21 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2011 8:39 AM by JimHess

    JPEG conversion for printing

    David Ceruti

      Hi All

       

      I teach a photography class at a local college where the students have to submit assignments regularly. Our requirements are that they hand in a print and an unedited RAW file. Because we are focusing on their photographic technique, they aren't allowed to edit the photos at all.

       

      They then print the photos at local photo labs (fuji fronteir machines) but the printing results are inconsistent and sometimes shocking.

       

      to cust down on possible workflow problems, I have advised them to build a relationship with their printer, use calibrated monitors (which we have at the college), etc. etc. However, I am starting to suspect that the problem lies with the RAW to JPEG conversion and possible the color spaces they are using. Most of them shoot in Adobe RGB and use that in their computer workspace.

       

      So far I have told them to make sure that they convert the files to sRGB before printing - to save the RAW as a PSD file and convert it to a JPEG using image processor with the "convert to sRGB" option turned on.

       

      I am now at a point when I am going to arrange a workshop so I would love any help or advice that you may have.

       

      I look forward to all the great suggestions I know I am going to get.

       

      Regards

       

      David Ceruti

        • 1. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
          Yammer Level 4

          You can save a raw file straight to JPEG without using Photoshop.

           

          1. Set the Camera Raw workspace options (click the 'link' under the image) and select the correct workspace/depth/size settings.

          2. Click 'Save Image...', set a destination, extension, format and quality for your JPEG. Clicking Save will then create your JPEG.

           

          The only drawback with this method is that you are relying on Camera Raw's current defaults for your conversion. You could ask your students to 'Reset Camera Raw Defaults' (which I wouldn't like) in order to get Adobe's default conversion, assuming that Adobe's defaults are correct for each camera. Students may be surprised how different Adobe's defaults are from the image on the camera LCD. Selecting the Camera Standard profile (if available) as a default may help.

          • 2. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
            01af Level 1

            David Ceruti wrote:

             

            Our requirements are that they hand in a print and an unedited raw file. Because we are focusing on their photographic technique, they aren't allowed to edit the photos at all.

            This is nonsense.

             

            Either they hand in a print—or they don't edit their captures at all. It is impossible to create a print from a raw file without any editing ... that would be the photographic equivalent of eating your cake and still having it. Well—in a digital workflow, you can copy your cake ... but you still have to "eat" one of the copies when you want a print. So you better think your requirements over.

            • 3. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
              Level 4

              David Ceruti wrote:

               

              Hi All

               

              …Our requirements are that they hand in a print and an unedited RAW file…

               

              …Most of them shoot in Adobe RGB…

               

              If they're shooting raw, the color space they select in the camera is utterly irrelevant.  Adobe Camera Raw ignores it.

               

              Sounds like you don't have a good grasp of color management yourself, Mr. Ceruti.  You really, really need to brush up before you "teach" digital photography…

               

              Sorry.

               

              You may want to start here:

               

              http://www.amazon.com/Real-World-Camera-Adobe-Photoshop/dp/0321713095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&q id=1315588331&sr=8-1

               

              and here:

               

              http://www.amazon.com/Color-Management-Photographers-Techniques-Photoshop/dp/0240806492/re f=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315588387&sr=1-2

               

               

              ____________

              Wo Tai Lao Le

              我太老了

              • 4. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                RASouthworth Level 3

                And you need to grasp common courtesy before participating in this thread.  Mr. Ceruti asked for help in a very reasonable manner, and the last thing he needs is being labeled incompetent as a teacher.  It would have been easy enough to provide the references without the demeaning comments.  Hopefully he understands most of us participate in this forum to assist and learn, not to belittle.

                 

                Richard Southworth

                • 5. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                  Noel Carboni Level 7

                  David Ceruti wrote:

                   

                  Our requirements are that they hand in a print and an unedited RAW file.

                   

                  I was going to say that this statement really doesn't make sense as written, but people seem to have beat me to it.  An unedited RAW file is not an image at all, and without specifying a particular converter to use and what settings to use in the converter, there is simply no way to lock down what you mean by "unedited".

                   

                  Perhaps you could have them shoot JPEGs instead, using particular settings in-camera, and hand in a print from an unmodified in-camera JPEG, along with the JPEG file itself.  That sounds to me to be better aligned with your goals than having them shoot raw.

                   

                  Out of curiosity, are you supplying the cameras, so everyone's on the same footing?

                   

                  -Noel

                  • 6. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                    Level 4

                    Mr. Southworth,

                     

                    Forgive me for making no apologies for my reaction to the OP.  I find it very offensive when someone at this level of knowledge or ignorance publicly holds himself out to be a teacher.

                    • 7. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                      RASouthworth Level 3

                      No forgiveness granted, at least by me.  All of us form mental pictures of other posters, but most of us realize we should confine our public remarks to the issue, and keep personal assessments to ourselves.

                       

                      Richard Southworth

                      • 8. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                        Peter DL Level 1

                        >> They then print the photos at local photo labs (fuji fronteir machines) ...
                        Most of them shoot in Adobe RGB and use that in their computer workspace.
                        So far I have told them to make sure that they convert the files to sRGB before printing <<

                        Correct.
                        The Fuji Frontier printer won’t do any gamut conversion.
                        It just prints "by the numbers", expecting sRGB.

