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Thread: Banal Printing Question

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    jordand's Avatar
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    Banal Printing Question

    I calibrate my monitor and use the appropriate ICC profiles (and inks), but somehow my prints appear too dark.
    If I blend second layer in “screen” mode at about 65%, that solves the problem, but still makes me feel like shooting in the dark. Any ideas?

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordan,what calibration method do you use?
    My initial suggestion is that you set the brightness of your monitor during calibration to something like 100-105 cd/m2.

    I use the Spyder system, and the default brightness is recommended to be 120cd/m2. I find this is too bright and if I do not reduce the brightness of the screen prior to printing they are too dark. In one sense your present solution works, but, assuming you are using PS, I would use a brightness layer on the final image as an alternative and dial down by an appropriate % until satisfied.

    The problem is that the calibration process for the monitor cannot account for the relative brightness differences between the monitor (light emitting) , and the paper/ink combination of your printer (light absorbing). So a little experimenting, when calibrating and lowering the recommended brightness can reduce, (though not necessarily totally remove), the problem.

    One other point, I do not calibrate with ambient light changes allowed. I tend to calibrate for the time of day I tend to do most of my post processing and printing. i.e. early evening with no direct sunlight or the likely hood of strong rapid changes in room lighting.

    Additionally, if your paper is not white (as many are not, the whites in your image can only be as bright as the paper itself.

    In the good old days of wet chemistry and darkroom technique, it was standard practise to create test prints to assess different exposure times to find the right one. Essentially you could see this as a similar problem with the digital set up.
    Last edited by James G; 17th August 2016 at 05:29 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordan
    - What printer, what paper and which inks are you using?

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordan,

    Your experience is what I would expect to happen and your solution is what I would expect to work. I have the same experience and similar solution and I've seen others reporting the same. All of that is understandable to me considering that displaying an image on a monitor is going to be a lot brighter because the light is being projected directly toward the viewer, as opposed to viewing an image displayed as a print where the light is going to be only reflected.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Quote Originally Posted by James G View Post
    My initial suggestion is that you set the brightness of your monitor during calibration to something like 100-105 cd/m2.
    I've heard this to. I read somewhere that in 90 procent of the cases it helps turning down the brightness of the monitor.

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    jordand's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Jordan
    - What printer, what paper and which inks are you using?
    Donald, I use Pixma PRO-100, Photo Paper Pro Lustre or Platinum (or Hahnemuhle or Canson) with their respective profiles, original Canon inks.
    I reduce the brightness slider on my relatively old LG E3250V monitor to 33 and set the color to sRGB before calibrating with Spyder 4.
    I also suspect that, as pointed by James, the time of day and ambient light intensity are producing drastically different calibration results.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordon if I remember correctly with the spyder , you can set the brightness to a choice of values, I suggest 100, most LCD monitors like 120. It has been a while since I used the spyder as I now use a color munki from x-rite. That reminds me I need to re-profile my laptop which I use the spyder on.

    Cheers: Allan

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    I reduce the brightness slider on my relatively old LG E3250V monitor to 33 and set the color to sRGB before calibrating with Spyder 4.
    I use Spyder 5, but I have used Spyder 4 in the past.
    The recommendation from Datacolor is to reset the monitor to factory settings and then start the calibration.

    You need to ensure that when choosing the calibration options that you tick for Brightness adjustment. You should then see a screen recommending brightness adjustment to the recommended 120cd/m2.
    At this point I adjust for 105cd/m2 and then continue with the calibration.

    I have a video card that supports 4 screens and I acually run 3 (didn't seem much point in throwing working monitors out ) My Primary is a BenQ 2700 which displays 99% of Adobe RGB1998 and is certificated to do so by BenQ. Calibrating results in no real change to displayed colours and tones, which is what I would expect. In the case of the other screens (Samsung and HP) they are 3 and 5 years old and can only display at best 74% of RGB1998 and after calibration. There are very distinct changes from the shipped factory settings.

    Comparing conformance for sRGB is as you might expect, still 99% for the BenQ but only 84% for the other two monitors.

    If you can choose Adobe RGB1998 rather than sRGB as the colour space for the monitor, I would do so since it is much larger than sRGB and then when you are ready to print, use the Photoshop option to reassign the profile to sRGB before printing.
    But, sRGB is usually assigned for web display and if your Canon printer is similar to Epson models, Adobe RGB1998 is recommended for print rather than sRGB.

