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Thread: Printing Black

  1. #1
    arith's Avatar
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    Printing Black

    Is there a special way to print black in a colour image? I've got a pic that is mostly black, it looks ok on my calibrated screen but printed too dark.

    So I increased brightness and it printed purple, it doesn't look purple on the screen.

    I've ordered six test prints, all 5% increased brightness over the previous print, sequence +0%, +5%, +10% brightness, but the printers don't use giclee printing and just wondered if there was special setting for ink printers.

    The 0% one is :
    Printing Black
    Last edited by arith; 29th December 2010 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Is there a special way to print black in a colour image? I've got a pic that is mostly black, it looks ok on my calibrated screen but printed too dark.

    So I increased brightness and it printed purple, it doesn't look purple on the screen.

    I've ordered six test prints, all 5% increased brightness over the previous print, sequence +0%, +5%, +10% brightness, but the printers don't use giclee printing and just wondered if there was special setting for ink printers.

    The 0% one is :
    Printing Black
    Do you have an actual black cartridge in your printer? If not you will need one, most photo/inkjet printers use a mix of the primary colors to get a near black image.

  3. #3
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    Steve,
    Hope you don't mind.
    All I did was change WB and drop the blue saturation.It's probably too bright,but I think it's pretty close(using the sandstone for colour reference).
    WB may be part of the issue.
    Printing Black

  4. #4
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    Re: Printing Black

    Check on how your printer handles Black, is the "on paper black" constructed by the mixing of Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta, which many ink combinations do not completely blend into a true pure black.

    Have you made any prints where you converted the image from RGB to CMYK color space ?

    That may allow for a better handling of the ink management.

    Another thing to consider is that, regardless of technology or calibration, a display and paper are completely different critters.

    Here is a test image that you can display and print to demonstrate the point:

    CiC_Printer_Color_Control_Patch.png

    I have attached rather than referenced this Test Image so that you and others can download it directly.

    I use this test image to fine tune my Xerox printer for proper color rendition of printed photographs.

    The Test image has several components, a Gray scale that steps from 0% to 100% Black in 10% increments. There is also a color test area based upon the primary colors at 100% and then rendered as the NTSC Television Luminance gray level on the left and the same colors at a 25% intensity mixed with white to the right. The whole test image background is rendered with an 18% gray. I used the NTSC luminance grays since, from my electronics and television background, that was what I'm most familiar with.

    Now, open this image on your monitor display and take a look at what you get.

    The 100% color column will be highly saturated bright colors. The 25% will be nice pastel shades, and the grays will be properly rendered. The Gray Scale is in 10% steps since this is targeted for a printer where the color gamut will be smaller than that of a monitor.

    Now, send the test image to your printer and take a look at it. Better yet, compare the print to what you have on your monitor. I know what will stand out immediately - the 100% color column will be much darker than how it's rendered on your screen. Even more significant, the 25% color on white areas are brighter than the 100% column colors. These differences between screen and print have nothing to do with color calibration or your monitor white point.

    Your display is emissive, it generates light which is why 100% Green is bright.

    But, your print is reflective, 100% ink on any area becomes dark.

    This is because the print reflects the ambient light and more ink, regardless of color, absorbs more and reflects less. Plus, notice how the brightest areas of the print are the Whites with Y "Luminance" being 100% and K "Black Ink" being 0%

    Is it any wonder why dark prints are such a common problem ?

    I combat the dark print with histograms. Once I have my image cropped and styled to my liking, I turn to the histogram and base my adjustments to make sure that the image elements span the histogram width. I find it best at this stage to completely ignore how the monitor displays the changes. Cover that portion of the screen or, if you editor allows, just minimize or hide the image window as you adjust the histogram. Remember, the goal here is not to make the image "look good" you want to make the image file to have a span from no ink White to 100% ink darks.

    Now print the image and see what you get ?

