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Monthly ArchiveJuly 2010



events Monday July 26 2010 12:22 pm

8-day workshop

We just completed a whirlwind 8 days with Virginia Green from Baylor University. Virginia wants to jump into the deep end of the pool of letterpress. She got a nice grant to come, study, and print at Lead Graffiti.

Virginia Green Baylor University

The photo above illustrates a few memorable events. From the top left: when we got back from picking Virginia up at the airport Ben Kiel of House Industries was printing a poster for the Tour de France; visiting with Roland Hoover, former letterpress printer for Yale University; talking with Mike Kaylor, looking over the woodcuts and letterpress with Chris Manson; setting a full 15″ x 20″ area of 48 point Garamond; visiting Mike Denker and his wood type collection; drooling over a Kelmscott “Chaucer” with Rebecca Johnson Melvin of Special Collections at the University of Delaware, and speed printing twenty 2-color carefully registered notecards, including trimming / creasing / folding, in less than 90 minutes.

I think she knew she was here.

Studio projects Thursday July 01 2010 06:00 am

Scanning type > LiveTrace

Often there is a discussion of how high a resolution you should scan an image in order to convert it to a vector-based image usable for letterpress.

Below are three images of Adobe Caslon Pro 18 point. An image of the digital font was produced in Photoshop in resolutions 4800 dpi, 2400, 1200, 600, and 300. If you were scanning from a printed image you would be including any degradation of the type outline based on the quality of the printing into the image.

The images were brought into Adobe Illustrator and converted to vector-based (outlined) images using the LiveTrace option.

I then took overlaid versions of the 2400, 1200, and 600 dpi versions so you could see the differences from one to the other. The red outline is the lower resolution.

scan livetrace 2400 1200

The main problems above occur around the bottom serifs. Generally the type has become slightly bolder a the lower resolution.

scan livetrace 2400 600

At 600 you are losing any sharpness around the outside corners of the lower serifs and around the top. Clearly the type is becoming noticeably bolder.

scan livetrace 1200 600

The question after this is, “How much detail do you want or need?”

Keep in mind these images are from 18 point type. If you were doing a Bewick illustration (which I should take a shot at) with lots of thin lines, it would almost assuredly require the 2400 dpi or even 4800 and then a careful manipulation of the tonal value to maintain the highest quality with the least loss of detail.