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Author Topic: Large Prints  (Read 7314 times)

awinphoto

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Large Prints
« on: February 24, 2012, 03:38:58 PM »
I know this topic is a sensitive issue with some photographers, and each has their own techniques on how they do this, so I'm just curious how each of you handle this topic.  I was trained and brought up in the early digital age that the magic resolution to print at was 300DPI and common acceptance was that you could always reduce an image file with little to no image quality loss, BUT, enlarging an image was questionable your basically making up information that isn't there.  I know and have seen people take photos from a 5d mark 2, 7d's, 50d's and even the 40 and 30D's and print 20x30's or larger.  What is YOUR technique to do such prints given that the 5d mark 2 native resolution when converted at 300DPI is only 13"x19" or the 7D's resolution is roughly 11"x16".  Do you interpolate the file so they are that size @300 DPI?  If so what program do you use?  Do you print at 150 DPI?  Have some other method?  Me personally I try never to print below 240DPI and if I need to, then I interpolate my image in photoshop.  What do you do to your files?
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Large Prints
« on: February 24, 2012, 03:38:58 PM »

sb

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 04:28:37 PM »
Funny, I just went through this last week for some billboard ad gig...

First of all - here is the ad I shot (this is just the photo without the text portion of the ad):

http://www.bn-photography.com/lifestyle/?p=3703

The required billboard size was roughly 10x10 feet, and I shot it with 5DMk2. The printing place required a PSD file @150DPI. Needless to say, 10 feet of width @ 150 DPI - you're talking about 16,000px+ horizontal resolution. So I up-sized my Mk2 file using photoshop's "bi-liner smoother" algorithm I believe, and dropped it in the 150DPI template file that the printing place provided. Then I sharpened the hell out of it.

The reason I figured I could get away without shooting medium format here is because 60% of the billboard real estate was taken up by text. So the dog artwork only needed to occupy about 40% of the 10 foot backdrop. Therefore I didn't need to up-size it more than about 200%.

Now of course, the 150DPI requirement helped out too. Such large prints are meant to be viewed from a distance, so you don't need anywhere near 300DPI at all. Of course if you were to come close to the billboard and pixel peep, it wouldn't look all that great, but that's not normal viewing distance, so it doesn't matter.


distant.star

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 04:47:05 PM »

That's a great image!

I rarely print, and almost never large, so I'm looking forward to reading an interesting discussion on this topic.

Thanks!



Funny, I just went through this last week for some billboard ad gig...

First of all - here is the ad I shot (this is just the photo without the text portion of the ad):

http://www.bn-photography.com/lifestyle/?p=3703

The required billboard size was roughly 10x10 feet, and I shot it with 5DMk2. The printing place required a PSD file @150DPI. Needless to say, 10 feet of width @ 150 DPI - you're talking about 16,000px+ horizontal resolution. So I up-sized my Mk2 file using photoshop's "bi-liner smoother" algorithm I believe, and dropped it in the 150DPI template file that the printing place provided. Then I sharpened the hell out of it.

The reason I figured I could get away without shooting medium format here is because 60% of the billboard real estate was taken up by text. So the dog artwork only needed to occupy about 40% of the 10 foot backdrop. Therefore I didn't need to up-size it more than about 200%.

Now of course, the 150DPI requirement helped out too. Such large prints are meant to be viewed from a distance, so you don't need anywhere near 300DPI at all. Of course if you were to come close to the billboard and pixel peep, it wouldn't look all that great, but that's not normal viewing distance, so it doesn't matter.
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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 04:57:04 PM »
Agreed.  I've been meaning to ask about this topic for a while as well.  Doing some limited research I'm getting the sense that for most things you can get away with doing a lot less than 300dpi depending on viewing distance.  I'd love to hear the limits everyone uses and the workflow you use to get the best results.

