Resolution problem in prints

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Hello from Greece! 

I just started using Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom CC a few months ago for my greeting cards. My problem is: I work on an image in the RGB mode (as some functions- like Filter gallery- are not available in CMYK mode) and when I'm done, I turn it into CMYK mode to print , minding that it's always in 300 ppi resolution BUT when I finally have it printed, the resolution is really bad! I've tried printing in different places, in most cases I had to do with professional graphic designers, but they couldn't tell why it is so, that the prints have not much to do with the image on my laptop. And on top of that, in the last prints there started appearing on the image a tiny little almost invisible kind of grid! Any insights as to what may be going on there? Any help would really be appreciated! Thanks!
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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How do you get it printed? Most online printers and printshops expect RGB files, not CMYK. Could that be the problem?
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Thanks so much for such a quick response, Johan!!!

I have them all printed in physical stores and I turn them to CMYK mode because that's what a professional graphic designer told me is the best for printing (and not web) use. Today I tried printing after turning back to RGB mode, but it came out the same... I'm puzzled, really. And I need these prints to be of the best quality possible, because I want to sell them online...
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Most if not all physical photo stores expect RGB, not CMYK. Only a professional book or magazine printer will ask you for CMYK, but then you would need to have the icc-profile.

‘Turning back’ to RGB is not going to work. The damage is already done. You have to export an RGB file from Lightroom and keep it that way.
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Ok... For some reason that graphic designer told me the opposite... That's puzzling too :-) Anyway, I'll give it a try with RGB images  and see what happens... 
Thanks a lot, Johan!  
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You say "It's always in 300 ppi resolution," but what is the Photoshop document size in pixels (F8 key) and the printed card in  inches?
You should ask the actual printer what format they want the file in concerning CMYK/RGB color profile. If submitting CMYK files the printer needs to supply you with their CMYK paper profile. You will then need to 'Convert to Profile' using that as the target profile. In general it's safer to submit an RGB PS document.
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Thanks a lot for replying, Todd!

There is, for example, an image with a size of  4201 x 5843 pixels  and 14 x 19,5 inches.  
I will ask the printer about the paper profiles. But what do you mean by "You will then need to 'Convert to Profile' using that as the target profile" ? Is that something I have to do on PS  -and if so,how? -  or does the printer do it?  And if the printer is not really familiar with such detail, is it still safe to submit an RGB Psd?
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"There is, for example, an image with a size of  4201 x 5843 pixels  and 14 x 19,5 inches."

That file resolution is 300ppi so that's not causing the issue. Please upload one of the files you've submitted for printing to Dropbox or other file sharing site and paste the share link in a reply here. I'll take a look at it.

"And if the printer is not really familiar with such detail, is it still safe to submit an RGB Psd?"

Submitting an RGB JPEG file converted to sRGB color profile is the safest file format. Any printer should be able to produce good results with this file type.

https://om4.com.au/client/preparing-images-color-profiles-srgb-adobe-rgb/
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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http://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/76b54663f5454142bf54145a6e5932e1


Sorry but I don't know how to use Dropbox!
I hope this way helps.
Thanks!
(Edited)
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LR CC for Web apparently doesn't allow shared download of the original file. You can setup a free Dropbox account and upload it there.

https://www.dropbox.com/individual
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Oops! Sorry about that!
Here's the link to the Dropbox file.

https://www.dropbox.com/home/Resolution%20problem

I hope I did it right this time.

I really appreciate it that you're offering so much of your time, Todd!
Thanks!
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In your Dropbox account you need to click on 'Share' then 'Create Link' and finally 'Copy Link.' Paste that link in your reply. Thank you!

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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uong4j1890wr7xt/AABMHaWuX9GnVdXlKzRsjXvFa?dl=0

Seems like you're also teaching me Dropbox  here! I can't thank you enough!
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I see no specific issues with the three files, but the ship and cross images could use  additional sharpening. They should print OK at the 300ppi resolution with these sizes:
Ship: 7.87" x 11.25"Cross: 7.87" x 10.95"
If the actual print is much larger than the above dimensions in inches then you will see reduced resolution and perhaps some pixelation. Please confirm the actual print sizes in inches and post a picture of one of the prints shot with a camera that shows the "resolution" issue. Otherwise I'm at a loss as to the cause!
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Hello again, Todd!

Sorry it took me a while to reply.

So, here is a link with the original painting ( about 9.8 X 13.7 inches large in its physical form) side by side with the print , the print alone (about  7,8 x  11 in.) , the web image  (14 X  19,5 in.) and another print with the tiny grid visible. If you take a close look at the latter one, you will notice there are like tiny spots which are actually parts of a grid. You can only find them inside the image and not on the margin of the paper. 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y5fh701nqyk0j2f/AADZEisGKMypSrmVAoQNiKPza?dl=0

And one further question: how do you define the amount of sharpening an image needs?
I suppose you're talking about the sharpening option when you export an image from Lightroom Classic, right?

Thanks! :-)
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The contact information print sheet has some kind of half-toning applied. How did you create this sheet?
The  cross print quality-loss (resolution & color) is due to a combination of issues.

1) The photograph of the cross was shot at lens aperature F16, which causes diffraction sharpness loss. With this lens a better setting is F8. Use a tripod and focus the lens manually to insure proper focus using the camera's 'Live View' at the highest Zoom setting.
2) The CMYK color profile conversion is causing a loss in color gamut. A better option is to use Adobe RGB in PS and LR Export color space setting. Most printers can use an Adobe RGB color profile image file.

