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NolaT

Printing Film Positives for Screenprints

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Hello. To start, let me say that I am a total novice, so please excuse my terminology. I am just beginning to learn Affinity Designer, and I have created an all-black vector image to be used as a film positive. However, I can't seem to get enough ink for an opaque image on my transparencies. I am still able to see through my image when held up to a light or window, which will not work when exposing. I have printed opaque black with this printer before using pdf files downloaded from the web, but the settings I use in Affinity Designer don't seem to be working for that purpose. I've tried exporting to PDF for print, using cmyk in both the template and print settings, 300dpi. I have tried playing around with a few of these settings, but the end result is the same. I have the cmyk settings all turned up to 100. Can someone please explain the best settings for getting the darkest black possible within Affinity Designer? 

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Hi NolaT,
Welcome to the Affinity forums!

I am not sure whether I understood your description exactly but it seems to want to print with your inkjet printer on transparent foil with max. black? If yes, the color space does not matter, just assign a maximum black set in the Colours Panel in any color model.

So your CMYK file with 100c 100m 100y 100k should work to produce a very rich black, while 400% is even a bit much ink I guess. Could you upload a sample Affinity document and your trial PDF? Possibly also an PDF which had worked before as wanted?

What app did you use to print your web pdf successfully? What kind of print medium did you select in the printer options in both cases?


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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Inkjet printer software do their own conversion to CMYK don’t they? so having a document in RGB to get a punchy black might be an option and let the printer convert to CMYK.

  • Have you printed to the right side… it happens lol!
  • Have you tried different brand transparencies sheets
  • Different Inks
  • What printer are you using
  • Maybe create a test strip sheet and modify the strips with different blacks.

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7 hours ago, firstdefence said:

Maybe create a test strip sheet and modify the strips with different blacks.

That is the best advice.


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25 minutes ago, Old Bruce said:
8 hours ago, firstdefence said:

Maybe create a test strip sheet and modify the strips with different blacks.

That is the best advice.

In which way? Isn't the goal to print a black as dark as possible – not to achieve a specific tint of black.
I wonder whether the Affinity-internal print procedure might cause the unexpected result here, in particular because of this two experiences:

18 hours ago, NolaT said:

I have printed opaque black with this printer before using pdf files (...), but the settings I use in Affinity Designer don't seem to be working

For instance if Affinity does not send CMYK data to a printer but converts them to RGB before then a 4x 100% color will get prevented from reaching the printer but gets limited to a max of 300% as total ink coverage.


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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I would also check that when creating your document that the mode is CMYK and not RGB. You can select CMYK for output but people have had issues with that and do not get 100% K because the document colour mode is still RGB. If the printer is RGB you could try this makeup for the black - 0% R  25%G  25%B

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1 hour ago, wonderings said:

I would also check that when creating your document that the mode is CMYK and not RGB. You can select CMYK for output but people have had issues with that and do not get 100% K because the document colour mode is still RGB. If the printer is RGB you could try this makeup for the black - 0% R  25%G  25%B

For direct printing? That's not true if that is what you mean. As mentioned in the post above yours, print output is only ever RGB.

This is from one of the dev team (edited for brevity):

On 2/14/2020 at 11:36 AM, Patrick Connor said:

..should not expect CMYK files out of a postscript print path, as the Affinity print path is always RGB..

There is nothing wrong with proofing on a printer [sic] but be aware that it will be converted to RGB and back and so some colours outside the RGB range are not going to proof well..

If the OP needs a specific CMYK mix to get the saturation required, then exporting to a PDF and printing from another application will be the way to go.

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It is also possible this specific printer cannot produce high density output. I have heard stories people printing to film with a laser printer have run the same film several times through the printer to achieve enough density. (Imagine that does not improve sharpness...)

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1 hour ago, Fixx said:

It is also possible this specific printer cannot produce high density output.

Is it? – Apparently it is no matter of the printer:

On 6/28/2020 at 10:18 PM, NolaT said:

I have printed opaque black with this printer before using pdf files (...), but the settings I use in Affinity Designer don't seem to be working

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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On 6/29/2020 at 7:26 PM, BofG said:

If the OP needs a specific CMYK mix to get the saturation required, then exporting to a PDF and printing from another application will be the way to go.

Yes - but surely Affinity should support printing CMYK - this is ridiculous that applications marketed as pro apps don't support pro standards - I'm stuck with Acrobat 9 which just works for sending separations or CMYK composites - this is a taken for granted, basic requirement !?!?!?!? 


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1 hour ago, Dazmondo77 said:

Yes - but surely Affinity should support printing CMYK - this is ridiculous that applications marketed as pro apps don't support pro standards - I'm stuck with Acrobat 9 which just works for sending separations or CMYK composites - this is a taken for granted, basic requirement !?!?!?!? 

It's not just that they are marketed as pro apps, on the sales page for Designer it quite literally states it has end-to-end CMYK support! Either Serif don't consider a printer as a valid end point for a design or their marketing department doesn't know much about their own software.

