How to get the best out of unsharp mask in PhotoShop

Are you confused by sharpening in PhotoShop? What values should I put in for Amount, Radius and Threshold in UnSharp Mask.What do these terms mean?

Our colleague John MacLulich of Pure Colours Digital Imaging (a man of immense experience in the world of colour) has prepared an article is on how best to sharpen images in PhotoShop that explains these and many other aspects of sharpening images in PhotoShop.  It covers sharpening at three stages:

  • Input Sharpening or Capture Sharpening
  • Creative Sharpening or Selective Sharpening
  • Output Sharpening

It also covers unsharp mask in detail.

This article assumes an intermediate to advanced level of Photoshop ability, but if you consider your knowledge is more basic, then please don’t be put off reading it — you will gain a better understanding of PhotoShop if you do.

Click here for the article on sharpening in PhotoShop.

He has also written an article on how to adjust images in PhotoShop in order to achieve the best possible results on uncoated paper — anything from newsprint, to bond, recycled, earthy look, and expensive premium uncoated papers. John explains how the correct use of colour profiles is the key to success here so that when you convert from RGB to CYMK, the result closely matches how the final printed material will look.

Confused by ‘colour profiles’ in PhotoShop?

Do your eyes glaze over when confronted with the need to choose colour profiles in PhotoShop?

Our colleague John MacLulich of Pure Colours Digital Imaging (a man of immense experience in the world of colour) has prepared an article for us designed to take the mystery our of this issues. The article is about how to adjust images in PhotoShop in order to achieve the best possible results on uncoated paper — anything from newsprint, to bond, recycled, earthy look, and expensive premium uncoated papers. John explains how the correct use of colour profiles is the key to success here.

By taking on board what John lays out in the article, you can make savings by printing on uncoated paper instead of more expensive coated satin or gloss paper. High quality image reproduction on uncoated paper will enable you to stand out from the crowd, and you can give yourself more options as you consider what sort of paper stock to print your project on.

Click here for the article on adjusting images for un-coated stock.

He has also written an article on a subject that mystifies and bamboozles most of us— how best to sharpen images in PhotoShop.  Click here for part 2 on sharpening.

These articles assume an intermediate to advanced level of Photoshop ability, but if you consider your knowledge is more basic, then please don’t be put off reading it — you will gain a better understanding of PhotoShop if you do.

New Kainos Print Design Portfolio

For over fifteen years, we at Kainos Print have used the services of just one designer. He is Dragan Djuric, who lives in the former Yugoslav area of Europe.

Dragan has always well and truly exceeded our expectations. He understands a brief well, he works fast, he doesn’t allow his ego to get in his way, and invariably produces work of the highest quality, at amazingly reasonable prices.

He has just produced a new design portfolio for our web site. The portfolio illustrates over 150 design projects Dragan has done for us and for his European, British and American customers, from bookmarks and cards to sophisticated (and not so sophisticated) multi-page booklets and books. If he has a speciality, it would be packaging. He has won many awards for his packaging designs. Dragan is also an accomplished web designer, illustrator and image editor.

One of the things we love about Dragan’s work is its freshness. If you would like an award winning design that is different and stands out from the crowd, then please contact us with details of your project.

You can check out Dragan’s portfolio here.

The prices are indicative only, and we would quote each project individually.

We hope for the opportunity to serve you this year.

Avoid common grammatical and usage errors in your communications

We frequently see good work spoiled by the presence of incorrect grammar and usage that does not conform to common standards used in Australia. Whilst the use of poor grammar and usage seems to be of less and less concern these days, its use tends to draw attention to itself in good quality publications. It can signal to the reader that this is an amateur effort and not to be taken too seriously. It may send a subliminal message that this publication lacks credibility.

We’ve listed some of the more common usage and grammatical mistakes we encounter. Avoid these mistakes and make your work read more professionally.

When referring to a decade, don’t use an apostrophe as in 90’s, use ’90s.

Use hyphens as dashes to hyphenate words (in-between), en rules between numbers (100–200) and em rules between words (different files — for instance).

