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Advanced Print Setup:

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Learn everything you need to know about setting up a riso print



All files are sent to the printer in grayscale, and colours are added within the printing process.

Greyscale is translated to colour

The riso is very sensitive and will register different shades of black which will be visible in the printed output. So please ensure all tones of black have the same settings if you intend their output to be the same. The different opacities of greyscale, are represented as different opacities of your chosen colour

Simply changing the document settings to ‘greyscale’ in photoshop for example, is not always be sufficient. This is especially true when working with lighter colours.

Setting registration black

Setting registration black

To print solid areas of colour, artwork should be set to registration black, which is often indicated by the cross-hair symbol and can found in SWATCHES panels:

↓ Ink Coverage ↓

The riso can’t print 100% ink density across 100% of the paper.

Large areas of solid colour can also cause problems. Especially around the edges and the top or bottom of the stencil. Try to keep one end clear, and opacities lower.

Heavy borders around the edge of the page will cause it to stick to the drum. Either reduce the opacity to 75%, or create blocks to stop the border at both lead ends of the page.

Large areas with 100% Ink coverage are never even

Reduce the chances of ink transfer, and ensure a cleaner print:

→ Print using 50% coverage across the entire page.

→ Avoid large areas of ink at the paper feed area.

→ Limit the number of colour layers (each colour requires another pass  through the machine)

→ Reduce large areas of solid ink to a 70-85% Opacity

→ Ask to have your prints ‘Blotted

Needle Marks occur when the paper is peeled from a very wet drum (can look like 'scratches' on a print).


Opt for thicker paper when printing with lots of ink!

Track Marks

Track Marks

Track marks from the feed tire can appear when prints make multiple passes. Marks can also appear on double sided prints, from pressure impressions that can mark the next sheet of stacked paper if there is ink in this area.

*If marks do appear, most can be minimised with a rubber!

↓ Gradients ↓

For best results - set gradients to range between between 90% and 10%

The riso doesn't print 10%→0% ink very well...

This is mainly an issue when printing gradients as the range is very visible. 

For Photography that has large areas containing 0-10% content, results can look better if the lightest part is increased to 10% too.

Setting your darkest tone to 90% won’t visibly change the appearance much, but will avoid any ‘tide’ marks or flooding that can happen over larger areas of ink coverage. These are visible inconsistencies across the surface.

Gradient Stepping Issues

Gradient Stepping Issues

You can see from the Purple gradient, there are faint 'Steps' as the the ink gets lighter. These often occur form Vector generated gradients, but can be tweaked by rasterising them and adding 'noise' affects in photoshop.

Be careful not to add too much 'noise' though. It might not look like much on screen, but in print it can be a lot more visible.

We can prepare your files for optimum gradient printing if you are unsure. You can add this service as an 'Extra' when ordering your prints.

↓ Text & Type ↓

Text always prints best when set to using registration black, and created in vector form; which is created when working from Illustrator or InDesign (Not Photoshop).

Use normal black (100% K) for type 14pt or above to avoid excess ink. 

To keep text & line art as vectors when exporting artwork; do not rasterize.

Minimum (recommended) text = 7 PT (reg. black only)

Line Thickness minimum = 0.5 PT (reg. black only)

When You create type or fine lines in Photoshop, it rasterizes it as an image. The printed result looks jaggy around the edges instead of being clean and crisp.

This is also the result when files as saved as Jpegs. These file types loose any Vector based qualities, and fine lines will appear pixelated instead of smooth. Avoid saving files as Jpegs if Vector graphics are in place.

The Pink lines in the top right was printed from a Jpeg file.

The Orange and Yellow lines in the bottom left, was printed from a PDF.

Advanced riso tutorials and tools

Check out our step by step guides on everything from Saving files, to separating CMYK artwork for print: