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Thread: Tip size/quality print vs web

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Tip size/quality print vs web

    Hi,

    Once there's a particular shot I like I usually keep a 900x675 (I set the quality to 8 on PS while exporting the jpeg) for the web and then I keep a jpeg with maximum quality with the original size. I've never printed on my life but the other day I went to a friends' house and he showed me this book he had with many pictures he's taken over the years...it look very good and very pro with some photos taking an entire 4 page. What file size, format, compression should one use for this?

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Tip size/quality print vs web

    I usually use 300 pixels per inch (ppi) for prints. Some people use less. There are no hard and fast rules. So a 10" wide print would be 3000 pixels wide. On screen you need much less (like around 70 ppi is more common).
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Tip size/quality print vs web

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Hi,

    Once there's a particular shot I like I usually keep a 900x675 (I set the quality to 8 on PS while exporting the jpeg) for the web and then I keep a jpeg with maximum quality with the original size. I've never printed on my life but the other day I went to a friends' house and he showed me this book he had with many pictures he's taken over the years...it look very good and very pro with some photos taking an entire 4 page. What file size, format, compression should one use for this?
    I work with printed output every day (being a graphic designer and all) so here's a quick walk-through:

    If all else fails you can just use your max-quality file for print output, but it'll be easier to send out your files if you downsample them to the optimum pixel count for the printing process you'll use.

    To figure out the optimum pixel count, you need to know the dot density of the printing device. For continuous-tone photographic printers this is usually 300 printer dots per inch. For the "digital presses" used for photo books like the ones you can order from Apple (which look very nice if you prep your files properly) you can use about 200-250 printer dots per inch. If you're having your book printed by a commercial printer on an offset press, ask the printer to tell you the "linescreen" (typically for a book this will be 133 to 150 lines per inch) and multiply that figure by 1.5 (technically you should multiply by the square root of 2, but 1.5 is easier and close enough.)

    Once you know the print device's dot density, you multiply that by your printed page size to get the pixel count you need for a full-page photo. For example, if your dot density is 250 and you're printing a book with 9-by-6-inch pages, the largest image you'll need to make is 2,250 pixels x 1,500 pixels.

    You'll also want apply a small amount of 'unsharp mask' or 'smart sharpen' to your resized images, to compensate for the sharpness loss that happens in the printing process. Don't overdo this; use just enough to be perceptible when viewing the image at actual pixel size on your monitor

    File format and compression depend on your book printer. Usually, if you want to do a one-off book like your friend's, you'll be using special software supplied by the book printer; this will take care of saving the book layout in the correct format. If you're doing your own layout and having the book produced by a commercial printer, most can use PDF format with the "press-quality" output setting. If you're supplying your own photos for someone else to assemble into a book... well, purists like myself still prefer PSD or TIFF files, but most people will be happy (and you'll get good results) with JPEGs saved at about the 90% quality setting.


    Warning: There are multiple ways of doing this, and this discussion may well attract people who will tell you that everything I've told you is wrong and that the way you should do it instead is __________ [fill in the blank.] I do this every day and get paid for it, so I think you should believe me... but many of the other ways will work too.

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