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Author Topic: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?  (Read 1877 times)

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #60 on: November 08, 2019, 04:39:46 am »

For everyone else who are interested in a civil discussion:

Here is a comparison that demonstrates why I prefer to use Topaz Gigapixel for upsizing the bad quality source images that then end up being pretty large files. I appended four crops out of a large map image, upsizing the original by 400% to get to the final print size, so that each of the drawn squares is 1 inch on paper. Additionally I increased its original DPI from 150 to 300 for a total of 800% upsizing. For the QImage crop I used "Print to File" with the default interpolate setting of "Fusion" and sharpen 5.

Yes, the benefits of Gigapixel AI are obvious. Since it looks like the input file-size is too large for Qimage, how about using a slightly lower rescaling factor in Gigapixel, and letting Qimage handle the final bit? Qimage's Hybrid SE interpolation method can resize without creating resampling halos, and it has a halo-free sharpening option for tuning to the output medium that can be pushed pretty far to enhance edge contrast.

I know it's not an ideal workflow, but if it works, who's complaining?

Cheers,
Bart
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #61 on: November 08, 2019, 06:41:57 am »

Yes, you are right. At least for the prints done on the Laserjet 150 DPI is sufficient. There are some minor artifacts in the QImage interpolations, but even nearest neighbor is close to full the 300 DPI Gigapixel output. For the Epson 3880 I will have to do test-prints once I find my spare photo-black, as we just moved house this year and the cartridge is empty.

Unfortunately this still leaves me with the main issue of image placement in Qimage. The "Full Page Editor" zoom control is too crude, although at 150 DPI a few 0.x% zoom difference don't matter. Still its crop window is too small and you always need to push that "HQ Preview" button and several retries for precise placement. Those map squares need to be exactly aligned with the print/page borders for later side-by-side placement. At least it can be used to set crop box dimensions in mm/inch, whereas the "Crop Print(s)" tool only uses pixels.

And this was where this thread began: I am looking for software that can handle this crop placement part at least close enough to how well Photoshop does it, without having to go through several extra hoops. Until then I will keep using Photoshop, as I have done for years, knowing that currently I mostly only use it for printing finished images.

Curious observation: TIFF files created by QImage Ultimage are the only ones that Windows Explorer cannot create thumbnails of. TIFF files from all other software I tested (yet) works.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 06:52:46 am by Timur_Born »
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #62 on: November 08, 2019, 06:53:43 am »

Here is a list of software I already tried lately:

- Photoshop itself can get seriously bugged out when you try to manually set crop dimensions. PS is what I am using now and it offers a mostly useful print dialog anyway, so no real need for cropping.

- Gimp allows to set fixed sizes in metric measurements that can be saved as presets, both for cropping and marking. Unfortunately those presets can get confused when print size (rather resolution) is changed. You only can move the marker/crop box around, not the image inside the box, which means a bit more work. But at least it seems less bugged than Photoshop (aka usable at all).

The worse part is that Gimp seems to insist on rescaling the final print to the chosen paper size. I will try to setup a custom paper that corresponds to the virtual oversize used by my Epson 3880 when borderless printing is used. That way a DIN A4 crop should be centered within that virtual oversize. Preferably Gimp should just allow to use paper sizes defined by the print driver (see Affinity Photo below).

Photoshop's print dialog is able to read out the virtual paper size from the printer driver and then allows to set margins. Gimp just relies on the size setup via the Page Setup dialog.

- Paint.net allows to set a metric marker box at fixed size, albeit it cannot be saved as a preset. Unfortunately it uses some Windows printing dialog box that will always stretch the printed image by an uncontrollable amount, so it's out.

- Faststone Image Viewer cannot deal (well, if at all) with images of this large size.

- Affinity Photo only offers basic marker settings, but its crop tool allows to use fixed metric sizes and save those as presets. Like with Gimp you need to move the crop box around, but there seems to be no way to move the image inside the crop box.

