Printing Advise

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#1
Okay, I am now starting to get my head around printing. I want to get some of my images printed and see what they're like and see see how it affects how I shoot.

I would like to use a site like Sam's Photolab or more likely DCSL as they're based near the town I work at.

Okay I have a 450D and shoot RAW - 300DPI / 16bit. I use Adobe Raw and Photoshop CS3.

Default image resolution is 4272 - 2848 pixels. This equates to 14.24 - 9.493 inches. Obviously that doesn't go into the standard sizes that various labs offer.

For example I have an image with the dimensions above. However, I want to crop it to improve the composition. This means I end up with an image with the following dimensions:

3600 pixels wide - 13.493 inches
1730 pixels high - 6.14 inches

Now I want this image to be in a decent sized. I want it to be 12 or 18 inches wide and whatever the height is. For this example going to use 18 inches which brings us to the maximum amount of pixels advised on the same photolab site - 5600pixels wide. To achieve this I simply use the image size tool in photoshop and use bicubic smooth to make the enlargement the best it can be.

I then revert the image to 8bit depth to enable to save it as jpeg and save.

I then upload the image to the Sams or DCSL website and see how it all fits in the frames. Of course the height of this image may not be available so I choose a size that is 18 inches wide and an inch or two above what my height is. This leaves white space, but I simply cut that when I receive the images.

What I like to know, apart from if the above makes any sense whatsoever, is have I got the general process correct?
 
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14,759
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Nightmare
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#2
You want to upsize the images to the exact size as suggested here http://www.dscolourlabs.co.uk/imageresizing.cfm

Perhaps you should sharpen slightly after upsizing. Make sure to set 100% quality setting.

If you want non-standard size you many have to leave empty space.
 
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#3
So I generally have got the idea correct. I have to match images as closely as I can to the lab's pixel/inch sizes and there could be white space, which is what I assumed and fine with as that can be cut. Obvioulsy depending on the crop / image. I may have to enlarge it to suit a bit bigger printing size.

I earlier blew up on my PC an image to over 18000 pixels. Would that be suitable for printing at that size? As that would be about 30-60 inches and still look quite good?
 
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Nightmare
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#4
I earlier blew up on my PC an image to over 18000 pixels. Would that be suitable for printing at that size? As that would be about 30-60 inches and still look quite good?
It is easy and cheap to find out. Cut out a section at that size to fit 6x4" and get it done! If it looks good go ahead and print big.
 
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6,830
Name
Jim
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#5
You do not "need" 300ppi (not dpi which is different) when printing large images.

I print A3 images at 150ppi and you would not see the difference. This also helps to keep your file sizes down.

Any lab that advises you to upsize your images - I AVOID! THeir RIP should be able to upsample any image you proivide and do it better than you can in Photoshop.
 
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14,759
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Nightmare
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#6
You do not "need" 300ppi (not dpi which is different) when printing large images.

I print A3 images at 150ppi and you would not see the difference. This also helps to keep your file sizes down.

Any lab that advises you to upsize your images - I AVOID! THeir RIP should be able to upsample any image you proivide and do it better than you can in Photoshop.
I disagree with that. You can't upsize a sharpened, lossy JPEG anywhere near as well as proper RAW file. This is technically impossible. Labs can't do magic, they can only try to get close. This is not CSI, this is the REAL WORLD.

Perhaps your images don't have much fine detail or you don't look close enough. The difference at 150ppi is there, and is not so good.

I don't think there is any issue uploading even 200MB nowadays. It only takes a few cups of tea to wait.
 
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David
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#7
Many labs ask for you to resize to the final size at 300 dpi as they don't have production software driving their printers (which is a bit like a RIP).... and some do this to ensure you are not sending 24 megapixel images for 6"x4" as that takes much longer to upload/render etc - and interpolating down can also cause a degredation of quality.

The production software used in our lab does a pretty good job of interpolation on the way up, so we are very happy to print from undersized files. If the file is very small there is software which does an amazing job of upscaling the file (genuine fractals) which is the best - but for most people, this is overkill.

If you are working from RAW files, and you are needing A3 sized you will get better results converting at the biggest size possible.

Also remember, however, that the larger the photo the further away people look at it. Billboard images are often images at 12dpi - but as you look at them from a long way off, they look perfect - but why not walk up to one and you'll see what I mean!

The simple solution is print a few and see - and cropping an area out and printing as a 6x4 is a very inexpensive test...
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#8
I disagree with that. You can't upsize a sharpened, lossy JPEG anywhere near as well as proper RAW file. This is technically impossible. Labs can't do magic, they can only try to get close. This is not CSI, this is the REAL WORLD.

