Tips and Tricks

color proofing

I’m working on my first book.  I’m doing a 10×8 landscape hardcover book.  I’ve read around on the web, blogs, the forums here, and Sam’s posting about the ICC profile.  I got everything set up in Photoshop 7 and it all seems to work correctly but I have a few questions.

(1) Image sizes: should I crop and/or resize my images to the exact width x height recommended by the tool tip when I mouseover?

(2) DPI: I’ve read that the books are printed at 300 DPI. Do I need to save my images in Photoshop at 300 DPI, or will BookSmart automatically convert them to 300 DPI?

(3) I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT. All the photos I’m using were taken in the sRGB colorspace. I’ve looked at some of my images and the colors are brilliant. When I do the soft proof using the HP Indigo ICC profile though the colors become muted (kind of like an overall subtle grayness/dullness). I’m using all the same settings Sam suggested (perceptual, white paper, etc). I’m new to printing so I don’t know if this is what it should look like and is acceptable or if I should tweak the color more. Adding some saturation seemed to help but they still don’t look the originals.  If anyone has tweaks that they use for their photos while viewing the ICC soft proof, I’d appreciate your sharing them, particularly if you’re using a Digital Rebel XT.

Many thanks, 

Dewayne

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Posted by
gogators
Sep 16, 2007 6:20pm PDT
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gogators
 

Hi Dewayne

I find it best to create my pages in Photoshop at the exact size needed to put into a BokkSmart full bleed page. You should create your images at 300DPI/PPI in PS that will give you the best results.

The color proof does dim the image which gives you an idea of how the printed image will look, this type of printing will always look less radient than what is displayed on the screen, or what can be produced on glossy photo paper.

I wouldn’t get too hung up about it though as the results are normally very good, especially at the price. My last book was certainly not as crisp as what you see on a screen, but also not as dull as you might think by doing the color proof. I wouldn’t try and adjust for the difference until you have seen the results from your first book, you will probably find you don’t need to.

Louis

Posted by
PhotoLouis
Sep 17, 2007 3:57am PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

Hi Louis,

Please note that DPI is not the same format as PPI. Totally different format for that matter.

However, you are correct about 300 DPI is best way to create in Photoshop and then import them into BookSmart app.

Posted by
brianbonitz
Sep 17, 2007 7:02am PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Thanks Brian.

You will notice that in Photoshop when you create the image the resolution is specified as pixels per inch and not DPI. Most people tend to use the terms interchagneably.

Louis

Posted by
PhotoLouis
Sep 17, 2007 8:49am PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

What about question #1? Should this be done while also setting the PPI to 300? Or, is just setting the PPI to 300 adequate?

Thanks.

Posted by
timper
Sep 17, 2007 8:59am PDT
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timper
 

The best method is to do all your editing in Photoshop or whichever software you use. If you shoot RAW that is even better as the image will not degrade. Remember that every time you do something to a JPEG it will degrade.

My workflow is to shoot RAW, initial processing in Lightroom, further processing if neccessary in Photoshop. After this I use my own program (psAlbumHelper) to do the page layout for whatever publishing company I am using (psAH just fronends PS to make layouts & templates). The pages are then saved as PSD files and then converted to JPEG at maximum quality and then dropped directly onto a full bleed page in Booksmart.

Hope this helps,

Louis 

Posted by
PhotoLouis
Sep 17, 2007 11:31am PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

Hi Louis,

That is true. But it is sometimes very confusing for other people who are not familiar with highly technical stuff associated with DPI, PPI and Photoshop and what difference and all.

If I may add to Louis’ suggestion about camera native RAW format, understand that not all digital cameras support or create native RAW format. Other remedy is to store ALL of digital camera’s original JPGS to .TIFF, and put them in external hard drive and other backup on CD or DVD. More than one backups on external hard drive AND CD/DVD discs ARE always a good idea!

Hope that helps.

Posted by
brianbonitz
Sep 17, 2007 12:17pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

I wish someone would finally resolve this issue. I have been using photoshop for some time and I have yet to find a DPI setting. Most advice is to use PPI for DPI. It seems it would be a simple matter to tell exactly how and where to find a DPI diaglog box if Photoshop does indeed have this option.

