Mike Chaney's Tech Corner
August 18, 2017, 06:39:29 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Feb 2013: Qimage Ultimate Challenges... have fun and explore features!
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  

Download and develop photos from your flash cards with one click!
Get a trial of
FlashPipe today and stop fumbling with explorer windows to transfer photos and videos
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: March 2010: Smart Photo Printing  (Read 48876 times)
admin
Administrator
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 2406



View Profile Email
« on: March 02, 2010, 12:48:48 PM »

March 2010: Smart Photo Printing


Jump to Mike Chaney's Tech Corner for more articles

Jump to Qimage: the smart photo printing software featured in this article

Jump to old/archived quality challenge w/resolution charts and examples

 

Background

Whenever I see someone open a photo and click "File", "Print" in a photo editor, picture viewer, raw developing tool, or image cataloging program, I cringe.  My face automatically makes the same frowning contortion that it does when I'm watching a football game in HD and then the network switches to the blurry SD feed from the blimp above.  I can almost not stand to look at it and I turn away until the crystal clear HD feed comes back.  ;-)  My fear of printing from software that employs "dumb printing" may sound a little over the top, but it is not unfounded and is shared by many who have found how smart photo printing by "Qimaging" your photos can change your opinion of what really constitutes a "photo quality print".  In this article, I refer to dumb printing as the photo printing process used by all photo applications other than Qimage, including high end photo editors, image/asset management applications, software bundled with new printers, image viewers, and other photo tools.  Let's take a look at what I mean by "dumb printing" with respect to printing photos and how to print smarter, clearer, and more accurate photos.

 

Smart photo printing versus dumb photo printing

Dumb printing refers to the photo printing process used by photographic tools that were designed to perform tasks other than photo printing as their main focus: tools for image management, raw development, and photo editing.  The photo printing capabilities of these tools are rudimentary and the print quality can be thought of as "standard" quality: good enough for some but far from optimal!  These tools, because they do not focus on the print as the end result, simply "dump" photos to the printer driver without consideration of the final print size, how far the original must be stretched or reduced to fit in that print size, how that process affects sharpening, and how to use a truly high quality resizing algorithm to get there. All of these non-print-oriented tools simply dump the entire original photo to the printer driver while at the same time specifying a print size.  It is "dumb printing" because these tools do nothing more than hand off the most important aspect of printing, the final interpolation/sizing/sharpening, to a printer driver that was not designed to efficiently handle those tasks!

 

Dumb Printing Disadvantages

While dumping the original photo to the driver may not sound unreasonable (the driver is designed to print, right?), there are some major pitfalls with simply dumping photos to a printer driver and expecting the driver to handle the final sizing:

  1. Loss of detail: Printer drivers are designed to do one thing well: place dithered dot patterns on the page.  They are not particularly good at preparing the final image to fit/align with those dots, however!  Dumping a photo of arbitrary resolution (size) to a specified print size will lead to artifacts such as jaggies or aliasing in the print.  This is even true when the original photo has more resolution than your printer since "odd" resolutions (example: 814 PPI) don't mix well with printers running multiples of either 600 or 720 PPI.  Most printer drivers use a very basic form of interpolation such as bilinear interpolation which is not particularly effective at smooth and detailed resizing.

  2. Inconsistent sharpness: You may have noticed that your 4x6 photos look sharper than the same photo printed at 8x10 or 11x14.  The larger you print, the softer or even more "blocky" the results will look.  In order to get consistent sharpness at any print size, variables such as the total number of pixels available in the original photo, final print size, and even the internal (native) resolution of the driver must be accounted for.  Your printer driver is not capable of handling these tasks!

  3. Data bottlenecks: Printer drivers historically are not designed to handle huge number crunching tasks.  If you have a wide format printer and print any large photos, dumping the original photo to the driver and asking it to produce a 44x66 inch print (or even a 13x19) may cause errors, spooler overruns, or even operating system crashes!  The reason is simple: most drivers were not designed to handle large amounts of data being dumped in one go, and doing so can overwhelm the driver and cause major headaches.

  4. User error: Most applications don't offer the ability to save/restore both application and printer driver settings so that things like print quality, paper type, ICC profiles, and other parameters can be reliably recalled for future jobs.  This leads to printing inconsistencies as users rarely remember all the settings needed to set up a particular paper for optimal printing.

