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Thread: changed everything but still dull preview/print

  1. #1
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    changed everything but still dull preview/print

    What am I missing? I use CS6 and have decided to do my own printing with the epson R3000. I have changed every variable on monitor and image I can think of and still every print preview/soft proof gives a dull image and dull print with every paper type, epson and permajet, generic and customer ICC profiles.
    MONITOR:- I calibrate the monitor, tried adobe and srgb colour spaces, gamma 1.8 2 and 2.2, adjusted luminance with brightness up contrast down and brightness down contrast up, luminance levels from 65 up to 200.
    IMAGE:- I,ve tried srgb, adobe1998 and prophoto.
    CS6 color settings:- I've used srgb, adobe 1998 and prophoto, gray gamma 1.8, 2.2 and all dot gains.
    Print/print preview/softproof:- I've tried peceptual, relative colourimetric etc, black point comp on off.

    The list goes on but nothing stops the soft proof being dull or the print.
    It can't be colour space/dynamic range limits between the monitor and the printer as I have tried srgb images which have a more narrow gamut than the printer.
    It can't be the difference between the monitor and the printer luminances as it happens at all levels of monitor setting and colour space.
    Its not the paper type as it happens to all the papers but some are worse/better that others.
    There has to be something in the CS6 print flow that is being applied to make the images go dull/muddy that I can't find.
    I hope someone knows whats going on and if it can be fixed.

  2. #2

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Welcome to CIC, if you would go back into your setting and add your real name, for me I come up as Polar01, however my real name is Allan, it also helps to know what part of the planet you are from.
    Welcome to the wonderfull world of printing. It would be nice to know more about your background and experience as some of the items you may already know and going into them deeper would be a waste of your time.
    Things for us to know are what type of monitor are you using, is it a stand alone or are you using a laptop. What are you using to calibrate it, are you also calibrating you printer. Are you applying sharpen to the printed image? All this kind of information will help.
    We have several very good printers here at CIC and in my way of thinking Colin is one of the best ones, so give us a little better info and wait for us to get back to you to help solve the problem.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Thanks for your interest and quick response Allan, I've added a bit to my profile.
    As per your suggestion, a bit more info. I am an advanced amature photographer and photoshop user. Monitor is the Dell u2413 replacing my old lp2475w. Monitor calibration with the spyder 3 but I have tried every monitor variation going.
    Custom paper profiles from Permajet. All images suffer the same dull preview/softproof problem whether finished or raw. The problem is the same in lightroom 4.6 soft proof.
    I have not calibrated the printer but I do have custom profiles produced by permajet from my printer in its factory condition.
    The prints are a copy of the preview/soft proofing i.e dull.
    Will a calibrated printer be reflected in the print preview/soft proofing of lightroom and CS6? Have you just answered my question? I was hoping custom ICC profiles would exclude the need to invest in a printer calibrator.

  4. #4

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Ok lets try to figure some of this out. I do not use LR but CS6 but the soft proofing in each is the same. When you open to softproof, you get a pop up box, you select you paper profile (ICC) that you want to use, down at the bottom of the box are 2 check boxes Simulate paper colour and simulate black ink, leave these unmarked. What they will try to do is make the image appear as if it was printed or in other words see an image that is backlit to appear if viewed reflected lighting.
    We both know that the image on the screen because of the way it is lighted will never appear exactly the same as printed.
    Now the only use I find for soft proofing is to make sure that my colours are in gamut on that stock, if colours out than I will try another stock or work on the image using hue adjustment layers with masks, until I correct that matter.
    Now lets talk about stocks, could you tell me what types you are using, Rags, Matts, Luster, Gloss?
    In you printer setup, now Epson goes a pretty good job of controlling colour, however if you are printing from LR than LR should handle colour and if from CS6 than Photoshop handles colour, are you doing that?
    Now the last thing for now, could you read up on how to post images and post one to this thread, lets see how the image looks, maybe there is not a lot of contrast, maybe not a good black or white point thus making the image appear dull and flat, I feel that my not be the case but lets look to make sure.
    It is late afternoon there, if you are able to get back with more info, then I maybe able to reply before it is to late there, then you will see first thing in morning.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Another question, Peter.

    In printing from Lightroom, what brightness and contrast adjustments are you using, and does varying them make any difference? Just to clarify, I mean brightness and contrast in the Print module, not Develop.

