Recently I asked a question on TeX.stackexchange here. I thought using TeX, I could not print images correctly. I tried printing the same images in MS Word, the result did not change.

The problem is on the printing process somewhere I suppose. On the way I learned about dithering, halftones and even a special chip called raster image processor. But unfortunately none of them helped me solve my problem, instead confused me further.

What I see in pdf and on paper does not quite match. My image's resolution is 300dpi, and dimensions are 256x256. So the actual size is ~2.17cm. Here is the comparison of the actual and printed images, note that because I am comparing some image processing algorithms actual images are kind of altered.

Original in pdf: alt text

Printed on paper: alt text

How can I print small images so they look beautiful? In other words, I want the printed images to preserve their distinct features, like their squared patterns.

  • 1
    It's clear from your posted images that your printouts are using halftones. Look into turning that off, maybe? – user3463 Dec 6 '10 at 21:24
  • @Randolph Potter: With a little bit more background information, I'd vote that up as an answer. – Bobby Dec 6 '10 at 22:07
  • I don't know enough about the problem to have an acceptable answer, @Bobby. All I know is halftones from when I used to work for a newspaper. – user3463 Dec 6 '10 at 23:01
  • @Randolph Potter: afaik there is no way to turn off halftones since it is the only way of generating shades of gray. – nimcap Dec 7 '10 at 11:18

(I am cross-answering, I will turn this answer to a link to original answer if demanded)

I have printed the same image with different sizes, compared to each other and came to a conclusion.

In print, if you want to represent lots of things in a small area it is impossible due to dithering and halftoning.

If your images are sufficiently big images it is okay to stick with the 300 dpi resolution with the images. But you will use the details.

If your images are small, meaning the whole image is a detail, printing them as they are will cause them to lose their aspects. Rescaling/resizing the image to a larger version will make the image's details to be distinguishable. Of course rescaling will use an interpolation (i.e bicubic) and the bigger image is an approximation of the original one, the information lost via interpolation won't be visible because of dithering/halftoning.

In other words, if you were to view prints of a normal sized image and an another image that is downscaled and then upscaled version of the first one side by side you would not be able to tell the difference.

Summary: If you have small images to print just resize them and make them bigger.

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