 

Qimage Smart Printing Benefits

  1. Maximum detail: Qimage knows the native resolution used by every Windows printer driver and will automatically resample using the highest quality interpolation and antialiasing algorithms to ensure that prints of any size have the maximum detail possible!  Bypassing the printer drivers' rudimentary scaling algorithms provides maximum quality for small and large prints alike!

  2. Consistent sharpness: Qimage's smart sharpening takes many factors into account when producing final prints to ensure that your 13x19 photos look as good and have sharpness equivalent to your 4x6 snapshots!  All calculations are performed transparent to the user.  There is nothing to adjust on a print-by-print basis!

  3. Data handling: Smart data management means sending image data to printer drivers in smaller chunks rather than overwhelming drivers by dumping the entire image at once.  Qimage's proprietary printer driver data streaming not only ensures more reliable printing, but it also allows Qimage to succeed in printing gargantuan prints where other tools fail.  In addition, Qimage can overcome printer driver length limitations entirely if the driver offers a roll paper/banner paper selection, allowing Qimage to go far beyond the 44 or 127 inch limit of your driver!  It is not uncommon, for example, to hear from Qimage users who have printed one contiguous panoramic print 20 feet long when their Epson driver stops at only 127 inches!

  4. Eliminate job-to-job setup errors: Qimage's automated job log and its ability to save/recall jobs and printer settings ensures that once you get all the variables just right for your setup, you'll never have to set those parameters again!  Do you use multiple printers or just multiple papers with different ICC profiles that require specific printer driver settings?  Just set them once, save, and recall at any time.

 

Trust Qimage!

Compared to Photoshop
Actual scanned print example (rose stamens)
~ 1 inch close-up of 40x30 inch print
Open photo and print w/identical printer driver settings

Photoshop CS4 Qimage

 

Compared to Lightroom
Actual print enlargement from original Sigma SD14 1:1 crop

Lightroom 3 Qimage

 

It should be clear by now that other applications that offer photo printing just were not designed with optimal print quality in mind.  Whether you are an amateur or professional, printing is the culmination of your photography.  It is the end result of why you carry that camera!  Why trust this final rendering of art to anything but software that was designed to make the most of it?  Qimage printing quality exceeds that of any other application available.  I know how frustrating it is to live in a world where many companies don't deliver on their claims.  My company is proud to be the exception to that rule!  But don't take my word for it: give Qimage a try and see for yourself!

 

Mike Chaney

« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 12:11:00 PM by Mike Chaney » Logged
Fred A
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 4420



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 01:26:39 PM »

Well, let me the first to tell you that I saved both sample images.
I opened them in the queue in Qimage and looked at them in the Qimage comparator, side by side.
One has the jaggies and the other does not!

Then I printed one each 5 x 5 prints side by side on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of glossy.
Even a cave man can see the difference! (To borrow the phrase from the GEICO insurace company)

For anyone that just takes Qimage for granted, this is another wow factor eye opener for me.
I have been printing with Qimage since either 1998 or 1999, I forgot. I take it for granted that my prints will be unbeatable.

Thanks, Mike
Fred
Logged
Ernst Dinkla
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 348


View Profile Email
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 02:54:56 PM »

Mike,

Will there be a follow up to sketch the differences between Qimage and Lightroom? I have done my best to praise the virtues of Qimage in discussions like that but could use some good ammunition for another encounter. Not on this list. To mention are the Softproof not available in Lighroom, the not so transparant ProPhoto based CM solution, the arbitrary choices to control print sharpening with gloss or matt papers. The lack of anti-aliasing on downsampling. I guess there are way more.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


Logged
DdeGannes
Full Member
***
Posts: 139


Retired Banker; Golf; Photography; Travel.


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2010, 05:47:10 PM »

Mike,

Will there be a follow up to sketch the differences between Qimage and Lightroom? I have done my best to praise the virtues of Qimage in discussions like that but could use some good ammunition for another encounter. Not on this list. To mention are the Softproof not available in Lighroom, the not so transparant ProPhoto based CM solution, the arbitrary choices to control print sharpening with gloss or matt papers. The lack of anti-aliasing on downsampling. I guess there are way more.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/




My experience has been that its very difficult to convince anyone, particularly users of Adobe products that there is anything available to do better than what they can achieve in Photoshop. If they have spent in excess of US$600 for a product they refuse to accept that a product costing less than $100 can do a better job.

