Question regarding image size and printing. Help

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Iconindustries, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    I have a quick question. I print the majority of my photos in 4x6 and I read somewhere in a book regarding the image size (resolution ) which affects the outcome of the final print. Now I know that sounds pretty logical but what the book was saying was completely opposite to what was logical. It was saying that having the highest possible resolution can actually make the image look not as sharp (when printing small).

    What is the truth of the matter and what should I do? What would be the best setting to export my files.


    cheerio,
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  2. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

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    i'm interested in this as well
     
  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

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    I don't know if this will help but:

    Clearing up the myth of higher resolution, shot discipline and image quality once and for all

    His observation No. 1 about downsizing may be part of the answer if you're downsizing and printing at 300 dpi. At 300 dpi, a 6" print equates to an 1800 pixel width, less than half the pixel width of an M43 image and also an uneven fraction of the full image width in pixels.

    Of course I could be completely wrong since I have no idea what you read, but Ming Thein put this article up on his blog overnight and I just read it this morning so it was fresh in my mind when I read your query.
     
  4. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    Thanks and David. The link is a great read but it doesn't really touch on what reslution to print. Maybe I'll have to experiment.
     
  5. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

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    I don't print but I remember seeing something in one of the books on Lightroom I've been reading saying you should print at a resolution which is native to the printer but at least 300 dpi, for some printers that means 360 dpi, and let Lightroom do the scaling to that resolution. Don't know if you use Lightroom, and also don't know if I'm remembering everything with complete accuracy. I kind of glossed over it since it isn't immediately relevant to me at the moment. One of these days I should get around to printing again. The last time I printed was in a wet darkroom using a Durst enlarger, Schneider lens, and lots of chemicals sometime around 40 years ago. I don't think I'll go back to that even though it would let me avoid all those fancy resolution issues.
     
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    Printing is broken into two major parts. The file size and the printer resolution. You can't do much about the first but generally speaking you want to have a resolution that exceeds the human eye at the intended viewing distances. At a couple of feet that's around 200dpi. More resolution can be good. We can recognise it's there but we can't render the additional detail. 200dpi is enough for normal prints.

    Printer resolution is directly related to the native dot pitch of the printer. For example an Lambda printer prints at 400ppi, so that's what you should give it. An Epson inkjet prints at around 1440ppi (don't confuse ppi and dpi). That's the nozzle spread. The printer resolution is a divisible of that. 360 dpi is recommended by many. Canon printers apparently use 300 dpi, but I don't own a canon printer.

    So if the file can produce a file "natively" at the priner resolution and size (say a 10" print on an Epson @ 360 ppi) then just use that. If not then as long as you exceed the resolution of the eye (between 180 and 240 dpi- yes that "retina" stuff from Apple isn't real) then you should interpolate the file up to the native printer resolution for best results (360 for Epson and 300 for Canon, 300 for most mini labs and 400 for a Llambda) you "should" get the best file, if you also sharpen appropriately.

    For the record the LR print module does all of this on the fly and modern print drivers do a very good job of coorecting you "mistakes" In the real world sending a 300 dpi file to an Epson doen't make a huge amount of difference.

    Gordon
     
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

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    Yes, this all makes sense. I have just bought a printer and started printing so I have gained a bit of 'internet' knowledge without actually knowing much.

    Things have probably progressed a bit of the numbers above. The Canon I bought 9500 has a 4800 x 2400 dpi nozzle and prints at 600dpi. The top of the range Pro 1 prints at 1200 dpi. The '300 dpi' rule is there because it is generally accepted that if you print at any higher resolution you cant make it out with the human eye in any case.

    However, I dont think the resolution of a print determines how sharp it looks when printed. I have 'Nik Sharpener Pro' which sharpens for 'print'. You input the 'size' you are printing (say 4x6), type of printer (say inkjet) and its resolution (4800 x 2800) and it 'sharpens' the details in the photo. (For viewing on your monitor you would generally regard the resulting output as overly sharpened.)
     
