ImageGraph Pro 300 A3 printing DPI from Capture One

Sep 5, 2018
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Greetings, I have the ImageGraph Pro 300 and some Canon FA SM1 A3 Fine Art Paper 310 g/m as a wee treat to myself to start getting images directly out from my Nikon Z9 to my wall without the fuss of sending them off.

In Capture One the default is to give me a A3 300 DPI 16bit TIFF file which I send to Canon's Professional Print & Layout application and then it wants a rather generous margin before printing. The quality looks rather great though not as rich and in your face as the sample pack of glossy (which is to be expected). My question then is are these the right settings for this paper? Do I need more DPI for the fine art paper?
 

Sporgon

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On some of the papers, including the rather good Fine Art Paper, Canon insists on a 25mm margin. I’m not quite sure why this is: @privatebydesign will be along to give you a work around no doubt. 300 dpi on the Canon is native print, so good. On smaller prints I often go to 600 though in truth there’s barely any difference.
 

privatebydesign

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Thanks for the mention @Sporgon but the truth is I have found Canon's Professional Print & Layout application rather buggy with the latest versions of my OS and PS so I don't use it anymore, I do everything to print direct from PS now. Because of that I don't think I have anything of value to add for a Capture One to Professional Print & Layout workflow.

Well maybe just a little comment on the paper. A fine art matte is never going to give the punch, detail, contrast and DR of a gloss paper. In general because the detail from matte papers doesn't match the contrast levels a glossy paper can have the required dpi for matte is lower than glossy. But these things tend to be very subject, detail, and tonal specific. It takes quite a while to work out what is going to work best or what you can expect from a paper and it really is personal preference.

What I would say is don't get bent out of shape about the minutia at first, just enjoy the printing and make notes to compare different prints. I highly recommend making test prints from test files ( https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/printer-test-images/ ) to set yourself baselines. Having the same image printed on several papers really can be very helpful and save you paper in the long run.
 
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Sep 5, 2018
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Thanks for the feedback. And aye I know gloss with always pop a wee bit more but I find it a wee bit to much at times. I'll probably end up with a wee mixture of glossy prints and matte prints and worry less about the settings.
 

LDS

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The quality looks rather great though not as rich and in your face as the sample pack of glossy
How did you sharpen for printing? I never used Capture One, matte paper may need a different sharpening than glossy for best results. If Capture One or Print & Layout have no specific settings, and require manual settings, there are tools like Nik Sharpener that can help, as they can compute the required sharpening automatically, output sharpening is quite deterministic.

300 PPI is usually fine for an A3 print, especially on a matte paper, I don't think you need more PPI. Fine Art Smooth should retain enough details with the proper image (you can find a review here: https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-fine-art-paper-review/) - but not all images look well on any paper.

The Pro 300 AFAIK warns you about the margins not set within its optimal settings, but unlike the previous models should print anyway when you press OK.
 
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How did you sharpen for printing? I never used Capture One, matte paper may need a different sharpening than glossy for best results. If Capture One or Print & Layout have no specific settings, and require manual settings, there are tools like Nik Sharpener that can help, as they can compute the required sharpening automatically, output sharpening is quite deterministic.

300 PPI is usually fine for an A3 print, especially on a matte paper, I don't think you need more PPI. Fine Art Smooth should retain enough details with the proper image (you can find a review here: https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-fine-art-paper-review/) - but not all images look well on any paper.

The Pro 300 AFAIK warns you about the margins not set within its optimal settings, but unlike the previous models should print anyway when you press OK.

I didn't do any kind of sharpening to be fair. I am exceedingly new at doing my own prints so I just exported the picture I was happy with and dragged this into the Canon Professional Print & Layout then hit print. The main things I am finding is that I need to adjust the contrast to get some deeper blacks. I did see I could go borderless but have been printing with the recommended border which matches the A3 mounting board I had pre-cut with a 28mm margin to give some overlap.

I don't yet know the science behind it, but the fox looked fantastic on the gloss paper(Canon 2768B017) and the robin on the fine art paper. I can't yet find a good combo for the fox on matte or maybe it just isn't suited to matte paper. And I did have some early issues that ended up that the paper was the wrong way around. I feel almost like I need to bump up the colours a wee bit for it to print well.

_DSC1731-tiny-web.jpg _DSC5151-tiny-web.jpg


The Canon tool does not seem to have any sharpening settings, only colour management with a pretty accurate preview (on my MacBook Pro's miniLED display at least, not so much on my main display). Am I looking to over sharpen the images? Is there some resource with some basic rules/guidelines to follow?
 

privatebydesign

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You should prepare the file sharpness in C1 at print size before sending to CPP&L. This is best practice.

If you print the same file at a different size it will need different amounts of sharpening, it is critical that you view the image at 'Print Size' magnification on your screen, which normally entails going into preferences and inputting your screen resolution to make sure the viewed magnification is true to the print size. Sharpening for print is very much a personal thing so play with those test prints. But once you get a feel for it the amount of sharpening will be fairly consistent for any given sized print size (subject to some image differences).

The best way to look at sharpening is a three stage process, first initial sharpening to counter the AA filter resolution loss, this is generally a per camera amount and global. Second is image specific this would generally be applied to the subject, your bird for instance, or the foxes face, to draw attention to that for the viewer, it tends to bee locally applied. Thirdly you have output specific sharpening and that is based entirely on the size of the final image, this is especially important for printing and is output size and paper specific, generally it is a global adjustment too.

As for the shadows, that is the skill of printing, Black Point Compensation, and doing tests with your printer to determine printable dark tones on your specific paper is paramount in getting satisfactory dark tones.

One of the best YouTube printers I found, Mitch Boyer, unfortunately closed his small printing business but he left his excellent printing video series on line. Highly recommend watch them all but this one on Black Point Compensation explains it far better and more succinctly than I ever could.

 
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privatebydesign

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Mitch has an excellent sharpening workflow too, it is tucked away in this video!

 

LDS

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I can't yet find a good combo for the fox on matte
Yes, I can understand that image with its large deep black areas is harder to print well on matte paper - and you might still not like the result because of the different black inks used.. In the review I posted before Cooper wrote "The softness of the paper works well with this shot, since the intense blacks I’ve seen with it printed on a glossy paper are just a bit too deep for my liking" - yet someone else could prefer the deeper blacks.
I have to admit that among the photos I took in a recent trip of mine to Doha, I printed many daylight ones on the Fine Art Smooth (and I really like the color and details it can deliver, being a matte paper), but preferred a semi-gloss paper for some nightscapes.

I feel almost like I need to bump up the colours a wee bit for it to print well.
That may depend on the difference between the screen(s) and the printer. Are you monitors calibrated? Using profiling tools can help a lot to reduce the number of test prints you might need - soft proofing (both in Capture one and Print and Layout) can be useful as long as screen and paper profiles are good enough. Test prints can be still needed, but i can become faster and less time and material consuming to obtain the desired print (repaying the tool as well) - anyway some skills and experience are still needed, a fully automated workflow is not available yet. There's a lot to learn.

Is there some resource with some basic rules/guidelines to follow?
I learn it reading "Real world image sharpening" (Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe), the authors were among the firsts to advocate the three stages sharpening workflow PrivateByDesign mentioned above. But that book is very Photoshop/Lightroom centric, and also now refers to old versions, although the concepts are still valid.