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Archive for month: February, 2017

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KING TUT: Best file format for print

KING TUT-best file format for printWhat format should you save your file as? Programs like Photoshop will give you a plethora of options but we’re going to focus on the most common ones. In this blog post, we’re going to explain the differences between the formats and which ones are best for print.

JPEG

The first and probably the most commonly used format is the JPEG (or JPG) file. It’s the most versatile of all the file types and can be used for both print and web. Since it’s the most widely used option so you’ll have the least trouble with it. The biggest drawback would be that it is a lossy file type, meaning that you lose a little bit of information every time you open and re-save the file. To minimize the lossy problem, Photoshop gives you the option of the level of quality you want to retain with 1 being the lowest and 12 being the highest.

TIFF

This file type is probably your best bet if you have a file with a lot of colors and photos in it. It’s a lossless file type meaning you won’t lose any information in your file every time you open and close it. The main issue with TIFF is the size. Since there’s no compression of any kind, you’re going to deal with some pretty big file sizes.

PNG

The PNG file format is the (relatively) new kid on the block. PNG files have begun to replace the GIF file type as the go-to format for websites. It doesn’t have the compression problem that GIF has and they’re smaller than JPEG files.

GIF

You’ll want to stay away from the GIF format if you plan on printing your file. GIF’s are great for web use because they load quickly but it’s only because the files get very compressed.

PSD

The PSD format is similar to TIFF because it’s lossless and file sizes are generally pretty large. With PSD files you can save the layers instead of flattening them, which is great if you need to alter some of the file content but when you’re at the printing stage, this format isn’t necessary. This is more of a work-in-progress file type. The only real drawback with this file type is that you need Photoshop to work with it.

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Color In Print vs Your Monitor

King-Tut-Printing-and-Reprographics_Color-In-Print-vs-Your-MonitorA common misconception about print is that what you see on your monitor is what you’ll get, but that’s never the case.

There are numerous technical reasons why but it basically comes down to a properly color calibrated monitor. At King Tut Printing, our monitors are color calibrated to match the state of the art digital press we use.

Most computer monitors are just not calibrated to match a high end digital press. Most computer monitors have a generic ‘good enough’ factory setting because color calibrating every monitor would not be economically unfeasible. Basically, what you’re seeing on your screen right now is not it’s true color. It’s a rough estimation if what you’re seeing should look like.

We’ve included some examples to help illustrate this.

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The image as we see it on our color calibrated monitor.

The first example is an image as we would see it. This image is about as close to what the image’s true color should be, based on the color profile in the actual image. Please note, the images in this article have been altered drastically to help illustrate how colors very from monitor to monitor. Since every monitor displays color differently, there’s no way to accurately show an image’s true color as you see it on your computer. 

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The image as seen on an uncalibrated Apple monitor.

The second example is what you would see on an average uncalibrated Apple monitor. Notice how the image is brighter and the colors are more saturated.

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Image as it would appear on a generic PC monitor.

The third example is what you would see on a modern uncalibrated PC. Uncalibrated PC’s generally display images with a bluer tone.

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Image as it would appear on an older model PC monitor.

The final example is the image as it would look on an older PC monitor. Uncalibrated older PC monitors tend to display images much darker than their modern high definition modern counterpart.

“Ok, so how do I get the colors to look right?”

It depends on what your definition of good is. ‘Good’ is very a subjective word, so if by ‘good’ you mean it needs to match what you see on your monitor, then that is something we cannot do. That is something no one can do. Your only realistic option would be to provide us with a printed sample for us to work from. Although, you’ll find that even printing out a sample has it’s own problems.

For example, if you print a hard copy at a Walgreens, a traditional photo lab, and a Kinkos’ you’ll end up with three different colors.

“So, what can I do?”

There are a few options. You could send us a good print that you feel is closest to what the colors should look like so we can work from that. We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we’re the best when it comes to matching prints. The other option would be to ask for a color proof but be warned, this takes much longer to finish the job since it involves mailing the proof to you. If you’re in a hurry for a project and absolutely need business cards asap, then this may not work for you.

“Trust Us!”

The final option is to trust us! We have over years of experience in the industry so we know what a good prints are supposed to look like! Come in to our shop or give us a call!

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RGB vs CMYK

“But that’s not how it looks like on my screen!”

Not a day goes by that we don’t hear that! In this blog, we’re going to explain why you will never see in print what you see on your screen.

It all comes down to this: Monitors display in RGB and Printers print in CMYK. This can be a bit technical for the average person who just wants to print some headshots so we’ll try to keep it short and simple.

Firstly, let’s explain what the two color profiles mean. RGB is short for Red, Green and Blue. CMYK is short for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It seems hard to believe that all the colors you see on screen and in print are broken down into those colors, but they are!