  8. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Super Moderator

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    my nose bled :confused:
     
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    Absolutely. But your canon printer is still working in multiples of 300ppi versus an Epson which uses multiples of 360ppi. If you give your Canon printer a 300ppi file it'll do a pretty good job of interpolating to 600 or even 1200 ppi without much help from you. Give it a 360ppi file and the interpolation may suffer, although the differences in modern printers would be slight. If you sent a 300 ppi file and then the same file at 600ppi it would be quite difficult to notice ant differences, although they may exist, unless there is actually data available from the sensor at that larger size.

    LR does the same thing with it's output sharpening as Nik sharpener. It uses the printer resolution and the file size to determine appropriate sharpening. When I first started printing digitally, well before capture/effect and output sharpening were even an idea, we were taught to make things look a bit "crunchy" on screen to get great sharpness in print.

    Gordon
     
  10. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    What a stupid comment. Why bother? Were you at altitude or something?

    The OP asked about resolution and printing, or did I miss something?

    Gordon
     
  11. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Super Moderator

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    my nose bled -- it was all jargon to me and had to read it a couple of times... ppi, dpi, interpolate, native dot pitch, etc.... it was too complicated for me.





    from urban dictionary

    4. nose bleed:

    when you are speaking in a different language rather than your native and you are running out of words.
     
  12. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

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    Interesting, this is the first time I've heard that expression. I wonder where it comes from...
     
  13. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    Thanks Guys we're on a roll. It's amazing how a simple question can be so complicated when you really delve into it aye. I use aperture and this is what comes up when i go to export.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/8160821872/" title="Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 9.52.37 PM by iconindustries, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="651" alt="Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 9.52.37 PM"></a>


    So which and what should I select?



    .
     
  14. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

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    Thanks for the explanation Gordon ... although I got somewhat lost when you started talking about PPI without really talking about it (if that makes sense at all). How does PPI (pixel per inch) relate to DPI (dots per inch) on a lab print, for example? From what I read, PPI is used on how the image is scaled on a monitor for viewing, since the monitors are measured by pixels.

    So I am still a little confused. Let's give a bit of a real life example, maybe you can fill the gap ... how would I export a this image @ 4576 × 3056 to the following sizes

    4 x 6
    8 x 12
    24 x 36

    thanks a lot! and pay no mind to Adubo, I'm sure he's just kidding around :smile:
     
  15. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

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    Yes it doesnt really surprise me that LR sharpens for print as it sharpens output for the web pretty much automatically too. But I think this comes back to the Op's basic question about resolution. Namely that bags of dpi from her camera and bags of dpi from her printer will not necessarily result in the sharpest of prints - because all that detail rendered so well will appear 'soft' to the naked eye on a '4x6' print. And a '4x6' print would need more sharpening than an A4 print I would imagine.

    So it maybe what the 'Op' is looking for is not reducing resolution but 'sharpening' from the existing resolution in order to get the 'sharpest' print output. By the sounds of it, if you have a program like LR, it will do it for you by default.
     
  16. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    It depends. What do you want to do with the exported image? If this is about printing to a Canon printer, then I don't think you want to export at all. I don't use Aperture, but does it not have the ability to print directly from the program? That would probably be your best choice.

    If there's a reason you need, or want, to export a file and use a different program to print it, then again, it depends. If you're going to use Photoshop to print, export as PSD, original size, 16 bit, and let Photoshop do the resizing to print. If not Photoshop, export as TIFF, original size, 16 bit. All of the other options are using compression, or throwing away bits, which may be visible in terms of lost sharpness, loss of color, or artifacts in the print. One possible exception. If you know you're going to print small, you probably won't lose anything by exporting at 50% of original size. But unless space is a real premium, I'd choose original size and let the print driver or printing program do the resizing.
     
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  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

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    Printer resolution is measured as Screen Frequency (lpi, or Lines per Inch), which is not the same as image resolution (ppi or Pixels per Inch). This determines the number of halftone cells per inch, which varies depending on the type of stock used and the size of the print. Porous stock like newsprint uses a low screen frequency or the print will blot on the paper and run into itself. Large format also uses an even lower screen frequency because the expected viewing distance is very far and so even more porous stock is used (like vinyl canvas). A person backs up to see the entire image in his filed of view, so the image does not need to come together at close range.