                        To put it simple.


                        >> Our requirements are that they hand in a print and an unedited RAW file. Because we are focusing on their photographic technique, they aren't allowed to edit the photos at all...

                        Most of them shoot in Adobe RGB ...<<

                        It is fairly impossible to print from an un-interpreted / unedited Raw file. Editing is the name of the game. Sounds as if the students were shooting Raw + JPG (nothing wrong with this). Only the JPG will be subject to the in-camera setting to Abobe RGB. Should be converted to sRGB before giving it to the Fuji Frontier. If it is really Raw + JPG shooting, it may be easier to set the camera to sRGB. Nothing lost here, because you always have the Raw file to resort to in ACR.

                        Peter

                         

                        --

                        • 9. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                          Noel Carboni Level 7

                          Peter DL wrote:

                           

                          It is fairly impossible...


                          Heh heh heh, help me here...  Is that more impossible than, say, "somewhat impossible" but less impossible than "significantly impossible"? 

                           

                          -Noel

                          • 10. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                            Level 4

                            RASouthworth wrote:

                             

                            No forgiveness granted…

                             

                             

                            None was actually sought.  Look up sarcasm and rhetorical in a dictionary.

                            • 11. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                              Level 4

                              RASouthworth wrote:

                               

                              …but most of us…

                               

                              One of which I am not. 

                              • 12. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                David Ceruti Level 1

                                Thanks for the comments so far

                                 

                                Just to clarify a few things:

                                 

                                The reason for the RAW submission is to verify that they didn't edit their original image - just like we would have asked for their negative back in the days of film. I don't have the time to examine every JPEG I get to see whether they have tweaked it or not. it is obvious that you cannot print a RAW file without converting it but I see straight conversion as different to editing.

                                 

                                How to convert to a JPEG is not an issue, They all can do it more than one way.

                                 

                                The relevance of the Adobe RGB colour space is that it is their working space on the computers. I personally use ProPhoto but, as the computers are used by students from other disciplines, I can't change the college computers away from Adobe RGB.

                                 

                                unfortunately, they all have their own cameras - all the way from a Canon 350D up to a Nikon 3dx with almost everything in between.

                                 

                                My dilemma is to find a reasonably simple method to convert the files that will provide a reliable, good quality print. All I want is for the students diligence (or lack thereof) behind the camera to come through in the print that is put up for display. This is the reason for my initial choice of image processor to do the conversion once the raw is saved as a PSD. it is standard, pretty simple and doesn't have any settings they can fool around with.

                                 

                                My clarified question is - Can anyone suggest another way of converting that will avoid most of the colour management pitfalls that I can show to an unruly bunch of young students to reduce their complaints of "my pic looks great - it is just the print that is bad"

                                 

                                Thanks for your interest and advice

                                 

                                David

                                • 13. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                  Peter DL Level 1

                                  >>The reason for the RAW submission is to verify that they didn't edit their original image - just like we would have asked for their negative back in the days of film. I don't have the time to examine every JPEG I get to see whether they have tweaked it or not. it is obvious that you cannot print a RAW file without converting it but I see straight conversion as different to editing.<<

                                   

                                  Some misunderstandings here.

                                  Raw is just raw data, it is "dark", some say it is gray, and it is most typically unpleasing - a scene referred rendition at best. Raw cannot be compared to the (higher) processing stage of film, even though the term "digital negative" may suggest this. With Raw, it is difficult to make a clear differentiation between "edited" and "unedited". If you really want see what you students made of a shot, and what the sensor captured, go for a "linear" scene-referred rendition (demosaiced, colorimetrically interperted, white-balanced, but nothing else on the top). However, from an academic point (which is probably not what you have in mind), you could actually go down to Rawnalyze the naked Raw data per channel.

                                  In a nutshell, the Raw file is hardly a reference point for edited / unedited like with negative back in the days of film.

                                  The JPG from in-camera auto-processing starts with the (same) Raw data, to provide a somewhat pleasing rendition according the ideas of the camera manufacturer.

                                  Others (well, probably most people around here) prefer to "render the print" on their own, using appropriate Raw conversion software. That’s what "Raw" is all about (see below link).

                                  Peter

                                  --
                                  http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/dialogbox/karllang.html

                                  • 15. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                    Noel Carboni Level 7

                                    David, perhaps you don't realize the tremendous creative possibilities there are with Photoshop's raw converter.

                                     

                                    What if, for example, a student got a *perfect* composition, but it was in tricky light and underexposed some...   Certainly you can't stop them from choosing a proper color balance, but mightn't they also lighten it up a bit during the conversion to correct the exposure.  Or saturate the color a bit.  Or sharpen it.  Or use one of the spot correction tools.

                                     

                                    And what if student A has a big budget and buys the latest Photoshop CS5.5 package, while student B is stuck with the converter that came with his camera back a few years ago?

                                     

                                    Are you saying you're opening up their raw files and comparing what you see on your screen to what you're seeing on their prints?  What happens when you see enough difference to wonder whether they've done some of the above "editing"?