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Hello, everyone and thank you for responding. Apologies, but I have been working more than I'd like to and have not had time to revisit this. A bit more detail on my setup: I exported me original artwork as a PDF, and used preview for mac to print. I have also tried printing directly from affinity, but the end results look identical. However, I was able to print the file attached below in an opaque black--also using preview for mac. I used it to test my DIY exposure unit, and the transparency worked perfectly. When I created my document, it was set to cmyk and the color space is also cmyk when I export(I honestly am not sure what all of this means). The printer I use is a Canon IX6820(may be a different model number in Europe). Again, thanks to all for responding. I am going to try to create a test strip to see if I can find an appropriate black.

vector-exposure-calculator.pdf

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Some elements in your PDF seem to be grayscale and print in max. 100 K. Since you print from preview.app I assume you don't have Acrobat installed, so to check the color values in your PDF you might like to use this online tool  https://www.pdftron.com/webviewer/demo/color-separation/

Un-Tick the Black in the left column to see those parts disappear, which will print in black only and therefore might not be as dark as wanted. In this screenshot those parts are marked yellowish.

1112105210_cmyksepcheck.jpg.fd2b818eea4d5409454eb45d8cc98a51.jpg


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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Since your printer assumes RGB input, there might be point in creating this document in RGB color mode and have all black defined as RGB 0, 0, 0. The PDF you attached had the grid part in K100 (in grayscale color space) and text part in RGB 0, 0, 0 (so it is a bit strange mix to have been produced from a CMYK document!). However if that produces acceptable results when you print (either from Preview or from within an Affinity app) then there is no need for further adjustments. As the grid itself is compact (K100), it might produce better results than having it converted by printer driver to four-color-black (and something where none of the component color screens is compact).

But if you want to compare, here is your file, opened in Affinity Publisher in RGB color mode (which makes all black objects RGB 0, 0, 0) and then exporting it simply as RGB using "PDF (for export)" preset. The grid is in RGB 0, 0, 0 here and while it should print darker than K100, it may be that K100 grid of your original PDF is more suitable for your purposes.

vector-exposure-calculator_rgb0.pdf

The way a specific printer driver converts it RGB input is typically best controlled from the printer driver itself, so you might want to check if there are controls for determning how colors are translated.

For full control of color, a CMYK end to end print procedure would be needed, but this is not supported by Affinity apps, nor is it supported by your printer! In such environment, it is possible that CMYK input with registration black (C100 M100 Y100 K100) produces K100 output, and gray or RGB black input produces four-color black output, and what you get is typically printer-driver specific, so unless the printer driver allows proper control, it is often a trial and error process to get the desired output.

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2 hours ago, Lagarto said:

For full control of color, a CMYK end to end print procedure would be needed, but this is not supported by Affinity apps, nor is it supported by your printer! In such environment, it is possible that CMYK input with registration black (C100 M100 Y100 K100) produces K100 output, and gray or RGB black input produces four-color black output, and what you get is typically printer-driver specific, so unless the printer driver allows proper control, it is often a trial and error process to get the desired output.

Madness! - when I started in the industry everything seemed so simple regarding printing or outputting to an imagesetter or proofer - my first home epson Stylus 800 colour printer just worked with a proper CMYK colour driver (at least on the mac) and all graphic design apps sent CMYK as standard - setting up for screen print is still easy peasy, as spots, but as Affinity users, the only option we have (at the moment) if we want to proof separations is Acrobat pro (I use 9) and a postscript printer or RIP, where in acrobat pros print dialog, advanced takes you to options for sending separations - so I'm guessing for your printer, you would need RIP software in order to simplify the procedure, or you would need to invest in an SRA3 capable PS laser printer that supports transparencies, which will be pricey.

Note that Preview doesn't support printing true CMYK --- ridiculous that most software that can handle CMYK needs to convert to RGB and convert back to CMYK with a colour profile to simulate output intent and completely bugger up all your colours -------  inkjet printers print with CMYK inks ----- SO WHY CANT WE PRINT CMYK

All pro graphics/DTP software supports printing CMYK to ps printers ---- apart from Affinity?!?!?!?!?!!?

 

Screenshot 2020-07-06 at 09.58.32.png


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6 minutes ago, Dazmondo77 said:

Madness! - when I started in the industry everything seemed so simple regarding printing or outputting to an imagesetter or proofer - my first home epson Stylus 800 colour printer just worked with a proper CMYK colour driver

I think that I have only had PS printers that can be passed through CMYK data. As many photo printers support more than four inks, it has become complex and probably for this reason -- and because of popularity of digital photography and development in color management -- the workflow with these kinds of printers is RGB based. There seems to be ways to instruct the driver to interpret RGB color input so that it gets translated in a specific way (e.g. trying to avoid RGB gray and use black ink, or the other way around), or at least force these kinds of settings from within the driver, but these kinds of features are printer specific.

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3 hours ago, Lagarto said:

As many photo printers support more than four inks ...

Even many old budget 'all in one' inkjet printers have five ink cartridges, the four CMYK ones used for color & the extra (often larger) black one used for B&W printing. I think the idea is that the K ink is formulated to mix better with the CMY ones & the black one has a more opaque formula, or something like that.


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