Test Strips Print Tutorial

  • For the ‘About Face’ assignment, you are asked to submit test strips along with your final print.
  • There is not a prescribed process or method for test strips. The following is a suggestion of how you might choose to proceed.
  • The intention of the exercise is to gain some insight into how your image is behaving in the translation from screen to print. Not only will you get a better result but you will begin to internalise some of the nuances of how images behave as digital prints.
  • There is a process of translation between screen and print outputs and they behave quite differently. Soft-proofing will give you an indication of how the printer and paper will hold the image but a test strip will give you extra confidence be fore committing to the expense of a full print.
  • Open your print file
    • The print file should at A4 with an ideal resolution of 360ppi and a minimum of 240ppi.
    • Remember to always make a copy from your master file. Do not resize of flatten your master file.
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.19.02 pm
  • make a copy of the print file
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.27.15 pm
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.27.29 pm
  • Select a part of the image that represent across section of the values in the image or a part of the image you want to investigate with the Rectangular Marquee Tool
    • In this example, I have selected a strip with eyes, skin, lips, hair and shadow
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.34.20 pm
  • Copy the selection onto a new layer (CMD+J)
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.35.23 pm
  • Turn off the base later and/or cover the bottom layer with a white layer
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.43.39 pm
  • In this circumstance, I am going to rotate the strip so that I can use the paper effectively
    (select the layer, MENU:Endit / Transform / Rotate 90. or CMD+T)

    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.51.46 pm
  • Use the MOVE tool to position the strip at the top of your page
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 6.53.20 pm
  • PRINT! Do not forget to turn on your printer profile – see the printing instructions for P2.11

  • Examine the test strip print under the neutral lighting in the P2.11 Print Room.
    • Try standing so that you can see the print under the light and your screen at the same time
    • Think about how the print differs from the screen
    • Think about how you might want to enhance the print
    • Add contrast? Fine turn the colour? Does the skin colour look plausible? Do you need to add subtle sharpness to the eyes and hair?
  • Returning to the computer, give yourself a guideline to mark the position of the first strip. To do this, turn on the Ruler if it is not already on (CMD+R), click on the rule and drag the cursor down. A blue guideline will follow your cursor down the image. Position it at the bottom of the strip.
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 7.10.08 pm
  • Move the test strip to below the blue guideline
    • Add an adjustment layer in the direction that you want to test. Number and name the adjustment layer
      In this example I had added contrast with a Curves adjustment
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 7.48.46 pm
  • Place the test strip paper back in the printer
    MAKE SURE YOU PLACE IT THE SAME WAY ROUND AS THE FIRST TIME!
  • PRINT AGAIN, examine the print under the neutral light and consider what needs adjustment
  • REPEAT the above steps of moving the strip, adding an adjustment and printing another test
    until you fill the page. At some stage, take a break and return to look at the tests again.
    It is an opportunity to test out the impact of different adjustments and internalise the nuances of the adjustment and print process. We can show you the steps but this process of testing, looking and adjusting is where you get to develop and fine tune your sensitivity and personal judgement, this is how you get good at printing.
  • You will end up with a piece of paper that looks like this:
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 8.27.48 pm
  • You now need to exercise your personal judgement as to which is the best version. Remember that most of the time, subtle adjustments are most effective. This might be a good moment to take a break then come back for another look at the test strips when you have refreshed your mind’s eye. Remember that your brain will start to show you what it thinks you want to see so cleanse your palate before making a final decision.
  • Apply the adjustment to the full image
    • You could copy the adjustment layers across to the print file; or
    • You could simply turn off the strip layer and reveal the photo at the base of the layers
    • SAVE your work with a name that identifies for which printer and paper the file has been designed.
    • Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 9.49.18 pm
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