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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the art and the craft of creating beautiful, archival-quality inkjet prints. The course looks at the anatomy of a print job: how a printer works, how to adjust and prepare your image to get the best results, and what happens to your photo in its journey from pixels to paper.
After a discussion of how to choose a printer, the course covers the process of preparing both black and white and color images using Adobe Photoshop. Ben describes how to take images from looking good onscreen to being properly adjusted for best results on paper, covering details such as sizing, sharpening, and color management.
With photographer and master framer Konrad Eek, Ben explores the creative decisions that photographers should address before printing. What size print? How does print size relate to the message of the photo and to the space where the photo will be displayed? What kinds of paper choices do you have, and how does your photo's content relate to the paper you choose?
The course also describes how to properly evaluate a print and how to handle common challenges that crop up during the printing process.
If you're working in Camera Raw, there's a very important raw setting that you're going to want to double check. This is an image you saw earlier when were sharpening, you saw the finished version of this image, this is my original raw file of it. And when I open it up, if I look down at the bottom here I can see that the camera has tagged it as an sRGB image, I didn't have my camera set properly. I can also see that it's currently being converted into an 8-bit image at these pixel dimensions with this resolution setting. I am going to click on this here, because I need to alter these workflow options, which is what Adobe calls this particular set of parameters.
First of all, my camera shoots 12 to 14 bits of data per pixel, that's a really nice big number, but as Camera Raw is converting it, it's chopping those done to 8-bit numbers. This does not affect my total range of colors, but it does affect the amount of intermediate colors that I have. That means that as I start to edit, I'm not going to be able to push my edits very far before I start seeing banding and skies and gradients and things like that, so I want to change this to 16 bits per channel. As long as you're shooting raw, you might as well work in 16 bit color, it's going to give you a lot more editing latitude than what you'll get in 8-bit color, and it's one of the great advantages of shooting in raw.
Color space, again, I forgot to set my camera to Adobe RGB, so it has come in tagged as Adobe RGB, so I'm just going to swap that out. Let's just take a look and see if that makes any difference. Watch the histogram here as I hit the OK button, and you can see my color is changed a little bit, my shadows moved in a little bit, my highlight is moved in a little bit that's because Adobe RGB is a bigger color space. My data doesn't fill as much of the space as it did in sRGB. That means I've got a little more room to stretch my tones out and get more contrast, so that's definitely something I want, I'm glad to have that extra space as I start editing.
And of course, as we saw in the last movie, I've configured the rest of my Photoshop color settings to work in Adobe RGB mode, so I definitely want Raw to match that. Look at these last few settings here, I can actually resize in Camera Raw, but I'm not going to. First of all, if I go up I have no control of how things are being interpolated. If I go down and then do a bunch of edits that I really like, then I performed a bunch of edits that I really like on a smaller image if I later want to print it bigger, I'm going to have to interpolate upwards that doesn't really make any sense, so I always leave this set on the native size that's the one that does not have a plus or minus next to it, this is what the camera actually captured, and I can scale up or down later as I see fit.
This Resolution setting is really just a convenience, it's a way of ensuring that my raw file comes in already set to a particular resolution. Since for the time being, I will be working on an Epson printer, I'm going to set that to 360 pixels per inch. Finally, if I want, I can have it apply some sharpening settings, of course, I prefer to sharpen after I've sized, so I'm going to leave that set to None. Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects tells Camera Raw to open the image as a smart object rather than a normal finished process raw file, this allows me to maintain a link back to these Camera Raw settings.
Smart objects are way beyond the scope of this course that you can find plenty of tutorial information about them in other places in the lynda library. The cool thing about these workflow options is once I set them they will stay that way not just for this image, but for any other images that I open in Camera Raw. So the next raw file that I open up will be processed as an Adobe RGB image at 16 bit color native size, and a setting of 360 pixels per inch, so it's very important to double check these. Again, you don't want to be going through the extra storage constraints and whatnot of raw, only to be getting an 8-bit image out of it, you might as well shoot JPEG at that point.
And of course, having this Adobe RGB color space gives me some extra room that's going to allow me to pull my tones farther apart, create more contrast and in general have more kind of color overhead to work with to get better color and more contrast out of my prints.
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