Don’t use ampersands (‘&’) in text, use the word ‘and’.

Don’t Make Excessive Use Of Capitals — keep them to a minimum — even in book titles.

Use single quotation marks (‘ ’) rather than double quotation marks(“ ”), and use curly quotes (‘ ’) in preference to straight up and down quotes (‘ ‘). The use of single quotes rather than double quotes is standard usage in Australia. The use of double quotes is standard usage in the USA.

Punctuation marks in Australia are placed AFTER quotation marks (’.), NOT before as the USA (.”). There are exceptions, but this is normal practice in Australia.

Use single spaces between sentences, not two spaces.

Use EITHER line spaces OR indents to separate paragraphs, but not both.

The text in books is usually left AND right justified, not ragged right.

Be very conservative with hyphenation, and check that hyphenation occurs in a logical place in the hyphenated word. You can control this in most software packages.

Serif fonts (letters that have tails) are generally regarded as easier to read than non-serif fonts.

Control widows and orphans. Paragraphs of four lines or more should always have a minimum of two lines at the bottom of a page, or at the start of the next page — not one line. This can be controlled in most software packages.

Make sure your usage of ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ is correct. ‘It’s’ is always short for ‘it is’ (as in it’s snowing), or in informal speech, for ‘it has’ (as in it’s got blue feathers). The word ‘its’ means ‘belonging to it’ (as in hold its head still while I jump on its back). It is a possessive pronoun like his. So ONLY use ‘it’s’ when it is a shortened form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. Otherwise it’s always its. Thanks to the Oxford Dictionary for these concise definitions.

Understand the difference between abbreviations and contractions, and the way they are punctuated. Abbreviations consist of the first letter of a word, usually some other letters, but not the last letter. There is always a full stop after an abbreviation (para. Mon. Rev. tel. fig.). Contractions consist of the first and last letters of a word and sometimes other letters in between. Importantly, they do not have a full stop after them (Mr, Dr, Revd, Rd, Qld).

Anyone charged with responsibility of writing material for others to read should have a copy of ‘Style manual, For authors, editors and printers, Sixth edition’, published by John Wiley, Paperback, ISBN 0 7016 3648 3. I am indebted to this publication for some of the material above.

Ensure the preliminary matter in your book follows the accepted order

One of the things we see often with self-publishers is poorly put together preliminary matter in books and booklets.

Preliminary matter is the technical name given for such elements in a book as title page, foreword, contents, preface and so on. The order in which these elements appear and the way the pages are numbered can vary widely in self-published books, and if it strays from the norm, it can signal to the reader that this is an amateur effort and not to be taken too seriously. It may send a subliminal message that this publication lacks credibility.

If for no other reason, we recommend that self-publishers adhere to normal practice when setting out preliminary matter in their publications.

The publication Style manual for authors, editors and printers (Sixth edition) is widely regarded as the ‘official’ guide for anyone faced with the task of preparing material for publication, and it recommends the following order for preliminary matter. I have also included its recommendations for how to number (paginate) preliminary matter.

Most books and some booklets will have preliminary matter, which might include some or all of the following. The order laid out below is the correct order.

  • Title Page (right hand page)
  • Reverse of title page (copyright etc.)
  • Foreword (start on next right hand page)
  • Contents (start on next right hand page)
  • List of illustrations and tables (can follow on from Contents or start on the next right hand page)
  • Preface (start on next right hand page)
  • Acknowledgements (start on next right hand page)
  • Introduction (start on next right hand page)
  • Text (start on next right hand page after Introduction)
  • Appendixes (start on first right hand page after text)
  • Reference list, endnotes or bibliography (start on first right hand page after Appendixes)
  • Index (start of first right hand page after references etc.)

Page numbering should start on the Title Page and should be page one in Roman numerals (i). However the page number IS NOT SHOWN.

The page number for the reverse of the title page (ii) is also NOT SHOWN.

Page three (iii) the Foreword is the first page that is shown.

