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Thread: How do I set resolutions to get good results in print?

  1. #1
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    Default How do I set resolutions to get good results in print?

    So I have been working on a world map for a D&D campaign and I thought that I would test print a small section to see how it would look. I was a little disappointed with the result and have a few questions for anyone that can help.

    The original file is done is Photoshop with a 300 dpi setting. I converted it to a jpeg and then cut out a 7 in x 9 in slice for printing. Needless to say when I printed the image, I seemed smaller (maybe by twice as much) on paper than if I were to view it in Windows Photo Gallery. In another words, what I am seeing on the monitor is so much better than what I have printed.

    Should I have it professionally printed? Should I have it enlarged? What am I not getting between monitor and printer resolutions?

    Thanks for any advice.
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  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
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    Your monitor is about 100dpi and your printer is 300dpi. So your printed image will be 3 times smaller than it looks on the screen at 100% zoom (same amount of pixels crammed into a smaller space). If you want to print it out at the size you see it on the screen you'll need to set the resolution of the jpg to be 100dpi and print that.
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    another thing... your map is quiet color full. migth want to think about spending money on photopaper with a special surface. it costs more then the usual. but the result is more close to what you seen on the screen (glosy for ligth) do, it will lose any feal of "old" you migth want to keep.

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    Here's a little trick: I recently needed to print a birthday card - fast, and in color. So I went to the nearest photo store, and had them print it in A5 size. Cost me <1€ and came out great. They can also do larger maps, and the prices were quite reasonable. You might want to check into that. I have absolutely no idea how it'll look for your map, but if it costs a few euros for a4 size or so, it might just be worth the experiment. Of course, as the leabing bear says, it won't feel like an "old" map then.

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    I downloaded your image and opened it in Photoshop—most of its colors are outside of the typical printing gamut. Go to View > Gamut Warning. All of the areas that turn gray in that view are colors that a printer cannot reproduce. Turn that off, and go to Image > Mode > CMYK Color. A warning dialogue will pop up telling you that you're about to change the color profile from sRGB to, probably, U.S. Web Coated. Go ahead and hit "OK." You'll see the colors immediately change, moving into a printer-safe gamut. If you go back to the gamut warning, you will see that none of the image goes gray any more.

    In order to get those luminous greens, you would probably have to do a lot of experimenting with different papers and a very expensive printer, the sort that professional photographers use. Even then, you'll never get quite that bright a color, I don't think.

    One other thing to think about is that it is nearly impossible to set up a monitor to represent colors exactly as they will print unless you have use a calibration device to profile both your monitor and your printer. You can get pretty close, though. Monitor calibration and gamma.
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    Thanks for all the advice. I took the file to Kinko's to test print on regular paper and they did a fantastic job at only a couple bucks (on 11x17). I had then test print at 150% and 200% and they both turned out very well and true to color. Now I know the final print will turn out well. Thanks again.

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    It's (quite) easy to check the print size.
    Here's a little mini-guide to scaling things in Photoshop that might help you:

    If you want to change only the dpi (to 300 dpi) but keep the pixel size:
    Image > Image Size (or alt+ctrl+I)
    Make sure "Scale styles" and "constrain proportions" are checked. "Resample image" should NOT be checked.
    Type "300" in the resolution box.
    You now see the correct print size!
    Click OK.


    If you want to scale the image and increase pixel size:
    Image > Image Size (or alt+ctrl+I)
    Make sure "Scale styles", "constrain proportions" AND "Resample image" are checked.
    Type the new pixel size click OK.
    (Be careful when you increase the number of pixels of a picture - you'll always loose quality.)

    Does it make sense?

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    Thanks for your input Carnifex but I did not need to chage the resolution of the project (already at 300). My issue was that the display I was so used to seeing on the monitor was not what I was getting at print time, something I assumed would be the case. Any hoot, thanks for the advice.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected tilt's Avatar
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    just to be sure you understand what you have to look for
    the dpi should be at least 150 for print and 300 for press (you got that)
    the document size will then reflect how big the print will be
    the pixels are how many pixels are in the picture = they are connected to dpi and document size, so if you raise the dpi but keep the document size, the number of pixels will increase, if you raise the dpi but keep the number of pixels, the document size will decrease
    regs tilt
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    Nice to hear from a couple fellow Swedes! How's the weather?

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