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Image Optimization for POD

Dec 19, 2012 2:01 PM

Tags: #image #pod #consistency

Attempting to optimize a few images for a POD book, but consistency in image quality is the perrenial problem with POD. Received the first proof copy containing 24 black and white 7cm x 7cm images, all from the original publisher (we're doing a licensed translation) and seemingly of consistent qualitiy. 4 images turned out brilliant, and the rest, beyond mediocre, just inferior.


The photo files are EPS. All are showing as grayscale except for 2 which are color space RGB (Adobe RGB profile). Of those two, one is terrible like the majority (flat, washed out, looks almost solarized) and the other is brilliant. The other 3 images printing well, are in grayscale, so RGB doesn't seem to be conclusively part of the answer or problem.


All the rest are grayscale, and in ID the profiles show as NA.


Other than abandoning POD (impossible now, and past projects with similar images have turned out well), what can be done, what are the fundamentals of image optimization for this printing process?


Thank you for the input.



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 2:24 PM   in reply to luca del carlo

    The first thing is to avoid EPS like the plague. It's a horrible format

    for anything and I certainly see no reason to use for photos.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 8:56 AM   in reply to luca del carlo

    I assume that by POD you are referring to Print On Demand?


    Quite frankly, the “problems” would seem to be more an issue of GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out – than anything to do directly with the file format of the images, especially if those images are monochrome.


    I would strongly agree with Bob Levine in terms of EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) being an archaic file format. That having been said, a properly prepared photographic image with proper exposure, contrast, and resolution saved as EPS from Photoshop and placed in InDesign should render no differently than a TIFF, JPEG, or PDF (depending upon the compression used in the EPS) image without any ICC profiles placed into an InDesign document. I seriously doubt that simply converting your EPS files to TIFF would help in any way whatsoever, although in the process of simply opening the images in Photoshop, you might see what the real quality (or lack thereof) of the images is.


    Many problems associated modern day monochrome images today is the fact that most such images were shot digitally as color images as opposed to being shot on black and white film. Unfortunately, there is no single conversion of color to monochrome that is optimal for all images. Much depends upon the exposure, light contrast, and especially the color contrasts within the original color image. In the days of analog film photography, professional photographers often used color filters with black and white film to deal with the issues of color contrast (for example, yellow and orange filters for outdoor scenic shots to provide for a darker sky with deeper contrast with the clouds, the “big sky” effect). Converting color digital images to monochrome by using the simplest Photoshop tools without regards to image content will definitely yield many suboptimal, washed-out looking images.


    Also, after applying one or another of the Photoshop conversions to monochrome, the image usually is still RGB. One needs to then convert the image that looks grayscale to actual grayscale. Otherwise, you end up with an RGB image for which for every pixel R=G=B, a situation which could lead to some “interesting” and likely undesirable printed output, especially if printed on a color device.


    Another issue to consider is one of color management. Whether one wants it or understands it, color management is really always on in Adobe applications. If you don't use profiles and the wrong assumption is made with regards to the color space of content, you can get suboptimal results, in grayscale such results being muddiness, poor contrast, etc. And to get back to the file format issue, EPS doesn't support ICC color management directly.


              - Dov

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