Posted by
Vercingtorix
Mar 28, 2008 8:56am PDT
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Vercingtorix
 

Photoshop does indeed have this option. In Photoshop CS you go to the Image menu, then Image Size and you will see a Resolution box, in that you can enter the pixels per inch (or cm) that you require.

I suspect that it is in a similar place in Photoshop Elements, but I do not have a copy of that so I cannot check for you.

..........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Mar 28, 2008 10:26am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Right thats using ppi for dpi which I have been doing right along despite some bad advice to the contrary….

Posted by
Vercingtorix
Mar 28, 2008 6:29pm PDT
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Vercingtorix
 

The Myth of DPI
http://www.rideau-info.com/photos/mythdpi.html

 This site gives the best advice, the only way you can set dpi is either when you print or scan photos, if you are editing digita photos you can ONLY set PPI. I saw one post on here which asserted that changing the ppi only changes the display but does not change the size of the image file, which just goes to show that you should not always blindly follow the first advice you get online from another user.

 

 

Posted by
Vercingtorix
Mar 28, 2008 6:37pm PDT
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Vercingtorix
 

First, some basic info.  PPI/DPI ultimately means nothing unless you are printing.  While the two mean different things technically (Pixels per inch vs. Dots per inch), when discussing photo editing, it means pixels and is used to help define image resolution (pixel dimensions) and print size .  With this in mind, simply defining an image file at 300 DPI doesn’t provide any information about the image size or resolution.  To get either of these, you would need the other measurment along with the DPI setting.  For example, if you have an image file with pixel dimensions (resolution) of 1800×1200, then this will result in a 6" x 4" print {6(300) x 4(300)}with optimimum quality (300 DPI being defined as optimum quality).  However, if you take the same image and set any arbitrary DPI  number, with no other changes, you still have an image resolution of 1800×1200 and it will still print at 6×4 at optimum quality.  In reality, the DPI number is simply used to assist you in determining what the image resolution should be for a given print size, or what the optimum print size would be for an image with a given resolution.  It serves no other purpose than that.

 With this in mind, I’ll address the OP’s questions.

 #1  If you are using Blurb page layouts and simply dragging your images into the prepared layout boxes, then yes.  The dialog gives both container size info and pixel dimensions.  If you want the optimum print quality, your image file should match what is shown in the mouse over tip.

#2  If you follow #1 and work with Blurb that way, you need never be concerned with DPI at all.  The mouse over tip will tell you that for a container size (say 5×4) that the optimum pixel dimensions should be 1500×1200.  Doing the math shows that this results in an image that is 300 DPI.  5(300) x 4(300) = 1500×1200.  What you can do, depending upon what photo editor you use, is to set your crop tool to your desired image or container size and set it at 300 DPI.  Then, when you crop your image as desired, it will automatically result in the correct pixel dimensions without you having to check and set them manually.

#3  Looks like Luis answered this one OK.  I get the same experience as you, but am just submitting my first Blurb book, so I can’t say how it will ultimately turn out.  I suspect the difference in color cast will be negligable.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
lctalbot
Mar 29, 2008 11:05pm PDT
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lctalbot
 

Ugh… I am so lost here and not too skilled at photo sizes.

 Ok, I am starting with a photo that originally is:

3888×2592 pixels.      54×36 inches     and     72 ppi

WHAT do I want to do to the size to make it look optimal in a blurb book? Bring down the inches? Shoot up the ppi? Leave it alone?

Second Question:

I read in Sam Edge’s instructional .pdf about color management that "you might want to check the Simulate Color Checkbox" and I read here in the forums that people say NOT to. I get this horrible dull grey veil over my shots when I try to softproof with it checked, and if I adjust for that, and go back to the original, its totally blown out.

Check it? Don’t check it? Adjust for somewhere in between?

Thanks.

Posted by
kcecilio
Jul 10, 2008 12:55am PDT
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kcecilio
 

Hello kcecilio;

These questions are asked soooo many times, I’m thinking about writing up a series of "stickies" so we don’t repeat the same info ad-infinitum!