    I use the above Test Image to see how neutral grays are rendered and my Xerox printer allows me to bias the color balance so I can achieve true neutral grays and blacks.
    Last edited by Steaphany; 19th December 2010 at 05:03 PM. Reason: edit content & typo

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Steve,
    Hope you don't mind.
    All I did was change WB and drop the blue saturation.It's probably too bright,but I think it's pretty close(using the sandstone for colour reference).
    WB may be part of the issue.
    Printing Black
    I used a card but I suppose it could be wrong, from memory it was around 2500 kelvin, which I suppose might be blue. But I like the look of the image, and would like to faithfully reproduce it on paper.

    Since I got Spider I really got slack with images, editing by sight and not using warnings or histograms, using warnings I hope the result will be ok between 10% and 15% extra brightness, and also hope it isn't purple. cheers

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    Cheers Steaphany, that will be very useful. Just got to get some more paper, I accidentally printed from my browser and for some reason that is B+W only. But it was black.

    It could be a printer problem since there is a setting for night photo's, trouble is it sharpens the image and I don't reckon that is right, messing up my work.

    I will wait for my test photo's which are now 48 hours overdue, guess they only provide service to people who pay the most.
    Last edited by arith; 20th December 2010 at 12:09 PM.

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    I got my test prints back and they was not purple, in fact they was exactly right but for the levels correction the printer applied mean't that despite them all being different the only way you could tell them apart was by looking on the back .

    I explained I wanted one of them darker and then he admitted their machine automatically corrects levels.

  8. #8
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    I've ordered a Pixma 9000 pro mk II and hopefully this then will end all printing problems; I didn't really want it but there isn't any professional printers doing photo's around here, they just concentrate on advertisers.
    So the biggest print is a titchy A3+, so I better get used to it, but I note it has a handy feature to print out test images to check against ambient light.
    Just wanted to say cheers everybody for all your help and especially Steaphany who knows more than you can shake a stick at.

    Correction: it will print up to 23" x 14" or 26" x 12.5" approx, don't know how though.
    Last edited by arith; 2nd January 2011 at 01:13 PM.

  9. #9

    Re: Printing Black

    Thank you Steaphany for your excellent post!

    You should be very pleased with the Canon Pixma 9000.

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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I've ordered a Pixma 9000 pro mk II and hopefully this then will end all printing problems; I didn't really want it but there isn't any professional printers doing photo's around here, they just concentrate on advertisers.
    So the biggest print is a titchy A3+, so I better get used to it, but I note it has a handy feature to print out test images to check against ambient light.
    Just wanted to say cheers everybody for all your help and especially Steaphany who knows more than you can shake a stick at.
    Hi Steve

    I'd be interested to hear how you go with your new printer. I'm still using a 10 year old printer and have tried commercial printing only once. I'd like to hear your feedback when you get into the swing of things.

    Have fun!

  11. #11
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    Re: Printing Black

    Got it today after waiting 72 hours, stuck indoors from 6 to 6 and going crazy; and I paid for 24hr express. First observations, it is big and heavy, it has lots of orange tape welded in place, some hidden, and not really clear instructions. The diagrams are really confusing.

    It reckons you need minimum Vista sp1 for the HDR printing, it didn't say that in the adds. Also you have some really odd attachments that have to be removed, the print head is confusing, and they might have pointed out that you snap off the orange levers, I thought I might have broken it.

    I'm not doing anymore today cos it's new years eve; Happy New Year Everybody.

  12. #12
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    I did my first prints today, using test prints discovered no changes were needed for my living room and it printed vibrant colours.
    Using the test prints I got some readings for my brothers living room, and with these setting did him a print of this A3 size on 240gsm glossy paper, and it did indeed look exactly right in his room, green in mine.

    This is what he got but it wasn't lined up exactly straight and I'm wondering how to do that with the flat feeder. The ink is a tad expensive and the ink wells light up when fitted correctly, don't know if you can get compatible ink or not.

    Printing Black

  13. #13
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    I actually found that if it does borderless it expands the image; should have seen that. So you have to add a 400 x 300 border on an A3 but I just realized while writing this the pic I was doing was 3:2 so 390 x 260 although you can see what your doing anyway.

    The border in a border image is just plain silly, but found out that it isn't too hard to align the sides in answer to the above.

