Whether you are on vacation, school break or enjoying the festive season, we all have a memorable situation, what is more, we love to record that moment. What better way than photography, yet taking pictures in itself is one thing, how to render the picture is another.
Canvas has become a classic way to immortalize one’s good times, the advantage lies in the artistic appeal since canvas is originally used by painters. Thanks to technology now we can recreate that effect using real pictures creating a longer lasting effect. Yet how do you prepare a photo for a good canvas print? Here are the important aspects to consider:
First, it is important to realize that when pictures are printed “resolution” becomes relevant and is related to the quality of the resulting printed picture.
The resolution of a digital photo is its pixels, generally expressed as Megapixels or MP, another term is Dpi or Dots Per Inch, these dots are what make a picture, but really come to play when you actually have to print a picture. The plotter or printer needs encode your image, so your picture is divided into square dots that can be mounted vertically and horizontally respectively.
The higher the resolution of your image the more dots the plotter can draw side by side to produce your image, for example in an image where there is good detail the plotter may decide that my tooth requires 4 light yellowish dots, but if that picture lacks in quality from having been taken from a low-resolution camera all the plotter will do is print to represent my tooth is 1 pale cream square and detail will be lost and that is a low-resolution image.
If you want to print on canvas, your image has to be of the highest resolution you and your camera can muster up, this is so that your image may appear as possible, the opposite of this would be like looking at the image with a vignette filter.
|(1600 x 1200 pixels)|
|3 Megapixels||Excellent||Good||Fair||Fair||Needs optimisation|
|(2048 x 1536 pixels)|
|(2592 x 1944 pixels)|
|(3072 x 2304 pixels)|
|(3888 x 2592 pixels)|
Printeries will ask you for some basic things in order to satisfactorily print your image on canvas, they generally need the image itself in JPEG format which thankfully is the format most digital cameras render. The size, quality, and resolution of the image may vary according to camera build, computers help in identifying all these characteristics, all one as to do is look at the image properties. Generally small images like one with a resolution of 900×500 require around 100KB in storage (size) and if you measure it directly on the computer screen with seamstress tape, in dimensions that would be a pleasant 9″x4.5″ image, but due the need to enlarge to say a real canvas size of 20″x40″ the zooming effect would take its toll and you might actually be able to count the dots per inch and that translates as poor quality since our natural eye does not see in dots. Therefore it is recommended you obtain an image of a higher resolution, for example, 2592×1360 taking some 1900KB or 1.9MB on your hard drive, with such an image you would produce a pretty good picture on a canvas sheet as large as 48″x72″, that equates to stretching your picture some 85.3 times!
There is a need for caution and one has to be modest enough to acknowledge that they may not be able to enlarge a low-resolution image so much, that being the case, it is necessary to have basic knowledge of what to expect with what you have, thus you make the most of your canvas printing experience.
What the above means is that if your image is of average quality or was taken with a 5MP camera phone with a 1944×2592 resolution, you would not want to go beyond 18″x24″. For bigger size you may try to push it up to 36″x48″, however, to achieve the desired pleasant look for that, you have to tweak your picture by image optimization, or you might call your image a painting instead.
Image optimization is basically tampering with the size of your image taking into consideration factors such as where your image came from, e.g. a camera, a website, what embedded information (invisible and really not so necessary for the normal viewer). It includes metadata, colour profiles and compression, a qualified person can reasonably adjust these parameters to get a print-ready image of better quality, it pretty much like what forensic detectives do with CCTV pictures and videos on CSI, only this is without the exaggeration for dramatic effect!
It is also refreshing to know that there are loads of graphics companies websites that simulate the outcome of your image on stretched canvas based on quality and resolution to generate the information discussed above and much more, even though you hardly get to see how the real outcome will actually be, due to the fact that you preview the image on a computer screen, it does give you a sort of an upper hand, a concept, what your portrait or landscape will look like to visitors, some sites even simulate how the canvas will look in a fancy living room wall! All this information is helpful when selecting your image.
In a nutshell: if you want a fancier canvas to make sure your JPEG image is heavy and has high resolution, that in turn can be attained by employing a camera with reputable lenses, or for portraits a good smartphone or iPhone can do the trick.
Below is how to determine the resolution of an image:
Let us say for instance you have an image of 2592 by 1936 pixels, that is 2592x1936pixels=5018112pixels or 5Megapixels!
A Canon EOS 7D camera can produce an image size 3.58MB with a resolution of 3794x3227pixels= 12243238 or 12.2Megapixels easily printing out a canvas of 60″x51″ inches, 60 inches is the arm-span of a ten-year-old!
The rest of the work is carried out by the printer.