP it had to be bulletproof.

                                     

                                    Secondly we are supposed to sell these and similar products to our clients and if I should start a dicussion I'd have to argue not only with HP who would most likely claim that the workaround they told us works (in a way) and that this was a result - at least to them - as well. I might also have to start discussing with the CEO of our company, the purchasing department and the marketing director (the latter actually said some time ago when we had the first problems that if the printer didn't work according to the HP-consultant's promises they could have it back, so there is at least some hope there). At the moment I am too busy at work and too low paid to be getting into this. And I seriously doubt that HP would give us a RIP to be testing this off even though we'd argue that the clients won't be able to work this out if we don't do. They'd probably just say that it's mainly for plotting charts and architects or stuff or find a whole range of other excuses. It's not certain and there could be positive surprises but I'd say that that's not likely.

                                     

                                    There is one other thing Peter that I am still wondering about...

                                     

                                    If you take a look again at the fourth and last picture-link I posted you can see the exact same print as in link no. 3 but whereas the third link shows banding the last - the fourth image link - shows no banding at all. Now I am not a 100% sure anymore if these were both printed directly from Illustrator but to my best knowledge they were since I printed all of these banners the same day and I don't recall saving to tiff or using other programs. I might be wrong but if that's the case then the thick HP-paper doesn't band whereas the thin does. That's the reason why I stated previously that the banding might occur with thinner paper (or wrong paper load settings) and doesn't occur with thicker paper at all. As mentioned I don't recall this action a 100% but am pretty sure. Also therefore I would like to run another test when I get more time and won't be so busy at work as I am right now.

                                     

                                    Do you think there could be a difference there...?

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    macinbytes wrote:

                                     

                                    I'm guessing they have the same crappy Colorburst software that shipped with the HP we got and it's never going to get good with InDesign or Illustrator transparency. We have the thermal printer that is 6x more expensive and the software is still bad. At version 9.3 it still fails on InDesign transparency.

                                     

                                    We just make tiffs or normalized PDFs for files containing InDesign transparency. Illustrator transparency generally works better than InDesign, but isn't infallible. Anything that uses the gradient feather tool in InDesign I don't even bother with a test print to see if it gets it because I know it will fail 100% of the time.

                                     

                                    If they are a vendor they are in a Catch 22 if they do it right and go for a solution that normalizes the files properly before sending to the garbage software that ships with it. When you are talking about an entry level thermal inkjet the software package isn't going to be robust. Something like a GMG or other solution to handle all the show devices files works, but at best you are disingenuous about how files are being handled with your clients and face pushback when they can't run all the cool tricks to them when they get it out in the field.

                                     

                                    Happens with Colorburst, happens with Colorgate, happens to a lesser degree even with the lower end Creo RIP. Fiery seems to get it good somehow, but doesn't power a ton of inkjets.

                                     

                                    HP support is phonetag hell anyway for inkjets. They buy out tons of companies that produce anything printing like ColorSpan and provide bare minimum support on the products they slap an HP tag on. They want to sell inks and papers. They don't make the software and license it in bulk like the crap they load on their computers. They also usually ship with old software that needs at least a couple point releases before it is current, but even the current software on their thermal printers sucks at InDesign transparency. HP may need a reality check on their software, but I doubt they get it. They've got a sufficient stranglehold and supporting what is essentially a bottom of the barrel portion of their printing business is in the high maintenance low yield square for them.

                                     

                                    macinbytes -->

                                     

                                    Wow, now THAT is scary reading...!

                                     

                                    If what you wrote is true then things really start looking bleak. But I can recognize some of the problems that you are mentioning although I am not into all of the details that you are writing about in your thread. But it sure looks like they just mass produce and try to keep support to a bare minimum whereas they are scoring big bucks on the media, inks and other accessories and then hope that complaints will die and people will just give up in the end.

                                     

                                    It does make sense also seen in light of the fact that our local HP-consultant who "introduced" us to the printer praised it to the sky with a lot of "sales mambo jambo", trying it out in HP's own "E-share & Print" (which I was told by the HP-technician was the wrong HP-print program, instead he made me download and install the "Instant Printing Pro") whereas he NEVER even tried it off in any of the Adobe programs or asked some of our employees to do so.

                                     

                                    If you are getting more info in regards to the development in these cases or solutions software-like speaking I'd love to hear from you.

                                     

                                    Thanks for your time and for posting.

                                    • 15. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                      Quality settings (such as "draft" quality) mihgt be a possibility, but I don't think choice of paper would make a difference. Originally I thought you had run the fourth print through the HP process, but I see reading again that you say you don't think so. You definitely should run a pair of small test prints using the same settings in Illustrator, one on the light paper and one on the heavy.

                                       

                                      You should also insist that HP send someone out to train you if you don't feel confident that understand the controls.

                                      • 16. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                        Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        I can report similar happenings when printing a poster size out of Illustrator to the same printer. The file started as a Mac AI file and then was worked on on a PC with XP. The background color displayed many 4 to 6 inch bands of lighter color. What finally seemed to work was copying everything to a new file and then PDFing it.

                                        • 17. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                          John Hawkinson Level 5

                                          What finally seemed to work was copying everything to a new file and then PDFing it.

                                          What does that even mean (Copy and paste?)? In Illustrator (Save As?)? In InDesign (Export to PDF?)?

                                          • 18. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                            MogDaa Level 1

                                            Larry G. Schneider wrote:

                                             

                                            I can report similar happenings when printing a poster size out of Illustrator to the same printer. The file started as a Mac AI file and then was worked on on a PC with XP. The background color displayed many 4 to 6 inch bands of lighter color. What finally seemed to work was copying everything to a new file and then PDFing it.

                                             

                                             

                                            Larry G. Schneider -->

                                             

                                            Yep, agree with John Hawkinson. What exactly did you do (every single step) in order to "fix it"...?

                                             

                                            I'd be most keen on knowing and I guess a whole lot of others in here as well.

                                             

                                            Thanks in advance.

                                            • 19. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                              dave c courtemanche Level 2

                                              Have you tried printing the Acrobat PDF as an image? Might save you the step of having to raster in Photoshop...

                                              • 20. Re: Banding occurs when printing from Illustratror/InDesign on HP Designjet Z5200 PostScript Printer
                                                MogDaa Level 1

                                                dave c courtemanche wrote:

                                                 

                                                Have you tried printing the Acrobat PDF as an image? Might save you the step of having to raster in Photoshop...

                                                 

                                                Hi Dave,

                                                 

                                                and sorry for the late reply.

                                                 

                                                First of all I'd like to say thanks for your suggestion and response. I didn't know about that one so I'll include it in my future tests with the HP-printer.

                                                 

                                                Sounds like a good work-around if everything else fails so I'll definitely try this, too.

                                                 

                                                Wishing you a pleasant weekend...!