HOW TO PREPARE YOUR IMAGES
MpixPro pricing includes free overnight shipping on domestic orders exceeding $100, and no color management. Consequently it is very important that you have confidence that what you are seeing on your monitor is consistent with the image that will be printed in the lab. There are some simple steps that will assist you with this. Download Dave Cross Calibration file
1. Viewing Environment
Your work environment influences how you see color on your monitor and on printed output. For best results, control the colors and light in your work environment.
2. Configuring Photoshop's Color Settings
Set your Photoshop’s color settings setup correctly. This step is simple, and is well worth your time.
3. Calibrate Your Monitor
We highly recommend using the Color Munki Display calibration device to calibrate your monitor. This device costs a couple of hundred dollars, and will provide a comfort level that the image you are seeing on your monitor will match the prints you receive from MpixPro. Another formidable option is visual calibration.
Please save your files in sRGB color space in 8-bit color, not 16-bit, to achieve the best print results. Also, please do NOT embed any profiles. Please - no CMYK, Grayscale, RAW, PSD or LZW compressed files, and if you work in layers, be sure to flatten the file and remove any extra channels before sending. We print from JPEG format files. Lossless or highest quality JPEG compressions are more than adequate for high quality printing. In the early days of digital that wasn't always the case; however, the compression algorithms have become very sophisticated and it is nearly impossible to distinguish a JPEG print from a TIFF print with the naked eye.What is the optimal resolution?
We do not require a maximum resolution for the images you upload. The higher the resolution, the better the picture will be. It's that simple. The MpixPro printers output at 250 ppi. However, we are frequently asked what the optimal resolution is for the prints we offer.Optimal resolutions:
sRGB is the working space for all our photographic printers. Consequently, working in a larger color space does not offer any advantage from a printing standpoint. It's a similar question to the one above about bit depth. A larger color space, in theory, allows a greater range of colors and dynamic range to be captured and manipulated. We suggest sRGB as the working space because that is the color space that the printers require. Before images are printed here they must be converted to sRGB. By suggesting that clients use sRGB as their working space, they are insuring that what they see will be what they get as much as possible.Will I lose quality by sending a JPEG over a Tiff?
The JPEG compression format is a very efficient, lossy image compression algorithm designed specifically for saving photographic images. It takes advantage of how humans see color versus brightness to only save information needed to reproduce the image for people to view. Image data is lost during compression, but at high levels of quality you will not see a difference between a JPEG and a TIFF printed to photographic paper. JPEG compression is perfect for sending files to the lab for printing, but avoid using the compression as a working file type.How do I size my file?
There are several approaches you can take when sizing your files for print. One is not necessarily better than another. Much depends on your particular workflow. The approach you take should be the simplest and most effective for your operation. The simplest method is to crop the file for the subject composition and leave the file's resolution unchanged. This method crops your file without changing the resolution of the file, saving you time and preserving the original pixels. This can be done with either the selection tool or the cropping tool. In the case of the cropping tool, enter the width and height dimensions; however, leave the image resolution area blank. This will remove the unwanted pixels from the image without altering the file resolution (dpi). Our printing equipment will resize the files as needed when they are printed. Like sharpening an image, re-sampling and interpolation is very much dependent upon the particular printer being used and the print size being created. Interpolating an image without knowing the specific characteristics of a printer can be counterproductive. Re-sampling and interpolating images take time, time that is better spent on the creative aspects of your photography. It is not an effective use of your time to resample images to higher resolutions than the original camera files. This interpolation will take place on our end, at a higher quality and much quicker than it will on your end using your computer. This saves you time creating the image files and saves you space and time when saving the images to hard drive and CD. Please keep in mind that even the highest resolution professional cameras have file sizes that are limited to under 50MB. Interpolating images to resolutions higher than the original camera image is time wasted. Not only is it wasting your valuable time and storage space but also you may actually be compromising the image quality. Think of the camera image as your negative. Would you ever consider cutting or reshaping a negative or slide? The pixels that were captured when the shutter was clicked are the best pixels (image) to print. Each time you interpolate, resample or sharpen you are introducing artifacts into the image. Each of these functions is best left to the printing device itself.Will part of your image be lost in the printing process?
Digital printers have what is called over sizing. Over sizing is a process in which the image being developed onto the photo paper is magnified by a certain percentage to counteract paper shift within the printer. Photographic paper is loaded into the printers in rolls. As the paper travels from the roll through the machine it can drift up to 1/8 of an inch by the time it reaches the lasers that expose the paper with the image. No amount of calibration on the paper path can prevent this drift. A 1/8 of an inch is about half the radius of the pen or pencil on your desk. The over sizing that is applied to each image runs between 1.5% -1.7%; we generally quote the percentage at 2% for a round number to work with. How can you use this information? Well the over sizing is so minimal, that 99% of your orders will not be effected by it. However, in certain instances where you may have images butted up against the outer edge like in a collage, text, or a pin stripe around an image's perimeter, you will want to take this 2% value into consideration. In most cases you can do very simple math to calculate the expected over sizing. Our message is to add the 2% additional space to the perimeter of any potentially affected image. For regular prints, such as an 8x10, the additional leeway you need to provide is 1/16 of an inch in the 8-inch dimension and 1/5 of an inch in the 10-inch dimension. Of course, the larger the print dimensions, the more image space effected by over sizing, thus the more padding that is needed.Is custom print sizing available?
Our printers are limited to standard print sizes. However, ordering a custom size is available by sizing in Photoshop prior to uploading. To put a custom size print on a standard print, go to Canvas Size in Photoshop. Type in the standard print size dimensions and anchor your custom image to the corner. Simply use the text tool in Photoshop and write on the excess border “trim print” to alert our technicians. Trimming is only available on sizes 12x18 and larger.Are ICC profiles available for soft proofing?
ICC profiles are available, but should only be used by those familiar with soft proofing. The profiles are for our E-Surface and Metallic papers. Included is a PDF of installation instructions. PLEASE NOTE: **You should never convert to the ICC printing profile or embed them in your files. For information on ICC profile install locations, please review the enclosed Help file.**