Freehand gradients visible steps


Well-known member
Hi to all .

I have one question about freehand gradients .
I have one file, with a gradient from freehand, witch change from from 6 to 0.

After several test i always gets the banding, the steps are very visible .
Is there any way to produce a smooth gradient from freehand ?
See attached files with the problem .

All the Best


  • CARTA.pdf
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  • freehand 11
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Well-known member
You can try to recreate it in Illustrator and save it as a level 3 file or rasterize it in Photoshop and add noise to break up the banding. The real issue is there are not enough steps over the length of the gradient to minimize banding. Stochastic or Hybrid screen will help as well.


Well-known member
Sometimes there are reasons why "nobody else have ever done it"! This is a fine example - may look OK on screen, but then reality hits on paper.

Lukas Engqvist

Well-known member
I've done a few remakes in illustrator of freehand to get better gradients. It works but handle with care so you don't delete wrong objects.


I haven’t used Freehand (great app) for while, but as far as can recall, there was a menu somewhere to increase gradient steps. You could also try recreating your gradient with the blend greater trick (the more steps, the merrier) in either Freehand or Illustrator. And if that doesn’t sort it out, the heavier but sure solution is a Photoshop gradient.


Well-known member
The problem with gradients like this isn't really in their creation by the software, it's in the output device's ability to produce fractional halftone dots. Below post script level 3 I believe this is very limited.

Think of it this way, if you have a 10" long gradient that goes from 5% to 1% you will have a 2" wide steps each 1% less than the next. If your output device can do 1/2% dots each step will be 1". If you have a very precise high end output device you may get 1/4 or 1/8% dots making the steps .5" or .25" respectively. Still very noticeable steps.

Stochastic is the real solution as all the dots are very small and the screen percent is made by clustering.

Stephen Marsh

Well-known member
EDIT: I have just checked out the file... Just go with a flat tint of 3-6%, or if it must gradate, I agree with Lammy - try FM screening.

Stephen Marsh
Last edited:


Well-known member
Thanks for all help .
This was one issue from one customer that say´s on other RIp´s i don´t have problem´s . . .
This was output on Prosetter with correct lineariazation done.If i create one gradient from 100 to 0 all perfect .
This kind of file maybe it´s better to create the gradient on Photoshop . Or use Hybrid Screen but this is not free $$$.


Active member

You can see in the picture attached to the solution.


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Lukas Engqvist

Well-known member
@yavo interesting that the angle of the banding shifts between left and right image. (but there is banding in both) Adding noise to a gradient produces similar result as hybrid raster.

rich apollo

Well-known member
The client is asking for a 0-6% blend in one channel to cover 11.9612 inches. Let's look past the foolishness of the designer and get right to the construction.

If I've done the math correctly, in an 8-bit output this blend would have a possible 15 levels of gray. That means that each change in gray would be over 3/4 inch wide (.79"). They will be visible.

If your front-end allows for 12-bit output of shading objects, then you have a possible 245 levels of gray; making each step in the blend .04" (less than 1/16"). This could be how your competitor is making it work. It could also be that the client is passing off the same element at a smaller size in another piece. Seems odd that you and your competitor would be producing the same piece, doesn't it?

I will disagree with those recommending FM screening. In my experience, FM will show artifacts and imperfections much more prominently.

Recreating the blend as a raster element with noise can work.

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