“Front Patio I” from the series “Places Amongst Us”, copyright of Douglas Stockdale
Well this is a strange series of events. It now appears that my first published book (Blurb) is going to be technical How-To. I just uploaded and made available my book “Sharpening Photographs for Blurb Printing“.
For those who have been following my disjointed and lately infrequent posts, know that when I received my first Blurb production proof of my softcover book “In Passing“, everything was hunkie-dory until I compared it to my LensWork publication. Then the big disappointment with the comparable lack of image sharpeness in my Blurb book. I mean BIG dissappointment. I essentially stopped working on my SoFoBoMo project “Places Amongst Us“. A DEAD stop. Yep, right in my tracks, dead stop. If all I was going to get was a soft mess, why bother, eh?
Well, that mopping around lasted about one day. So I needed to fix the sharpening for Blurb printing, that was all there was to it. Then the sound of grinding of shifting gears.
So I figured that I needed to first find out what was written about image sharpening for Blurb. Not much other than the sage Blurboriam advice, the books are cheap, keep making sharpening changes until you get it right. Huh?
Okay, I was going to do this the old fashion way. Make a bunch of sharpened examples, load it into the Blurb SmartBook template, upload it and see what looks good. It was going to cost me ONE book, but I was not going to buy a library of books to figure out what I needed for the neccessary sharpening.
So then my wheels started spining. And to make sure that I maximized my investment, I did the whole thing twice, once with a digital image and once with a scanned color negative film image. I was getting traction. Then the idea hit me. If this is what I needed, a bunch of other SoFoBoMo’ers were thinking of using Blurb (the Epson of the POD crowd), why not let others in on my research. Thus a book idea was formed.
Forget SoFoBoMo, this was SoFoBoWkend. Yep, I created a technical how-to book over a long holiday weekend. Okay, the final edit has taken me to today, but I like to let things set a day or two. I like to review my writing after sleeping on it a night or two and look at it fresh. Makes a difference sometimes.
So quickly, what I published (I am still under the deadline for my real SoFoBoMo project!). Its a 70 page book with about 104 images in a horizontal format. I choose two images, one was “Double Cross” from my series “In Passing” that was published in LensWork. It is from a digital camera and since it was in LensWork, a good basis of softcover publishing comparisions. So this covered my full digital workflow.
Then I used “Front Patio I” (above) from my current SoFoBoMo project “Places Amongst Us“. This kinda kept this how-to book in the SoFoBoMo game, as the photograph was created this month. This photograph covered my other work flow; medium format color negative film that was scanned on my Nikon 8000L dedicated film scanner.
So I discussed very briefly the late Bruce Fraser two step sharpening work flow, then created samples to illustrate. Chapter One is the image capture sharpening action, and Chapter Two is the output sharpening action. Both use the CS3 UnSharp Mask and then the samples made varying the Amount, Radius and Threshold.
What I found is that if the image has an initial sharpening action, the output sharpening action does not have to be too intense. So I use a 150/0.3/3 for a digital input sharpening and a 100/1/3 for output sharpening. I also found that there are a number of similar combinations that work probably equally well. And the output sharpening is neccessary and needed. It makes a difference.
So there you have it. A technical how-to book in a week. And I still might make the SoFoBoMo deadline for my project. We’ll soon see, eh?
So with that, back to Photoshop!
Best regards, Doug