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Resize the print or scale to fit?

Bill Owens , Nov 07, 2011; 09:49 p.m.

In CS5, is is best to Resample an image (where you can select the method of resampling, e.g. Bicubic Smoother, and the PPI) then print as is (i.e. no Scale to Fit Media), or just leave the image as is and use Scale to Fit Media in the print dialog? What does Scale to Fit assume? Will it matter?


Scott Ferris , Nov 07, 2011; 11:12 p.m.

This is a can of worms :-)

Generally, if I am within 10-15% of where I need to be, I will Scale To Fit, this just works in the printers driver and takes the size adjustment needed in with the actual business of rendering the image from the file it is given to the actions of the print head. Printers are superb at scaling, mainly because they don't "see" pixels, they are interested in shading and gradations and work in much much smaller chunks of information, it takes thousands of ink drops to make one pixel.

If I am outside the 10-15% I will resample with an appropriate method and PPI. I do this because the printer needs x amount of information per inch, after all it doesn't know if I am trying to print a chessboard or a grey scale ramp, it needs enough pixel information to determine that first. If you push Scale To Fit too far you get pixelation.

Patrick Lavoie , Nov 08, 2011; 09:58 a.m.

i personally always crop and resize in Photoshop.. and send the final size to the printer or the lab.

I like to know exactly what have been done, and by doing it yourself is the only way ; )

Scott Ferris , Nov 08, 2011; 11:06 a.m.

I agree with Patrick to a degree, but the Print size is so often not the exact size actually printed out on paper.

For sure if you send an 8x10 image to 11x14 paper, you will get an 8x10 image, but when you want to maximise printed area on a particular paper it gets much more difficult. For instance going full bleed necessitates the printer shooting ink outside the paper area, this has to be image information, this is best done by the printer scaling rather than trying to work out the exact figures, indeed many printers won't give you the option, they will rescale automatically when using full bleed options. Also, different settings in the print workflow change the allowable print area, for Epson printers there is a difference between center and center maximum, it might only be a 1/4 inch but it changes the figures, for these kinds of changes I find the printer driver, scale to fit, to be well up to the job.

Having said that I am comparatively new to high quality printing myself, having farmed it out for years, and have the greatest respect for Patrick's input here.

Scott M. Knowles , Nov 08, 2011; 09:00 p.m.

Interesting and as said, it's about personal choice. I make copies of the original for each print size, usually 4x6 for cards or 8x10 and larger for framed prints, and then crop, resize, etc. to the exact size for each print size. This way I can make any size on demand and don't have to rework any image, just open and print.

Bill Owens , Nov 09, 2011; 10:35 p.m.

Thanks for the responses. I experimented with scale to fit to force pixelation, and better understand the benefit of resampling beforehand.

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