    Image resolution is related but not the same as printer resolution. A printer will need 1.5x to 2x its screen frequency in resolution from the original file. So if you're printing on newsprint for instance at 80 lpi, then you need at least 120 ppi with an optimum of 160 ppi. If you're printing on glossy magazine stock, an older printer may still have a line frequency of 133 lpi. That means your minimum image resolution is 200 ppi, with an optimum resolution of 266 ppi. However, many printers now use a 150 lpi frequency for glossy stock, meaning a minimum 225 ppi and optimum of 300 ppi. Digital printers tend to have much finer requirements than offset printers, with some digital printers asking for 400-450 ppi files.

    If in doubt, always ask your printer. They will tell you the same thing (ask us first).
     
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  18. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    Can I answer "none of the above" neccesarily. Most of those options describe file compression and bit depth, which are important but not directly related to output resolution.

    Ned said "ask your printer". As usual, he's given good advice. A good printer will give you all the information you need (resolution, colour space and bit depth and maybe even a profile to look at). But for places where they don't know (monkeys at the local mini lab) stick with the following....

    Mini labs: highest quality jpeg files at 300ppi (ie: for a 6x4" print a file of 1800x1200)
    Canon printers: TIFF file 16bit at 300ppi
    Epson Printers: TIFF file 16 bit at 360ppi
    Llambda printers TIFF file 16 bit at 400ppi.
    HP indigo printers TIFF file 8 bit 300ppi.

    If you don't know the printer just stick with a high res jpeg at 300dpi. That's a safety.

    In addition it was mentioned above that if you're printing at home to let Aperture handle it. That's also good advice. It will handle all the file conversions on the fly, directly from the raw data.

    Gordon
     
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

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    Also... I don't know if this needs to be mentioned or not, but just in case...

    If printing from a home printer (ie, inkjet or laser), don't use CMYK color profiles. Your home printer doesn't use separations and doesn't like CMYK (it'll print very muddy colors from the CMYK gamut). Stick with RGB for anything digital (including the new digital presses which are now rampant). CMYK is for off-set press.

    I mention this because sometimes people research this stuff and learn enough about how printers and colors work to know that a physical print is laid out with CMYK colors, but they don't go further and learn that a home printer is optimized for printing off RGB profiles. Yes your home printer does use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks just like it says on your cartridges, but that doesn't mean you should be using CMYK color spaces for it.
     
  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

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    The whole ppi vs dpi vs lpi thing is me just being anal. The problem is that an Epson printer prints at around 5760 dpi and some Canons at 6000 dpi. But that's not the true output resolution as those are the individual droplets of ink that blend together to form larger "dots" (they're not dots, but that's a completely different topic). So you'll get a question like "My Epson prints at 2880 dpi, does that mean I can only make two inch prints?"

    ppi - pixels per inch. This is usually referring to the file itself based on the device it's going to (usually a monitor). It's kind of like a latent image because it's size is relative to the device it's going to. Send a 1800 pixel file to a 300 dpi printer you'll get a different sized image to the same file on a 72dpi monitor.
    dpi - dots per inch. a physical end product. A print or sometimes a screen /monitor(we could argue over that one). So "technically" you'd send a 300ppi file to a Canon printer but the printer would print the file at 3000dpi (actual dots of ink sprayed on to the paper).
    lpi - lines per inch. Used by half tone (offset) printers that lay down lines of ink onto a page. Usually most half tone printers are 150lpi. But they're "half" tone. So two passes are need for a continuous (full) tone image. Hence 300dpi is what comes out of a half tone printer and you'd deliver them a 300ppi file.

    Simply put ppi=input resolution and lpi or dpi=output resolution. But dpi gets used for everything by most. It's not a problem until you try to make apples=oranges. Then it's better to use the correct terminology.

    Gordon
     
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