Do you think you have your favorite photo or computer generated image printed in large format to show it to everyone to admire your creative work?
Here are some simple guidelines to get the best print quality.
First lets start with the actual image for optimal quality this should be around 150 300dpi at 100% the higher the better. So lets say you need an image that is 300dpi at A1 size 841w x 594hmm. If you were to open this file in Adobe Photoshop you would see that the file size would be 199.4MB and at 150 dpi it would be 49.9 MB as you can see the required files can be huge.
Many of todays high quality digital cameras are capable of capturing images that can be printed through A1 in size especially the new 24 mega pixel cameras currently available this size and higher become a standard feature even in the smaller compact cameras as they are Most commonly used today.
If you use Adobe Photoshop you can assign a different color profile to your image such as Adobe RGB or sRGB color spaces as you see the colors on the screen change slightly when mapped to the new color space. With the Adobe RGB profile the colors look more saturated more vibrant while sRGB tends to look more natural which profile youre using is really a matter of personal choice and how you want your finished print to appear.
Another important feature to make sure your image will print just as it appears on your computer screen is to use the Evidence Colors option in Photoshop. When you use this option you will see again that the colors change slightly when mapped to the nearest printable color. To use this feature you would need an icc color profile for the output device printer. If your preferred print company uses a fully calibrated workflow they can email you an icc color profile that is a small file that contains the printers properties.
Printers are calibrated with a device called a spectrophotometer and some of the advanced printers will have these devices built into them. The calibration process consists of first linearizing the printer by printing a density pattern. This pattern is then read by the spectrophotometer to ensure that the printer prints the correct density of ink from 0 100%. When the printer is linearized a color profile must be created for a certain paper ink combination. This is done by printing a color reference target that is read by the spectrophotometer again. This information is then used by color profiling software to create a color icc profile for the printer and can be used by Adobe Photoshop and other software to show how an image will be printed.
If a printer company does not use a color calibrated system and only uses standard Windows printer drivers as many do then this will lead to unpredictable color and the final printout does not match the screen. This work of course also depends on computer monitors both yours and theirs Google primarily calibrates How to calibrate my monitor to see how this is done.
So youve been working hard to get your image ready for printing the following option is to choose a paper type if you print on a regular photo paper or on one of the more expensive art paper.
While a regular photo paper will produce nice prints and are good for general use you can take into account other factors such as how long do I want the printout to last and will look so good in a few years as its printed out. If these are important factors it is highly recommended to have a picture of a high quality art paper.
So whats the biggest difference between standard paper and high quality art paper in a word sour its the natural acid content of paper that eventually turns yellow curls breaks and breaks sometimes in less than a year.
Art paper like Photo Rag from Hahnemuhle is made of 100% cotton fibers and is acid free. This means that they are archival quality and that is why galleries museums and professional photographers use these papers for prints that will remain. They also have the appearance of extremely high quality printing.
While art paper can cost about three times the price of standard paper its a price worth paying for especially if the print is something you want to tax for many years to come and you want it to look exactly the same as the day it was printed.