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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DPP Solutions: Perfect Prints

Fine-art master John Paul Caponigro’s essential tips for print-making

7 Adopt A Flexible Workflow
Practice a workflow that will ensure that you get the highest quality precisely and efficiently, one that will allow you to modify your work in the future in the least amount of time, should new tools arise, new techniques be developed or your vision change. Stay flexible; use and know the difference between editing with metadata, smart objects, layers and adjustment layers. Adjust luminosity first, hue second and saturation third. Work globally before working locally. Memorize the steps you take and the order you take them in. Proceed in a logical fashion. Optimize. Softproof. Proof. Print. Make exceptions for good reasons.

8 Use A Preflight Checklist
Pilots and doctors use checklists. You should, too. No matter how smart or practiced you are, you’ll forget something. A simple checklist will keep you on track and make sure that important details don’t get overlooked. Using a checklist will help ensure optimum quality while saving you time and money.

9 Optimize The Data In Your File
Your print will be only as good as the data in your digital file. Printers will reproduce not only the great work you’ve done, but also the flaws you’ve left unaddressed. Learn to optimally process digital files. Set good black and white points. Optimize midtone contrast. Clear colorcasts. Enhance saturation. Avoid introducing posterization and excessive noise. Sharpen your images appropriately. Using brushing, selections and masking, you’ll find you can enhance your images in many ways, including and even far exceeding traditional methods of dodging and burning. Learn not only to do your images justice, but to breathe new life into them.

10 Prepare Your File For Output
A monitor is different than a print, so data that looks good on a monitor needs to be adjusted to look good in print. Softproofing will help you choose a rendering intent and make output-specific adjustments for your choice of paper, ink, driver, profile and rendering intent. Proofing will help you compensate for the rest—overinking, output sharpening, adjusting for scale and viewing light.

11 Sharpen Appropriately
Sharpen in a logical three-step process: capture, creative and output. During raw conversion, sharpen for input (lenses), avoiding artifacting. During image optimization, sharpen creatively for effect (often selectively). Before printing, sharpen for output conditions, taking into account printer, paper and size.

12 Print At An Appropriate Scale
You can’t make a poster out of a postage stamp. Don’t print images so large that flaws become distracting to the viewing experience. Choose an appropriate scale. Portraits in miniature offer very different experiences than life-size representations or larger-than-life murals. Choose a scale that enhances the statement of your images. Bigger isn’t always better.

13 Maintain Your Printer
Today’s inkjet printers need surprisingly little maintenance, but they still need a little. Learn to align heads and clear nozzle clogs. Ensure the data stream to your printer is fast and uninterrupted. Keep your printer clean of ink and lint. Maintain an average temperature and humidity. Do this occasionally, and color shifts and banding will become rarities for you.


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