| Having trouble understanding dpi and resolution? Pictures not printing in the color you expected? Hereís an inkjet project you can do to help you understand how it all works! After you do the project (or donít do it!), read on for some color solutions to help you get the results you want from your printed images. |
Open up your art program and draw a one-inch square. Reduce your square to 10% (1/10 of inch). Now duplicate it 9 times running across the width of your page. You should have a horizontal row of 10 squares. Duplicate your row 9 times, so you end up again with a one-inch box that contains one-hundred 1/10th inch squares. Print out your one-inch box.
Next, get three magic markers: one magenta, one cyan, and one yellow. Fine tip markers will probably work the best. Have a friend or relative stand behind you and yell out purple, green, orange, yellow, cyan, magenta in the order of their choice. If they yell out yellow, pick up the yellow marker and fill in one of the small blocks in your box. It they yell out purple, pick up the cyan marker in one hand and the magenta marker in the other and simultaneously fill in the next block in the row across. Repeat this process, choosing the correct marker for each color as your friend yells out the color name. Color in each of your blocks until your box is full, Congratulations! You have just made a one hundred dpi color image without your inkjet printer!
Now of course, the above project is just a rough rendering of what we ask our printers to do. First of all, they donít have the luxury of a visible grid! Secondly, they squirt ink through the print head nozzles in tiny units of measure called Pico liters, squirting only enough of each color to generate the six colors above plus reds, browns, navy bluesÖ and they do it all in resolutions of three to six hundred dpi or more in micro-seconds per requested color!
Sometimes, though, the three colors of our inkjet inks wonít mix properly for them no matter how much or little our printers put in the dpi blocks. Thatís why our pictures frequently donít print in the colors we expected. Here is a simple (but rough) explanation. Our computer monitors display color in the exact reverse to how we see it on paper. Light from our monitors goes through the colors. Adversely, when we look at color on paper, light from the paper is reflected back to our eyes.
Hereís something you can do that will help you get the right colors. Print a color palette. Some programs will allow you to print different palettes but if you canít, hereís a link to a 216-color palette.
Print it out using the same media you will use for your print project and compare the difference in how color displays on your monitor vs. how computer colors look in print. Using the same media ensures that your display will be as printed. Notice, in the palette you printed that the color white (upper left hand corner) is blank. Thatís because inkjet printers donít print white no matter what the color of the paper is. On the palette you printed, look at green, which is six colors from the bottom of the last column (00ff00). Green on the computer screen looks like a neon sign, but printed it looks like the green you see on a color crayon. Using the printed color palette, you can better choose the colors for your print projects.
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