    Dave

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    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Dave thanks for the interest. Adjustments in LR print module do affect the final print, however as these changes are not visible prior to printing I will not use them and instead use CS6. In CS6 I make a duplicate copy with the soft proofing applied (align them) and then add adjustment layers to try and match the original, switching between the 2 images for comparison. The result gets closer to the original but never matches.
    Allen thanks again. The preview images are dull without black ink and paper checked, even worse when they are. The dulling problem is universal regardless of paper type, I use gloss, oyster and titanium for my night images which are my most critical prints. I let photoshop or LR colour manage and turn off printer manages. Posting images of an original is no problem but getting an image with soft proofing applied is alluding me atm, it seems to be virtual and no way of getting a copy that has not reverted to its original state. The dulling happens on all images whether high or low contrast, daylight or night on all papers.

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    You might try reading this treatise to see if it offers any insights...http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...too_dark.shtml

  8. #8

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Peter: soft proofing goes not get applied to the image, it is only to show what colours are out of gamut on a stock that you picked so you can correct before printing. The now think your problem is in your workflow as you only do a soft proof before printing to as I say make sure that the colours are in gamut. If they are in gamut then just print, if some are out I use a hue adjustment layer and masks to correct the problem.
    What do you mean when you say that in CS6 (you align them), because if you copy or duplicate it is perfectly aligned over the image below. What are you doing then to align them?

    Cheers:

    Allan

  9. #9
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    chauncey: Thanks that was a great help. The 3 links to ppmag have given me the root cause of what I was getting wrong.
    Allen: In CS6 I go [window,arrange,match zoom,match location] that way I can move around the image and zoom with them staying together. Your right about my work flow I need to soft proof as I go rather than before I print, not for gamut but for midtones.
    The two of you have put me on the right track. What I've come to realize is that It's not possible to get a print that gives me a white point or a black point equal to an LCD screen and what I'm seeing in the soft proof and prints is a compression/shift of my midtones + a rise in black point + a change of white point depending on the paper I select.
    To correct this I will be making the monitor brighter trying to raise its black point while keeping the luminance down trying to get closer to a printed output. In addition I will change my workflow to include soft proofing as I go to adjust the midtones.
    The adjustments to the monitor can't be done on the fly, a calibration profile has to be produced and stored on the computer for photoshop to use in the soft proofing comparison. So its a trial calibration over and over till you get it right.
    Thanks a lot guys, I had run out of ideas and now you've set me off again.
    Last edited by pmenear; 3rd September 2013 at 10:05 PM.

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Peter: soft proofing goes not get applied to the image, it is only to show what colours are out of gamut on a stock that you picked so you can correct before printing.
    I don't believe this is correct. I print from LR, not PS, but the softproofing (if you have 'emulate paper and ink' checked) shows many differences from the original even if no colors are out of gamut. For example, it clearly shows the difference in contrast between my standard luster and matte papers.

    I print with a CAnon Pixma pro 9000II. My drill is fairly simple:
    1. I keep my monitor calibrated. I never do anything but the Eye-One defaults.
    2. I turn off color management in the printer driver software.
    3. I turn on color management in LR by selecting the appropriate paper profile (ICCs loaded in advance for all papers I use)
    4. I soft proof with the original and proof side by side to do my best to lessen the differences, which often entails changes in contrast and other aspects of tonality
    5. I turn output sharpening to standard
    6. I boost output brightness and constrast (modestly for luster, often about 10 on both, and about 18 for matte)
    7. I set the software to 300 dpi,

    I think that is about it, although I may be forgetting something. It works well.

  11. #11
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    4. I soft proof with the original and proof side by side to do my best to lessen the differences, which often entails changes in contrast and other aspects of tonality

    Dank: Thanks for that. I hadn't thought of using the before and after/split image feature, the 2 image method doesn't work in LR. I guess your using an old LR as we no longer have brightness and use exposure instead(they are in the Print module but there is no side by side function there).
    Brightness/exposure and contrast global adjustments won't work for my night images. My main adjustment is a midtones luminosity mask applied to a curves layer with an S curve to boost contrast and shifted up or down to adjust the brightness, this will not affect the blacks or whites and so not move them further out of the papers range.

