Printing to different size and keeping the "feel" of the image

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tkamiya, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have been experimenting a lot and I think I got the technical side down. But, there's more to it and here, I'd like to get some input from far more experienced folks than I am.

    My problem concerns printing the same image to different size. Let's say 8x10 and 11x14. Not a huge difference but the image size is about two times larger. I got it to a point where I can make 8x10 image and scale that up to 11x14 with same density at any point of the image. But, that's where the problem starts. It doesn't have the same "feel."

    At 8x10 image, I have this cozy, soft, not so bright but comfortably lit image. When I scale it up to 11x14 and match the density of every part of the image, this feel is somewhat lost. It looks darker. It's not cozy. It just doesn't look the same. If I print a little lighter, it looks lacking contrast. Sharpness of the image is lost. (I don't mean out of focus) I tried making local adjustments by lightening key areas. It still doesn't look right.

    If it helps to see the actual image, it's posted on APUG gallery. This is a scanned print and it has lost the subtlety but I hope you get the jest of the image.
    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=58391&catid=member&imageuser=36046

    I display my work on my hall way. (I call it hall way gallery :smile: ) So the viewing distance is about the same regardless of image size. Just because the image area size is twice as big, I don't step back 1.414 times farther away. I've wasted half a box of paper trying to get this right and I'm still not quite satisfied. I'm close, perhaps close enough, but not completely satisfied.

    Weird thing is, if I print it to technically identically to 11x14 and light it very brightly, it looks right as 8x10 image lit not so brightly. (It doesn't make any sense to me)

    I know we have folks who print HUGE and do so commercially and the wealth of experience and the knowledge is all here. Can someone please try to make some sense for me?

    I've been struggling with this for few months now. Thanks.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    What viewing distance are you using?

    What sort of light illuminates the prints (colour and intensity and how directional)?
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Viewing distance is about 3 to 5 feet.

    Lighting is variable. It could be from a near-by door with a window cut-out or an overhead incandescent light.

    No where near an ideal viewing situation but this is my home, not a museum.

    I know folks here sell prints or print as business. They don't survey customer's viewing environment and tailor prints to it, do they? (or do they...)

    I'd actually like to make this rather simple. I'd like to be able to print 8x10 and 11x14 that look and feel the same in a given viewing condition. (say lighting and the viewing distance is pretty much the same)
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'd like to also add that I have quite a few prints that aren't affected much at all by size, viewing distance, or lighting conditions. They look the same regardless. The print I'm having problem is very sensitive to all 3. WHY, why, why....???
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Sounds like a typical set of conditions.

    I asked the questions in order to eliminate any concerns about unusual viewing conditions. If, for example, you were viewing the 8x10 at really short distances, or under unusually dark or bright light, it would be wise to deal with that first when trying to achieve a standard.

    Your observation about viewing the larger prints under extra bright lighting leads me to believe that your problem relates to issues of contrast. In general, you need to increase the contrast slightly when you go to a larger size. But this really only applies to mid-tone contrast - not necessarily the highlights and shadows.

    In addition to attempting to match densities, I'd suggest trying a few slightly different contrasts. Test strips should be fine. You may find that even a 1/4 grade adjustment of the contrast will restore the "feel" of the mid-tone areas. You may have to adjust the densities of the shadows and highlights to follow.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hum.... 1/4 grade bump in contrast... I'll have to try this then. Thanks!