PDA

View Full Version : High Resolution and Printing on Photo Printers


Dave Perry
07-15-2004, 01:49 AM
Hi everyone, I'm new and first I'd like to thank in advance anyone who offers advice.

I have Painter 8 and will be receiving a high end custom computer within a couple weeks. It will be a P4 3.4 GHz Extreme Edition with 2GB of dual channel RAM. I got the extra power for various reasons, but partly because Painter 8 is very demanding of processing power when making high res (over 300 dpi) files, particularly with "wet" media. Those can really drag.

I won't have the money for a photo quality priinter for a couple months, so I have a printer question for anyone that can address it, plus a general resolution poll:

The poll is: who here believes that making files denser than 300 dpi is worthwhile, i.e., that, when printed out (for the sake of argument lets talk about a hypothetical 600 dpi file), the extra dense resolution makes for a noticeably better image that has less "pixel" quality and is generally nicer to look at? For those of you who feel this is the case, how high a resolution do you like to work at?

The printer question is: if I'm using a photo printer that is capable of resolutions way beyond what I can realistically paint with, do I need to know certain set resolutions that printer is compatible with, or can I just choose a file resolution and then give it to the printer and the printer will print out at the closest resolution it is comfortable with compared to the file, or will it adjust to the file completely? Or do those factors vary depending on make and model of printer?

The reason I'm asking is because I'd like to start working on some illustrations when my new computer arrives, but if I don't have a printer I'm not sure how I will determine what resolution to work at (I want to work as high as is feasible and will actually represent an improvement in quality). If the printer will just take whatever file resolution I throw at it (say the 600 dpi I mentioned) and print as close to that as it can, then it's not an issue, but if there are only fixed resolutions I need to know about, then I will either have to do some research before I get started, or wait until I can afford the printer to know what my options are. Incidentally, the Canon i9100 is the main one I've been looking at.

Thanks much,
Dave

Jinbrown
07-15-2004, 03:48 PM
Hi Dave,

Very important: You'll need to consider the image dimensions in inches along with the Resolution (ppi number) when first setting it up.

For instance:

A 300 x 300 pixel image at 300 ppi = a 1 x 1 inch 300 ppi image when printed.

A 300 x 300 pixel image at 150 ppi = a 2 x 2 inch at 150 ppi when printed.

A 300 x 300 pixel image at 600 ppi = a .5 x .5 inch image at 600 ppi when printed.

As you can see, this relationship between dimensions in inches (or the equivalent number of pixels) and the Resolution (ppi number) is very important when you plan to print.

If you're going to have a print shop do the printing, the best thing to do is to talk to them first, before beginning your image, to learn what dpi (dots per inch) their print machine can handle and what Resolution (ppi number) they recommend that you begin with.

Also let them know what kind of image will be printed and what the print dimensions in inches will be. Watercolor paintings, for instance, may allow you more flexibility as they're generally soft and may not require such high Resolution (ppi number). This is opposed to an image with fine, sharp details.

The general rule of thumb for safe Resolution (ppi number) is 300 ppi, but again that can vary depending on the particular image and how/where it will be printed and also how it will be displayed. If it will only be seen from a distance, that can also make a difference.

Larger dimensions and higher Resolution will not only make your file sizes larger, it can also affect Painter's performance and slow things down considerably.

Plan to use File > Save As rather than File > Save.

Save frequently in Painter's native RIFF format and save in a numbered series of files.

Save Uncompressed (check the Uncompressed box when saving).

Read the Sticky thread named Keeping Painter 6, Painter 7, and Painter 8 Running Smoothly to learn more ways to avoid problems.

Good luck! :)

Dave Perry
07-15-2004, 05:13 PM
Thank you for the reply!

I plan to do my printing on a home printer. I'm actually trying to put together an illustrated children's book. I've never done this before (I did go to art school briefly and I did a lot of artwork in my youth), but I felt I would give it a try, aided by the technological advantages offered by computers.

I will be aiming at getting glossy prints that look "professional", in other words, I'm hoping to have plate quality prints that actually look like they could end up in an illustrated book and then I will look into submitting to publishers, so that's why resolution and print quality are important, but I'd just as soon do it from home for maximum control and flexibility.

That's why I'm hoping someone with experience with high resolution home printing might give me some idea of what kind of resolutions beyond 300 might be useful, what might be common ones used with photo printers, etc., but it may be that I just need to wait and buy a printer and experiment.

As far as performance, I've definitely seen the performance issues using my current Dell P4 2.2 w/ 512 MB. Even at 300 dpi, many strokes and diffusion effects are intolerably slow. So my fingers are crossed that my new "super computer" will give me a big jump in speed when using higher resolutions.

Thanks again,
Dave

DigArts
07-15-2004, 07:54 PM
You may find it helpful to think in terms of overall image size (3000 x 4000 pixels) rather than print resolutions (300 or 600 ppi). By the way, that new Epson 4000 sure looks nice if you can afford it.

IMO, it's a safe bet to stay above 3,000 pixels whenever possible, but I'm still using a P3 system so that may be small by today's standards. Nevertheless, wet media may be problematic even at this size. The point is, if you need to interpolate the size upwards you want to push the image little as possible.

If you work fast without a lot of feathered selections, paper textures, layers, etc, you can work small (small=fast) and record the painting session using Painter's scripting engine. That allows you to play it back later at the desired print size. A few tricks are involved, but you avoid the need for interpolation because the image is repainted at the new size.