3) You should also apply Output Sharpening in the LR Export module using Glossy or Matte setting depending on the actual paper type used by the printer. An 'Amount'  setting of Standard should be fine.
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Hello there!

I created the contact information print sheet by picking the Line tool in Ps and then by holding Shift and dragging the lines. No idea how the half toning got applied. 

To be honest, I'm not too familiar with the Nikon yet. My brother gave it to me and I usually use it in AUTO mode. 
Conversion to CMYK was almost painful when I saw what happened to colors with it, I only did it because I was told to. I'm much happier with RGB colors.

I'll follow your instructions as far as I can and see what happens.

I really appreciate the time and help you've offered me, Todd! 
Thanks a million!

PS If you think I might have somehow caused this halftoning by mistake please let me know what to do to be more careful next time.
(Edited)
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"I created the contact information print sheet by picking the Line tool in Ps and then by holding Shift and dragging the lines. No idea how the half toning got applied."

If you created it as type in PS then the halftone dots are from the printing process, which normally isn't very visible. The gold color and perhaps font type you've chosen are making it more visible. If you change the font color to Black no halftone will be applied to the font during the printing process. I would discuss this with the printer and see if they have other suggestions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halftone

"To be honest, I'm not too familiar with the Nikon yet. My brother gave it to me and I usually use it in AUTO mode."

You may want set the camera to aperture priority mode, which allows fixing the setting to F8. With a new camera and as a first-time user of Photoshop and Lightroom these types of issues are bound to happen. It's all part of the learning process. I suggest downloading the full PDF user manual for your Nikon D7000 and the Adobe manuals:

http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/26/D7000.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/in/x-productkb/global/help-pdf-localized-languages.html

Adobe also has online help and video tutorials:

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/support/lightroom.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/support/photoshop.html
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Thank you so much for all this valuable information, Todd!

I think I've already taken too much of your time, so I'll just experiment and see what happens. And if the mystery gets solved, I'll let you know. 

Thanks again, I'm really grateful!
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Glad to help–Good luck!
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Hello again!

If it's not too much to ask, I would have one more question.

In the PS Help pdf it says that for prints we should prefer RGB and not sRGB (which is best for web use). Question is: How do we make this choice? In PS color settings, if I choose "Europe General Purpose 3" then comes with that the sRGB working space, so I picked Adobe RGB (1998). In LR Classic, if I choose Adobe RGB in color settings,  it says that this cannot cover the full color range that is available in LR. So, what do you do in this case? And how do you make the choice between 8
bit and 16 bit ?

I was never good at math and this  feels like math,somehow...

Thanks!
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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You're right, it said Adobe RGB(1998) on that Reference pdf. Sorry.

So, will it be safe to use Adobe RGB in PS when LR uses ProPhoto RGB ? Won't they be unsynchronized then?
Or to use ProPhoto RGB in PS when one is printing on a typical lazer printer?  Unfortunately my printer could not offer this information!

It's all greek to me, I wonder if I have any hope of ever understanding it all... :-)

I have to thank you for being so patient and thorough in explaining, though.
I think you would make a great teacher , if you're not one already, that is.
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"So, will it be safe to use Adobe RGB in PS when LR uses ProPhoto RGB ? Won't they be unsynchronized then?"

PS and LR are both fully color-managed applications and as such can open and convert any compatible image file that has an embedded color profile. So there is no "synchronization" issue. ProPhoto RGB has a larger color gamut than Adobe RGB so is preferable to insure there is no color loss (gamut clipping). Having said that there are virtually no monitors that can display colors outside the Adobe RGB color space and most wide gamut inkjet printers have only a small gamut that exceeds Adobe RGB.


"Or to use ProPhoto RGB in PS when one is printing on a typical lazer printer?  Unfortunately my printer could not offer this information!"

As I mentioned above some wide gamut printers do have color gamut that falls outside Adobe RGB color space. When viewing a ProPhoto RGB camera image file on a wide gamut display (i.e. 100% Adobe RGB gamut) you will not be able to "see" those colors. However, when you compare the actual print to your display image those colors will look more saturated (if the original image has gamut in that small area of the printer's extended gamut). If you want to insure the best screen to print matching use the working color space that is closest your display's gamut (sRGB or Adobe RGB). If you prefer the widest possible gamut and color saturation in the actual print output than use ProPhoto RGB for your working color space. As I mentioned the choice is entirely up to you.


Andrew Rodney is without question an "expert" in color management and explains "wide gamut" issues in much more detail if interested in the below video. GEEK WARNING–Not for the faint of heart!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLlr7wpAZKs
(Edited)
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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Thanks a million, Todd! 
I think it's made much clearer to me now.
I'm really grateful and sorry if I overdid it with my questions!

I wish you the best!
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No problem glad to help–Color Management is a complex subject!

Just remember that the final piece in the color management workflow puzzle happens at the printer's facility. When you submit an Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB image file THEY will convert it to CMYK using a color profile specific to the actual printer and paper type that will used to make the print. Some printers use an "automated" system that is NOT fully color managed and the image files must be sRGB color profile. You need to discuss this with a technically knowledgeable person at the printer. If they insist on sRGB or a "generic" CMYK profile image file find another printer! The best printers will accept 16 bit depth TIFF files with whatever color profile you want to use. This is preferable to submitting 8 bit depth JPEG files.
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Vasiliki Oikonomou

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I realize that the whole thing is much more complicated than I can probably handle.
Unfortunately, I cannot have access to such technical detail in our little town. Sad but true.

Anyway, I must thank you once again, I was really moved to receive so much help from a person on the other side of the globe.
I wish you to receive all the help you will ever need and more!