    It might be worthwhile raiseing a problem ticket and check with Datacolor, but I think that they will confirm the need to reset the monitor to factory settings before calibrating, setting colour temperature to 6500 and gamut to 1.2 (assuming you have the option).

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Just a point to something James said in post #8 "when you are ready to print, use the Photoshop option to reassign the profile to sRGB before printing." I do not know what program you use for, post however if it is LR or Photoshop you do not need to reassign the profile to sRGB this is because you have told the printer that it is NOT Managing Colour, but LR or Photoshop will manage colours. You also do not have to change the file to a j-peg if printing thru LR or Photoshop it can stay in whatever format you have it in.

    Cheers: Alllan

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Just a point to something James said in post #8 "when you are ready to print, use the Photoshop option to reassign the profile to sRGB before printing." I do not know what program you use for, post however if it is LR or Photoshop you do not need to reassign the profile to sRGB this is because you have told the printer that it is NOT Managing Colour, but LR or Photoshop will manage colours. You also do not have to change the file to a j-peg if printing thru LR or Photoshop it can stay in whatever format you have it in.

    Cheers: Alllan
    Allan, in 95% of the cases I post process using ACR and CS6, working with RAW files.
    My color space In Photoshop is Pro Photo RGB (16bpc) and when ready I save one or more JPEGs, which I later sharpen (and lighten) for printing.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    You may also want to check your printer's black/white point (where your printer starts to differentiate tonal values). Chances are it's the monitor brightness but I have a calibrated monitor and still have to use the screen blending mode for some prints.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    I00% of the issues that I have helped people with this issue is that their screens were too bright.

    The best solution I have found is to brighten the image (I do this with an adjustment layer in Photoshop) and do a test print. I keep doing tests until I find the right amount of adjustment I will write down / remember the value. As long as I don't change the brightness on my computer screen, all I have to do is brighten any image I print by the appropriate amount and I get consistent, repeatable good print results.

    I have my screen set to 120 candela / square meter as this seems to be a good level of brightness in the room where I do my editing. I've tried lower settings, but found that they hindered by editing work as the details were not bright enough.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordon I myself do something similar, download files into Bridge, then open in ACR and then taken into Photoshop CC. The files that I did something to in ACR are still NEF. files and are stored with all the other raw files. Any file that goes into CC are stored as a master file either a psd. or psb. file. All my printed files are either psd. or psb., that I print out on my Epson 4900 printer I have never printed a file that is a j-peg, why throw out all that info that the printer could use by printing from a j-peg file. The only time I produce a j-peg file is to post to the web and I never sharpen it.

    Cheers: Allan

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Jordan - Just to add to what Alan has written, when I print on my own printer (an Epson 3880) I always print from whatever colourspace I am using (usually Prophoto). Modern photo printers EXCEED the AdobeRGB spec (which is based on the CMYK colour space mapped over to RGB values). If the printer is capable of giving you all that subtlety, why compress everything into an 8-bit sRGB colour space? Your prints will have more vibrance and depth if you use a wider colour space. The rendering intent will take care of the out of gamut colours quite nicely.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    In the good old days of wet chemistry and darkroom technique, it was standard practise to create test prints to assess different exposure times to find the right one. Essentially you could see this as a similar problem with the digital set up.
    Indeed, absolutely standard operating procedure in the good old days, and the same applies to printing digital images. I have a PrintFab RIP driver installed and used test prints to determine the settings that gave the "best" (as in 'the ones I like best') settings for general use. When printing something unusual or of special interest, I start with those and tweak a bit.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    You may also want to check your printer's black/white point (where your printer starts to differentiate tonal values). Chances are it's the monitor brightness but I have a calibrated monitor and still have to use the screen blending mode for some prints.
    John, thanks for the suggestion, but I have no idea how to do it.

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    Re: Banal Printing Question

    Quote Originally Posted by jordand View Post
    John, thanks for the suggestion, but I have no idea how to do it.
    Jordan,

    You can download a target from the following locations:

    http://ebooks.outbackphoto.com/resources/fap/

    In the first link, the Printer Ramp tiff will do.

    http://www.hutchcolor.com/Images_and_targets.html

    http://www.zuberphotographics.com/co...nt-targets.htm

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