Perhaps your images don't have much fine detail or you don't look close enough. The difference at 150ppi is there, and is not so good.

I don't think there is any issue uploading even 200MB nowadays. It only takes a few cups of tea to wait.
Where did I mention sharpened lossy jpegs? You don't understand resolution if you think that. For images where you have the reolution, go for 300ppi by all means. But if you are interpolating for large images you are likely losing out on fine detail - ;) No need to be personal in your replies please - you lose credibility!

Why would you upsize is my point - you don't NEED to.

As David noted why send a huge RAW file? 200Mb is a MASSIVE file!! It;s wasting your time for no benefit and is wasting space on your hard drive and is wasting your labs time too!

The thing about larger images is that you view them from a distance - your eyes physically cannot pick out the detail at a few feet so you don't need to wast time interpolating. That is REAL WORLD.

Do you look at very large images up close? No you don't. You look at these from a few feet away - so resolution does not require to be 300ppi - that is real world - interpolating your images reduces quality so why do it? Let the lab handle it.

David's point aout a 100% crop at 6x4 is excellent.
This is tried and tested and not just by me.
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#9
Many labs ask for you to resize to the final size at 300 dpi as they don't have production software driving their printers (which is a bit like a RIP).... and some do this to ensure you are not sending 24 megapixel images for 6"x4" as that takes much longer to upload/render etc - and interpolating down can also cause a degredation of quality.

The production software used in our lab does a pretty good job of interpolation on the way up, so we are very happy to print from undersized files. If the file is very small there is software which does an amazing job of upscaling the file (genuine fractals) which is the best - but for most people, this is overkill.

If you are working from RAW files, and you are needing A3 sized you will get better results converting at the biggest size possible.

Also remember, however, that the larger the photo the further away people look at it. Billboard images are often images at 12dpi - but as you look at them from a long way off, they look perfect - but why not walk up to one and you'll see what I mean!

The simple solution is print a few and see - and cropping an area out and printing as a 6x4 is a very inexpensive test...
David why do you use the term dpi incorrectly?
 
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734
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David
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#10
David why do you use the term dpi incorrectly?
I quote the term as it is often used by most lab websites.

Using Photoshop the dialog boxes specify DPI not PPI, so for clarity I have used the same. Also as photoprinters used in labs are true continuous tone, the two terms are the same.

It's only printers such as inkjet that need to use a number of dots to create the tone that the number in confusing.

Considering the level of question, and they are talking of sending to a lab, it is rather academic!
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#11
I quote the term as it is often used by most lab websites.

Using Photoshop the dialog boxes specify DPI not PPI, so for clarity I have used the same.
David I guess you don't use Photoshop much? Ps has ALWAYS used PPI ever since day 1. Choice of ppi or ppcm (don't know anyone that uses ppcm). My point for clarity is exactly that - the term dpi is wrong when discussing a digital image.


Also as photoprinters used in labs are true continuous tone, the two terms are the same.
That's impossible Dave sorry. Contone printers print at a resolution of usually about 300dpi. Some of the expensive ones at a higher 600dpi.

I can still send my 150ppi image to be printed at 300dpi. THe lab's RIP should be able to interpolate better than Ps.

It's only printers such as inkjet that need to use a number of dots to create the tone that the number in confusing.
Again not the case. Even a cotone printer has to lay dots (albeit very differently).

Considering the level of question, and they are talking of sending to a lab, it is rather academic!
Yes off topic but relevant given the inaccuracies being posted.
 
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David
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#12
Apart from the fact I have lectured in Photoshop - used it since 1989 - I really don't know anything about it....

.... and the fact I have run an all digital lab since 1999 - have lectured for Kodak in Europe to other lab owners and have attended PMA and lectured there...

... and am a beta test sight for the lab production software used in a couple hundred labs..

... I obviously know nothing.

Thank you for putting me right! ;-)
 
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#13
EOS-JD...

My answer to JPWILD was written at the level he can understand.... your reply is technically correct, but can also be considered academic, and therefore confusing.
A bit like correcting a child who says the sky is blue... and saying it's actually PANTONE 223 (and before anyone corrects me - I made up that number!)