                                     

                                    I guess there's no way to keep at least SOME subjectivity out of a photography class, but it seems to me there's a lot of room for trouble there.

                                     

                                    What I'm saying in a nutshell is that a raw conversion by definitinon is squarely part of the editing process.

                                     

                                    -Noel

                                    • 16. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                      David Ceruti Level 1

                                      Thanks you for your well-meaning but frustrating comments. Aside from Yammer, I haven't seen any possibly helpful answers to my question.

                                       

                                      I know what RAW is, I use the creative possibilities daily and regularly convert my own images to JPEG, TIFF and EPS for printing.

                                       

                                      The situation is this:

                                      1     I can't change submission policy at the college

                                      2     I get their RAW files (NEF, CR2, etc.) and open them in ACR to check if I think they have been tweaking the image before they print it

                                      3     I teach a "Characteristics of Light" course. As these students may go on to careers as professional photographers so they have to master lighting. If I        allow them to play around with the photographed image, they won't learn the discipline of photographing. For instance, when lighting glass the trick is to        avoid any specular reflections, not to clone them out. And to get their exposure right, especially in tricky lighting situations.

                                      4     They all have access to Photoshop CS5 on Macs with calibrated screens

                                      5     They are taught Photoshop as well so there is more than enough opportunity to learn editing and they are expected to do so in the fashion, commercial,        etc. parts of the course

                                       

                                      Now back to the advice/suggestions that I DO need - a reasonably easy way to convert their raw files to sRGB JPEGs for printing that will give reliably acceptable quality prints.

                                       

                                      I thought of using Image Processor which will do the conversion without even having to open ACR. Now:


                                      1     Are there any possible pitfalls in using image processor?

                                      2     is there a better way that you can suggest?

                                       

                                      Thanks, in anticipation

                                      • 17. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                        JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        The image processor will work.  I use it frequently.  But the problem is, it is going to apply the default settings (if no other adjustments have been made)  even though you don't see the ACR screen.  Regardless of what raw processor you use, the image has to be interpreted by that processor.  Raw images must be processed before they can be viewed or printed.  That's what everyone is arguing about and why they are challenging your approach.  A lot will depend on the default settings for the camera.  In the case of the image processor, ACR has to process the image before it can be passed to Photoshop.  There is no way around that.  The image processor doesn't have some magical formula that bypasses that process.  I guess it's sort of streamlines it because you don't have the stop in ACR.  Even when using Lightroom, when the image is passed to Photoshop ACR has to interpret the adjustments.

                                        • 18. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                          Yammer Level 4

                                          I don't understand what else you need to know beyond my original reply.

                                           

                                          If you are being given the raw files, then you can load them all up in a batch from Bridge, use Camera Raw defaults, set sRGB workspace, and save the batch straight to JPEG. I'm not sure if you could change the Camera Profile to Camera Standard on a mixed batch, but that might be preferrable.

                                           

                                          If you are asking the students to print their raw images with a default conversion, then you are opening up a can of worms, as their "defaults" may not be default, and they might not prepare their images correctly for the printer. You could maybe provide a downloadable Photoshop Action to adjust the colourspace/resolution of the imported bitmap.

                                           

                                          I'm sorry if I'm missing the point. Maybe you could give me an example?

                                          • 19. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                            Noel Carboni Level 7

                                            David Ceruti wrote:

                                             

                                            Now back to the advice/suggestions that I DO need - a reasonably easy way to convert their raw files to sRGB JPEGs for printing that will give reliably acceptable quality prints.


                                            If they use Photoshop's Camera Raw converter, have them convert directly to the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color space.  That selection is available through the link near the bottom-center of the dialog.

                                             

                                            CameraRawsRGBColorSpace.jpg

                                             

                                            If they have Photoshop but use another converter (for whatever reason) and they need sRGB IEC61966-2.1, then have them open the image into Photoshop and do an Edit - Convert to Profile, and set the target color space to sRGB IEC61966-2.1.

                                             

                                            ConvertTosRGB.jpg

                                             

                                            Is this the level of instruction you need?

                                             

                                            -Noel

                                            • 20. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                              Robert Shomler Level 4

                                              Would it meet your needs for you have students set their cameras to produce both a jpeg and raw file for each shot (camera color mode set to sRGB)?  They could send the jpeg to be printed and submit both jpeg and raw to you for review.  This would get ACR out of the print workflow.

                                              • 21. Re: JPEG conversion for printing
                                                JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                RWSP wrote:

                                                 

                                                Would it meet your needs for you have students set their cameras to produce both a jpeg and raw file for each shot (camera color mode set to sRGB)?  They could send the jpeg to be printed and submit both jpeg and raw to you for review.  This would get ACR out of the print workflow.

                                                That is a good thought. The only problem is that JPEG images get processed in the camera depending on how the settings have been adjusted. And there is always some setting that is active even if you have it set on something like "Camera Standard". And raw images always have to be processed by ACR before they can be displayed even in the Camera Raw dialog. I don't know how you would ever get an image that is totally untouched.