Eric

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 05:27:51 PM »
For what it's worth, I was taught that when up-res-ing in Photoshop, you get better results by increasing the resolution in multiple small steps instead of just one big jump to your final resolution. Some searching online could probably  validate or discredit that.

colin1984

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 05:40:03 PM »
So i´m not a Profi with this DPI thats some kind of logical thing, and this i can´t copy very well, just like calculating with variables, so one time about 3years ago and my EOS400D i went out to a sunflower field took some photos, send that to posterjack, for a size of 100cm x 70cm As far as i remeber I don´t see pixels infront of a half meter or so, it looks well and sharp,

So this went on, my lightroom or photoshop ever told me my Pictures are good for size 130*90 or so, than i make this russian Flash with and since that Lightroom and Photoshop tells me my pictures are max Size 30 x 45 i dont know why and also for my 7d it isn´t larger altough the pixels are higher than 400d don´t know why this is so but i know it has to do with the dpi, but why it changed from yesterday to today i havent figured out,

But back to topic

as i said I´d never had a problem with 100x70 with my 400D

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awinphoto

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 05:43:21 PM »
For what it's worth, I was taught that when up-res-ing in Photoshop, you get better results by increasing the resolution in multiple small steps instead of just one big jump to your final resolution. Some searching online could probably  validate or discredit that.

I think, in theory, that has the potential to work cleaner, IF, you sharpen along the way.  I believe if you take an image, increase it 200%, sharpen, increase by another 200% sharpen, etc... you may get a better result than if you took an image and ask photoshop to enlarge 400% in one go.  While I never have shot for billboards, the largest I shot for was a tradeshow booth mural which was 10 feet by 3-4 feet tall (photo blended into graphic design display that went 8 feet tall.)  It was also printed at 150 DPI, but I was paranoid enough when doing it in which I set it up on a stage, everything was still life, no moving objects, shot telephoto to crop it in and basically shot 7-10 images overlapping 50% or so and in photoshop, create basically a large freaking panorama which file size, almost crippled my computer.  But with my calculations, with the increased horizontal pixels and such, printed at 150 DPI, gave me a native file without enlarging it, to fit the booth as is. 

The one thing I'm still trying to grasp is exactly how much people are willing to enlarge/deduce DPI IF lets say you are wanting to print a large wall photo for a client or lets say a friend or your house where you know to view the entire piece you have to be back a bit, BUT, want maximum quality. 
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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 05:43:21 PM »

DBCdp

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 06:27:08 PM »
I just bought On One Perfect Resize 7 (Genuine Fractals 6 was it's predecessor) for upsizing large prints. They claim resizing with clarity up to 1000% but I haven't tried any prints to verify that. I do intend to try something in the 4'x6' size though, so will let everyone know when I get that result.

awinphoto

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 06:39:49 PM »
I just bought On One Perfect Resize 7 (Genuine Fractals 6 was it's predecessor) for upsizing large prints. They claim resizing with clarity up to 1000% but I haven't tried any prints to verify that. I do intend to try something in the 4'x6' size though, so will let everyone know when I get that result.

If you could, that would be awesome... or at least once upsized, crop out a screen shot at 100% so we can see really how clean it looks.  Thanks!
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RileyJoseph

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 06:43:00 PM »
I really have no idea as I did not print this image.. some ad company did that I licensed my photo to. But it shows how a file taken with a 10mp 40D can be cropped and printed to 16'x6' and still remain sharp. I was amazed when I first saw it in person the detail that still remained if you looked at the photo from 6'-10' away.

http://flic.kr/p/4nEGCc - Original

http://flic.kr/p/9XLcuz - The big as print

t.linn

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 04:28:42 PM »
I just finished viewing a 12+ hour training series on the process of printing.  (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/tutorials/camera_to_print_and_screen.shtml)  It was very comprehensive and I highly recommend it, even for experienced printers.  The training is done by Jeff Schewe and Michael Reichmann.  Jeff actually helped write the sharpening algorithms licensed for use in Lightroom 3 and 4.  He was also the author of the original article that discussed the benefits of enlarging images in steps.  It was because of this article that Adobe's Thomas Knoll reworked the resizing algorithms in Photoshop, making this process unnecessary.  (If memory serves, this happened around the time the first CS Suite was introduced so it's been unnecessary for a while now.)  Jeff is sponsored by EPSON and has been heavily involved in their printing workshops as well.  Of course, Reichmann operates the popular Luminous Landscape website.

