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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.
After the last few movies, you should be beginning to get comfortable with the idea of resolution and pixel counts. We're about to get to the actual Photoshop process of resizing an image, but before we do, we need to talk about where resizing fits into your workflow. Earlier, I explained where I think printing should fit into your overall postproduction workflow. You start by performing the edits that you need to get your image looking right onscreen, then you move on to printing, which includes applying the adjustments that are needed to get the image looking good on paper. You perform these resizings at the beginning of the printing process.
As you've seen over the last few movies, resizing might involve the removal of pixels from your image and once those pixels are gone, they're gone. Now over the long hall, you may choose to print your image at lots of different sizes. Perhaps you give someone 8 x 10, and they like it so much they come back saying they want something poster size. If you preserve the original edited image at full pixel count--that is, the image that has the edits that get it looking good onscreen--then you'll always have a master version that you can resize to any size that you want without having to perform those first edits again. Remember, shrinking an image can require the elimination of pixels, and resizing upward can require making up new pixels, which might not always be so accurate.
So we want to keep that original master image so that we always have one copy with the best possible quality. We perform resizing at the beginning of our printing workflow because sometimes resizing will result in a change in contrast in your image. As you reduce an image, contrast can sometimes just slightly increase, because intermediate shades along edges are going to be eliminated. Similarly, as you enlarge, you might see a slight reduction in contrast. Your image will become a little more diffuse. We don't want to perform contrast adjustments, get them just right, and then resize and see contrast go up or down, so we resize before we start our printing edits.
Also, the sharpening settings that you're going to apply are configured for a specific print size, so we need to be sure that we've resized before we apply any sharpening. Therefore, we can now expand our printing workflow to, say, initial edits onscreen, then resize, then apply edits for print. There is also going to be a sharpening step that we'll add in there afterwards, and we'll talk about that later.
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