Book Design and Imaging

How do I set and save 300 ppi resolution?

I have photoshop elements. I think I know how to set my photos for 300 ppi resolution. I obviously will of course, have to pay attention to the size to make sure this leaves me with a big enough photo to fit into its intended template in booksmart.
My question is…what happens if you just take your photos straight from the memory card and plunk them into the templates without setting them for a certain resolution?

For ex., in their current state, my photos average about 2448×3264 with a resolution of about 72 ppi. How does the resolution turn out if I submit the photos like this? (Is this what they mean by “raw”?)

Is it better to adjust them for resolution and if so,...why?

Thank you
Kathy

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Posted by
kathymn
Feb 18, 2009 2:10am PDT
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kathymn
 

Kathy,

Raw, is a file format just like jpeg.  Jpeg is a destructive, compressed format. Raw is the data straight off the camera sensor.  Raw is not a standard format, meaning, different camera manufacturers have different raw formats.  Adobe has been good about releasing updates to handle the new raw formats as they are developed by the camera companies.

If you edit and save, reload edit and save a jpeg file repeatedly, a small amount of the fidelity of the photo is lost with each save.  This is what is meant by destructive.

The biggest difference between raw and jpeg is the lumenance.  Jpeg has 256 levels of lumenance.  This means that from darkest dark, to lightest light, there are 256 steps.  With raw, (at least with my camera) I get 4096 levels.  This means that when I bring a picture that is under or overexposed, or has some very bright and very dark spots, into Lightroom, I can correct the exposure, and in most cases the picture ends up looking good to great.  My daughter sings, and at her recitals and performances, flash photography is not allowed.  I set my camera to 1/40th of a second and iso to 800.  My photos were still underexposed, but I could bring everything out without them looking noisy.

The ppi of a photo is irrelevant unless it is constrained to a size.  What you are telling me above, is that your photo at 72 ppi is over 31 inches high.  At 300 ppi, it is 7.5 inches high.  Any photos this size have more than adequate resolution to use as is, in any blurb product.  I would not adjust them for resolution if you are using the blurb templates.  Since your pictures are already in jpeg (I assume) format, just use them as they are.  If you need to adjust color or exposure, bring it into elements, adjust the picture and save it as a jpeg with maximum resolution.  If you think you will be editing the picture again, also save it as a .psd file (photoshop format).  This is a non destructive save and you can keep editing it without loss.

Posted by
Charybdis
Feb 18, 2009 11:20am PDT
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Charybdis
 

Thank you for the thorough explanation! I will have to print these up and put them in a binder for reference. :)
So I just want to be clear on your instructions… Are you saying that I should….
(1) .. just put them into the templates at their original size (2448×3264 with a resolution of 72) and not bother to change the resolution?
-OR-
(2) .. go ahead and change the resolution to 300 ppi and then proceed to put them into the templates at whatever reduced size they end up being after changing the resolution?

If you are instructing me to go with option (1) ..... why do so many people in these forums advise submitting the photos at 300 resolution? I apologize if I am being thick headed.

While I have you, I would like to ask another question if you don’t mind….

Blurb has advised users of photoshop or elements to be sure to follow these instructions:
(1) “Use sRGB color (no CMYK nor Grayscale nor Adobe 1998 RGB)” okay… can I assume that my RSB is “sRGB”?
I am using the most recent edition of elements and all my equipment is new.
(2)” If you’re using iPhoto, make sure your library has its default name and is saved in its default location” Woh… please translate. I didn’t know i was using a “library”... I didn’t know I had a default name…. nor do I know what the default location is.

Finally, they instruct….
(3) “150 to 300 DPI (dots per inch or pixels per inch). For instance, a 5×7 image frame should be filled with an image that is at least 750×1050 pixels and no greater than 1500-2100 pixels.” The way I interpret this, if I submitted photos straight from iphoto as we discussed in the begining in option (1) with 2448×3264 pixels, Blurb will say they are too big. On the other hand, when I have put these photos into the templates, Booksmart does not spit them out or give me any messages that anything is wrong. Hmmmmmm

Thank you so much. I couldn’t do this without all this generous help and guidance! Whew!

Posted by
kathymn
Feb 18, 2009 2:35pm PDT
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kathymn
 

One drawback of using the photos as they are, is that if you have a very large book,  and/or average a large number of photos per page, you will have a huge upload to do when the book is complete.  The other is that photoshop will shrink them more accurately than booksmart.  Since you started with jpegs, I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference in the final product.  Unless you plan on putting many photos on many pages, I would just use them as they are.  Since you are obviously new to all of this, scaling will probably cause more deterioration than improvement, and it is a lot of extra work.

The resolution that you are stating your photos to be is a meaningless number.  to prove this, open one up in photoshop and go to the "image size" command.  If elements is like photoshop a dialog will come up showing the width, height and dpi of the photo.  Make sure the resample box is unchecked.  Set the units on the width and height to inches.  If the dpi is at 72 in this dialog, the height will be just over 31 inches.  Change the height to 7.5 inches.  The resolution will change to around 300 dpi.  Absolutely nothing in the photo changes, not one pixel.  The dpi is the number of pixels divided by the size.  Conversely, the size at the desired resolution is the number of pixels divided by the desired resolution.  2248/300=7.493 inches.  Ignore the 72 dpi that you keep stating, it is meaningless.

The books are printed at 300dpi.  If you are trying to be a perfectionist, you’d scale everything to 300dpi for the container it is going into.  That way you don’t rely on Blurb to scale for you.  You’d also calibrate your monitor and use the proper colorspace files for the target printer.  

For your photos to fit in a 5×7 at 300 dpi, you have to lose resolution.  You are not going from 72 dpi to 300 dpi, you are going from 2248×3264 pixels to 1500×2100 pixels.  Again, the dpi is meaningless without a container size.  Let Blurb scale the photos.  It may not be as good as perfect photoshop, but it will probably be better than you doing photoshop.  The only exception to this is putting the photo into a really small template.  In those cases, you may want to scale it external to booksmart.

Spend the $20 bucks to print a small book as a test.  If you like the results, great, if not you’re only out $20 and you can figure out what you are doing wrong.  Include full bleed and photos that have been shrunk real small by blurb and include the same photo that you scale in photoshop so you can judge quality issues for yourself.

Most late model cameras have an sRGB setting.  Photoshop has a colorspace option of sRGB, I suspect elements does too.  If you have any concerns about what your picture will look like, bring it up in booksmart.  If your monitor is anywhere close to calibrated, thats how it will look in the book. 

I don’t use iPhoto, but I assume the iPhoto installation has a default area where it deposits the pictures from your camera.  If you didn’t specify the name when it was installed, it will be the default (thus the name).

Posted by
Charybdis
Feb 18, 2009 4:51pm PDT
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Charybdis
 

But why do the container size not match the optimum pixel dimensions in blurb containers based on this formula,  eg 3.9×2.5 container at 300 ppi should result in a image at 1170×750  but Blurb recommeds an image of 1180 (or sometimes 1184) x 750.

Posted by
Jabash
Mar 25, 2009 3:37pm PDT
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Jabash