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Screen Ruling & Halftone 

Prepare Files (Dos & Don'ts)

A printing press or digital printer is not capable of printing actual shades of gray like in a photo. The printing process fools you into perceiving shades of gray by using different size dots on the paper. This is called the "Halftone" process. These dots are really small so your eye can't really see the individual dots. Instead, your eye picks up the color of the dot along with the white area of paper around it and sees it as different shades. The bigger the dot, the darker shade your eye perceives. In the case of a black and white photo, the printer only uses black ink. For color printing, the printer uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink. The "Cyan" halftone creates the different shades of blue in a photo while the "Magenta", "Yellow" and "Black" halftones create the different shades of red, yellow and black. When each halftone is printed and overlaps another, numerous other colors are created. Areas of "Cyan" combined with "Yellow" for example, will look green while areas of "Yellow" and "Magenta" will look orange. "Screen Ruling" refers to the number of dots there are for every inch of paper. "Screen Ruling" is therefore often referred to as "Lines per inch" or LPI. Common "Screen Rulings" are 150 LPI, 133 LPI, and 120 LPI. In scanning you only need a resolution equal to twice the screen ruling to get enough information to create 256 shades. So if your job is going to be printed at 150 LPI, all your scans should be made at a resolution of 300 dpi. For 133 LPI, you only need to scan at 266 LPI. For the most part, however, people usually just scan their photos at 300 dpi.



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