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Thread: Printing conundrum

  1. #1
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Printing conundrum

    Ever since I have been printing with CS5, all of my images are very dark when printed, either in color or in BW. When I post to the internet (Flickr, or here), the images display just fine.

    What in the formula am I doing wrong? Do I save with a different colorspace? My images are usually saved as Adobe, not sRGB. Do I need to create a separate print file with different parameters? How can I print what I see?

    I am just very frustrated with my lack of knowledge about the interactions between an image file and the printer.

    Marie

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    Marie

    I'm sure some of the folks that really know about printing will come on here and respond to you. As you've acknowledged yourself, it is all about the interface with the printer and getting things set up so that what you see on the screen is what you get out of the printer.

    In the meantime, there are a couple of old threads that you might find it useful to read through. These will, at least, start getting you thinking about the issues that need to be addressed. You will find these:
    Here
    Here

  3. #3
    wmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    Have a look at this episode from 'The Grid' on Kelby TV.

    Here

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    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie Hass View Post
    Ever since I have been printing with CS5, all of my images are very dark when printed, either in color or in BW. When I post to the internet (Flickr, or here), the images display just fine.

    What in the formula am I doing wrong? Do I save with a different colorspace? My images are usually saved as Adobe, not sRGB. Do I need to create a separate print file with different parameters? How can I print what I see?

    Marie
    Can't help you directly (I don't print), but . . .

    This subject has been beaten to death over on Luminous Landscape in the Color Management forum. In fact, the most recent thread is about that very subject (at the time I am posting this).

    Once there, you can search the forum for "dark" or "darker" or "soft proofing", etc.

    The printing folk here will advise you re: color spaces, files, and so forth.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    Simple explanation Marie - your screen is "too bright", so when you print, the image ends up being too dark. Unfortunately, screen profiling only ensures that the colours are displayed "correctly", but the too light / too dark conundrum confuses a lot of people.

    You need to do temporarily brighten up your images on screen so that they come out looking right when you print. Once you figure how much brightness to add, your prints will be more to your liking. In my setup; using Photoshop CC, I add an adjustment layer with brightness set to 1.30 and the prints look fine. I turn the layer off when I am working on the image. I got there by making test prints.

    I remember watching a video on Kelby Training, where Scott Kelby uses a slightly different technique (again with full-blown Photoshop). He duplicates the image and changes the blending mode to "Screen" (which really brightens up the image. He then dials the opacity back to 20% (based on his screen setup) and prints. Again, he got there through doing test prints.

    Even when you make compensate for the screen being bright, you will never get a 100% perfect match between what you see on screen, versus what you print. Your screen uses an additive, transmitted light RGB process, whereas your printer uses a subtractive, reflected light CMYK process. This means the paper you print on and the lighting conditions you are viewing the print under will impact what you see.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 26th September 2013 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Added more explanation

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    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    I am sorry I have neglected my own thread. Work has innundated me and swallowed up all the words I had in reserve in my head.

    Donald, thank for you for the links back to other threads. They were very informative.

    Warrick, thanks for the link to Kelby. It is next on my agenda.

    Ted and Manfred, I will try these suggestions. I usually use White House Custom Color to print (WHCC). But, I also have a nice little Canon printer and it prints up to 8 X10's. I will experiment on my printer, because I am sure after i get it set right, I will be able to send out printing again.

    Marie

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Printing conundrum

    Maire - My colour photography goes back to the days where the only way to get the colours right was to do a test print (I had a full colour darkroom back when I was in high school). Unfortunately, the weakest link in the colour management process continues to be our computer screen, especially in the transition to the LCD technology from the old but bulk CRT displays.

    I had a large CRT Viewsonic display that died on me many years ago; but I was able to turn it down to the point where what I saw on the screen was pretty darn close to what came out of my printer. The downside was that I had to re-profile it every month or so, because the colours would shift over time.

    When I replaced it with my wide gamut LCD screen back about 5 years ago, found that the colours were extremely stable (re-profiling really became somewhat redundant), but it is very, very bright, compared to wIhat I was used to with the old screen. I had to change my workflow because I could not turn it down as far as I would like (I run with the brightness pretty well as low as it will go), so I had to compensate when printing, otherwise they would turn out very dark.

    I found that I had to resort to doing test prints, until I was able to come up with a workflow where my prints came out "right". Profiling will ensure that you get the colours to come out accurately, but that still means that you have to work out how to get the prints to come out the way that you see them on your screen (as per the two techniques I suggested in my previoous posting); and unfortunatly doing a test print is the only way that I have found to work.

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