Monitors just do not convey the true difference, the only way to see the actual difference is to convince others to do their own tests with actual prints.

If they are not prepared to do the actual tests then they will never convert.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 05:53:02 PM by DdeGannes » Logged

COMP EQP: iMac 27" mid 2015 5K Retina OSX 10.12.4, 24GB Ram; Canon InkJet Pro9000; Scan Elite 5400 film scr./ MacBk Pro OSX 10.11.4, 8gbRam
CAMERA EQP: Oly OMD EM-1, Zuiko & OM lenses.
Imaging Apps  PS CC 2017; LR CC 2015.10 ; Qimage U; VueScan.
Ernst Dinkla
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 348


View Profile Email
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 03:28:01 AM »

If they have spent in excess of US$600 for a product they refuse to accept that a product costing less than $100 can do a better job

If they are not prepared to do the actual tests then they will never convert.

Very true. You see that behaviour in humans, companies and governments. An expensive decision can never be a bad decision. I do have an expensive RIP that I hardly ever use.

There is something else going on too. Several guys with interests in Adobe and its products give courses on image editing and printing and they dominate some of the fora too. Qimage is a dirty word there, messages with that content are ignored. Not that they can put a finger on where it lacks. It hurts their interests if the use of Qimage is advocated. Nevertheless there are people new to image printing that can be convinced of Qimage's qualities. They come to the fora too.

Typical discussion:
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=41974&hl

met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla
Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
Logged
Jeff
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 636



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 03:43:12 AM »





[/quote]

My experience has been that its very difficult to convince anyone, particularly users of Adobe products that there is anything available to do better than what they can achieve in Photoshop. If they have spent in excess of US$600 for a product they refuse to accept that a product costing less than $100 can do a better job.

Monitors just do not convey the true difference, the only way to see the actual difference is to convince others to do their own tests with actual prints.

If they are not prepared to do the actual tests then they will never convert.
[/quote]

Exactly same at my local club, plus most members do not believe in profiling their monitors, but then on the other hand they create some very good prints so I have to watch my mouth.

Jeff   
Logged

Grumpy
Terry-M
The Honourable Metric Mann
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 2958



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 04:30:06 AM »

Quote
the not so transparent ProPhoto based CM solution
Because of this "solution", I understand from a talk given by a CM "pro", that it is impossible to print a calibration target with LR.

Quote
I find it hard to believe there is all this drivel being written when Qimage had the solution to the "problem" years ago.
When I first bought Qimage, the thing that seemed self evident, once it was stated, was the principle of using the printer's native resolution.
Terry.
Logged
Terry-M
The Honourable Metric Mann
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 2958



View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 05:00:35 AM »

Quote
If they have spent in excess of US$600 for a product they refuse to accept that a product costing less than $100 can do a better job.
The same applies to the RAW processing abilities of Qimage. OK I'm not a pro and do very little "fancy" stuff with images, but I know my results from the technical/conversion point of view, are as good as, or better than as any others I see at my photo club including those brought by visitors. I can achieve results with Q where others seem to need HDR features to do the same.
Terry.
Logged
Jeff
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 636



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 06:28:40 AM »

I have had some further thoughts/questions.

How far do Mike's comments apply to Print to file and printing at lab printers?

I do not do my own printing. I use two Labs -

http://www.proamimaging.com/index.html at 402ppi with their Fuji printer profiles

http://www.dscolourlabs.co.uk/   Fuji Frontier 570 printers @ 300dpi  again with their Fuji profiles

Both produce excellent prints up the 18 x 12 inch, I have tested one against the other, same print, same size, (but with different profile) and I cannot tell the difference.

Jeff
Logged

Grumpy
admin
Administrator
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 2406



View Profile Email
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 12:14:07 PM »

Will there be a follow up to sketch the differences between Qimage and Lightroom?

I've updated the article to include an actual print example from Lightroom 3 versus Qimage.  Just look at the bottom of the article.  Since I'm focusing on print quality with this article, I don't want to get into the ins and outs of the interface, function vs function comparisons, and so on.  Even though Qimage can do a lot more than LR when it comes to printing and printing features, my new "campaign" is focused on print quality as I believe that's what sells Qimage.

