I was also pondering over how to sharpen for a blurb book, I am working through LR5 and then Nik output sharpener 3, do we sharpen for display or continous, maybe even inkjet, would appreciate some advice before getting to far into the book, at the moment I am sharpening for display.
Sharpening for print
I am curious about sharpening for print with Blurb. I am comfortable with sharpening for web and large prints but this is the first time I am making a real effort to produce the best images for a Blurb book. My sharpening workflow is listed below. I am a bit concerned since on my monitor (calibrated for color management) the sharpened images seem over sharpened. Is it possible to pay for blurb to print a couple of images that really stand our in regards to sharpening? Final size and paper that will be printed?
I sharpen slightly in camera raw (amount 50, radius 1.0, Detail 50, masking 50) then again with Nik Sharpener Pro 3 at the following settings;
viewing Distance; up to 60 cm
Paper Type; Luster
Printer Resolution; 4800 x 2400
Output Sharpening Strength: 110%
Local Contrast; 10%
I have attached an original file for reference. I am sorry but it is a rather large file.
Thank you in advance for your help with this!
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No one from Blurb seems to answer these questions - very annoying and not much help from them with this part of the process!
Hi RobFred. We don't give specific recommendations for sharpening since there's no "one size fits all" formula that will work for every image. If you need to know what sharpening is best for your particular images I'd suggest ordering a small test book (a Small Square with a soft cover will be the least expensive option) with the same image or images sharpened to different amounts. That way you can see how each level of sharpening looks in print.
Michael Y - Sharpening is dependent upon two things - the output size and the printing method. Us users can determine our own sharpening needs based on the following information from you:
1. Does anything in your process or in BookWright apply any sharpening, or are the images handled exactly as sent by the user?
2. Do you use a halftone printing process? If so, what are the Lines per inch (LPI) and pixels per inch (PPI)?
3. If not a halftone process, then what?
With the above information, we can choose our output size and sharpen accordingly. Viewing an image printed in a small size test book as you suggested will not provide feedback with any value if the images in the final book will be printed larger.
Let me elaborate a bit for anyone (like me) who comes across this thread by searching for "sharpening" in the forum. Michael Y is correct in stating there's no one size fits all answer to sharpening. First of all, there are several different methods of sharpening within Photoshop and Lightroom, and then there are all kinds of plugin programs for sharpening that use their own proprietary methods. Lastly, some images benefit from sharpening more than others. Not all are alike. So, there is no way anyone from Blurb can tell you exactly what to do, any more than they can tell you (for example) how to best set curves and levels. However if you know the type of output (I'm guessing halftone) the LPI, PPI, and the exact size of the printed image in inches, then you should be able to get fairly close, assuming you understand how to adjust your sharpening parameters. I have found PhotoKit Sharpener to be an excellent plugin because it allows you to select from various types of output, i.e., web display, inkjet, continuous tone, and halftone. Then you can select specific settings for each kind of output. Of course, all this needs to be done at the final output size. If Michael Y can provide the information for which I asked, that is the target to shoot for. You might need to check with the tech support for Adobe or whatever plugin you are using to determine the best settings to hit the target. Ordering a test book certainly won't hurt, but it will be of no value for evaluating sharpening unless you order the sample book in the same size as the final book.
All of my photos in the preview looked over sharpened but did not appear that way on my calibrated monitor. I did the test book as suggested using the same paper as originally planned. I also printed a few of the photos on my home printer Canon Pro9000II. I was not happy with the test book - if it looks bad in the preview you can just about be certain it will look bad in the book. The prints with my home printer looked just like they did on my screen and were not over sharpened. All I can say is the test book convinced me to seek other options so I did not have to make changes to all of my already finished photos (from a 52 week photo project).
RobFred - If you have a high end photo inkjet printer at home, and it appears you do, I would be shocked if Blurb were capable of matching the quality of a print you can produce on your own. Still, we are talking about books, not prints. Sharpening aside, how did your pics look? When you say "seek other options" do you mean other sharpening options or options other than Blurb for printing?
johnboy451 I had a series of email conversations with reps from Blurb - some of them actually appeared to not have read my questions so it was difficult to converse with them via email. I felt as though I was receiving "canned" responses. Printing on my own printer was one of the suggestions though :-) I don't think I set my expectations too high I had recently taken a class for book making and through conversation with the instructor and others I pretty much knew what to expect. That said, I was pretty surprised to see the way sharpening appeared in the preview and was trying to establish whether it was just something with the conversion via the software or if the photos would actually print as shown. Because this is Blurb's web site I didn't wish to say too much more other than other options but no it wasn't other sharpening options. I didn't want to have to redo about 60 photos. I'm sure Blurb has a perfectly fine product but the results apparently did not suit my photos or post processing style so I sought and found another option :-)
RobFred - Please drop me a line off this forum. You may email to john *at* jgphoto *dot* com. Thanks. -John
BTW - I don't think Blurb cares what is on these forms. I don't even know if their people read them regularly. It doesn't appear so. Do a forum search for "printing quality" and what turns up will curl your toenails. No comments, refutations, or explanations from Blurb.
johnboy451 contact message sent from my yahoo address.
Hi johnboy451 et all- I will try to answer your questions asked as directly as possible, keeping in mind that these are generalities and not strict rules.
1. BookWright in it's current form does not apply any auto sharpening to images. That said, our print partners may use various methods to achieve the best output for your images, which may include some mild sharpening.
2. Generally, there is some form of halftone used in printing our photo books. Average LPI used is 185 and ppi of submitted images should not exceed 300 (any higher and it will dramatically increase file size with little or no actual benefit when printed, and will likely be down-sampled to 300 along the way).
3. Some of our non photo books use inkjet technology for which we do not have any recommended output settings at this time.
So what should one do with this information? As a general rule of thumb, and without getting too into specifics:
- If using good JPG files as your source only sharpen a little and only if you think it's absolutely necessary (the in camera sharpening is usually enough).
- If starting from RAW with eventual output to JPG or TIF, sharpening to an amount which is the same or slightly more than that of an in-camera produced JPG, you should produce stellar results.
Hope this helps.