13 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2016 8:53 AM by Jao vdL

    Export Files too small to print

    SarahbethB

      Hello.

      I'm having issues printing enlargements. I import RAW files from my SD card straight into lightroom CC. Once I edit (with little to no cropping) I export at 100%, 300ppi as a Jpeg file. My imported RAW files are anywhere from 22-30mb and after export they are between 6-12mb. Other photographers say that is about the norm after compressing to a jpeg and that they have no issues printing to sizes up to 30x40! Sometimes I get warnings from 11x14's, saying that the image quality is too low and I need to upload a better resolution image. I'm so frustrated and curious if it's something I'm doing wrong with Lightroom. Please help!

        • 1. Re: Export Files too small to print
          ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          The warning should be about the pixel dimensions being too small for the size of print not the filesize, itself.   Can you give us an example of the pixels dimensions of an exported JPG that is giving a warning for 11x14?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Export Files too small to print
            Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

            File size is not a good indicator of image quality.

            The file size for jpgs will vary greatly, depending on subject matter, sharpening and noise.

            But generally speaking, exporting jpgs at 100% quality will not create low quality images.

             

            Rather than looking at file size, look at pixel dimensions, which are the only numbers that give some indication of image quality.

            To print an 11 x 14 inch image at 300 ppi, you will need pixel dimensions of at least 3300 x 4200. (11x300=3300; 14x300=4200)

            If you have cropped the image in Lightroom, there may not be a sufficient number of pixels left in the image.

            To see the pixel dimensions, select the image in Library - in the Metadata panel they will show under Dimensions and Cropped.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Export Files too small to print
              SarahbethB Level 1

              Ok, that math is really helpful. Didn't know to do that before now. I have a client wanting a 30x40 print. That image size is 68.6m, but the dimensions are only 5992 x 4000, with a res of 300. The client also wanted an 11x14 which was only 11.0m, with dimensions of 2400 x 1602 at 300ppi. What can a person do to correct this problem. These images weren't cropped at all by me. Does this mean, I'm exporting wrong? Is my shooting not good enough? I shoot with a Nikon D600. I tried to re-export them and change the pixels to match up with the math, but it made them look horrible. Makes sense, I guess photoshop and lightroom can't create pixels out of thin air like magic. I don't even know what to tell this woman.

              • 4. Re: Export Files too small to print
                Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                To export an 11 x 14, your export settings should look something like this:

                 

                export-11x14.png

                 

                If this file is straight form your D600, the exported file will be 9.333 x 14 inches.

                If it has to fill the 11 x 14 format, you have to crop the image to 11 x 14 proportions in Lightroom first.

                 

                And yes, to export a 30 x 40, the image has to be enlarged - LR will have to invent the missing pixels.

                But for such a large print you probably only need 180 or may be 150 ppi, which means that fewer pixels are necessary.

                And 30 x 40 is a different aspect ratio than 11 x 14, so if the format has to be filled, you will need to crop to 3:4 proportions in LR.

                An easy way to have different crops on an image is to use a virtual copy for the second crop.

                • 5. Re: Export Files too small to print
                  dj_paige Level 9

                  sarahbethb wrote:

                   

                  Ok, that math is really helpful. Didn't know to do that before now. I have a client wanting a 30x40 print. That image size is 68.6m, but the dimensions are only 5992 x 4000, with a res of 300. The client also wanted an 11x14 which was only 11.0m, with dimensions of 2400 x 1602 at 300ppi. What can a person do to correct this problem. These images weren't cropped at all by me. Does this mean, I'm exporting wrong? Is my shooting not good enough? I shoot with a Nikon D600. I tried to re-export them and change the pixels to match up with the math, but it made them look horrible. Makes sense, I guess photoshop and lightroom can't create pixels out of thin air like magic. I don't even know what to tell this woman.

                  Ignore the resolution number in the file, it is meaningless. Ignore the file size in megabytes, it is meaningless. If you are paying attention to these numbers, you will be mis-led.

                   

                  The only thing that has meaning here is the number of pixels in the image and the print size in inches (or centimeters if you are using the metric system).

                   

                  In the 5992x4000 export, ignoring the file size and the 300 ppi, where you want to print 30x40, the effective resolution is 5992/40 = (approx) 150 ppi in one direction and 4000/30 = 133.33 in the other direction (which is a different issue, I'll discuss that below). That probably is good enough for printing at 30x40. The larger the print size, the lower the effective resolution that is needed to get a good print.

                   

                  In the 2400 x 1602 image, ignoring the file size and the 300 ppi, the effective resolution is 2400/14 = (approx) 171 ppi in one dimension and about 145 (you do the math) in the other dimension (again, a different issue). This may or may not meet your needs. I would want an effective resolution of about 200 pixels per inch for an 11x14.

                   

                  Why are you getting different effective ppi values horizontally or vertically? Because you will need to crop the photo to the proper aspect ratio to match the print aspect ratio, which you haven't done. In other words, if you want to print at 30x40, you need to crop to 30x40 aspect ratio, or equivalently 3x4. For the 11x14 print you will need to crop the image to an 11x14 aspect ratio. Then you get the same effective resolution in both dimensions. If you don't get this cropping right, then the printer will do the cropping for you and you probably will not like the cropping the print does.

                  • 6. Re: Export Files too small to print
                    Bob Somrak Level 5

                    First of all, printing at 30X40 will magnify poor lens, poor focus, unsteady camera and high ISO noise problems so your technique and equipment are more important than printing to a 4x6.

