Photoshop for printing images

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Rob, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    Apologies for the length of this thread opening mail :confused:, but it's a pretty specific question!

    We have just been on a ukphotographs group model shoot in Brighton. The day was great fun and it's now time to print out the hard copies. On the day itself, we were shooting on many kinds of camera from 1962 Mamiya 645, through to Canon EOS30D, via 1980's Nikon. Lens lengths varied from 400mm f2.8 to 50mm f1 and films and digital were of mixed brand and content.

    I'm going to be printing the better shots of the day on an HP Photosmart 7762 on HP Premium Plus Satin-Matt paper for the model to choose her favourites and (hopefully) get some orders for the reprints.

    My question is, given the above, are there any recommendations for improving printed images which aren't horrendously apparant?

    In PS 8CS which is my modus operandi for such manipulation, I find that some things which look great on the screen/web such as Burn or Dodge or Blur; are very visible when printing out "enlargements" at A4 size. Cropping and Bright/Cont I can get away with, but any editing of the image, especially blurring the background, cloning and USM look really terrible when printed out!

    Does anyone do this kind of thing on a regular basis, and do they have any tips for colour photography home printing which will enhance the pictures?

    Any ideas will be welcomed and tried, please don't be afraid to speak up! I'll be printing at about 7pm GMT - so I'll post some examples if anyone is interested?

    Thanks for reading this far!!

    Rob
     
  2. Rogue Monk

    Rogue Monk TPF Noob!

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    A lot of these setting are best used subtly. Bright/Cont isn't the most elegant way of adjusting shadows and highlights. Try Levels, Curves, or even the new Shadows/Highlights adjustment (which I heard works excellent). A trick for USM: when you have the USM dialog open, adjust for the full sharpen that you want, but don't click OK. Instead, once you know the settngs, pull the "Amount" slider back to 30% of your required sharpen and hit OK. Then, go Filter>Last Filter to more times. You get the effect of your full sharpen, but not quite so apparent. Blurring is a finesse that is best learned through experimenting. You can try using a similar technique to the USM one above. This time, use the full blur (guassian blur if you aren't already) that you require and hit OK. Then, repeat last filter, but cut the radius in half. And one last time, repeat the filter with half again (ie. start with 80, then 40, and last, 20). I find this helps remove most of the immediate "grain" that I get off of on blur alone.

    Editing models is a tough business (which I'm not in, by the way). There are tutorials on the net for this sort of thing and a book called "Photoshop CS, The art of photographing women" which might be of use if you plan to do this on a regular basis.

    Outside of that, unless there are major imperfections, I'd worry more about colour balance and lighting. Blur the background with DOF--it'll look more natural. Make-up (used properly) is the great concealer (women even have a type of make-up called "concealer") and can hide most anything.

    Try both CMYK and RGB when printing. Most consumer grade printers actually work better if you print in RGB.

    I haven't tried it, but I've read that infrared film is an excellent way of doing B&W portraits and eliminating blemishes and such.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    If your edits are noticeable in print, you should be more careful when doing them, and as Rogue Monk said, more "subtle". Things like blurring a background rarely ever come out good, because you have such a harsh line between subject and background. The best way to handle this is naturally with dof. For cloning, always work on a duplicated layer, and blend things at a low opacity, slowly. I almost never use the clone too at 100%. If your cloning is too harsh, lower the opacity of your layer to blend it into the original.

    There are so many different settings for USM, it's hard to say what is right. Every image needs a different treamtment. If you use too much however, you'll get halos and sharpening artifacts. No amount of USM can make up for an unsharp photo. If your photo was shot sharp, it will only need a little bit of USM to make it pop.
     
  4. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb TPF Noob!

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    Good advice above.

    From experience in making enlargements of pictures that have been manipulated you need to remember that any small imperfection in your manipulation techniques will be magnified with the enlargement.

    So careful and dilligent adjustments need to be made for them to work well.
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Matt and Monk... I've managed to get some acceptable prints out. My knowledge of PS is reasonably basic and I probably have a bit of a china-shop/bull relationship with the tools! I really struggled with digital artifacts - especially in blue skies, but the end result was well worth it.

    Thanks

    Rob
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    It's easy to see noise in a bright sky if you have tweaked the levels or colors of it significantly. I find it useful on an enlargement to duplicate your background layer, apply a 6 pixel gaussian blur, and reduce the layer opacity to anywhere from 20% - 50%. Mask off the bottom of the photo so just the sky is affected.

    This light blur will smooth some of the noise or artifacts, while retaining the sharpness of the underlying layer, which bleeds through the low opacity. It's also very good to do to soften the skin on a portrait. If you do it to a face, be sure to mask off the eyes, eylashes and browes, and nostrils and mouth, to let the definition through.
     
  7. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    i find that when cloning, burning etc it's better to use a small brush size and work at as large a percentage magnification you can.
    Little and often is far better than making large or long sweeps with the brush. I often work on a duplicate of my original and save every few steps aswell. if, when i'm finished i'm completely happy i'll save and overwrite the original.

    It's also helpful to reduce the "hardness" of the brush. that way your edited area sort of merges into the existing area.
    Cloning is very dependent on finding an area that is VERY similar or identical to the target area otherwise it stands out a mile....sometimes the heal option is better but it depends on what you're cloning/healing
     

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