Roman numerals should be used all the way up to the Introduction, and are shown on all printed pages beginning at the Foreword, but NOT on blank pages

Numbering restarts at 1 (normal Arabic numerals) for the first page of the text and continues on for the rest of the book. Numbers should not be shown on blank pages and are sometimes not shown for the first page of a new chapter.

Numbering should be on the outside of the page — on the left of left hand pages, and on the right of right hand pages.
Right hand pages should always be odd numbered

Should chapters aways start on a right hand page? For books with lots of chapters, such as some novels, no — start on the following page. Sometimes chapters will start immediately below the finish of the previous chapter. If there are not many chapters, then new chapters will often start on the next right hand page. Blank pages thus created should not have page numbers or headers or footers.

Important new information for self-publishers

If you are self-publishing a book then you should be aware of some new developments around ISBNs and Cataloguing in Publication entries.

Thorpe-Bowker, the organisation that supplies ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers), which all books should have, is now issuing a regular newsletter, designed to help the rapidly growing army of people who are choosing to self-publish their books. Read the full details on our our guide to ISBN page

You should also be aware that the arrangements for a Cataloguing in Publication entry (the other more or less essential identifying element that should appear on the Copyright page of a book) changed recently. Applications are now processed instantly, eliminating the old ten day timeframe. The details are on our ISBN page

PhotoShop tips and tricks

As a member of Adobe’s ‘service provider’ programme, we receive regular emails with helpful trip and tricks, amongst other things.

This morning I received a particularly helpful email with a number of tips and tricks I was only vaguely aware of, or not aware of at all, in PhotoShop.

Tips include dealing with distortions in photographs using Puppet Warp, sharpening elements of an image without sharpening the whole image, rapidly making unwanted lines disappear, making short work of small and tedious retouching tasks and more.

To access these timesaving tips, just click here. I will publish more of these as they become available.

Greenpeace pressures Spanish bank to withdraw funding for Indonesian paper mill accused of deforestation

Bank turns its back on April

The fourth-biggest lender to Asia Pacific Resources International has cut off the giant paper manufacturer’s line of credit, citing destruction of Indonesian rainforests as the reason.

Spanish-based bank Santander says it has decided to ‘not renew the current funding to April, and will not be extending further funding at this stage’.

“Any future loans will be conditional on April implementing new sustainability measures which address its involvement with deforestation,” the bank says.

The bank has lent April more than US$150m in the past four years, and in 2012 won Trade Finance Magazine’s ‘deal of the year’ award, along with four other banks, for brokering a five-year US$600m loan to the company.

Santander has been under heavy pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which accuses April of rampant deforestation in Indonesia.

It is a similar tactic to the one Greenpeace successfully used against Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), which eventually led to many of APP’s big clients bailing over PR and environmental concerns.

While most Australian paper merchants abandoned APP and are only now starting to return, many are said to still be stocking April paper.

The NGO is hailing Santander’s decision as a major victory in its campaign against April, saying that while the company has plenty more backers – 22 banks have current loans – Greenpeace ‘can and will affect its access to international markets and financial services’.

Greenpeace UK forests campaigner Richard George says: “April will always claim to be able to get the money elsewhere, but the cost of doing so will go up each time another customer or financier walks away.”

Greenpeace says it will put enormous pressure on other international banks to make similar commitments, and claims big clients are already jumping ship.

Other top lenders include China Development Bank, which has given out twice as much as Santander, Bank of China, Citic, and ABN Amro.

April a year ago launched its Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) saying it will only source fibre only from forest which does not have a high conservation value, and only use plantations by 2019.

It says of it concession areas have been developed as plantation forests, while an additional 250,000 hectares are conserved and protected, and is also restoring a further 40,000 hectares of previously degraded land.

Greenpeace says the commitments are a long way off, are not well defined, are weakly enforced by suppliers, and that April has a history of not following through.

It says in the first six months of last year April pulped 1.3 million cubic metres of natural forest in just one of its Sumatran mills.