                     

                    Your camera shoots RAW files that are about 4000X6000 pixels.   A 30X40 print at 300ppi is 9000X12000 so you will have to UPSIZE to get this resolution.  A 30X40 should look great at 150ppi which will be 4500X6000 (a minor upsize) as you are not looking at the photo from a few inches away.

                     

                    To get this crop first in lightroom to a 3X4 aspect and use the following export settings.  If you really want 300ppi change the resolution to 300.

                     

                    Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 3.33.06 PM.png

                    This gave me a 4500X6000 pixel file.

                    • 7. Re: Export Files too small to print
                      SarahbethB Level 1

                      Are there tutorials on resizing images to the proper aspect ratios in lightroom or photoshop? Also, in my brain I'm thinking the higher the resolution the better. Are you saying the larger the print, I do not necessarily want 300ppi? I'm sorry, I appreciate the help. Just frustrated, as it seems when one question is answered, I realize I have more. Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing and should probably have never purchased this camera or this program! UGH!

                      • 8. Re: Export Files too small to print
                        Bob Somrak Level 5

                        SarahbethB wrote:

                         

                        Just frustrated, as it seems when one question is answered, I realize I have more. Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing and should probably have never purchased this camera or this program! UGH!

                         

                        Don't give up as this will be too much fun.  The D600 and Lightroom are a great combo and there are a lot of patient people here to help.

                        • 9. Re: Export Files too small to print
                          Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                          Generally speaking, the larger the print, the smaller the ppi that will be required.

                          An 11 x 14 may require 300, but a 30 x 40 will probably look fine at 150.

                           

                          The crop tool in Lightroom has presets for various aspect ratios. If you can't find the one you need, make your own custom preset.

                          Be aware that Lightroom doesn't crop to specific dimensions, only specific proportions. You enter dimensions in the export dialog.

                          Printing to 11 x 14 or 30 x 40 doesn't necessarily mean cropping and filling the paper. You could for instance print the whole image from the camera with a white border, and trim the paper afterwards. Find out what your client wants.

                           

                          I'v written some articles that you may find useful:

                          What is a digital image?

                          Lightroom basics

                          File formats

                           

                          Also, take a look at this site: The Lightroom Queen - Tips, Tutorials & Troubleshooting for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

                          • 10. Re: Export Files too small to print
                            dj_paige Level 9

                            SarahbethB wrote:

                             

                            Are there tutorials on resizing images to the proper aspect ratios in lightroom or photoshop?

                            To get the proper aspect ratio, you do not resize, you CROP. (Resize and Crop are different operations that should not be confused with one another) Cropping is a very simple operation, if you want 5x7, you set the dropdown menu in the Crop tool to 5x7. If the specific aspect ratio is not in the dropdown menu, you select custom and then enter the specific aspect ratio you want. Then you perform the crop. If you really want tutorials, I'm sure your favorite search engine can find them.

                            Are you saying the larger the print, I do not necessarily want 300ppi?

                            That's right. You do not want 300 ppi on larger prints. You want some lower number like 200 ppi or 150 ppi. Why? Because unlike a 4x6 or 5x7, people will be viewing a 30x40 from a distance, standing several feet away, and there's no need to have the fine detail in the print, people will never see that level of detail.

                            • 11. Re: Export Files too small to print
                              Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                              If you are going to print from LR you don't have to Export the file as a JPG. You can print directly from the RAW file, no need to export it at all.

                              • 12. Re: Export Files too small to print
                                trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                SarahbethB wrote:

                                 

                                Also, in my brain I'm thinking the higher the resolution the better.

                                That is correct, but the file resolution should be no higher than the target printers native resolution to prevent "resizing" of the image file. Unfortunately even when using the printer's native resolution the print may be resized slightly by the printer to add a small amount of bleed. So what should you do when making large prints?

                                 

                                If using an outside printing service such as Costco I suggest using a full-size LR Export JPEG file with no Image Sizing or Output Sharpening. The printing processor (RIP) used by these services will "automatically" resize the image and apply sharpening specific to the paper type being used. They may also apply contrast and color "auto-correction," which you do NOT want if the image has been adjusted inside LR's Develop module. There's normally a selection option that needs to be unchecked to turn auto-correction OFF.

                                 

                                So what can you expect when your original camera file has less resolution (ppi) than the print's native resolution (30"x40" @ 300 dpi = 9000x1200)? Your Nikon D600 resolution dimensions are 6016x4016, or 4016 pixels÷30" = 133.8 ppi

                                 

                                At a viewing distance of ~48" or further the image should appear fully sharp. Even at closer distances the print should look good. More here: Resolution for print viewing distance

                                • 13. Re: Export Files too small to print
                                  Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Another thing to consider is that people watch High def TVs all the time and consider them the paragon of sharpness. A standard one of say 50" and normal HD has a resolution of 44 ppi! Very few people would complain about the sharpness of a set like that except if you stand so close that you could not see the entire image. Nowadays we start having 4K sets. A 50" 4K set has a resolution of only 88 ppi! Note that the number of pixels in a 4K image is only about 1/3 of the pixels in a image from your D600. The takeaway is to not worry too much about the resolution in the file. A well captured and processed D600 image should easily give you a high quality print at sizes like 30x40 that will be higher definition than even the best screens. You will see the pixels if you look at it from 1 foot distance. At a distance where you can take in the image, human eyesight is just not good enough.