Since the marker tool cannot be used I would have to crop -> uncrop for every part of the image I need to print. This is a setback for convenience.

A big plus of Affinity is that it is able to use the paper size defined by the printer driver instead of insisting on fixed sizes like Gimp. It also is able to print unscaled, again contrary to what I found in Gimp (feel free to correct me).

- Paint 3D cannot deal with these large image sizes.

I also checked Irfanview and ACDsee since then, but they also did not come out on top.
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mcbroomf

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #63 on: November 08, 2019, 06:53:51 am »

One thing that Qimage doesn't like is layers.  At least sometimes.  I have some tiffs that have been OK and others that it won't recognize and I've never bothered to try and see what the difference is.  Also, even if you only have 1 layer, check to make sure the Flatten option is greyed out in PS and if not flatten the file anyway and see if Qimage likes it after savings as a tiff (uncompressed or otherwise).

You've mentioned Qimage runs out of memory sometimes.  What file sizes are we talking about?
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #64 on: November 08, 2019, 06:57:46 am »

One thing that Qimage doesn't like is layers.  At least sometimes.  I have some tiffs that have been OK and others that it won't recognize and I've never bothered to try and see what the difference is.  Also, even if you only have 1 layer, check to make sure the Flatten option is greyed out and if not flatten the file anyway and see if Qimage likes it after savings as a tiff (uncompressed or otherwise).
Thanks for the hint, I will keep an eye on that. That being said, my source files all are only 1 layer. I lately created a 2 layer file TIFF file for memory and compatibility testing of GIMP and unfortunately GIMP only recognized 1 layer.

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You've mentioned Qimage runs out of memory sometimes.  What file sizes are we talking about?
My main test-file is 1.35 gb uncompressed at 360 DPI.
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #65 on: November 08, 2019, 07:20:12 am »

On a side-note: QImage One unfortunately still is a 32-bit program on Windows.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 07:24:00 am by Timur_Born »
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digitaldog

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« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 08:56:03 am by digitaldog »
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Andrew Rodney
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #67 on: November 08, 2019, 09:27:45 am »

Of course it is compatible, all 32-bit programs are for as long as Microsoft allows them to. Apple just disallowed this for MacOS and did so earlier for iOS. But that is not the issue at hand. 32-bit programs can only use a maximum of 3 gb of memory, if they know how to do it, else just 2 gb of memory. Qimage only seems to use up to 2 gb - the original 32-bit limitation - and that can be a problem with very large source images.

Anyway, like mentioned several times, this is not the main issue at hand, lack of overall usability for the specific task at hand is. Memory limits is just one out of several drawbacks in this context.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 09:31:02 am by Timur_Born »
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digitaldog

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #68 on: November 08, 2019, 09:40:15 am »

Despite your statement beginning with “unfortunately” the product being discussion is 64 bit under windows.
On a sidenote unfortunately Photoshop•• is a 32 bit application.

**Unfortunately very old versions of Photoshop.😱
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Andrew Rodney
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #69 on: November 08, 2019, 10:03:27 am »

No Qimage is a 32-bit application that is compatible (runs on) 64-bit Windows. Please check your facts when you try to bully people and derail threads to off-topic trollery.

But it seems that I was wrong about the memory limit of 2 gb, as the following screenshot was made when the "Out of memory" popup appeared and it seems to use over 2 gb here. Still not enough for my specific files, but more than I gave it credit for. Anyway, 3 gb is the maximum any 32-bit application can allocate and this is not enough for a image processing needs of such large images.

