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Making a test strip

Test strips help photographers and artists select the best settings for their artwork. Follow theprintspace's step-by-step guide to get the best from your prints. 

At theprintspace we offer a test strip service that allows you to see how your digital file reacts to your paper choice. Tests strips are advantageous before committing to a large print or in testing your workflow for the first time. Many clients use test strips to check colour, density, sharpness and the impact from any enlargements made to the file. 

At theprintspace our test strip dimensions are 30 x 4 inches and you can put whatever you like on the image area. This tutorial will show you how to prepare a test strip for printing with two files as examples firstly one file at 30 x 40 inches and secondly one sized 16 x 12 inches.

Firstly, open Photoshop and with your image open select the rectangle marquee tool from the palette.

Photoshop rectangle marquee tool

 Now in the style tab select drop down Fixed sizePhotoshop fixed side style

 Now enter in the width 30 in and height 4 in. Make sure you use (in) as units as in the screen shot below.

Photoshop size measurements

Example 1 – Image sized to 40x30inches

Click anywhere in your image and the test strip 30 x4” crop will appear.

Photoshop crop tool

 Move the crop to include the most important image elements but remember it’s good to have a highlight, shadow and mid-tone. Then go to Image, then Crop to crop to the test strip size.

 theprintspace test strip crop size

Now save down your file as a flattened tiff or jpeg ready for upload.

 

Example 2 – Image sized to 16x12 inches

If your image is smaller than 30” on the long dimension, there is an extra step to include which is adding a border.

Photoshop border

Firstly, click on the image to view the crop area as before using the rectangle marquee tool. Locate the best crop area and then go to the top menu and select Image and Crop.

Photoshop rectangle marquee tool borders

Then go back to the top menu and select Image, then Canvas size.

Photoshop canvas size

Now add the additional border to make it up to 30”. Uncheck the relative box and put in 30 inches in the relevant width or height. In this example it is the width as it is a landscape image.  Now select Ok.

Photoshop relative canvas size

Now the file is in the correct dimensions of 30 x 4 inches with the added border.

Photoshop borders

Remember to flattened any layers and make sure you save your file as a tiff or high quality jpeg format.  For improved colour accuracy use our print profiles which you can download from our website.

Now your test strip file is ready to upload.

 

If you would like to learn more about creating test strips at theprintspace, give us a call or pop into our Shoreditch printing studio where we can help you one-on-one. 

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