Originally Posted by snappingsam
Also as photoprinters used in labs are true continuous tone, the two terms are the same.
That's impossible Dave sorry. Contone printers print at a resolution of usually about 300dpi. Some of the expensive ones at a higher 600dpi.
Much like someone who refers to filmspeed as ASA, it's now ISO (and is fractionally different by 1/3 stop) , but in the real world the two numbers mean the same... The same can be said of DPI and PPI when it comes to a con-tone image.

Printers like the Fuji Frontier and Noritsu, which write with a lazer onto silver halide paper are still technically laying down dots, but since the dot is so fine, and the resolving power of the paper often limits the resolution (much like the Nyquest frequency on a sensor) to the human eye it is continous tone. Get out a microscope and print on gloss paper and you might just see the dots or lines. Unlike virtually every digital camera each point on the paper has all three (RGB) values applied.

I can still send my 150ppi image to be printed at 300dpi. The lab's RIP should be able to interpolate better than Ps.
All depends on the workflow software used by the lab - and that's why many specify the images should be sent at the final printing size at 300 dpi (or PPI - but have a look through various labs to see which terms they use)
The labs software will do this much quicker than Photoshop. One of the main reasons some labs specify this is to stop getting 24meg files for 4"x6" prints! Also, now, many photographers has established workflows to create these files - which is why my lab has an options for customers to do this - and as these files will render much quicker at smaller sizes, we print them at a slightly lower rate.

Why would you upsize is my point - you don't NEED to.

As David noted why send a huge RAW file? 200Mb is a MASSIVE file!! It's wasting your time for no benefit and is wasting space on your hard drive and is wasting your labs time too!

The thing about larger images is that you view them from a distance - your eyes physically cannot pick out the detail at a few feet so you don't need to wast time interpolating. That is REAL WORLD.

Do you look at very large images up close? No you don't. You look at these from a few feet away - so resolution does not require to be 300ppi - that is real world - interpolating your images reduces quality so why do it? Let the lab handle it.

David's point aout a 100% crop at 6x4 is excellent.
This is tried and tested and not just by me
.

Exactly - we're singing from the same hymn sheet here!
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#14
Apart from the fact I have lectured in Photoshop - used it since 1989 - I really don't know anything about it....

.... and the fact I have run an all digital lab since 1999 - have lectured for Kodak in Europe to other lab owners and have attended PMA and lectured there...

... and am a beta test sight for the lab production software used in a couple hundred labs..

... I obviously know nothing.

Thank you for putting me right! ;-)
Glad I helped with that (y) you learn something new every day
 
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Jim
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#15
EOS-JD...

My answer to JPWILD was written at the level he can understand.... your reply is technically correct, but can also be considered academic, and therefore confusing.
A bit like correcting a child who says the sky is blue... and saying it's actually PANTONE 223 (and before anyone corrects me - I made up that number!)



Much like someone who refers to filmspeed as ASA, it's now ISO (and is fractionally different by 1/3 stop) , but in the real world the two numbers mean the same... The same can be said of DPI and PPI when it comes to a con-tone image.

Printers like the Fuji Frontier and Noritsu, which write with a lazer onto silver halide paper are still technically laying down dots, but since the dot is so fine, and the resolving power of the paper often limits the resolution (much like the Nyquest frequency on a sensor) to the human eye it is continous tone. Get out a microscope and print on gloss paper and you might just see the dots or lines. Unlike virtually every digital camera each point on the paper has all three (RGB) values applied.


All depends on the workflow software used by the lab - and that's why many specify the images should be sent at the final printing size at 300 dpi (or PPI - but have a look through various labs to see which terms they use)
The labs software will do this much quicker than Photoshop. One of the main reasons some labs specify this is to stop getting 24meg files for 4"x6" prints! Also, now, many photographers has established workflows to create these files - which is why my lab has an options for customers to do this - and as these files will render much quicker at smaller sizes, we print them at a slightly lower rate.

.

Exactly - we're singing from the same hymn sheet here!
David
Hope you didn't take my answer wrongly. I'm obviously nowhere near as experinced in the printing field as you - my basic level of knowledge gets me bye but it does slightly annoy me when dpi and ppi are used wrongly causing confusion.

but as you say I think we're both in agreement of most of the points (y)
 
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David
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#17
Just be glad you've got an ubergeek looking after the lab you use!
 
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Jim
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#18
Just to add my 2p's worth EOS and David... I did not understand a word of it all!
Resolution is actually very simple once you get your head around it. I used to think in inches and cm. Now I think in pixels and ppi.

Makes editing my images much easier knowing the number of pixels I want for a specific size of print and therefore I don't go sending 10Mb files (or larger) for a small 6x4. Even makes editing for the web simpler too.