    My church pic above came out exactly as above with brightness set +10.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    Thank you Steaphany for your excellent post!

    You should be very pleased with the Canon Pixma 9000.
    Yes I am pleased with getting prints how I wanted them to look; but a bit worried about the price since I did test prints and for two printouts I printed 5 A3, at 1.50 each for the paper and I don't know how much for ink but a complete set is around 100.

    The commercial people cost around 8 for two.

  15. #15
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    Re: Printing Black

    Great post Steaphany – thank you.

    Hi Steve, I have been using the Pixma Pro 9000 for some time and I really do like it. I am sure you will get plenty of great prints and memories form this.

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    Don't know if Raylee is still looking at this but I think this printer uses a lot of ink. I've done 16 A3 prints but since some are test prints with a lot of white space it don't really count as that much; my yellow is showing a significant drop as is magenta and the cheapest replacements are 22 which is a lot.

    You can however choose how to print borderless and the prints have a wider ev span than my display, which is very wide. Overall, expensive but giving control over to the photographer, something the professionals fail at.

  17. #17
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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Don't know if Raylee is still looking at this but I think this printer uses a lot of ink. I've done 16 A3 prints but since some are test prints with a lot of white space it don't really count as that much; my yellow is showing a significant drop as is magenta and the cheapest replacements are 22 which is a lot.

    You can however choose how to print borderless and the prints have a wider ev span than my display, which is very wide. Overall, expensive but giving control over to the photographer, something the professionals fail at.
    I'm still following this thread Steve. I'd read an article recently that pointed out the expense of home printing with top quality printers - ie the price of ink and good paper. I'm wondering if I should go for a mid-priced printer and leave the special prints to professionals? I do like the idea of being able to print what I want when I want but will the cost of ink be a deterrent in the long run? I'm not in a rush to buy a new printer (unless my existing one dies) so please keep providing updates - they are very useful.

    Thanks

    R

  18. #18
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    This is my latest pic I think will work at A3; still trying to work out why I think some will work and others won't but I think if there is conflict of subjects then it works better bigger, although I'm not saying that is ideal because I can think of some abstract single subject stuff would work, such as a few girders on a bridge.

    For some reason I always have to Ortonise the image and if you use a pin light layer you get pink, but generally artistic license and out of all the images only a couple would I regard as printed exactly right. This was the hardest to date but it looks ok, I'm going to give it a rest until I get some new pics because I used up all the paper.

    cheers

    Printing Black

    I would recommend this printer, but it is complicated and expensive. I saw a review state in 'most useful for', printing blank sheets of paper, great quality if you are bankrolled by your bank manager. Indeed at 1000,000 dots per square inch quality isn't an issue, I was reading that it has over 6000 nozzles, but the ink like everything Canon does is really really expensive.

  19. #19
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Printing Black

    5 canon inks = 40 A3 Canon pro gloss prints, and at about 13 per cartridge I think that is pretty expensive, but still a little less than the high st. It works out at 2.40 a print compared with 5 on the high st, but my prints are better. Of course more expensive paper will use more ink, I'm just not used to the stunning quality so are unsure just how much better using expensive high resolution paper really is. cheers.

    The best paper will probably work out at around 4 per A3 print, but that is a guess and sourcing from the cheapest places.

  20. #20
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    Re: Printing Black

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    5 canon inks = 40 A3 Canon pro gloss prints, and at about 13 per cartridge I think that is pretty expensive, but still a little less than the high st. It works out at 2.40 a print compared with 5 on the high st, but my prints are better. Of course more expensive paper will use more ink, I'm just not used to the stunning quality so are unsure just how much better using expensive high resolution paper really is. cheers.

    The best paper will probably work out at around 4 per A3 print, but that is a guess and sourcing from the cheapest places.
    Thanks for the update Steve. I've enrolled in a course at a local photography school/gallery/collective that provides members with access to printers. Hopefully, in the next month or so I might have some practical experience. I do like the idea of being able to control the output myself without having to rely on someone else.

    Cheers

    R

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