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Old 11-12-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
digitalpic
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Default JPEG quandary

Please everyone weigh in with your advice, suggestions on this undertaking. I've reached a crossroads with a project I began 18 months ago. It involves several hundred jpeg images of helicopter nose art I've collected from hundreds of individual Vietnam veterans (myself included). Also involves an MS ACCESS database spreadsheet of helicopter "nicknames" (2,200 to date) that were also painted on Army copters in Vietnam.
My plan was to somehow have this material published as a coffee table book by a big house publisher. Unfortunately, the number one book publisher for this type of subject & format turned down my proposal a year ago. Then in researching all the other alternate publishers for this type of book finds them wanting prints or slides, no digital images.
Here's where I stand based on my limited knowledge of the technical side of digital imagery and the publishing industry:
Do I have all the vets resend pics as TIFF's and then convert to prints/slides by a service bureau? (then approach pub house)
Or do I hire someone to Photoshop TIFF's and self publish this baby?
Let me know if there are other options available here. I'm a novice when it comes to the digital culture. Appreciate any help in this endeavor.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:57 PM   #2
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How many are you going to print? Is this a commercial affair or just something for the comrades (e.g., less than 50 or so, perhaps even direct orders or gifts one at a time)?

JR
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #3
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From a technical perspective JPEGs are fine, arguably preferred. They need to be dense enough to support printing though. You can get away with a lot of compression loss in display applications that immediately stand out on print. They need to be 180ppi or so (or better). 72 or 96ppi images will look fine on a display but won't even come close to being useful for any sort of printing.

The JPEG quality level should be not less than 87 (I'd recommend ~92 ... it;s pointless to go above say 95). In Photoshop terms that's roughly 9 or 8 (e.g., Maximum or Very High) ... not less. If you shot them as JPEGs you may run into challenges if you set your camera to low when synthesizing them (there).

While the next point I'm about to say is technically unnecessary, I would prep them all (copies actually) so they all look appropriate (to you) on a single viewing environment and cast them as a single color space (e.g., sRGB) when doing so. This will eliminate a bunch of gremlins (that eat the brains of printing newbies) of various forms later on. I assume you're not working in a color controlled environment.

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:13 PM   #4
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...and be careful with your edits of JPEGs. You generally don't want to use JPEG as source material as you'll quickly arrive at a useless result with to much modification.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:36 PM   #5
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I envisioned several thousand to be printed for general public. If done properly this book should be a good sale. But alas, my expertise is in the collecting of the material
as opposed to knowing how to get to the final product of a coffee table book (roughly 350 pages).
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalpic View Post
I envisioned several thousand to be printed for general public. If done properly this book should be a good sale. But alas, my expertise is in the collecting of the material
as opposed to knowing how to get to the final product of a coffee table book (roughly 350 pages).
I see.

You do have quite a challenge.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:06 AM   #7
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Wow! What an interesting project.

I have never been in the service (though I grew up in the 50s on an AFB in Alaska), but I adore helicopters. While my husband worked for Sikorsky for 25 years, I even got to get on some, but only on the ground. We did fly in helicopters in NYC in the 60s, from the top of the Pan Am building to JFK airport, but that is as close as I have come to the real thing.

Look forward to hearing more about your project.

Have you contacted other publishers? Or looked for an agent, who might be able to get a foot in the door better than you can. While it sometimes is as hard to find a willing agent as a publisher, they are very good at identifying the right publisher and then closing the deal. A good publisher might prefer to get your raw data and do the technical stuff themselves — you would need to provide a manuscript and all the details, of course.

   
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:16 AM   #8
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If you like choppers, you might enjoy Pat Renick's Triceracopter:

http://www.sculpture.org/documents/s...k/renick.shtml

or this one, that includes Pat's self-portrait:

http://www.irhine.com/index.jsp?page=home_renick110903

   
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:31 AM   #9
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Very interesting work. I especially like her self-portrait.

   
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
digitapic: Then in researching all the other alternate publishers for this type of book finds them wanting prints or slides, no digital images.
I think that's crap basically with the caveat that it depends on the quality of your digital images--the "density" JR mentioned.


>>Do I have all the vets resend pics as TIFF's and then convert to prints/slides by a service bureau? (then approach pub house)

Sort of yes and no....when I work with old images, I want the image in the original format--negative, slide, unprocessed digital image--and then I scan the negative/slide and process the image fixing any damage, correcting the color, exposure, etc.. As I mentioned above, I find it very hard to believe that a publisher would not work with good (as in enough data to be reproduced in print properly) digitally based images and I would suspect that they are not the publisher you need because they are not working with current technology. I would look for another publisher and/or look at print/publishing on demand.


>>Or do I hire someone to Photoshop TIFF's and self publish this baby?

That's the way I would go. I'd be very interested in working on a project like that...

If you like to take a look at some of the pages of my website, working with old images is something I enjoy:

1. Scroll down just a bit on this page to see work I did on an image of my sister and brother-in-law in Vietnam

2. This page and this page has generally much older photographs that I worked on for a collage of family photos


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