The main thing to remember

RGB will render an image that is brighter and saturated while CMYK has a tendency to desaturate and darken an image. So, if you really want to get a better idea of what your pictures will look like, you’ll want to convert them to CMYK. When you do that, you’ll see a slight color shift, depending on the image quality and type of monitor you’re using.

Nearly all printers (including ourselves) print in CMYK so you’ll have to keep that in mind when sending us a file for print. Normally, the color shift isn’t that big of a deal, but if you’re concerned about color, we would recommend getting a color proof. Please note that color proofs will add a few extra days to the production time.

How to print in high definition like your screen

You can’t. In the print world, there is no such thing as high definition. There is only CMYK inks and those inks have limits to what they can do.

Here are just a few examples of CMYK’s limits:

  • Gold will print as a yellow color.
  • Neon green will print as a light yellow-greenish color.
  • Silver will print as mid tone gray.

Why do you print in CMYK? Why not print in RGB?

It all comes down to ink. Most printers print in CMYK so most inks are produced in CMYK color. CMYK gives printers more flexibility and control over the colors of a file. Finally, RGB was never really intended to be used for print it was always meant for use on monitors.

To help you along, here’s a checklist of what to keep in mind when printing with us (or anyone, really)

  • Monitors display in RGB and Printers print in CMYK
  • RGB will be more saturated and has a larger range of colors it can display
  • CMYK be more desaturated and cannot print has a limited range of colors it can print.
  • When in doubt, print a color proof out!

Hopefully, that helps explain the difference between RGB and CMYK files. If it doesn’t you can always send us an email or give us a call!

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Is Your Picture Resolution Too Low For Print?

KING TUT PRINTING AND reprographics_Is-Your-Picture-Resolution-Too-Low-For-PrintOne of the biggest issues we face every day at King Tut is image resolution and whether it’s high enough for print or not. So what exactly IS a high resolution image? In this article, we’ll explain what makes a high resolution image and how to tell if your image is good enough for print.

First, let’s start with what a good quality high resolution looks like, by the numbers. All this depends on what size your final document is going to be, for this example, we’re going to use an 8×10 photo. A good high resolution 8×10 picture should be at least 2400 pixels in width. If you print out a 2400 pixels in width (300 dpi) photo,  you end up with a crisp image that’s roughly 8×10.

If you don’t have the high resolution version of your image, then you’ll need to contact your photographer or designer and ask them to send you the “high resolution version of the image for print.” They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. Hint: If you got your image online from a website like Facebook or Instagram, the image will be low resolution. 

There are two ways to see if your image is high resolution or not. Let’s start with the Photoshop way. If you don’t have Photoshop, scroll down to the bottom of this article for the second way.

Here’s and example of a perfect high resolution image.

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Here’s how to tell that this image is high resolution. In the Photoshop menu bar at the top left, go to Image > Image Size. The Image Size window will come up.

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The number one thing we look for is the pixel width. The pixel width determines the printable size of the image. The pixel width is locked in proportion with the pixel height so if you change the numbers of the pixel width, the pixel height will change as well. A picture with the pixel width of 2400 roughly equals 8×12 if you print it out at 100% on a printer.

It doesn’t have to be exact but if your image has around these kind of numbers as the example shown above, then you have a high resolution image.

Now here’s an example of a low res image. At first glance it may not look too bad until you take a closer look.

 

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Here are the internals of a low resolution image in Photoshop. Again, go to Edit > Image Size, and that same window will come up.

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In this version of the picture, you can see that the pixel width is 800. That roughly translates into a 2.5×4 image if you print it at 100%, which is fine for a small business card but for an 8×10 portrait photo it won’t look good at all.

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When we zoom in closer on the details, notice how the image on the left is pixelated and not as sharp as the image on the right. The low resolution will print that way.

“What should I do if my image resolution is too low?”

The one thing you should not do is up sized the image. To up size an image means going into Photoshop and manually changing the numbers by typing a higher number in the pixel width field.

If you do that, you’ll end up with a very blurry image instead of a pixelated one as illustrated below.

 

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Basically, what you’re doing is telling Photoshop to go into the image and fill in the empty space by guessing what information should go there.

The second way to tell if you have a high resolution image or not.

If you’re on a Mac, select the image with your mouse and at the top left on the menu bar click on File>Get InfoThe keyboard shortcut for this is Command+i 

This window will pop up on your computer screen.

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There’s a lot of information in this window but the only thing you’re looking at is the “Dimensions” area. That will give you the pixel width and height. The first set of numbers will be the width and the second set will be the height. Again, we’re looking for: 2400 pixels in width or around those numbers.

Now that you know what a high and low resolution is, check back with us next Thursday as we talk about color in print vs what you see on your monitor.