Mike
Logged
rayw
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 440


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 09:35:04 PM »

If you want to convince club members of the benefits of qimage, then maybe you could arrange a half hour or so demonstration. it would need a bit of preparation and organisation, and possibly a laptop and a printer, but compared to using the usual editing software that most folk will use, it should be pretty easy to impress the unaware members.

On the few fora that I look in on - getdpi.com - (a fairly professional group of folks) and fredmiranda.com/forum - a huge fast moving place - qimage is mentioned favourably, and quite frequently.

I think Qimage's main selling point, as well as the print quality, is the relative ease in which images can be arranged on the page, the fact that any alterations to get the print does not involve altering the original image, and the fact that the settings are remembered so that you can run reprints as required. For folk who spend time editing and perfecting their photos, they will most likely already be using other raw processors and editing software.

And of course, this forum is a worthy bonus - it's not often you can get into a public slanging match with other software authors  Cheesy .

Best wishes,

Ray
Logged
Terry-M
The Honourable Metric Mann
Forum Superhero
*****
Posts: 2958



View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2010, 02:51:11 AM »

Quote
If you want to convince club members of the benefits of Qimage, then maybe you could arrange a half hour or so demonstration.
I did this in 2008 but did not actually print on paper but to a pdf file that was viewed on screen. I prepared a Power Point presentation, used a laptop (it was my excuse to buy one at the time  Roll Eyes) and the club projector. We have a members evening now and again and I volunteered. I concentrated on the quality aspects, the principle of using the printer native resolution and the ease of making multi-image, multi-size, page layouts as well as easy colour management set-up.
Out of the total who attended (~ 35) 3 that I know of bought Qimage and use it regularly. Regarding one guy I know who specialises in African wildlife, the difference in his A3 prints is very noticeable. I've had one person recently say they tried the demo but could not see any difference but I've not yet had a chance to question him in detail, I suspect he may have re-sized his image in PS first and thus spoilt the pixels before printing in Q. I do find many photographers are stuck in their ways  Shocked
Terry.
Logged
Owen Glendower
Full Member
***
Posts: 185


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2010, 11:05:54 PM »

Quote
There is something else going on too. Several guys with interests in Adobe and its products give courses on image editing and printing and they dominate some of the fora too. Qimage is a dirty word there, messages with that content are ignored. Not that they can put a finger on where it lacks. It hurts their interests if the use of Qimage is advocated. Nevertheless there are people new to image printing that can be convinced of Qimage's qualities. They come to the fora too.

Typical discussion:
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=41974&hl

Thanks much for the link, Ernst.  I gave it a quick read.

I can hardly believe what these non-Qimage users are going through to get a good print.  "Jumping through hoops" comes to mind.

There was a time when all I did was open an image in Qimage, set the paper type & print size, hit "print," and then go drink coffee until the printer spat out a better print than I could get with any other program on the planet.  I use more of Qimage's capabilities now, but if there's another program out there which will allow you to produce a drop-dead 18x24 enlargement from an 8-megapixel P&S, I'd like to know what it is.
Logged
Owen Glendower
Full Member
***
Posts: 185


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 01:45:09 PM »

Quote
I think Qimage's main selling point, as well as the print quality, is the relative ease in which images can be arranged on the page, the fact that any alterations to get the print does not involve altering the original image, and the fact that the settings are remembered so that you can run reprints as required.

You've summed it up in a nutshell, Ray.  A few months ago, thanks to a thread on this forum, I started printing greeting cards & note cards with Qimage.  It might take me 45 minutes, including a bit of editing and cropping, to set up a 4-card batch exactly the way I want--but calling up & reprinting the job is child's play.

But when all I want is the best possible 12x18 print, Qimage makes that child's play, too--at least compared to all of the manipulations described in the thread Ernst cited in his post.
Logged
Seth
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 322



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 07:26:14 AM »

There is no doubt that QImage is the printing godsend.  Printing from PS lacks the Smart Sharpening--or other--that QI applies, so I don't know if we are comparing apples to apples.  That said, it would take a lot more work in PS to equal what QI does in printing.

On the other hand, statements that QI handles RAW better than PS are questionable.  PS and ACR have many definite advantages. Isn't saying this just the same as those who disavow QI advantages in printing?
Logged

Seth
<CWO4 (FMF) USN, Ret.>
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!