Thursday, August 26, 2010

Printing Series: Genuine Fractals - a great solution for resizing your images

For the best results when printing your images I (along with my friend Douglas Dubler) recommend using onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals. It’s the best product to scale your image to the exact output size you desire and the appropriate resolution for your printer. For Epson’s, generally speaking 240 to 360 ppi and for Canon’s 200, 300, up to 600 ppi. Here’s an example of a GF6 window where I’m creating a 17x22 print for an Epson Stylus® Pro 3880 at 360 ppi (because I intend to print it at Level 5 – 2880x1440 resolution) so that when print I can set the driver to 100% and no scaling:

Genuine Fractals 6

In my older review on Genuine Fractals versus Alien Skin Software’s Blowup, I had found that on the test image for display purposes that Blowup 2 was the clear winner. However, during my longer term testing using my printers as another output target in the equation, I’ve found Genuine Fractals to be the superior product for a majority of the images I have resized (using Photoshop CS4, Lightroom 3, & Alien Skin Blowup 2). If your image just needs to be resized by a minor amount, all do very well (including the driver itself), but if you are needing to do greater than 25% resizes  (especially upsizing), I find that Genuine Fractals gives me the best results of all the products I’ve used.

Gallery Wraps feature ROCKS!!!!!

Another great feature of GF6, is it’s gallery wrap feature (discussed at length in Randy Hufford’s DVD series, The Perfect Print). Using this cool feature you can create any of 4 different kind of wrap techniques (soft stretch shown below), and you can simply turn the layer off and get a plain white border which can be handy if you are doing both canvas and print images of the same shot.

Mouse over to see white border, mouse out to see gallery wrap with soft stretch effect
Gallery wraps and plain white borders are now brain dead simple

Here’s a little video I did (with black borders on the sides so that’s why it is a little odd looking below) which shows the gallery wraps in action:
 

Another handy feature is the tile mode for scenarios where you have a smaller printer, but you want to do a tile/mosaic of a larger print. Using this feature you can make wall size prints using just a Epson Stylus® Pro 2880 printer. 

Special Offer

For a limited time, onOne Software is offering Genuine Fractals Professional Edition at a huge discount - $140 off!!!! If you print and you’ve been looking to get this product, now’s the time to get a great deal! Click the link above and make sure that RONM6 is the coupon code in your cart (as shown below) when you check out to save.

Disclosure

I was provided a copy of Genuine Fractals to review and I may a commission if you purchase using links in this article. Thank you for supporting this blog by using my links when making your purchase!

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5 comments:

antonio.biggio said...

I Ron,
i often crop the image in the raw converter (nx2 or camera raw) for adjust the image .
What is the difference and best solution, between using the raw converter to scale the raw image and to scale the tiff in cs5 with genuine fractal?.

Thank you

antonio

Ron Martinsen said...

Hi Antonio,

Great question!

When you do what you are doing, you are letting the RAW converter do the scaling - which sounds nice, but in the case of Adobe Camera Raw (used by Lightroom, Photoshop, Bridge etc...) you get identical results those that you'd get if you use your Adobe app to resize just after the raw conversion. It also assumes that you want to edit your image in its final output size, which can result in huge files and isn't always what we want.

So, the short answer is that if you are happy with the results you are getting then it's fine - but it's not any better than doing it later. In fact, I usually recommend that people duplicate their final layer in PS into a new doc and then do their resize on that so they have a nice single layer document that is just for printing in their desired output size. The can create one for each print size so that it's easy to re-print the desired output without affecting all of their editing work.

Thanks for supporting the blog!

Ron

abel said...

Hi Ron,

I am interestinted in what you said to Antonio:

"I usually recommend that people duplicate final layer in PS into a new doc and then do their resize on that so they have a nice single layer document that is just for printing in their desired output size. The can create one for each print size so that it's easy to re-print the desired output without affecting all of their editing work".

What are the steps you use to do just that? I am not clear how do you re-apply the layer(s) after you resize the photo for different print sizes?

Abel

charles said...

Hi Ron,

I've usually upsized the images using Capture NX2, from the raw file. Which is better Genuine fractal or NX2? I've done some tests and compared them on the computer screen. (I know, not exactly the best test to see all those extra pixels.) But they both looked good, but then that's only large blow ups on the computer.

Ron Martinsen said...

Charles,

You are correct in that in many cases you can't tell the difference. GF is the tool you use when you don't get good results from other apps which traditionally do bi-cubic resizing. Where GF shines is where you have a smaller image with so little data that bi-cubic fails miserably, because the GF algorithms are very good and can sometimes do the seemingly impossible. It is for this reason that many pros just go to it straight away to avoid any surprises when they print.

Our bar is lower for display than it is for print - especially when you get into fine art circles where the cost of the print can be quite expensive, so thats another factor too.

Abel,

When you are in the duplicate layer dialog it asks you for a new layer name, but there's also a drop down list at the bottom where you can select a new document. You are duplicating into a new document, so with only that one simple layer, you can do the resize and save a special print version of your image.

If you make any print specific adjustments after the resize, then they should be saved in your print version file as what is good for print, isn't always good for display. A good example of this is sharpening, and that's typically your last step before doing a print.