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Thread: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

  1. #141

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Cunningham View Post
    Larry, perhaps you could post a picture of your book so that we can judge its cover. :-)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yes, I'll post a few pictures of the book. The teachers said that posting full videos of books did not interfere with sales, which is kind of funny, but perhaps true.

    I really need to embark on step 2, which is to try to sell the book in some shops on a consignment basis.

  2. #142

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Glad to see you're still kicking Larry!

  3. #143

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    Glad to see you're still kicking Larry!
    Ha, thanks Luis! I'm glad you're still hanging around here. I've been distracted for a while.

  4. #144

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Larry, thank you very much for the information.

  5. #145

    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    "I think the real advantage of duotone printing, or tritones, is that you cannot get any color shifts because you're not printing with color inks, LOL. Conveyor tried for six months with CMYK and were never happy with the output for black and white photographs, so they gave up and went to duotones. The masks? will shift slightly from page to page, so that's why you get color shifts, it's basically unavoidable. The whole world wants color, so that's why most places only print color, because they don't want to deal with the setup costs of printing some other way."

    Having printed a lot on offset presses for the last twenty years or so, when you have to print black and white with four color, it's almost always best to rebuild the CMYK profile for the press to one using a Max K black generation and a lower Total Ink value than you would normally run. This puts the lion's share of the image into the black plate and leaves just enough of the cyan, yellow and magenta to give you a rich black. It also pretty much guarantees you a very neutral image on press because so much of it is just black ink. Blurb says they use a profile "based" on GraCol 2009, but there is no such thing. I think they mistook the 2006 standard for 2009. The people I've spoken to there don't know crap about black generation. But, since a lot of folks print both black and white and color in a single volume, it's not always practical to use cymk plus duotones, unless you're on a real offset six or eight color press and don't mind paying for the additional plates.

    Personally I use the data set from GraCol and just re-run the profiles in either ProfileMaker or i1Profiler how I want them. I'll be running a blurb test soon comparing their standard profile and my own heavy black version to see if it makes a difference. In theory, it's possible to get great looking black and whites with their standard profile as their paper sample pack has that, and the halftone dot is so small you cannot see it at all with the naked eye. Barely with a loupe.

    And just so people aren't confused about duotones/tritones, etc. you start with a grayscale tiff 8 bits per channel and then choose Duotone from the Mode menu. The previews there are actually pretty good now.

  6. #146
    evanbaines's Avatar
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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Kellogg View Post
    Hello Evan,

    Are you following through with your project? Conveyor Book Arts also uses an HP Indigo. I don't think any retrofitting is required, you just swap out the inks for the black and gray inks, in the case of the duotone printing Conveyor did for me. The inks are in aerosol spray cans and take about thirty seconds to change. We toured the factory, it was the highlight of the class.

    I think the real advantage of duotone printing, or tritones, is that you cannot get any color shifts because you're not printing with color inks, LOL. Conveyor tried for six months with CMYK and were never happy with the output for black and white photographs, so they gave up and went to duotones. The masks? will shift slightly from page to page, so that's why you get color shifts, it's basically unavoidable. The whole world wants color, so that's why most places only print color, because they don't want to deal with the setup costs of printing some other way.

    The real issue is that you have to trust the press to do the separations of your files and come up with an output that makes you happy, in terms of contrast. For small runs, it's not economical to have the photographer approve the run on-press, as is done in large printing houses. So, you have to rely on proofs when working with a small printing house. Not really a big deal, but it might take a few go arounds with proofs to get it right.
    Larry,

    I did follow through with the project and was very happy with the results!

    I had my printer Robert Cavalli make a series of darkroom prints as exemplars for Puritan's production team to work from, and they generated a proof of the book using the same paper and process as the final run. We didn't need much tweaking to the initial proofs: just a few minor nits on a handful of images. The final product was a big hit in our little community and the quality of the finished product they provided was a big part of that. I will also say Puritan was very responsive and easy to work with throughout the process. They posted my work to their blog along with some other samples here:

    http://www.puritanpress.com/category...ones-tritones/

    The book layout is here if you're curious:
    http://www.evanbaines.com/bushmaster/

    I was also involved in working with Puritan to create an arts journal for the Military Medicine community, and this was also very successful and we were pleased with Puritan's work. So I'd give them a high recommendation for a photographer looking for short-run printing of high quality.

    (no affiliation or compensation for endorsement, just a happy customer).

    V/R
    Evan

    PS:
    I did provide this link to the folks at Puritan to let them know about the discussion. If folks would be interested and the mods are ok with it, they'd be happy to discuss more of the technical details and answer questions, but they did not want to intrude or break any forum rules.

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