Qimage One on MacOS should be a 64-bit application, else it would not run on Catalina (32-bit support was removed from MacOS). So it is surprising that the Windows version of Qimage One is still 32-bit, too.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 10:09:40 am by Timur_Born »
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digitaldog

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #70 on: November 08, 2019, 10:18:07 am »

Qimage One on MacOS should be a 64-bit application, else it would not run on Catalina (32-bit support was removed from MacOS).
OF COURSE it is and if you dust off that MacBook, assuming it's not 15 years old, you'll see this below fact too.
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Anyway, 3 gb is the maximum any 32-bit application can allocate and this is not enough for a image processing needs of such large images.
Stick to Photoshop for image processing bud. 
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But it seems that I was wrong about the memory limit of 2 gb,
That and what you've suggested is off topic trollery:
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 10:28:18 am by digitaldog »
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Andrew Rodney
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #71 on: November 08, 2019, 10:38:53 am »

Please fight your wars elsewhere. No one ever suggested that Qimage was incompatible with 64-bit Windows. It is a 32-bit application running on 64-bit Windows (in a compatibility layer of Windows), like many other applications do as well. And like any 32-bit application it can only allocate 2 or 3 gb of memory (depending on the application and Windows version).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit_computing

Even a lightweight application like Paint.net needs 2 gb memory just to open one of the 1.35 gb TIFF files, Photoshop startes at around 2.5 gb and GIMP at over 4 gb.

Qimage uses less than 30 mb for simple opening and displaying a low resolution preview of the image, but once certain processing is started it can run out of its limited memory pool, like doing a double-click on such an image to load it at full resolution for adjustments and filtering.

Oh, look, we are off-topic again. This thread still is about software suitable for conveniently printing large images in small crops.
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digitaldog

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #72 on: November 08, 2019, 11:19:13 am »

Please fight your wars elsewhere.
The absurd is the last refuge of a pundit without an argument.
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No one ever suggested that Qimage was incompatible with 64-bit Windows.

No one including me. Qimage ONE is both compatible and a 64-bit application on MacOS, that's for sure.
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This thread still is about software suitable for conveniently printing large images in small crops.
On October 30th, you wrote:
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I looked into *lots* of other software, but so far found nothing that offers any of the functions of Photoshop. So I am open to suggestions.
You've been provided a number of suggestions and you've dismissed them all. So it appears, Photoshop again is the software you should be using. Even if all you do is use it for printing. Understand?  ;D
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Andrew Rodney
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #73 on: November 08, 2019, 11:44:22 am »

You've been provided a number of suggestions and you've dismissed them all. So it appears, Photoshop again is the software you should be using. Even if all you do is use it for printing. Understand?  ;D
Indeed the suggestions thus far unfortunately do not offer good alternatives to Photoshop for the task at hand. I do still appreciate them, though. The RIP suggestions were new to me, as in not having tested them before, so I checked them out this time. Qimage was not new to me, but I tested it again anyway. Stills lacks the features I need, but full of other great features that I personally have no use for. No need for you to get bitter about it. Suggestion acknowledged, suggestion tested, suggestion dismissed as not being the right tool for the job.

Using Photoshop is a working compromise, but it is one that costs me 120 EUR per year just for occasional print jobs. Would have been empowering to find other software that can handle the same job good enough. I will do some more tests with software like Affinity Designer / Serif and then another look around next year.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 11:49:19 am by Timur_Born »
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #74 on: November 08, 2019, 11:47:44 am »

Qimage ONE is both compatible and a 64-bit application on MacOS, that's for sure.
And how does that help me on my Windows machine? Why are you so hellbend on proving your point when it's mostly irrelevant anyway? Neither do I use want to MacOS on the weaker laptop, nor is the memory limitation the only reason for me not going for Qimage, as I have made clear abundantly. Qimage One is even more limited in features and seems to lack exactly the features that make Ultimate even halfway work for the usage-case.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 11:52:25 am by Timur_Born »
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #75 on: November 08, 2019, 11:52:02 am »

I just thought of a possible alternative approach.

Since Qimage has excellent 'nesting' capabilities, how about slicing your final Gigapixel upscaled image up into a few smaller chunks, and letting Qimage place them on the page without spacing between the segments? This allows to load multiple much smaller files, which Qimage then sends to the printer driver (with its own memory limitations) in managed chunks.

