Things to do BEFORE you print images..

Last summer I did a tutorial on printing images on fabric with advice on what to do BEFORE you print your image.... Today as I was working on images for the CQJP blocks I noticed that there has been a change in terminology on Picasa since I did the tutorial....  Before in their tool box the option to manipulate the color was with a tool called "saturation" with a adjustable bar to control it...  That tool is still there but now is called "Boost"

 These images to the right are a good examples of "boosting" the color which guarantees a better end product when you print.

On the left is the photo as it came from my camera and you can see how I enhanced the color with the "boost" tool in Picasa.  Almost all photo editing programs have this feature but under different names so look for it and I guarantee you will be happier with your printed images... In Google's Picasa there is a adjustment bar to use while you experiment... I suggest you push the bar until the color is almost garish... remembering that you lose color when you print...

Below is a part of the tutorial published last summer:

The most important things you can do are BEFORE you send the picture to the printer. 

Almost all software that comes with digital cameras have good editing options.  And there are some likely already on your computer...  Microsoft Office software has an excellent one called Microsoft Office Picture Manager and I know I sound like a broken record but unless you have photoshop or something equivalent you should absolutely download Google's Picasa...  It is FREE and has superb photo editing features which are so very easy to use by even the most inexperienced users.

Whatever you are using look for the terms like Color Editing, Color Adjustment or Color Enhancement.  It will vary with programs.  At the left is the Color box from Microsoft Office Photo Manager.  When you find that catagory the key thing you want to look for is the term "saturation"  There is usually a little bar and an arrow you can slide either way.. see bottom of photo on left.

When you increase the saturation  it intensifies the color already in the picture. Usually when you print you lose some of the color in the original and your printed version looks washed out...  By increasing the saturation before you print you get a much stronger image with very good color even though the saturated view on your screen looks rather powerful..  On the left is the original photo in my file... I kept moving the arrow on the saturation scale until it is as high as it will go and that is on the far right..  Allowing for inevitable color drop in printing process the final print from saturated photo will equal or be better than original..

As an aside if you move the satuation arrow to the left you can change a color photo to black and white.  This is often preferred if you are looking for a vintage look..

The second most important thing you can do for a better print is look for the option that allows you to sharpen your image... It will usually just says "Sharpen."  Not all programs have this option but Google's Picasa does and I use it on ALL my images for print.. This does indeed sharpen all edges in the photo and gives a much clearer print. Like losing color when you print you also lose detail... This takes care of that aspect.  Below it is not quickly apparent the difference sharpening makes  but look at the detail on the flowers and in the nest and on the wing and you can see it.  This is a subtle difference but  is the finishing touch for a superb print..  Try it.


margaret said...

have just read your advice, I do have picasa 3 which I down loaded but have yet to work out how to use it, will try and spend some time studying soon as I would love to be able to put my photos on fabric one day.

Pam said...

Great advice! Sometimes it's the little things you do that make all the difference in our art!

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