Free Print texture checker
Free Print Texture Checker
The most important file you will ever see
Refer to the chapter 13 of The Dark Art – A Black and White Digital Printing Workshop Manual
The purpose of the Texture Checker file is:
- To significantly improve the textural quality of your prints.
- To check your printer and ink combination printable texture range from dark to light.
- To check the brightness of your monitor (see points 9 and 10).
Some older versions of Photoshop may not open pdf files.
- Save the downloaded Texture Checker file in a location you will remember.
- Import the downloaded file into Bridge.
- Open the file in Photoshop.
- Open the Info Tool (F8).
- Drag the Info Tool to the right-hand Tool Panel (so Info tool always open).
- Save the new workspace after renaming it. Window > Workspace > New Workspace.
- Click on the rectangle at the top right of the Info Tool, Panel Options > Second readout drop down menu change to HSB Color, click ok.
- You can now read all the image brightness values under your cursor as a percentage, instead of the 0-255 scale.
- Look at the band of dark tones on the Texture Checker, is there just a slight separation in the brightness of the 0% and 3% tone? – if you can easily see the 3% tone, your monitor is far too bright.
- Suggestion – recalibrate the brightness of your monitor in the range of 80 – 100 Lumens.
- Is there just a separation in the brightness of the 98% and 100% tone? – if you can easily see the 98% tone your monitor too dark.
- Print the texture checker at A4 portrait, 300dpi, with the correct paper profile, if you use one.
- Let the print dry for at least 20 minutes.
- Compare the print with your monitor – you should easily be able to see a separation between the 0% and 6% black and the 92% and 100% white tones.
- If the print is generally too dark – create a new curves adjustment layer and raise the centre of the curve by about 20% as a start point to brighten the picture.
- Once you have established the required increased brightness value (so that your print matches the monitor), create and save a curve called print brightness and put it at the top of the layer stack before printing every image with that profile.
How to use this information and significantly improve the tonal quality of your prints
When post-processing, where you want to retain shadow and highlight texture DO NOT have areas of brightness outside of the range of 6% and 92% Brightness.
Once you have saved the pdf as a tiff or jpg, follow the Photoshop notes from point 9 onwards.
Soft Proofing in Lightroom
Unfortunately, Lightroom reverts to the 0 to 255 scale when in the Soft Proofing mode. The golden numbers of 6% and 92% are equivalent to 15 – 235 on the RGB scale.
Better Quality Digital Projected Images
Most digital National and International exhibitions/Salons use the following specification for entry files
Colour space – sRGB
File Size – 1400 x 1050
Resolution – 72 ppi
File type – jpeg
When preparing files for a DPI / PDI competition, I suggest you stay with in a contrast texture range of 6% to 92% because shadow detail is always lost in the conversion from a larger Pro Photo RGB colour space to the smaller sRGB color space. Brightness may need to be increased as well.
Got a query? – just email me firstname.lastname@example.org