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Thread: printing text with photos

  1. #1
    DanK's Avatar
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    printing text with photos

    I print via lightroom, even when I have edited in photoshop. I print cards, usually on Red River Polar Matte card stock. Until today, I have printed only the photo and an identity plate on what becomes the back of the folded card.

    Today I decided to print text on the inside of the card. So, I did this:

    1. I opened a new 5 x 7 document (that is the size of the folded card) in photoshop, with a transparent background.
    2. I selected the text tool, selected a font, color, and size (ranging from 18 to 38 pt), and typed the text into the new document.
    3. I saved the document as a TIF.
    4. I imported the TIF into LR and dropped it into the card print template with no editing at all. I did not resize it.

    The results are awful. the text was not sized properly--it looks like it was a small font that was enlarged without smoothing, so it is badly pixelated. Looks kind of like what big fonts looked like on cheap matrix printers and coarse CRTs in the old days.

    Clearly, I am missing something here. Can anyone tell me what I should be doing that I am not?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: printing text with photos

    First question would be about the font that you used. Is it an Open Type font? If not, the problems you are reported are pretty common with Raster and TrueType fonts. OpenType are essentially a Microsoft / Adobe collaberation. If your are using a Mac, I have never done printed output on one, so can't help there.

  3. #3
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Thanks. I'll check when I get back to that computer. I think it was a standard True Type. I use a PC>

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    John Morton's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    I'm not sure what the problem would be, since I don't use either Lightroom or the printer you mention, but I do have a fair bit of experience with printing text and photos; so I am going to kind of 'brainstorm' here in the hopes that something might catch your attention with regard to the steps you use to print.

    First of all, text is a vector entity defined by equations but images are pixel based. So, text that is printed as an image is rasterized (converted to pixels) and it sounds as if that might be where your problem is arising.

    My first guess would be that your problem comes from the use of a transparent background in a TIFF. Since TIFFs support layers, and transparency is a layer property, you might need to 'flatten' the file first; which will automatically rasterize it. If the printer is doing the rasterization, then that might be the source of your problem.

    Your description of how the text looks also makes me wonder if the dpi setting of your file is an issue. If there is a conflict between the original file and the printer's settings, then that could be a source of your problem; perhaps the two aforementioned issues are compounding each other.

    So my suggestion would be to rasterize the file first, so that it consists of just a 'background' layer (not a single layer that is called "layer one" but an actual background layer), and make sure that the resolution of that file matches the output resolution of the printer.

    If you are printing on white paper then you can set your background layer in the original file where you type the text to white. The text layer will be a transparent layer anyway (that's how Photoshop works) but will be white when you flatten the file.

    Also, there are (in Photoshop) options for the text such as 'crisp,' 'strong,' etc. that determine how the text is rasterized to get rid of the jaggly edges (anti-aliasing) so check that also if that option is there in your characters palette.

    I've seen similar issues occur with InDesign where the text is on a layer under the photos, so that the rasterization of the images adversely affects the text (small text, anyway) but if you don't have any layers over the text that wouldn't be the problem (and InDesign prints out vector text anyway; that's why the problem can arise when the text is below a photo there).
    Last edited by John Morton; 14th September 2012 at 02:10 AM.

  5. #5
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    John and Manfred,

    Thanks for your comments. I just took a few minutes before work to check some of these. What I found this morning:

    1. If I blow up the image on screen, it is clear that the text is jagged even before saving the file or printing. I had not checked that last night.
    2. The font was calibri, which I believe is open type. (It has the slanted O symbol next to it).
    3. This morning I tried the options such as "crisp." they helped a great deal, but the text was still somewhat jagged on screen.
    4. using white vs. transparent backgrounds made no visible difference
    5. Last night I did save the TIF without layers, but this morning I tried rasterizing the layer with the text within photoshop. It did not have a visible effect.

    There is a lot more in your posts to try out. I will try to find time this weekend to play around more with thi

  6. #6
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Dan - Based on your latest posting, I wonder if your issue could be related to your workflow,

    Fonts are vector based (a nice way of saying a font is represented by mathematical equations), but to print you have to rasterize your image; i.e. flatten or save as TIFF, etc.. Depending on when you do this will affect image quality.