  12. #12

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Dan you are correct, it will also help to show contrast and saturation, I use it mainly for colours out of gamut this maybe the result of my years in the print business as what you see on the screen is not what you always get off the press and in your hands. So these other items, I take more in account before hand by being a little heavy in contrast and saturation. There are times when an image I have printed has been dull and flat it is usually the result of the colours being out. For me I only soft proof before I send the print to my printer (Epson 4900), if I need to adjust the image I do it there, not as Peter wants to which is to soft proof as he goes. Another thing is I only soft proof if I believe that I may have a problem with the colours as I have a good idea of which ones they are and on which stocks, so far not that much of a problem with my workflow. Now Peter states that all his printed images have this problem, that is workflow.
    Peter, Chauncey suggested a article in Luminous-Landscape which I have read before is a little dated, I would suggest this one has it appears more to your problem: They are Beyond Calibration and Beyond Calibration 2.0 both found in Luminous-Landscape, I believe 2.0 is closer to what you want, how ever read both I will try to add the link to that article to the post.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...ration_2.shtml

    Cheers:

    Allan
    Last edited by Polar01; 4th September 2013 at 02:55 PM. Reason: grammer

  13. #13
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Allan you are a STAR!!! Beyond Calibration 2 The Missing Link is exactly what I'm bumping into and having to try and correct with my midtone masks after soft proof. Now I just have to make a threshold test print and test all my papers. Once I know the paper threshold limits I can incorporate that into my workflow. Soft proofing will then have far less variation between the monitor and the paper simulation and the prints more closely represent my intended vision. I see that article only came out June 2013, lucky for me you knew about it, this will make things so much easier and predictable.
    Thanks

  14. #14

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Peter: glad it helped, however do not go to all the work of the threshold print out, use what he states as your guide, if a rag or matt stock everything it will be hard to get good tone separation below 30, if luster or gloss anything over 253 will not show difference. Also remember that he does a lot of very low light work and as such needs to be able to get the separation, and also note that he only soft proofs before he goes to print to correct for print not during any other part of his workflow. Did you also read the first essay the link to it is in the first line of the 2.0 essay.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  15. #15
    New Member pmenear's Avatar
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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Allen: I read the first part thanks, again very informative. The majority of my work is very low light hence the same problems as he identified in his work. D600 at iso5000 f2.8 15-30sec is my norm. Daylight stuff is just for fun with EM-5 and I have little problem with the daylight prints, not that I do many of those. I have opened a flickr account this year, you can see what I'm trying to print. I'm on there as peter.menear. http://www.flickr.com/photos/95816664@N06/
    I have started using Permajets new titanium lustre 280 which is very different from the regular papers so I want to find out its threshold so I will make a threshold print out and test the papers for myself.
    I have noticed this dull problem in the past when I send prints out, I thought it was the difference from my colour workspace of prophoto being converted to srgb for the commercial printers, this was one of the reasons for wanting to do my own prints so they would be reproduced in a wider more dynamic gamut.
    I will be copying his example, once I know the papers limits I will incorporate them into my workflow and not have to worry about soft proofing until its time to print and I expect to see far less of a jump in image degradation as I will be staying within the papers limit all the way through processing. Working with dark images at these extremes is quite different from light images, as I use luminosity masking extensively, most of the mask have to be the inverse of what I would use for light images. It seems that getting prints of these dark images raises problems that light images never notice.

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    the 2 image method doesn't work in LR. I guess your using an old LR as we no longer have brightness and use exposure instead(they are in the Print module but there is no side by side function there).
    yes, it works. In the develop module, you need to activate softproofing, tell LR to make a proof copy, and then click on the XY icon above the filmstrip. that will give you the pre-proofed edited image on the left and the soft proof copy on the right. This was introduced in LR 4.

    The brightness and exposure I referred to are print adjustments, not developing adjustments, that were also introduced in LR 4. You will find them at the bottom of the right-hand panel in the print module. Unfortunately, because they are print adjustments, you can't see their effects on screen. They are in this respect like LR's print sharpening. You can only see the result of any of these three by printing.

  17. #17

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    Re: changed everything but still dull preview/print

    Peter I looked at your flickr site and that essay 2.0 was just what you need once seeing those shots, I am still trying to get my head completely around luminosity masks, reading the work by Tony Kuyper will have to sit down and try some more. That D600 is a great camera use it my self, looking forward to seeing some of your images posted here.
    The ones on flickr are well worth looking at.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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