And one can make a template of such a layout, to fascilitate creating new jobs with similar settings.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 11:58:17 am by Bart_van_der_Wolf »
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #76 on: November 08, 2019, 12:14:59 pm »

Thanks, Bart. That may workaround some of the memory limitations, albeit the 32-bit thing really only being an additional drawback alongside others.

With a single large image most of Qimage's processing also only is done by a single thread / CPU core. Nesting several smaller images may enable it to make more use of my 16 logical cores and thus be less sluggish, I would have to try that.

But even then the main limitation of Qimage remains that it makes creating the crops and placing them precisely (!) on paper really hard. The UI control to do the crops is too small and imprecise, the preview is too low quality until you press a special button after every single crop-edit/movement. It just does not seem comfortable to work with when you need to print dozens of sheets that are meant to align with each other at very specific points. It gets worse when I need to crop out parts of the crop, which is easily done with Photoshop's print dialog "Print Selected Area" setting (though sometimes being bugged).

Currently my workflow is:

- Load low resolution source image in Paint.net or Photoshop to measure the source size of the embedded squares.
- Calculate zoom ratio / destination size needed to upsize said squares to about 1 inch on each side (usually a bit smaller to better fit on DIN A4 paper).
- Upsize the source image via Topaz Gigapixel v4.2.2 to the destination size and printer's native DPI. Usually this ends up being more than 6x, which is why versions later than 4.2.2 cannot be used for the time being.
- Load destination image in Photoshop, start Photoshop's print dialog.
- Set printer to either Epson 3880 borderless without overprinting (= no resampling) or HP Color LaserJet 500.
- With Epson 3880 borderless, set "Print Selected Area" to match DIN A4 dimensions. This keeps the 3880 from spilling too much ink around the paper (mostly depending on paper skew).
- If a smaller crop is needed, just set a smaller print area / larger borders.
- Drag the crop via mouse-dragging around so that single rooms on the printed map fit nicely on as few sheets of paper as possible (usually 1 or 2). Try portrait and landscape for various rooms to make them fit well on table.
- Print crop.
- Drag image within crop to next part of the map, so that content on the next sheet borders exactly with content of the last sheet(s) for later side-by-side placement.
- For smaller maps I sometimes tape the sheets back together using scotch tape. I can then easily fold the map into DIN A4 envelops for storage/transport.

As you can see these are already quite a few steps to go through. Most other software I tested does not even support getting proper results. I find that somewhat astounding, because printing small - but precisely placed - crops out of a large image does not seem like such a convoluted thing to ask for. Seems like Photoshop's print dialog really is quite special in that regard.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 12:18:46 pm by Timur_Born »
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digitaldog

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #77 on: November 08, 2019, 12:42:47 pm »

And how does that help me on my Windows machine? Why are you so hellbend on proving your point when it's mostly irrelevant anyway? Neither do I use want to MacOS on the weaker laptop, nor is the memory limitation the only reason for me not going for Qimage, as I have made clear abundantly. Qimage One is even more limited in features and seems to lack exactly the features that make Ultimate even halfway work for the usage-case.
Indeed, seems you're screwed. Back to Photoshop!!!
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Andrew Rodney
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Timur_Born

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #78 on: November 08, 2019, 02:28:19 pm »

Yes, very screwed and obviously feeling totally bad about it...

Albeit, I would like to read over again where you helped me find my way around Qimage's feature-set and user-interface to get the results I am looking for. Could you please post a link to said post? Thank you "bud", appreciate your help and insight on the matter at hand.
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digitaldog

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Re: Alternative for Photoshop's Print dialog?
« Reply #79 on: November 08, 2019, 02:31:44 pm »

RTFM  ;D
You are welcome.
Seems like Photoshop's print dialog really is quite special in that regard.”
Seeing the light; progress. ;)
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"
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