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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 have three images that you would like to present together, then you might consider making a triptych. A triptych is simply a single print with three images on it. A diptych is the same thing but with two images. You basically just take the three images and position them on the paper, usually in a straight line. There are several ways of creating a triptych in Photoshop. I am going to show you a really easy one that starts here in Bridge. I have taken my three images. These are three student images again, and I have already sized them. I have opened up each image independently in Photoshop and using Image Size, sized them to be 2 x 3 inches.
So they are all the same size. I have selected all of them here in Bridge. Now I am just going to go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers. That's going to take each of the three images and load them together into a single Photoshop document, one image per layer. Along the way, it's going to flatten the images so they don't come in with any adjustment layers or anything. And here's my finished document. You can see my Layer Stack over here in the Layers palette. If I hide the visibility of the top layer, I see the middle layer.
If I hide its visibility, I see the bottom layer. So I have got this nice stack of images here. So you can argue I've got three images in a document, it doesn't do me much good since they're all on top of each other. So what I need to do is move them apart. The problem is I can't move them apart right now and still be able to see them because my canvas is too small. So you should already have an idea about this: Image > Canvas Size, and now I can expand the size of my canvas. Earlier, we used Canvas Size to crop an image, but I can also do the opposite.
I am going to just enter in the final canvas size that I want, in this case 8 x 10. And here I am going to make sure that my anchor point is in the center. That means all of the new space that will be added to the canvas will be padded around the edges of where my three images are. So if I hit OK, I get this new document. Let me zoom out there. That checkerboard indicates transparency. Right now none of my layers have any solid pixels in these areas right here. They are completely transparent, so I see this checkerboard pattern.
That can be a little distracting. Let me just quickly create a new layer, move it to the bottom of my Layer Stack, and I am going to fill it white. It makes this a little bit easier to see. So, now I can simply take the Move tool, click on a layer, and then click and drag to reposition the image that's currently selected. Another trick you may not know about: if you hold down the Ctrl key and click, you get a pop-up menu that shows you the name of every layer that's beneath the current cursor position.
So I can very quickly say oh, I want to grab that windowlight layer and drag that, so there I am making my layer selection without having to go to the Layers palette. So I am just going to spread those out there. That looks pretty good. I think I might like a little more air in there, so I am going to nudge that to the right with the arrow keys a little bit. Ctrl+Click to grab that layer. I'll nudge to the left a little bit. I like that a little bit better. Now, if I was going to get really picky about this, I would turn on my rulers and drag guides out and measure the distance between the images to be sure that they are positioned perfectly symmetrically.
Before you define your triptych, you might want to talk to whoever is going to do your matting and framing and ask them if they want to cut a single window to go all the way around, or if they would recommend individual windows around each image in the triptych. If they do want to do individual windows, then you may need a certain amount of gutter space between each image. But nevertheless, that's an easy way to do a triptych. It's a nice way to present multiple images, particularly if you have a larger-sized piece of paper to print on.
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