How to cre­ate the per­fect print

From re­siz­ing to colour man­age­ment, we’ll take you through ev­ery stage of the process

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Set print size

Open print­ing_s­tart.jpg. Let’s make an 8x10-inch print. Click on Im­age>Size. Check the Re­sam­ple Im­age and Con­strain Pro­por­tions boxes. Set Res­o­lu­tion to 300 pix­els/inch (360 if you have an Ep­son printer). In the Doc­u­ment Size drop-down, se­lect Inches. Change Width to 10.

03 Re­sam­ple the im­age

Now look at the top line of the box – Pixel Di­men­sions: 15.4M (was 18.7M). This tells you that your im­age has been made smaller (see be­low). In the drop-down menu at the bot­tom se­lect Bicu­bic Sharper if you’re making your im­age smaller, and Bicu­bic Smoother if you’re making it larger.

02 Cut to fit

Now the Height is only six inches and we wanted an 8x10inch print. You could uncheck Con­strain Pro­por­tions and set the Height to 8, but this will stretch the im­age. You could crop some off the length of the im­age, or go with the re­duced height and trim the pa­per later. We’ll go with 6x10in.

04 Tidy it up

Now check and pre­pare the im­age for print­ing. Go to Layer> Flat­ten Im­age if you have mul­ti­ple lay­ers. If this is a black and white print, go to Im­age>Mode>Grayscale for the best neu­tral­ity and to avoid colour casts. Some prin­ters will only han­dle eight bits; if so se­lect Im­age>Mode>8Bits/Chan­nel.

05 Stay sharp

The last change to make to an im­age be­fore print­ing should al­ways be sharp­en­ing. This is a de­struc­tive step and is only ef­fec­tive at the cho­sen res­o­lu­tion. Se­lect Layer>Du­pli­cate Layer and click OK. Go to Fil­ter>Sharpen>Un­sharp Mask (En­hance>Un­sharp Mask in El­e­ments). Set Ra­dius to 1 pixel for print­ing when you’re at your printer’s na­tive res­o­lu­tion.

07 Set the Amount

Push Amount up to 200 and you’ll no­tice a halo ap­pears around the lamp post. You need to go down to about 15 to re­move it, but the printer is a very blunt in­stru­ment, so about 75 will be fine for most prin­ters. You may need to test this with your printer and pa­per com­bi­na­tion be­cause you want the crispest pos­si­ble edges but with­out ha­los. Hit OK.

09 Save a copy

Your file has been re­sam­pled and sharp­ened specif­i­cally for print­ing at this par­tic­u­lar size. For all other pur­poses the file has been ‘dam­aged’, so keep the orig­i­nal im­age as your mas­ter file in case you want to reprint it at a dif­fer­ent size later. To save the im­age now, make sure you use File>Save As, set For­mat to Pho­to­shop, and change the file­name.

06 Set the Thresh­old

Thresh­old de­ter­mines which pix­els/edges will be sharp­ened; the higher the num­ber, the stronger the edge has to be be­fore it is sharp­ened. Al­ways have Thresh­old at 2 or above (a set­ting of 0 will try to sharpen ev­ery pixel – it won’t be pretty!). Set it to 5 for this im­age. Zoom the win­dow to 100% and drag the thumb­nail so you can view a lamp post.

08 Add a Layer Mask

Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. Se­lect the Brush tool (B) and set Hard­ness to 0%, Size to 200, Opac­ity and Flow to 100%, and fore­ground colour to white. Brush over the pier edges, sup­ports and the shore­line, but not the smooth sky or wa­ter, as we don’t want to sharpen them. Pick Layer> Flat­ten Im­age and you have an im­age ready for the printer.

10 Print it!

Go to File>Print. There are two ways to han­dle printer pro­files: Printer Man­ages Colours or Pho­to­shop Man­ages Colours (in El­e­ments 9, click on More Op­tions first). If you’re us­ing your printer man­u­fac­turer’s pa­per and inks, con­tinue to step 11. Skip to Step 12 if you have an Ep­son printer, and if you’re us­ing third-party inks or pa­per, skip to Step 13.

11 Own brand pa­per and inks

If you’re us­ing your printer man­u­fac­turer’s pa­per and inks, se­lect Printer Man­ages Colours and choose Print Set­tings. In the printer driver choose Photo Print­ing, pick your Pa­per Type, se­lect High Qual­ity, then Pa­per Size and Auto Colour. Vivid Photo works well for colour­ful im­ages. Hit OK, then Print, and you’re done!

13 Third-party pa­per and inks

Go to File>Print and set the Colour Han­dling drop-down menu to Pho­to­shop Man­ages Colours, set Ren­der­ing In­tent to Rel­a­tive Color­met­ric and tick the Black point Com­pen­sa­tion box. Se­lect the Printer Pro­file for your pa­per and ink in the drop-down box. Hit the Print Set­tings but­ton to go into the printer driver. Ep­son users, skip to Step 15.

15 Ep­son driv­ers

Choose Best Photo, your Pa­per Type and Pa­per Size, then se­lect Ad­vanced and set Photo RPM. Set Colour Man­age­ment to ICM and se­lect Off (No Colour Ad­just­ment) – this is very im­por­tant! Turn off High Speed and Edge Smooth­ing for ut­most qual­ity. Hit OK, then Print. And that’s it, you’re done.

12 Ep­son prin­ters

Se­lect Printer Man­ages Colours and choose Print Set­tings. In the printer driver choose Best Photo, se­lect your Pa­per Type and Pa­per Size, then se­lect Ad­vanced and set Photo RPM and Auto Colour. Ep­son Vivid works well for brightly coloured im­ages. Turn off High Speed and Edge Smooth­ing. Hit OK, then Print.

14 Canon and other driv­ers

Choose Nor­mal Photo Print­ing, se­lect the Pa­per Type that your pa­per man­u­fac­turer rec­om­mends, se­lect High Qual­ity, pick your Pa­per Size, and go to the main tab. Click Colour/ In­ten­sity, switch to Man­ual and hit Set. Un­der the Match­ing tab in the Man­ual Colour Ad­just­ment, se­lect None – this is im­por­tant! Hit OK, hit OK again, then Print. You’re done.

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