I am processing RAW files in Photolab 3, then exporting them to Nik for further work. I export the files as TIF, then open the TIF file in Photoshop. Somewhere along the line, the resolution of the images is decreased to 72.
Is there a way to set the export resolution of Nik? Is there a standard resolution for Nik files? Or is this problem with Photoshop when I open them?
The resolution setting of a TIFF file is of no importance. Be it 72, 300 or 3000, the TIFF image itself is still the same. An image file has no resolution, it has a definition expressed in pixels. The resolution value doesn’t affect the image quality in any way. For the same image, the difference between a TIFF file indicating a resolution of 72 and another indicating a resolution of 300 is just a few bytes in the area where this value is stored. That’s all. The idea of resolution only applies to “realized” images, that is, printed images or images displayed on a screen. It’s the ratio between a number of pixels and a physical dimension.
The resolution field in the TIFF file metadata is just an indication about the default print size when opening the file in PS or in any other software. The default print dimensions in PS are computed from this value. But you can change this as you want.
Unfortunately, many people and print services think that specifying a higher resolution when exporting a TIFF file will result in an image with better quality. This is wrong. This will be exactly the very same image.
Thank you. That’s helpful.
Excellent explanation, Patrick!
The only thing I would add is that I would run from any print service that actually thought higher resolution would result in better quality (for a given image and print size)! Any reputable printer knows this stuff backwards and forwards.
Some services will ask for 300 DPI but they also ask for correct number of pixels for the print size. If you have to scale up the image to achieve this and the print looks terrible, it’s not the printers fault.