Reading the posts above will answer your questions/concerns about 72ppi – it’s irrelevant. Ignore it – leave it alone. The ONLY thing that matters is your pixel count, and since yours are full 10Mb images, you have no problems. (I will explain all in the sticky when I write it, but if you want to know more right now, just do a forum search for DPI or PPI and you will get a ton of hits!)

As for your second question, again, there are many, many posts in the forums about this. Do a search for "ICC Profile" and, again, you will get a ton of results. It’s easier to do that, than to repeat all the depth of information here…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Jul 10, 2008 1:22am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Your photo is fine as is, it will produce a good print even up to a full page of an 13" x 11" hardback.  So you have no need to change it.

I say that as the pixel dimensions are adequate.

IF you were to change the dpi to 300, that would simply change the size to roughly 13" x 9"  it would make no difference to the pixel size, hence no change to the number of pixels in the picture, hence ho change to the amount of information in the file. (newsize = oldsize x 72/300 )

Do you mean Simulate Black Ink in your second question? That is the setting that has provoked the discussions in the forums. Some (including me) have found they get a better reproduction if they don’t check that setting. Some say you should. In other words there is disagreement in the forums, so you are not going to get a definitive answer to your question.

All I can suggest is you do a search on Simulate Black Ink, read the various comments and follow the advice that makes most sense to you.

Whether you check it or not, having displayed your photo in a simulation of the Indigo printer you will need to adjust the photo until you are happy with the results. Typically brightness/contrast, colour balance possibly curves.

If accurate printing of your photos is critical to the success of your book I would suggest you do an early publish of the first (say) 20 pages to check the quality you are getting and that the adjustments you are making in softproofing are having the desired effect.

For my Galapgos 13" x 11" hardback book correct colours of the wildlife are important to me so I am soft-proofing.

With my family photo album which I have just started I am not soft-proofing, the extra effort will not be worth it for the old photos.

The other key criteria for soft-proofing ro be of use is to have a calibrated monitor. If it is not recently calibrated you cannot trust the colours so any attempt to soft-proof and adjust the photo will be wasted and even lead to worse results.

.......Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jul 10, 2008 1:50am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Lee and Tony,

Thanks SO much. I KNOW these questions have been asked multiple times (and I spent hours reading and playing with it on Photoshop) but the answers bandied about were quite a bit over my head. I got that dpi and ppi can be considered roughly the same. I figured out how to softproof through the forums. I just couldn’t find if I should change 72ppi to 300. It seemed like it couldn’t add information. I thought so. I will leave it alone.

1)    Tony… opps, no, I didn’t mean "simulate black ink". I meant "simulate color paper". When I check that, a dull grey veil lays over the picture and when I make adjustments to the photo to take away that grey, and then click out of "Proof Colors" mode, the photo looks horribly overexposed.

 I keep reading in the forums that printing with Blurb darkens photos so it might overcompensate for that.

I guess my still unanswered question is that after softproof adjustments, should I just trust that uploading these (now unattractive) overexposed photos will compensate for Blurb’s darkening of most pictures, and go ahead and do it? The detail in the highlights will some back? Or should I just punch up the brightness and saturation a little and call it a day?

2)    One more question… since you guys say to leave the dpi (well, the ppi) at 72, I assume that because the size itself is so large, it won’t get flagged by Booksmart as being UNDER the 150dpi minimum. Am I right to understand my 72 Ppi picture really is higher than 72 Dpi because the size (in Mb and inches) is so large?

 And did I mention that you guys totally ROCK!? Because you do.

-kc-

Posted by
kcecilio
Jul 10, 2008 8:10am PDT
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kcecilio
 

KC

2. first. BookSmart will ignore the dpi and just look at the pixel dimension of the photo, if they are adequate it is happy.

Most people think of their phoos in tems of 6" x 4 or 15mm x1 0mm or 10" x 8"", they do not think in terms of pixel dimensions. It is because of that that Blurb say that those photos should be 300dpi/ppi. If you take a 6" x 4" at 300dpi that will be 1800×1200 dpi. When Blurb is checking the photo to see if it will print O.K. it is looking at those pixel dimensions not the size and resolution (dpi).

