Adobe Photoshop CS6 Public Beta is now available as a free download.

Download it here today.

You can use it to get used to the new interface and features and decide whether/when to upgrade.You don’t need a lot of reasons to upgrade, you only need one, significantly better shadow and highlight rendition during Raw conversion.

Plus see some of the new magic in these 6 Sneak Peeks and 5 Gurus’ 6 Favorite Features.

I’ve collected all 11 videos in this post.

Read more

Output Sharpening

March 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment |

Image source, frequency of detail, subject, personal preference, output device, substrate or presentation device, and presentation size all play a role in sharpening.The art of sharpening gives you precise control over various image characteristics—contrast, saturation, contour (halo and line), texture and noise. It’s best applied in three stages: capture, creative and output.

While there’s an art to sharpening, which provides extraordinary creative freedoms, some aspects of sharpening are best automated, such as output sharpening.

Output sharpening is used to compensate for the softening of detail that a specific device produces. Ink on paper, whether applied with an offset press or an inkjet printer, is notably susceptible to this. When drops of ink hit paper, they deform on impact and spread more or less based on the absorption characteristics of the substrate. This is called dot gain; the dots gain size. Dot gain varies with the type of printer, ink and substrate used. It also can be impacted by environmental factors such as humidity. Output sharpening typically also factors in file resolution and the scale of the final product, which is used to determine an ideal viewing distance—though the actual viewing distance is usually variable.

Output sharpening primarily benefits printed images. Projected images also can benefit somewhat. Images displayed on monitors rarely need to be sharpened for output, as they’ve already been sharpened based on the display device, during capture and creative sharpening.

There’s always a mismatch between the quality of image detail when displayed on a monitor and when printed. Comparatively low-resolution monitors can’t precisely preview what a print will look like on a high-resolution output device, much less precisely preview detail on many different output devices, with varying resolutions or on a variety of substrates with varying amounts of dot gain. So, the image on screen only can approximate, but not precisely display, the sharpness of the printed piece. (In the future, we expect algorithms to be devised to simulate this on screen.) In the end, you make the image on screen look too sharp, knowing it will soften when printed. How sharp do you make it? It depends on your printed proofs. You have to test various sharpening settings, make test prints and compare the results to determine optimum sharpening routines for a given printer and substrate combination. In addition, you should factor in the scale of the final printed piece.

Once determined, the settings used to achieve optimum results in a representative image or selection of images then can be used for all images printed with the same output conditions. You can write an Action to perform an optimum sharpening routine repeatedly. In short, after some initial testing, output sharpening can be automated.

Output sharpening can be complex and tedious. Most photographers would do well to enlist help from the experts to get the job done. There are many competing solutions for output sharpening; automate it in Lightroom or automate it in Photoshop with plug-ins like Nik Sharpener Pro or PixelGenius PhotoKit Sharpener or your own Actions. Using a preexisting solution reduces the testing necessary to create your own settings and brings to bear the considerable knowledge of experts in the field to your prints. Though each of these solutions requires a little testing before implementing, any one of them delivers better results than not performing output sharpening.

Pixel Genius’ PhotoKit Sharpener

NIK’s Sharpener Pro

Lightroom 4 Print Module

Until there’s a truly objective way of determining output sharpening, you’ll have to do a little testing yourself, but the amount of testing you’ll need to do will be minimal when you use automated solutions. Why do automated solutions require a little testing? Because individuals, no matter how objective they try to be, have preferences for image sharpening characteristics, which may or may not mirror your own preferences. They have to make judgment calls and so will you. But when testing their solutions, your task is much easier. You simply raise or lower the opacity of the sharpening layers their routines create, make test prints, determine your preferred opacity, and use that setting for all of your prints. (In Lightroom, you test the four settings: None, Low, Medium and High.)

Output sharpening is the second to last thing you do to enhance an image file before printing it. As a final step, you’ll probably want to carefully inspect an image at 100% magnification to make sure sharpening hasn’t accentuated any minor flaws. If it has, retouch them. And print.

Almost all images can benefit from output sharpening. (Notable exceptions are images with extremely smooth or low-frequency detail, such as minimalist soft-focus fields.) With a little testing, you can determine optimum output sharpening routines for your images and taste, and automate the process, saving you time and delivering better and more consistent results.

What do I use for output sharpening most often? Lightroom.

Find more sharpening resources here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Chris Orwig shares 8 of his favorite quotes.

This one’s my favorite from his selection.

“When the artist is alive in any person, whatever kind of work it may be, he becomes inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive, and creative. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows that there are more pages possible.” – Robert Henri

Which is your favorite?

Read all 8 quotes here.

Read Chris’s Q&A and view his TEDx talks here.

Visit Chris Orwig’s website here.

Find more photographer’s favorite quotes here.

You can use the app Liquid Scale to distort the frame of an image without distorting key elements in it. Like Adobe Photoshop’s Content Aware Scale, this software identifies image elements that are most likely to be more important than others and distorts other areas, typically areas that are smooth or randomly textured. There are limits to how far you can go before less distorted image elements begin to look unnatural, which are largely image dependent. In some cases, you can go so far as to convincingly turn a vertical image into a horizontal image. It’s magic.

This app will do more than change your images, it will change the way you see.

Read more and see more on The Huffington Post.

Plus find more app reviews.

I’m in Washington DC at Photoshop World 2012 the world’s best Photoshop conference. 3 days, 40 instructors, 100 seminars. You can find my classes here.

Click here to find out more about Photoshop world here.


Colorbyte’s ImagePrint RIP’s isn’t for everyone. It costs roughly half the cost of a printer. But for many it’s a trusted ally that helps them achieve great print quality with a minimum of effort. ImagePrint simplifies printer color management without sacrificing quality for those who aren’t experts and increases productivity for high volume printers, like service bureaus.

Here are 10 reasons to use ImagePrint.

1 – Easier color management (auto sets media type with selection of profile, auto resamples)

2 – Custom profiles and ink recipes for third party substrates

3 – Consistent color (no System, Adobe, Epson variances) – particularly important for service bureaus

4 – True postscript for sharper vector graphics and text

5 – No upper length limit

6 – Light temperature specific profiles

7 – Useful Saturation rendering intent

8 – Cross toning for black and white images with improved separation routines for better dmax, greater longevity, lower metamerism

9 – Auto device dependent resampling to get to perfect resolution (360) without additional sharpening

10 – Better shadow detail control

11 – Drive multiple printers simultaneously

12 – Print from multiple networked computers

13 – Page layouts (but you could use Lightroom)

Is ImagePrint right for you?

If these 10 reasons justify the cost for you.

If you’re tempted to use it try it in its free demo mode or purchase it with their 30 day money back guarantee.

Learn more about ImagePrint here.

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