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Preparing files for printing?

Discussion in 'Printing' started by MNm43, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Mar 19, 2014
    I was wondering what folks do to prep their files for printing besides the obvious cropping to the print proportions. I've had hit and miss results on both paper and metal when it comes to producing sharp, detailed images that don't seem to match the screen image. Do you folks resize the image at 300 DPI (so a 5x7 would be a 1500 x 2100)? Do you post sharpen (that is, after you do your usual sharpening of a RAW file for the screen) image before you output the print file? Using LR, do you use the output sharpening as well?

    I'm not talking about color here. The lab I use seems to get the color pretty close to what I expect. It's the detail and sharpness that I'm struggling with. Or are prints just not that inherently sharp compared to screen images . . .?
     
  2. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    One place I like (an artist's supply store) accepts TIFF files and they alter the DPI as necessary. They will also accept JPEGs but I like to have as much data available as possible.
    The other 2 labs I've used only accept JPEGs (both are camera shops). Their results look good but I wish they would use TIFF too.
     
  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I print my own and let the printer driver do the math. Not sure why you couldn't let a lab do the same...within reason. Over-sharpen what would be appropriate for screen viewing.
     
  4. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Mar 19, 2014
    Have you had the same file printed in both TIFF and JPEG? The lab I use only accepts jpegs as far as I can tell.
     
  5. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    Yeah, you have to experiment. I tend to bump up sharpness and contrast +10 on output after using LR's soft-proofing to match the printer's profile as close as possible. I also check to make sure I'm in-gamut so there's no clipping of the highlights or blacks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  6. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    No, I haven't. It might be worth a try because I don't typically do a lot of PP to my work.
     
  7. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    jpeg files are compressed and therefor lose resolution. You won't notice it if you're printing at relatively small sizes but if you enlarge to a great degree the difference in resolution will be noticeable between a jpeg and tiff.
     
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  8. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Anything above 300 dpi is overkill and will show no advantage when printed.
     
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  9. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    I don't believe you can tell a difference between a JPG and a TIFF when the JPG is saved out with a quality setting of 100%
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    If you print it large enough you can. I've seen it. JPG files are compressed even at 100% quality setting, otherwise there would be no need for the file format.
     
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  11. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    How large is "enough"?

    My understanding is that at 100%, jpg color information is lossy but resolution is unchanged.
     
  12. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    634
    Feb 25, 2017
    More specifically, jpegs use a YCbCr colorspace that's often subsampled at 4:2:0. This means every pixel has unique Y information (luminance) and Cb and Cr are indicated every other pixel both horizontally and vertically. This is the same basic luminance-chrominance resolution as a Bayer sensor and, at 100% quality, no quantization occurs. So loss is restricted to rounding in the maths underlying jpeg compression and decompression (the DCT-IDCT pair) which, in most implementations, is likely to be infrequent and introduce an error of about 0.2%. Since prints miss the last 1% or so anyways, this is insignificant and using 8 or 16 bit lossless is of no particular importance.

    If one's working with high resolution images or is particularly enamored of demosaicing the jpeg can be encoded 4:4:4, which includes Cb and Cr at every pixel. It doesn't seem to me this is something people check on often but, in general, I'd expect a reasonably well designed photo editors or raw developers to progress from 4:2:0 to 4:4:4 as the requested quality increases. I know GIMP defaults to 4:2:2 (which has twice the chrominance infomration of 4:2:0) and offers an advanced setting for subsampling which allows 4:4:4 as well as some other flavours.

    However, rather than take a moment to actually look, it seems to me it's often assumed losses in lossy codecs must be significant.
     
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  13. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    As I said before, you will need to compare a much greater enlargement in order to note a visual difference. If you're starting out with a raw native capture at 12" x 15" and want to print it 36" x 45" would you rather use the raw file saved as a tif or jpeg @ 100% quality? I know which one I'll be using.
     
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  14. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    And what's the size in MB of each of the three files?
     
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  15. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    And why is that?
     
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  16. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Those jpegs contain less information than the tiff, there's just no way around that and I'm of the opinion that less is not more in this case. They (jpegs) have their place but if you want the best quality print at very large sizes, including smoothness of delicate gradations I would stick with the tiff file format. And I don't shoot video, ever.
     
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  17. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Resolution in the sense that there's not as much information/data in the file. Yes, I understand the file will still have the same resolution value as it did if you were converting from a tiff file but if you're printing very large, lets say 30" and over with a 16 bit file in ProPhoto color space with a High Dynamic Range 11 color ink set you're going to want all that extra information/data to take advantage of that workflow, especially if there are large areas of smooth gradation in the image. Will the jpeg file produce an acceptable result? For most, probably. For the very fussy discerning artist, maybe not. My point is why not use the best available resource if you have the option? To me it's the difference between "good enough" and "best possible". As soon as you save a file with jpeg compression it's throwing away information, there's no denying that.
     
  18. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Excerpt from an article by Daven Mathies @ digitaltrends.com

    Screen shot 2018-06-14 at 3.17.51 PM.png
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
     
  19. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    302
    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Yes more than likely he will be fine.
     
  20. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, PNG files are lossless. Always.
     
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