So work in one or the other do not mix the two by thinking about what dpi your 3888×2592 pixel photo is, it is irrelevent. It is nothing to do with whether dpi and ppi are equivalent or not.

Back to 1. The same arguments are going on about Simulate Paper Colour as Simulate Black Ink, there is no concensus in the forums.

My advice, based on having one test print and then the first proof of my book published, is to leave BOTH of those unchecked.

The point of softproofing is to use that simulation of the HP Indigo and adjust the photos until they look GOOD. There is no point in softproofing if you then upload photos that have grey or other colour casts. The softproofing is there to check that the photos look O.K. If they don’t look O.K. don’t upload, adjust them until they look good, typically saturation, brightness, contrast.

I have had no problems with Blurb darkening my photos at all. My guess is that that is because I have calibrated my monitor and work in controlled lighting conditions.

Before I did that, I, like many others, tended to turn the brightness up on the computer display beacuse the working conditions were not ideal.  A window near the monitor, a lamp on the desk, bright room lights. You are then seeing the photo brighter than it really is, so when you get your book back it looks darker. The problem is with the monitor not with the book.

You did not mention whether you had calibrated your monitor or not? 

You will probably get some opposing views added to this thread now.

As I said, do a search and read the prveious threads. Or publish the first say (20) pages of your book and look at how your photos turn out and then make a judgement, which is what I did.

........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jul 10, 2008 8:40am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Tony,

Thanks so much. I feel better now and know how I will move forward.

I HAVE calibrated my monitor to the best of my ability and understanding. One of my kids played with the controls forcing me to HAVE to do it! It was a good learning experience and I am not sure its optimal, but I did it best I could.

Just so we are clear, I wasn’t going to upload grey pictures. Untouched, the photos looked decent. I would turn on "proof colors" with the HP Indigo and suddenly the picture looked grey. I would adjust it to remove the grey and make them look nice again, turn off "proof colors" so I was back in sRBG and that is when it would be overexposed.

I was considering uploading the very blasted-out photos. Not grey ones. Hopeing that the HP Indigo printer would dull down my now overexposed photos into the nice looking photos in my softproof (post-futzing).

But if I turn off the "simulate paper color" that grey haze never appears in the first place. I was worried about the back and forth in the forum because of the drastic difference between having it on and off. One book would have printed lovely and the other would look ghastly, I just couldn’t tell which.

I think I will gamble on having it off and just making sure the photos are punched up a bit in saturation and brightness.

Off to go ‘shop my pictures… FINALLY!   Thanks!

Posted by
kcecilio
Jul 10, 2008 3:24pm PDT
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kcecilio
 

Good luck!

Come back and let us know how the book turns out, after this discussion that feedback will be useful to us all.

.........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jul 11, 2008 1:29am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Tony,

 

What about conversion into the profil instead of soft proofing??

i’m always reluctant to make soft proofing, a french provider of printer profil advied me do not make soft proofing and to trust the profil of the printer.

Posted by
jacquesm
Sep 11, 2008 11:02am PDT
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jacquesm
 

I’ve just ordered my first book and hope the colour works in Blurb as well as it does elsewhere. All my images are tifs or high res j-pegs, but are RGB files done in Photoshop Elements – it does not have the 4 colour option. My screen and Canon A3+ i1900 printer all produce exactly what I want from my files, as does uploading to Vistaprint for postcards and leaflets etc. Everything matches up fine.

I recently got the full Photoshop programme and produced files in 4-colour format. Needless to say, everything now looks and prints awful – very muddy and dull with all the vigour of the colours gone. As all the printers in the UK want this, it seems I will have to start again in order to trust what I see. But then everything will be off when sent to printers like Vistaprint – or do they & Blurb simply convert everything when it comes in. It seems the only answer is to have 2 versions of everything!!

rainie

Posted by
rainiekay
Oct 28, 2008 9:37am PDT
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rainiekay