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Sharpening for magazines question
Old 05-13-2007, 11:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do any of you guys who shoot for magazines or brochures sharpen your high resolution images before you send them to publications? I sent my client all the high resolution images for their magazine ads and brochures and they felt the images needed to be sharpened (which I agree) but I told them that their ad agency, the magazine or the printer will do that after they resize the images for publication or printing. Am I correct or should I have sharpened the images before I gave them to the client? I typically don't apply any sharpening to the images I save on my computer -- and only sharpen my images (using unsharpen mask) as the last step before uploading to my website or making prints for models.

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Re: Sharpening for magazines question
Old 05-13-2007, 12:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is going to vary from publication to publication. I used to publish a magazine and I preferred to receive an electronic file untouched. I understood CMYK color space and what adjustments needed to be made to the image for it to look good when printed.

Sharpening, or using Unsharp Mask, for print is different than using it for the screen. The amount applied for print will make the screen version look like to much has been applied, but prints beautifully.

Again, I would check to see how the final entity in the process wants the files. In some cases, if the final entity has to do the processing they may charge for work that could have been handled for "free" earlier in the work flow. In a lot of cases the printer will even provide information on how the images should be processed for best results.

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Re: Sharpening for magazines question
Old 05-13-2007, 04:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I never do overall final sharpening until the photo is actually at its final output size. I do selective sharpening of things like eyes prior that stage however. To make things consistent, if I'm going to web, I always use the same method of creating the final output file and that method does a stair step reduction in size (reducing it in size incrementally down by a small percent each time until it reaches the target size). In between each step a very small sharpening phase is completed. This is all an automated process of a plug-in that I bought some time ago. I really like the results.

If I don't know what the final output will be (print or web, or the size), then I forgo the overall sharpening. Since I shoot in RAW, that means I have to turn off the sharpening that the RAW converter might do. Fortunately with ACR, you can have it turn off the sharpening, but still show the image visually with the sharpening while in the RAW converter. If you shoot JPG, then you don't have this luxury. No matter what sharpen setting you use in the camera, some sharpening is always done.

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Re: Sharpening for magazines question
Old 05-13-2007, 08:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I work for about 12 different magazines on a monthly basis and they're all different. Mr. Smith is right in saying that USM shoudn't be applied until the image has been sized. However, not all magazines understand this. It depends on your client, some get it, some don't. A trick I've been able to use is asking their art director what they're total ink limit is. 1, if they don't have an art director that right there tells you they probably aren't going to understand how to apply sharpening and you need to do the best you can. 2, if they don't know the answer to the above question, same.

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