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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 using a Macintosh, you have another option for creating a triptych and that is use Apple's Automator. Automator is built into the Mac OS. It's a program that lets you create workflows that can control other applications. By default, Automator does not let you control Photoshop, but if you go to my website, robotphotoshop.com, you can get a collection of Automator actions that let you drive Photoshop from Automator.
I offer two packages. One is free and the other is $20 and includes a lot of extra functionality. Now, you may think, why would I bother with using Automator to control Photoshop, when Photoshop has its own built-in actions? Well, Automator gets you some things that you can't do in Photoshop. First of all, I can control multiple applications from within a single workflow. So, for example, I could build a workflow that processes images in Photoshop and then takes the results and copies them to another server or drops them into InDesign or uploads them to an FTP site, so you can build very complex automations that span multiple applications.
Also, with my Photoshop action collection, you get these special filters that let you build workflows that have some logic in them. So you can say, take this batch of images and process images that have a certain aspect ration one way and a different aspect ratio another way. Or process images differently based on what size or orientation and so on and so forth. So those are some things that you can't do with Photoshop's built-in actions. And finally, I include actions for creating diptychs, triptychs, and contact sheets.
So I'm just going to quickly give you an idea of what it's like to work with Automator. I'm going to take these three images, and I'm going to drop those into this Automator workflow here. And then I'm going to tell it that what I want done with those images is I want them opened in Photoshop and I want them made into a triptych, and then I want that whole process rendered. Now I could do lots of other things before creating the triptych. I could have the images. I could Level adjustments on them. I can invert them. I can do Hue/Saturation adjustments, Blurs, Flips, all sorts of other things, the typical set of actions that you would find in Photoshop.
Anything that's scriptable with Photoshop's built-in actions can also be done here in Automator. And in fact, I can even trigger Photoshop's built-in actions from an Automator workflow. So, with all of that done, I would simply run the workflow and it will go to work. So what it's going to do is it's going to open them. It's going to automatically size the images for me, so I don't need to do any manual resizing stuff. It's going to build a new document and place everything on the page.
Now, it's not saving my resized images here, so I haven't actually done anything to these images. And if I go over here to my triptych, here's my finished triptych file, all laid out very nicely with separate layers. I have some other options. I can tell it to flatten the final image if I want. I can also have it close the original files as it goes, so those are left open. So that's a really easy way of making a triptych. Now what I can do to make this even cooler is I'm going to take out this action here which grabs specific Finder items and then I'm going to the File menu and choose Save As, and I'm going to tell it that I want to save this as an application on my desktop.
And so I might call this Make Triptych. And what that will do is that'll give me a little application on my desktop and at any time I can just pick up three images, drop them on that application, and I will get a triptych made in Photoshop. I don't have to actually run Automator or work with it that way. This is a very easy way of creating complex Photoshop automations and it allows you to make diptychs, triptychs, and contact sheets without doing any work other than just passing the images to the Automator workflow. Again, you can get these at robotphotoshop.com.
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