This article appeared in ProPrint’s daily newsletter. Click here to see the article in ProPrint.

And then there were none . . . paper manufacturing in Australia in danger of ceasing altogether

The following article appeared in the ProPrint daily newsletter on 26th February 2015. The article warns that unless things improve, we may soon have no paper manufacturing plant in Australia.

Australian Paper says unless it lifts performance, and soon, the business may not survive, following four straight years of losses.

Chief operating officer Peter Williams says a turnaround in financial performance is ‘critical’ for Australian paper production to continue. The company has just announced the closure of its 60 year old Shoalhaven mill.

Williams says, “We want to see paper production continue in Australia, however, we have now reached a point where without significant improvement to our cost structures, the ongoing competitiveness, and therefore, viability of our operations will be severely tested.”

The company today begins a major turnaround attempt that will review of all areas of the business and restructure corporate operations to bring it back to profit.

The decision comes just days after it closed the Shoalhaven paper mill with the loss of 75 jobs and calls into question the viability of paper production with demand in freefall and cheaper paper flooding in from Asia.

Australian Paper directly employs 1250 people and supports almost 6000 full time equivalent jobs across its operations, all of which are at risk if the strategy fails.

Williams says that changes will be required across all areas of the business over the coming months to remain viable.

“This situation has been driven by tough operating conditions and a flood of imported paper from Asia,” he says.

“We need to restructure our operations and work practices to improve efficiency and productivity; work closely with all our suppliers to reduce input costs; and rebuild our market share and performance.”

Williams says Australian Paper would also need to address external issues like competitive long term pricing for key manufacturing inputs such as gas, certainty of fibre supply, and a strong regulatory response to paper being dumped into Australia.

Williams says parent company, Japanese paper manufacturer Nippon Paper Industries (NPI), shares the long term vision of continuing to manufacture paper in Australia but needs to see financial improvement.

“NPI wants to continue investing in Australian Paper and strongly believes we can effectively compete with overseas paper manufacturers, provided we take strong action now to reduce our cost base, rebuild market share for our existing products and capitalise on emerging growth markets such as packaging and recycled office papers.”

NPI last year opened a $90m recycled pulp mill in Maryvale, NSW with an annual production capacity of more than 45,000 tonnes with technologies developed in Japan in an effort to differentiate its products in the ‘environmentally conscious’ Australian market.

Williams says the turnaround will not be successful without the support and commitment of employees, unions, the government, suppliers, and other key stakeholders

“We will work closely with them to transform the business together with a key need to develop the right platform for long term viability and success,” he says.

Australian Paper is the only manufacturer of office, printing and packaging papers in Australia.

Ipex not ‘dead’ says exhibition owner Informa.

“Ipex is not dead and Informa has every intention of running it again and is committed to working with the industry to ensure the next Ipex is both relevant and successful.” – Peter Hall, Managing Director Informa Exhibitions.

Following the trade-show turmoil created by drupa’s announcement that it will switch to a three-year frequency cycle, Peter Hall, managing director of Ipex owner Informa Exhibitions has countered reports emanating from drupa’s global media conference that ‘Ipex is dead’ and is ‘unlikely to take place again.’

Informa Exhibitions, who purchased Ipex from owners Picon (formerly the British Federation of Printing Machinery Manufacturers), in 2006 having organized the two previous successful Ipex exhibitions, is part of Informa plc, a London stock exchange-listed company specializing in B2B knowledge, business intelligence and transfer using publications, conferences, events, training, websites and trade shows. Its financial year 2014 gross revenues were equivalent in Australian dollars to $2.24 billion. Within this, Informa’s stellar performing division was its Global Exhibitions division, which recorded a 25% increase in revenue under the leadership of Peter Hall.

A company of such substance and success, whose current share price is on a 45-degree upward trajectory, is unlikely to be fazed by one mediocre showing, which Ipex 2014 undoubtedly was. Rather, it is likely to apply all of its considerable resources to go back to the drawing board and come up with creative, innovative and new ways of delivering an event that the printing and graphic arts world wants and needs. Added to this is the recruitment of Patrick Martell, former CEO of one of the UK’s largest printers, the St Ives group, in a business intelligence role.

