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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.
By now you should be comfortable with the idea that resolution affects print size. For example, as resolution goes up, print size goes down, because you're packing pixels closer together. You should also understand that as you interpolate an image upward, you run the risk of softening image or introducing other little artifacts that result from the upsampling process. The good news is that there's another factor that affects your perception of the quality of a print, and that's viewing distance. As you stand farther away from a print, you don't notice a certain level of detail loss or artifacting.
In general, you can assume that as print size goes up, viewing distance also increases. So if I make a 24 x 36 inch print, I'm probably not going to view it at arm's length. I am going to stand far away from it, at least several feet. From that distance, my eye will be very forgiving of detail loss. In fact, the only people who are going to walk up to a large print, stand a few inches away from it, and assess detail and resolution from there are printing nerds and geeky photographers, so you just shouldn't let those people into your house. A small image, an 8 x 10, one that you have to get close to to be able to see, needs a higher resolution than a large image that you view from far away. A billboard is probably the best example.
A billboard has a resolution of just two or three pixels per inch because it's designed to be viewed from a distance of a few hundred yards. Now, as I mentioned in the last movie, you'll ultimately be resizing your images to your printer's native resolution. So, in the end, all of your prints will have the same resolution. I am simply discussing viewing distance here, so that you'll understand that even if your camera has only, say, 12 mega pixels, that doesn't mean that you can't produce a large quality print. Yes, you'll have upsample to get a larger print and yes, that upsampling might result in a softer image, but because the print will be viewed from farther away, the resulting print will probably be fine.
Sizing, then, involves pixel count, resolution, image size, and viewing distance. Those are a lot of parameters to juggle, but don't worry; you're about to see an easy way to understand how they all interrelate.
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