How can I avoid banding of Quark gradients?

Answered by Forest Wathen, Prepress Manager, EU Services

We are creating gradients in Quark and then making PDFs of our pages to send to the printer. The gradients sometimes band. Do you know of a solution to avoid banding of Quark gradients?

Gradients and blends in Quark can be unpredictable. One job may look fine while the next has obvious banding. This is a known problem with Quark and other layout applications. It is easily addressed by creating the gradient in a program like Photoshop, Illustrator or Freehand. As a rule, the longer the gradient the greater the chance you will see banding. Other factors such as ink color and percentages of color used can influence the appearance of banding. Creating the gradient in Photoshop, Illustrator or Freehand and then importing it into a page layout application will fix the problem.

One other thing to consider in your workflow is the settings used to create your PDF. Make sure that your distiller settings for color and grayscale images are set to downsample no lower than 300 dpi and set compression option to zip compression.

The topic of using and creating gradients is discussed in detail on page 2 of the April '99 issue of EU Services' Prepress News and Tips. To view that article click here.
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