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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.
In the last movie, you saw me trying to size this image to 8 x 10 and running into the problem of the image's aspect ratio. This image does not actually scale to a perfect 8 x 10 because it's too wide. This is a 3:2 aspect ratio, so it doesn't fit into a perfect 8 x 10 inch size. If I go here and set my Width to 10, my Height drops to 6.6. If you are building a custom mat, that's fine, but if you're trying to fit an image to a prebuilt frame or a prebuilt matte size, then you may want to go to a very, very specific size, and that might mean that you have to crop your image.
That's the only way we are going to get this image to fit in the size that we want is to drop some off the edges. There are a lot of different ways of doing this. The Crop tool is probably the one that immediately comes to your mind, but in this movie I want to show you a different way. Before we get to cropping though, I want to set my size properly. If I have my image set to 10 x 6, that's going to complicate things a little bit in my cropping operation, because my height is already too small. So I am going to go ahead and just put the smallest dimension at the size that I want. So we are going to make sure that Height is set to 8, so I can see that where I am probably going to want to crop is off of my Width.
Now I could do a more complicated crop. I could actually come in here and crop whatever I wanted out of the middle, but my goal here is to take just as little as possible out of the image. I want to preserve as much of the image as I can. So I am going to keep the full height and take some off of the edges. This is also a case where I can afford to lose some things off the edges because there's not as much interesting or relevant image data. There might be other times when you need to crop differently, crop the tops and bottoms or crop maybe in an L-shaped, take some off the top and some off of one side and leave the other edges alone.
I am going to say OK and go up here to Image > Canvas Size. Canvas Size gives you a way of cropping, and what I like about it is its kind of an automatic way of cropping. If you're needing to very quickly go through a bunch of images and chop them down to a particular size, Canvas Size is probably a faster way of doing that than the Crop tool. What I can see here is the size of the total canvas that I've got here. In this case, it matches the image size. So I am just going to knock width down to 10 inches. The question is, where is it going to chop those extra 2 inches off of? That's controlled by this Anchor mechanism here.
Right now, it's saying that it's going to anchor the image at the center and take off space around the edges to get my canvas down to the size that I want. So let's just watch what happens if I hit OK. It's warning me that the canvas size is smaller than where I'm starting, so clipping, or in this case, cropping, will occur. I am going to tell it not to show that to me again. And there, you can see what happened. Let me undo that. Before, after. So it's taken it just right off the edges. Again, this is a really quick way of just getting a center crop.
You can even store this is an action and batch process it on images if you needed to. But let's consider something here. This is just black over here. This is actually some wood texture over here. I am losing equal amounts of both. But I wonder if maybe the wood texture is a little bit more interesting. Maybe I should try and preserve and just lose some of this empty black that I have got over here. So I am going to up here to Image > Canvas Size. I am going to set my Canvas Size back to 10, but this time I am going to anchor over here.
So this is telling me that all of the information that's going to be lost is going to be coming from the left side, so when I hit OK, aha! Now I get this. Before, after. If you watch this space in here--take note of all this detail here--you can see I haven't lost any. Over here, you can see there is this curtain and a little bit of window. That's all going away. It's taking a full 2 inches off of there. So that has done what I was hoping would happen. It preserved this at the expense of the stuff that was over here. But I think I actually like the center crop better because it left the hands in the middle of the image, and this image was composed around the hands being a strong central element.
So I think if I was going to crop this way, I would keep my center anchor point, dial in my final print size, and hit OK. Again, not a tremendous amount of cropping control here, but it's fast. If you know that all you need is to crop, say, a square out of the center of a bunch of images, Canvas Size is a great way to do it. Canvas Size is also a way that you can enlarge the canvas beyond the original size of your image, and we'll see some uses for that later in this chapter.
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