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Keep dot gain under control to prevent block up images

Added on Monday 2nd of May 2011 04:15 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


I was just communicating with my print vendor who mentioned dot gain. I felt silly that I didn’t understand what he was talking about, so I didn’t’ say anything. Can you explain what dot gain is?


First of all, you should never feel silly for not understanding something. Asking your print vendor questions will show him that you’re interested in learning what you don’t know about. Most print vendors will happily share information with you. They prefer informed clients, as opposed to clients that send them files with all sorts of problems.

But about dot gain. All halftone images are printed as dot patterns. When the ink dots hit the paper, they actually spread out, as illustrated in Figure A. This phenomenon is called dot gain. It has the tendency to darken images, especially in the midtone and shadow areas because these areas receive the heaviest ink coverage. If you’re specifying too much ink coverage, you’ll definitely see dot gain.

Much of the dot gain phenomenon is a function of the paper type you’re using. ...


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