All of the topics raised in this thread were discussed in depth.  I'll give the broad strokes of what was said.

1. Resizing in steps is no longer necessary as explained above.

2. Some input sharpening at 100% (at the original resolution) is always beneficial.  It compensates for the softening that occurs in every digital image due to the demosaicing process.  This is not to be confused with output sharpening which only happens at the time of printing or saving for display on screen.

The amount and type of output sharpening depends on the final use of the image.  Will it be on screen?  Will it be in print?  If in print, on what type of surface?  All of this affects output sharpening.  If you are printing or exporting out of LR, then LR adjusts the sharpening for you to compensate for all these factors—one of the benefits of using LR to print or export. 

If resizing in PS, sharpening along the way is also no longer necessary.  The resizing algorithms take care of this as well.  Three different algorithms (bicubic, bicubic sharper, bicubic smoother) allow you to vary the results to taste.

3. Printing at a preset DPI is completely unnecessary and resampling from, say 290 dpi or 310 dpi to get to a perfect 300 (or whatever) can actually degrade image quality (because of the resampling).  HOWEVER, upsampling can be beneficial.  Today's higher end printers can take advantage of high DPI files to print additional detail. 

The old rule of thumb was that if the print was between 180-480 dpi then do nothing.  Just send it to the printer.  The new rule is that if the DPI of the final print is less than around 300, upsample it by 50%.  If it is above 300, upsample to get to 720dpi (EPSON) or 600dpi (Canon, HP).  The difference is subtle to be sure but it can be seen upon close inspection.  Again, this can be done effortlessly when printing out of LR.  (As an interesting side note, it used to be impossible to print out of LR at a DPI higher than 480.  Schewe is the person who convinced Adobe's Eric Chan to get this limitation removed.)

4.  The goal of these techniques is to maximize image quality regardless of viewing distance.  At a reasonable viewing distance most of this stuff borders on imperceptible, particularly on matte art paper.  However, it remains current best practice.

Going back to this training series, one of the things I enjoyed about it is the "inside baseball" talk that you get because Jeff is so closely involved with the engineers at Adobe that develop Photoshop and Lightroom.  If you're interested in maximizing the quality of printed output (as well as minimizing the differences between screen and print) it is a great resource.

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 07:20:49 PM »
here is a link that adorama had about print sizing. Pretty basic info but it might help!   http://www.adorama.com/alc/article/Print-Sizes-AdoramaTV
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Eric

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 09:17:36 PM »
t.linn, thanks for updating my clearly out-of-date understanding on resizing!

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 09:17:36 PM »

jointdoc

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 09:21:38 AM »
I appreciate all this great input.  I downloaded the Perfect Resize 7 demo and tried it.  I initially tried using high resolution TIF files thinking it would give the best results but the software crashed frequently.  I tried jpeg and still had crashed but it worked better.  The end product did not look good to me so I used Photoshop CS5 and it worked great.  I did have to sharpen after upsizing.  Now I am going to be interested in seeing what the prints look like.
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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 10:31:24 AM »
Really, the only person who should be worrying about this sort of thing is the one who owns and operates the printer.

If you're not that person, leave well enough alone and don't touch a thing. You're paying the shop to get the best possible print out of that piece of equipment, so either trust them to do their job or take your business elsewhere.

In other words, don't do any resizing or final output sharpening or anything else like that. Leave all that to the pros.

Of course, if you have your own large format printer...well, in that case, what are you doing here asking for advice on how to get the most out of it?

Cheers,

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Re: Large Prints
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 10:31:24 AM »