But like David says, he knows all that's required and I know you use his lab so stick to the advice from him there and you'll be fine.

JD
 
OP
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#19
Thanks for all replies.

So upsizeing is bad? I can understand that. Question though now.

I have an image that I've cropped. The image is now measuring

3600 pixels wide by 1730 pixels high.

12 inches wide by 5.767 high.

300 pixels/inch

Obviously if I want that printed then 12 inches wide sounds good and is an accepted set size by the labs. However, what if I want this image to be 18 inches wide? That would mean it would be higher too.

What's the general way to get that to happen if resizing is considered bad in Photoshop.

I'm just trying to understand this better.

Thanks for help.
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#20
To get the image to 18" just lower the resolution.

PS = Print Size
Px = Pixels
R = Resolution

R = Px / Ps = 3600/18

Res = 200ppi

Image would be 18" x 8.65"

This does not involve resizing the digital image at all. THe only thing changing is the size of the print.

In photoshop the easiest way is to select the crop tool and enter "18in" in the width box. Drag the crop tool over the whole image and voila done. Do not enter a number in the resolution box. When you do that you are resampling the image - up or down..... Generally not needed.


Cheers
JD
 
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OP
OP
J
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860
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#21
To get the image to 18" just lower the resolution.

PS = Print Size
Px = Pixels
R = Resolution

R = Px / Ps = 3600/18

Res = 200ppi

Image would be 18" x 8.65"

This does not involve resizing the digital image at all. THe only thing changing is the size of the print.

In photoshop the easiest way is to select the crop tool and enter "18in" in the width box. Drag the crop tool over the whole image and voila done. Do not enter a number in the resolution box. When you do that you are resampling the image - up or down..... Generally not needed.


Cheers
JD
Thank you very much. I shall try that when I get home.
 
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#22
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My message:

Hello,

Do you print at 200ppi?

I have an image that’s 3600 pixels wide at 300PPI – 12 inches. If I set PPI to 200 then that allows me to have size 18 inch width.

Is this possible with yourselves?

Thanks for your help,

Regards,

Jon




Reply:


Hi,

It will only be 18" at 300dpi. If you size some thing 18" at 200dpi it will actually measure about 15", all ways use 300dpi.

----------End



Okay, now am confused. Anyone know of labs that will do 200PPI printing?
 
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734
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David
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#23
Many labs insist you size to the final size at 300 dpi.

The second lab you were thinking about is very happy with 200dpi! ;-)
 
OP
OP
J
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860
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#24
Many labs insist you size to the final size at 300 dpi.

The second lab you were thinking about is very happy with 200dpi! ;-)
I think I will use you :) I will look over your site again tonight and then on Tuesday make the order if I can sort out the sizes as I will be doing more photography this weekend.
 
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6,830
Name
Jim
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#25
Reply:


Hi,
It will only be 18" at 300dpi. If you size some thing 18" at 200dpi it will actually measure about 15", all ways use 300dpi.
Who sent that response?

Total nonsense!
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#26
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David
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#27
Nice image! Just about to be posted - but Bank Holiday might delay it.....
 
OP
OP
J
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860
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#28
Nice image! Just about to be posted - but Bank Holiday might delay it.....
Thank you. It's a local area near me.

Thank you for your help. I will be sending more to you over the coming weeks :)

Who sent that response?

Total nonsense!

Dscolour labs - that get mentioned a lot around here. They have also said that to get 300ppi that I need up crop it so that it's bigger.

Anyway, i've ordered from Sams site so see what happens :)
 
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6,830
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Jim
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#29
Resizing depends on the file you have and the size you want. I just don't see the point of it when I can get fantastic prints at mainly default resolution. 150ppi images look great to me and no different to resizing to 300ppi (which in many cases can degrade the image)
 
OP
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J
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860
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#30
Received imagesyesterday.Ordered two and received three prints :p Think I got a free one thrown in that's colour corrected, so thanks for to Sams's Photo Lab for that.

Think I had one done as 300PPI and other as 200PPI, and the quality on the prints is awesome. Very happy :)
 
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6,830
Name
Jim
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#31
Received imagesyesterday.Ordered two and received three prints :p Think I got a free one thrown in that's colour corrected, so thanks for to Sams's Photo Lab for that.

Think I had one done as 300PPI and other as 200PPI, and the quality on the prints is awesome. Very happy :)
What size of prints? and from normal viewing distance for the size of image can you tell any difference? I'd take a wee stab and say no difference. :)
 
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