Avoid Color Bands when Printing Gradients

I own an Epson Stylus 640. When I print out a full page design with gradient fills, the color transitions aren't smooth: Dis tinct bands appear in the printout.

I own an Epson Stylus 640. When I print out a full page design with gradient fills, the color transitions aren't smooth: Dis tinct bands appear in the printout. This doesn't happen when the image is smaller. I've tried increasing the resolution, but that doesn't help. Is something wrong with the printer?

Michael Wainwright
Oakland, California

Relax, nothing is wrong with your printer. Whenever you print a gradient, it consists of color bands that gradually transition from one hue to the next. At small sizes, the bands aren't noticeable. But at large sizes, or in those cases where the colors at either end of the gradient are too similar, the bands become visible. Increasing the resolution of the printout is a good first step. In addition, you should turn on error diffusion in the Printer Properties dialog box. Error diffusion uses a random dither pattern to minimize horizontal banding. As a last resort, you can choose colors with more contrast to provIDE more transitional hues for the gradient.

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