Monday, August 20, 2007
Creative Photo Projects
Fun ways to put your photography to good use, from classic to high tech
Print A Poster
By Harlon Mitchell
Unless you're one of the lucky photographers with a wide-format printer, making big enlargements means working with a digital lab. When printing a poster or an enlargement, keep in mind that an imaging lab can only reproduce what you send them, so it's important to have a properly adjusted image to send.
Make sure your computer monitor is color calibrated correctly. There's no point spending hours editing photos if what you see on your screen isn't actually what the prints are going to look like. Color calibrators like the i1Display LT from X-Rite (www.xritephoto.com) are relatively inexpensive and will ensure accurate and reliable color on your screen.
Resolution of your photos should be set at 300 dpi, and the size should be set at whatever size poster you want—16x20, 20x24 and so on. This could make the file size larger than 100 MB if you save them in TIFF or PSD format. If you mail a CD to a lab, this shouldn't be a problem. But if you upload photos to an online service, you'll probably want to save the files as JPEG and set the compression between 10 and 12 on the slider. That way, your files will be more like 25 to 30 MB.
This is more than enough for a great-looking poster and will speed the upload time, as will using a high-speed Internet connection like DSL or cable. Dial-up connections are impractical for this kind of work, and in many cases, your upload might even be timed-out of a lab's server because it's simply taking too long.
If your original image isn't big enough to be 300 dpi at your intended size, consider using onOne Software's Genuine Fractals 5 (www.ononesoftware.com) for resizing your photos. onOne recently showed us some large posters—measured in feet, not inches-made from images taken on a 3-megapixel camera. The quality was remarkable. It wasn't at all grainy or pixelated.
So regardless of your camera's megapixels, be it 3 or 10, Genuine Fractals 5 will ensure your posters have absolutely no loss in image quality—even if you want to enlarge them over 1,000 percent. The improved scaling algorithm lets you resize images in a single step with more than 70 size presets or you can select your own custom size. Even Photoshop files with multiple layers, including adjustment layers, nonrasterized text layers, smart objects, paths and alpha channels are supported.
Users can also access key variables in the scaling algorithm and adjust the amount of detail that's "pulled out" of continuous-tone areas, as well as how the algorithm handles edges and areas of high contrast.
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