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Newspaper Sharpening - quick survey
Randy Litzinger, Photographer
Gainesville | VA | USA | Posted: 3:24 PM on 02.02.10
->> Could as many of you as possible please take a second to weight in here and let me know:

1. How many newspapers are doing an output sharpening BEFORE the photos are sized, compared to AFTER the photos are at their exact output sizes?

2. Who specifically does this final image sharpening step at your paper? a photographer, photo editor, prepress person, paginator, someone at the printers, etc...

3. If you have more than a second: also briefly describe your whole workflow process from photographer saving photos after the assignment till they are sent off to be printed in the paper.

Thank you very much!

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Adam Vogler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Kansas City | Mo. | USA | Posted: 3:59 PM on 02.02.10
->> Unsharp mask is my last step, My workflow is injest, edit, crop, tone, caption, size, unsharp, save [RGB, + CMYK].

Photographers (i.e. me or whatever intern is here) do all of the sharpening
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Ron Scheffler, Photographer
Hamilton (Toronto area) | Ontario | Canada | Posted: 2:19 AM on 02.03.10
->> 1) After, it's nearly the last step: CMYK, USM, bump saturation. USM is around 350/1/2 but is adjusted depending on the image quality/size.

2) We have a small department in editorial between the photogs and prepress, but it has been downsized to one person and the second shift is now staffed by one photog each week on a rotating basis. I predict that this may eventually become the sole responsibility of the photographers.

3) Photographer is responsible for cropping and captioning. They're not supposed to do much in terms of tonal/color adjustments. They upload selects to a web based browser/archive that the various editors have access to. Photogs' entire assignment shoots are uploaded to a different archive server that is generally not accessible by the word side of the editorial department. Editors order photos by adding instructions in the web based image browser with sizing, slug and color/bw instructions. Our pre-prepress dept. makes all adjustments in photoshop, working in RGB mode for the heavy lifting. The general order is resize, set black & white points, levels and curves adjustments to generally lighten/brighten images for proper newsprint repro, fine tune colors keeping in mind and compensating for potential CMYK color gamut issues, convert to CMYK, sharpen and tweak colors again if needed (usually a saturation boost). Images are saved to a server which the paginators access. They build pages in Quark, then send them down to prepress who send it through the direct to plate system.

Not sure if we are unique in this matter, but the editorial department (and most others) are unionized, but prepress is not, which I think explains why we still do 'content modification' i.e. photo adjustments for the presses in editorial instead of having prepress take care of it. Prepress does however prep all advertising and classifieds section images.

Hope this helps.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 10:16 AM on 02.03.10
->> Randy,

Since sharpening works primarily in the way the pixels relate to the halftone dots, it HAS to be the last step or the results become completely unpredictable and inconsistent.

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Bob Ford, Photographer
Lehighton | Pa | USA | Posted: 10:57 AM on 02.03.10
->> We have sharpening built into an automated script through Agfa's Intellitune, and it is the last step.

All of our photos are put into our editorial system. I check the folder several times a day and "tweak" photos as necessary. Tweaking includes color and density toning and sometimes a small bump to the saturation, but no sharpening.

When the paginators and editors pull the photos onto the page in Quark our editorial system asks them what size the photo will run and sends the resized image to the page.

Once the page is complete the photos are "processed" either B&W or color. If it's color Intellitune will convert to CMYK, boost saturation and USM.

We are familiar enough with the way Intellitune "thinks" now that we know if it will have a hard time processing a photo. For these photos either a guy in prepress or I will process in manually.
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Thread Title: Newspaper Sharpening - quick survey
Thread Started By: Randy Litzinger
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