CONFUSION IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Photoshop; A Photographers Dream
If you are into the creative side of digital photography then you know that most professionals use Photoshop for image processing. This wonderful program takes the worry out of making the best possible print. The other side of this is the struggle in learning how to use it. I am self-taught and boy, what a journey that has been. Just when it feels like, ah ha---I got it! I realize I have just scratched the surface of Photoshop. There are endless possibilities with this program.
My son recently surprised me with a new plug-in program for Photoshop called Nik Software/Color Efex Pro 3.0. Plug-ins are filters which enable a completely new level of creativity. It provides traditional filters which give you the ability to color correct, retouch, spot enhancement, and more. My all time favorite is the flood filter. You can take a run of the mill photo and turn it into something out of the ordinary. I could spend hours playing with this program.
I also use Picsa, a "free" photo program for my basic fixes and it does a very good job. Actually, I was quite surprised with all the new capabilities that are continually added to it. One day, it just might grow up to be a Photoshop Jr.
Resolution, mega-pixels, ppi, dpi, sizing, and printing are confusing to many who cross over into the digital world. Believe me; you are always learning something new here. Take mega-pixels for example most people when they hear that word think of resolution. They would be partially correct; mega-pixels are termed input resolution.
Simply put, it is the file size of the image or picture taken. A 3-mega-pixel photo will contain 3 million pixels, which gives you an approximate file size of 2,048 x 1,536. That file size, using 300 ppi, will render a printed picture size of 6.82 x 5.12; at 200 ppi a 10.24 x 7.68; at 180 ppi a 11.38 x 8.53.
The higher the ppi, the smaller the print. --- The lower the ppi, the larger the print. Let me give you a warning here---stay at least between 100 to 300 ppi. Anything below 100 and you’re flirting with a print that will show a noticeable pix-elation and lack appeal. They claim the human eye cannot distinguish the difference between a print made with 240 ppi from one made with 300 ppi which, is considered to render the optimum in clarity and appearance.
Here's a simple tip; To up size your print you must reduce your ppi, or switch to a camera with a higher mega-pixel rating!
Most photo software adjusts the ppi or allows you to adjust that setting when you select the size you want to print out. To see how this works go to image>re-size image>select and type 300 in the resolution field. The top field will automatically reset the file size and printable picture size. Then change that resolution to 180 ppi and notice the increase in the size of your print.
The printer will determine the output resolution when the image is down loaded for printing. This is where the dpi comes in and that simply means the amount of dots per inch. The printer lays down a specific number of dots to represent the pixels (ppi) in a square inch. This number depends on your printer’s dpi capability and cannot be altered.
The other day I printed out three 4 x 6 photos; one in 300 ppi, one in 200 ppi and one in 180 ppi. I could not detect a difference in any of the pictures for this size of print. Color, clarity and sharpness appeared to be the same.
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE. ~~Ernst Haas