Lightroom Classic: Prints images at different sizes borderless vs border

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Epson 3880. Try to print a small image on a larger piece of paper (e.g. 2 4x6 images on a single 8x10 sheet of paper). If you think about this, for a borderless print, it would be possible to print the two images side by side, at the top of the sheet:



Unfortunately, Lightroom incorrectly calculates the print size for borderless printing. The rendered image is slightly larger than it should be. In the above example, the prints will come out 6 5/32" tall.

Let's look at this a different way: place the two 4x6 images on a single sheet, two rows, with plenty of space around them. Here's the borderless version:



And the border version:



Can't see much, right? While you can see the size change when exiting the Page Setup dialog after changing ticking/un-ticking the Borderless box, here they are, overlayed in PS, with the top layer at 50% opacity. Zoom in (if that's possible here) and you'll see that they are blurry because they are unaligned:



They should be perfectly aligned.

Here's a close up of the edges:



Why are they not aligned? The choice of borderless has nothing to do with the size of the printed image. It affects the amount of paper that can be used, but nothing else changes. This problem occurs with both of my printers (yes, both Epson).

Please fix this bug.
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Gary R Hook

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Posted 9 months ago

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Jens Stadsgaard

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Most is because you have chosen to expand the image in the driver.
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Gary R Hook

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Thank you, but that would be incorrect. I covered this with tech support before discovering the true problem.
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richardplondon

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Some printer drivers offer a choice of borderless printing modes, as well as non borderless, perhaps an expanded margin mode also. The most common borderless option enlarges the output a few % as physically printed (so as to ensure full bleed across the paper edges). It will do this enlargement even if you are sending through a LR layout that's set up with broad white borders.

OTOH a true-to-scale borderless option (if offered) suppresses such enlargement, meaning you would run the risk of some non-printed slivers of white at the paper edges, assuming your photo was intended to go right up to the edges of the layout.

Both of these modes will report a physical print margin of 0 all round, back to LR - but the actual outcome is then not the same. So it is not the case that selection of borderless can never have an impact for photo scaling. 

Borderless or not, certainly does change the available space on the LR page.

The output when "printing" to file should be unvarying - if it was not, solely due to choosing borderless or not, AND NOT accounted for by varying available page space, THEN that would seem like a LR bug.

But if the print driver itself does different things depending on how it has got borderless mode set, this can AFAICT have nothing at all to do with LR.
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Gary R Hook

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Let me first off point out that I discussed this with tech support, went over all of the options, including expansion, and none apply.

Let's use logic and math to provide details. Using a US 8" x 10" sheet on the Epson 3880 for this example. The driver, when borderless is not checked, tells LR that there are margins:

Left 0.11 in
Right 0.13 in
Top 0.11 in
Bottom 0.13 in

So, LR is fully aware of the margin size from the driver. When borderless is checked, LR knows that the margins are now 0.0 in. I can come up with no other explanation than that the driver is providing accurate information.

We presume that LR also knows the sheet is the specified size. So it has everything required to compute an image size.

With borders, a 4" x 6" image is printed correctly. Without borders, it's enlarged. If you compute the percentage of space (vertically, per my original illustration, above), you get (10 - (0.11 + 0.13) / 10 == (10 - 0.24) / 10 == 0.976 % (9.76 inches of usable length.

If you allow borderless, the images expand. Making a guess here, 6" / 0.976 == 6.15".

And as I stated above, the prints come out 6 5/32" long, which turns out to be 6.15". It's simple math. I don't see a case being made for the driver being errant here.

However, after exploring, considering the above comments, and thinking further, I would guess that this likely has to do with bleed and coverage (as suggested above0. Which I understand and appreciate. And I want a way to turn it off. LR knows my rendered image is not full page. How hard is it to not automatically expand in that case? Hint: it's not. It's a simple computation to set a flag for the logic in the code.

I'm sticking with "this is LR behavior" for everything discussed here, and I'll entertain the idea that is is intentional, and in some (many?) cases useful. But not universally. This post is to report what I consider a bug.
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richardplondon

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You write: "LR knows my rendered image is not full page" but when set to borderless mode, there may still be a background colour that needs to extend right to the edges of the paper. There may be marginal text or a watermark right in the corner, or a graphical frame, or whatever. So even if LR had this control, I don't see how it could reliably discriminate what your intention is.

And in any case, it is not LR's page layout that is causing the expansion. That is the result of a selection made in the print driver settings, by the user.

I don't have a 3880. But my R9000 has a button next to the "Borderless" checkbox, labelled "Expansion". (Consumer level printers lack such a button - they just always expand regardless, when you choose Borderless.) When there is an Expansion button this leads to the options "Auto Expand"/ "Retain Size".

I have found "Retain Size" scales output the same, as when Borderless is turned off. As a side issue, this means that if you have deliberately set LR output to nicely match the printer's internal processing resolution (360ppi, say) then this will get respected.

If you instead choose "Auto Expand" there is a slider below to choose Min - Max enlargement - which is, I suspect, a % value in practice (perhaps to reflect the increased alignment difficulty when feeding larger sheets?) But no actual measurement is stated. BTW this may mean that a carefully set printer-matching output resolution, is getting thrown off in the internal enlargement.

RP
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Gary R Hook

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We know there are options in the printer driver. What is unclear is how that information is communicated to, and used by, LR. My assertion is that the information is being used incorrectly.

get expansion, but your comments on box, logo, whatever are beside the point. I'm asking for a way to render an image at a specific size that is smaller than the page. I don't think that's unreasonable request, nor do I think it's impossible. My 30+ years of software engineering suggest it's a matter of logic and math.

As an aside, the "Retain Size" option in the 3880 driver causes LR to shrink the image, and grow the page size (in my example) to 10.38" x 8.38". I don't think I'm going to waste the time trying to figure that out. Nor spend any further time attempting to defend my perspective when clearly it's been decided that I'm wrong. This post was to report what I consider a bug, and I'll let Adobe engineers, if they ever decide to devote the time, assess the issue and communicate a verdict.