How to not proof correctly 

Fred doesn't do things right goes my saga of learning how to do proofs.

The last time I made a picture destined for printing was back in October. At that time, I printed a same-sized proof, made adjustments (actually, redrew the whole freaking picture), and reprinted. Done.

This time, I thought I'd be clever.

When I started my New Year's card, I was faced with the wallpaper vs card layout dilemma. After some initial comments from people regarding just the main image itself, I decided that I wasn't interested in people using it as a wallpaper, so I made it a card. However, I didn't know what the dimensions of the photo printout would be. I went with 1200 x 1600 because that's what my 2 megapixel camera gives me and photo printouts from that look fine.

I know this isn't the best idea in the world because printouts are not in that proportion. But I went with it anyway, and knew the edges would be cut.

My first proof was just for margins. Trying to save money, I went with a smaller-than-final print size, which was 66% cheaper. Holy cow! Big Problem! Lots of edges cut! Must make words around picture tighter! Other Big Problem! The skin tone barely shows up. My printing method and my colouring technique are not complementary. I colour fairly lightly but printing is even lighter, which means I have to colour a lot darker than I like to print well.

So, I squinched everything in a bit, recoloured, and tried a full-size proof.


Uh...the proportions are different. I didn't have to squish so much. And the tone is dark enough, but now it's, I rerecoloured and nudged the words out a hint so that it looks nicer.

But...(and here's the kicker) I'm running low on battery, and I go to get my third proof. It looks pretty nice. The skin tone is better, and pretty consistent, (the yellow bar on the right is still too faint, but I actually hadn't done anything about it anyway because it's not important at all), the margins look pretty nice, and overall, it looks fine.

Looking closer...

I see that Dawn's eye lines, being definitely sketchier than the rest of the picture, really stand out under scrutiny. And there's a bit of a bleed where I'd coloured out of the lines on her right sleeve and left shoulder.

But the big thing is that I misspelled her name, writing "Dawn Foret" instead of "Dawn Forêt."

Aw, man.

That's right. I'm still not done with the New Year's card.

So...with a proof, we're supposed to look at everything, not just identify the major problem and fix it. D'oh.

Ah, the obvious things get me.

I remember once when I was out printer-shopping and looked closely at a sample printout, to determine its quality. It didn't look so hot to me. So, I commented on that and the salesperson told me that people don't usually look so closely.

At the time, I guess I believed him, but now...I think it's BS. :}

Or, at least, in context. When I get a single photo (these cards are photo-sized), I look closely at it. If I have a bunch of photos, then no.

One more thing.

Remember how my battery was low? Well, I plopped myself down in a stairwell nearby, and started to fix the picture. Sadly, my battery ran out, causing my compy to go to sleep. It's bad to let a laptop run down to nil (unless you're trying to calibrate it!).

Coming home, I find that my max charge is now 3938 mAh VS 4194 mAH. Goodbye 6% of battery life.

So, lessons learned. Don't skimp on proofs, and don't work in stairwells! (Or something.) 

Posted: 水 - 12月 21, 2005 at 01:45 午後