Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Comparison: Original, Photoprint, POD Picture Book

One of the more frustrating tasks for today's artist is image adjustment.  I'm not talking about taking your brush and niggling at some little shape on the canvas that's been bothering you for a week.  I'm talking about digital stuff - sitting at your computer, playing with your screen settings, and holding your breath while navigating the heavily-mined waters of the Photoshop ocean.

I've written about this before, but more specifically, in relation to how images look different from one computer screen to the next.  Currently, I am in the middle of adjusting images for two print products related to my "Fifty Paintings for the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park's Fiftieth Anniversary" project.  Besides creating 50 paintings, I am working on a set of notecards and a book that will contain all the images.

Using Photoshop, I adjusted my digital scans of the paintings so they looked good when printed out on my Canon MP980 printer.   When printed out on Canon Glossy Photo Paper II, the colors and values were true.  These are the files I'm using for the notecards.  I used these same files when creating my book via CreateSpace, a print-on-demand (or POD) printhouse.  I created a PDF file first, and again, when printed out, the images in the PDF looked pretty close to the original paintings.  But when I received the book itself, I saw that the colors were off a bit.  Here's a photo of all three together.

The photo doesn't show the relationships as clearly as you would see them in person, but the notecard is very, very close to the original, which is on the right.  The book version (left) has higher contrast, deeper darks, and more red.  Overall, I'm happy with the book, but wouldn't it be nice if CreateSpace could get a little closer to the truth?

All that said, the book will give folks a good idea of the 50 paintings.  The person who made the paintings is always more fussy and particular than anyone else. I think you'll be pleased with it.

Back when I was working with my late mentor, Ann Templeton, on her book, The Art of Ann Templeton: A Step Beyond, we went through a printing issue.  The book was being printed very expensively in Italy by a premium printhouse.  When the first proof came off the press and was sent to Ann in New Mexico via express courier, she was aghast.  She wasn't happy with the color at all.  This, even though the book was designed and laid out by very good design firm that also coordinated the printing.  So, although her busy schedule hardly allowed for it, she flew to Italy and oversaw the entire print run of 3,000 books.  But it just goes to show how difficult the whole process of reproduction can be.

The book is now available via, in both paperback and Kindle versions.  You can get it here.  For Kickstarter supporters who took the book option, when I send your signed copy of the book, I'll be including several notecards for you, as well.

By the way, I am experimenting today.  I borrowed my father-in-law's Acer Chromebook to see how this whole "Cloud" thing works.   I am writing my blog and adjusting the image for it entirely in the Cloud.  I don't like having to rely entirely on the Cloud, which is what the Chromebook is all about.  If you don't have a connection to the Internet, there's not much you can do.  But I wanted to take it to the Castine (Maine) Plein Air Festival in a couple of weeks rather than my heavier and more cumbersome laptop.  I'll let you know how it goes!

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