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Printing Process - cleanup unsharp levels and final print.

 

"What will this look like when I print it?"
 
I get asked this quite a bit from customers who send me files to print. The honest answer is: "I don't know" ... even though I've been printing over 10 years. I have an good idea, but the truth is the screen never translates directly to the printer. There are things like gamut, and saturation, and contrast that, while it may seem simple to click the "auto levels" button in your favorite graphics software, often require one or two test prints for me to say I'm happy with the result. 
 
It's like music. Modern music is compressed... some say over compressed. This leaves little room for the nuances of dynamic range historically found in classical music. Likewise, the "auto" leveler, or other "auto" filters, tend to simply max out the "loudness" of the image in a similar way auto setting on digital music production does.
 
Sometimes... "auto" is a good thing.. Other times it's not. And.. if done this before - if I took the same image - one fully maxed out with "auto" settings, and another muted ( which looks closer to the original source ) I'll have different customers express different opinions - some like it hot, some like it cold, and some like it with peanut butter & jelly with a glass of milk.
 
So.. to be a vague as possible.. the "right" way is the one you like the best. Funny - I can print quality prints but can't operate a video camera without getting my thumb in the way..