 Ipex 2014 suffered from several major exhibitor withdrawals including the employer of the then Ipex President, Canon. Still reeling from post-GFC effects, slashed budgets and industry consolidation, first Heidelberg, then HP followed by Canon, Kodak, Xerox and others pulled out of the show. Of the major digital suppliers, only Konica Minolta kept the faith and by all accounts had a very successful show. Companies such as Dainippon Screen, Fujifilm and EFI also stayed in and reported positive results.

Perhaps Ipex 2014 also suffered from the change principle. It was the first time in 34 years that the show had been held in London, having been domiciled at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham since 1980. Even that move was initially described as ‘disastrous’ as the dominant paradigm was that all big shows had to be in London. However, Ipex at the NEC grew to cultivate a loyal constituency, endeared to the semi-rural surrounds where friendly pubs abound and Bed-and-Breakfast accommodation could be enjoyed cheaply in places like Stratford, Warwick, Leamington Spa and smaller villages of Warwickshire while more elaborate hotels were also plentiful in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull.

 Ipex is of course renowned for premiering digital printing to the world, with both Indigo and Xeikon choosing Ipex 1993 as their respective launching pads. While always more compact than drupa, it has consistently delivered an excellent programme of innovation, relevance and convenience, with English as the language for communication. Its traditional equilibrium, balanced at two-yearly intervals between drupas, has worked very well despite the 2014 hiccups. Until last year, visitors would always see drupa promoting at Ipex and Ipex promoting at drupa, by mutual consent.

Now it seems that genteel understandings between trade show organizers have been subjugated by ‘Cry havoc and let the dogs loose.’ Drupa’s position regarding its triennial move, is that there may be some ‘irritation’ amongst trade show organizers in other countries who have always respected the Düsseldorf cycle. I think it is more than irritation; it’s anger at not being consulted.

That drupa is an important and influential event on the printing and graphic arts calendar can not be disputed; it works superbly but it has ignored, or has just been blind to, the market stimuli that have allowed LabelExpo to become a global force in narrow-web packaging exhibitions, and FESPA to become a multi-edition and highly successful series of events for the burgeoning digital signage and display sector. Labels and wide format are the two highest growth rate sectors in the graphic arts.

Drupa 2016 is already sandwiched between LabelExpo Europe in September 2015 and LabelExpo Americas in September 2016. It is also girt by FESPA Digital in Amsterdam in March 2016, just two months before drupa. It is likely that these two market events will impact on labelling and wide format presence at drupa.

 Back to Ipex; its smaller footprint and digital focus has always been an advantage. Because of the dearth of British print machinery manufacturing (Timson’s the last British press maker has just gone into receivership), the lobbying has tended to be more international. German and Swiss print manufacturing powerhouses such as Heidelberg, KBA, manroland, Kolbus, Goebel and Muller Martini have traditionally called the shots at drupa but the reality today is that Germany has almost no digital press manufacturing of its own origination and this vital growth sector is dominated by US, Japanese, Belgian, Israeli and even UK companies.

Since its inception, drupa has had Presidents that have been associated with Heidelberg, Goebel or KBA.

With a declining manufacturing base to support, this leaves drupa with the dominant function as a trade show organiser; much in the same way that Photokina has remained a popular photographic biennial event in Cologne despite once great brands such as Zeiss, Rollei, Leica, Voigtlander, Braun and Linhof having been steamrollered by the Japanese Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony.

This means that the task for Ipex is one of developing a compelling new format that, as Peter Hall says, ensures both relevance and success. It is quite apparent that the resolve at Informa is to do just this and sources indicate that the company is already working closely again with Picon.

This completely debunks the scuttlebutt that the show is dead and will not take place again. Informa is a major player in global exhibitions and growing fast. It has the resources to correct any aberrations that the 2014 event may have suffered from.

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