    Once you rasterize and you perform operations like sizing the image, you are performing the operation on the font represented by a series of pixels, rather than a formula, and the jaggies you describe can occur, especially if there is any upscaling involved.

    Have you tried sizing your image to the final image size in Photoshop before rasterizing? Have you tried printing a jpg rather than TIFF and gotten the same results?

  7. #7
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Manfred,

    The puzzle is that I did no resizing at all. I created the new file in PS to be the size I needed for printing (5 x 7). I put text in it, using PS font-size indicator to make it as large as I needed. I then saved the new file as a TIF and imported into LR. LR recognized it as 5 x 7, and it precisely fit the print template. I literally did no editing at all, other than flattening and rasterizing in various ways in my various attempts. And even before that, the jaggedness was apparent in PS.

    I will try to find time this weekend to experiment further.

    Dan

  8. #8

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    Re: printing text with photos

    Might the PPI setting in PS influence the result? If you rasterise @ 72 PPI, you'll get jagged edges when then using
    that text @ 300 PPI (and thus you'll need to enlarge the, now bitmapped, text 4x).

  9. #9
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    Re: printing text with photos

    I personally use lightroom and for a real text always use a text lawyer in photoshop. From photoshop you can save as flattened image in jpeg.
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    DanK's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I think the culprit was the ppi setting in PS when I created the text layer

  11. #11
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Well this is neither here nor there but I think that some people might enjoy this interview with Sumner Stone, a type designer who was at Adobe back before Photoshop came into existence.

    http://vimeo.com/50347948#at=0

    I have literally thousands of fonts on my computers (I'm a big fan of typography) but I use Sumner's type faces more than any others - I really like his work.

  12. #12

    Re: printing text with photos

    It's really a very easy process to print text on photos. I would like to use this process.
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Hi- my suggestion is Start on a new sized page eg.5x7" at 300dpi white background. Select the 'Text' tool, design all text, Use 'flatten image' to one layer then delete the white background to transparent. Save as a PNG file ( PNG- most important! NOT jpg or tiff!)
    I have just messaged a reply on creating PNG files at- "How to add in a signature to an image"
    How to add in a signature to an image?
    This is a very similar circumstance to your needs.
    I hope this technique may help.

  14. #14

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    Re: printing text with photos

    I'm surprised someone else hasn't suggested this, but when I print greetings cards I print the inside text first using Microsoft WORD - you can then get the text exactly right - then turn the card over, feed it into the colour printer and print the cover and back on the other side...

    You get much better text options this way.

  15. #15
    DanK's Avatar
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    How do you delete the white background to make it transparent?

  16. #16
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    How do you delete the white background to make it transparent?
    Dan- If you use Photoshop or PS-Elements the procedure is the same and best shown with images-

    1. On a blank background layer, select TEXT tool and type desired text in font and size, which will appear on a new layer.
    printing text with photos

    2. Highlight the BACKGROUND layer in the Layers palette.

    3. Point the mouse cursor at the PADLOCK icon and DOUBLE-CLICK the mouse. The padlock will dissappear and a dialog box will open for you to rename the layer. Press OK


    printing text with photos (Locked layer padlock)

    printing text with photos (Unlocked layer)

    4. Now you can delete entire BACKGROUND layer by pressing keyboard [Delete] - or - if you "flatten" all layers use selection tools to select unwanted background and [Delete]

    printing text with photos

    printing text with photos (With fx "Effects" applied to the test layer)

    5. This step is crucial- you must save the text image as a ".PNG" file. (If you save as anything else like JPG- a white background will automatically be restored.)

    6. Your new image file "Text.png" can now be used as an overlay on top of anything- other images, word documents, etc.
    and the text can be adjusted with fantastic effects, it can be any amount of text that will fit on the image 'canvas' size. It can also be 'Transformed' (CTRL+T), rotated, skewed, resized, etc, etc.
    Have fun-

    ps-An easier way to "Unlock" the (selected) Background layer is from the top MENU > LAYER > NEW > Layer from Background.
    Last edited by wobert; 11th December 2012 at 06:51 AM.

  17. #17
    wobert's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    printing text with photos

  18. #18
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: printing text with photos

    Robert,

    Thanks very much. Very helpful.

    Dan

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