When recording scripts for playback at larger resolutions, don't ask Painter to build a brush, scale a paper or feather a selection beyond its capability. For example, if you're watercolor brush uses a paper texture at 100% Painter may balk if you try to replay the script at 5x the original size. Why? Because Painter can only scale a paper texture to 400% (4x).

Good luck,

Dennis@DigArts
http://www.gardenhose.com (http://www.gardenhose.com/)

Dave Perry
07-16-2004, 12:47 AM
Dennis, thanks, those look like good suggestions.

Actually my printer confusion is clearing up. I couldn't understand why people always use 300 dpi as a benchmark for very smooth printing when modern photo printers go up to 4800, but then I learned that that figure is divided by the number of inks, so it's typically divided by six. I've read that with color and grayscale prints, 360 dpi (in actual dots) is about as high as any eye can distinguish. For pure black and white, for some reason, it goes up to about 1000 dpi.

nafa
07-16-2004, 02:21 AM
I have this observation based on my use of HP scanners and printers. It could be due to their particular coloring technology, but HP recommends a maximum scanning resolution of 200dpi for true colour (with caveat that any higher resolution will not be of value).

If 200dpi is good enough for producing satisfactory color rendition true to photograph, chances are 300dpi should be good enough of your illustrations, UNLESS yours are extremely intricate in details and subtle in color, or they will be blown up many times when printing.

DigArts
07-16-2004, 04:34 AM
I have Painter 8 and will be receiving a high end custom computer within a couple weeks. It will be a P4 3.4 GHz Extreme Edition with 2GB of dual channel RAM. I got the extra power for various reasons, but partly because Painter 8 is very demanding of processing power when making high res (over 300 dpi) files, particularly with "wet" media. Those can really drag.

First, the important stuff. Since you refer to dual channel RAM, I presume your new system uses the new 900 series chipset. I assume you'll be using the DDR2 RAM as well. So, please tell us how responsive it is working with larger files relative to your older system.

Second. I wouldn't worry too much about prints if your final result is going to be a children's book. They'll use the digital file for print anyway. With that in mind, you might want to get a something that can produce archival prints on watercolor paper, for your own benefit.

Sounds like fun.

Dave Perry
07-16-2004, 04:43 AM
Re: High end computer: it is the 400 MHz x 2 PC3200 dual channel RAM. It will have 4 512 MB sticks. The motherboard is an Asus P4C800 Deluxe, 800 MHz FSB (I think), and the Extreme P4 has a 2MB L3 cache. It will be running XP Pro. I'm hoping this all adds up to great performance! :applause:

I will definitely let you know how it performs, since my Dell 2400 is a decent benchmark for an average modern computer. It definitely is outstripped by P8 on several fronts. Big brushes tend to make it whine, and anyhting with high PPI in conventional watercolor or watery guache sends it into a nosedive! :)

I'm pretty sure the new computer will at least hold its own.

Dave

allenatl
07-16-2004, 06:03 AM
That 300dpi benchmark is based on traditional halftone printing and not inkjet technology. It is based on a formula of dpi = 2 x lpi (lines per inch of halftone screen) or a formula of printer resolution/8 = image dpi. Since commercial printers commonly use 150lpi halftone screens which are output from 2400dpi imagesetters(printers), those formulas give you the 300dpi benchmark.
Since inkjet photo printers use a different technology instead of halftone dots, those formulas don't apply. You can generally use far less than 300dpi and get very good results with inkjet printers.

Shogmaster
07-27-2004, 02:15 AM
Re: High end computer: it is the 400 MHz x 2 PC3200 dual channel RAM. It will have 4 512 MB sticks. The motherboard is an Asus P4C800 Deluxe, 800 MHz FSB (I think), and the Extreme P4 has a 2MB L3 cache. It will be running XP Pro. I'm hoping this all adds up to great performance! :applause:

I will definitely let you know how it performs, since my Dell 2400 is a decent benchmark for an average modern computer. It definitely is outstripped by P8 on several fronts. Big brushes tend to make it whine, and anyhting with high PPI in conventional watercolor or watery guache sends it into a nosedive! :)

I'm pretty sure the new computer will at least hold its own.

Dave
I have an older set up that's sort of similar except for the EE proc. It is a 800Mhz FSB HT P4 3.0C (meaning pre-prescott P4 with shorter pipeline and smaller cache) on Intel 865 with 4 sticks of none-registered/ECC 512Mb PC3200 running in dual channel mode on Win2K.

I hate to say this, but when I went to this set up from a 1.8Ghz Thoroughbred Athlon XP (aka 2200+ with 256KB of L2 cache) set up with non dual channel 1GB PC2700 RAM, the difference in performace under Painter 8 wasn't that big. Painter 8 still bogged in the same brushes. The only significant difference was felt with the bigger amount of RAM: going from 1GB to 2GB helped alot with building bigger brushes. For instance, you can go from max of approx. 80 pixel brush to 150 pixel brush in some of those more taxing tools without getting hit with the dreaded out of memory error. Still takes forever to build them though.

Your machine is much closer to my current workstation than mine was to my old one, so don't expect miracles.

Basically with painter 8, throwing CPU power at it isn't going to slove the problem since it's just really inefficent programming ruining things. I have high hopes for Painter 9 though, with news of Ryan Church endorsing it. Hopefully Corel doesn't screw that up as well.

CGTalk Moderation
01-18-2006, 05:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.