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Thread: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

  1. #21

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by whited3 View Post
    I have exactly this problem! I have calibrated my Acer H243HX with a Spyder (Don't know the model) and this made a huge difference but my images still come back way too dark from the printers.

    For instance, in this image I can see some detail (on my calibrated home Acer monitor and work Asus laptop, and my uncalibrated LG W2253TQ monitor at work) inside the arch in the background and leaf litter on the ledge in the foreground, LH lower corner. These areas are black when printed.
    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.
    Hi Mark,

    I think this image is a good example of "theory -v- practice". In theory the histogram for this image would probably indicate that it's "correct" in that the full available tonality is being used from whites of the falls under the arch to blacks to the left of the arch & bottom left of photo - but in practice, the distribution is all wrong. And if I were to print it "as is" it wouldn't print very well either (and this is being viewed on my calibrated and profiled screen that I use for all my image prep prior to printing).

    Looking at the image, it really needs a truckload of fill light to reveal more shadow details in the left-hand areas of the image, although this might raise things a bit too much for some of the tones on the right, so a bit of masking may be required. So in summary, "I'm not surprised that it's printing dark". Don't forget that there's no active lighting in a print (but there is in a monitor), so it's possible your monitor is revealing more detail for you.

    If you like, I'd be happy to give it a quick tweak so that you could take it to the print shop where I guarantee it would come back looking a lot better.

  2. #22
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Looking at the image, it really needs a truckload of fill light to reveal more shadow details in the left-hand areas of the image, although this might raise things a bit too much for some of the tones on the right, so a bit of masking may be required. So in summary, "I'm not surprised that it's printing dark". Don't forget that there's no active lighting in a print (but there is in a monitor), so it's possible your monitor is revealing more detail for you.

    Have to agree with that. I put it in CS5 RAW edit and huge black areas showed up, particularly in the bottom left corner. This was shot on 10mm, so that foreground rock must have been very close. In the past in similar situations I've used some gentle fill-flash to highlight the frontal areas. I think that would have corrected most of the problem here. I'm not surprised it doesn't print well. Pretty scene, but it needs some extra light when shooting.

  3. #23
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    I use permajet paper and they do a similar service on the paper profiles. http://www.permajet.com/cat/45/produ..._Profiles.html Their Oyster semi-gloss paper is very nice too.
    I'm glad I don't have to do printer profiles; I'm a cheapskate but I can't see anything wrong with this paper at half the price of yours Rob:

    http://www.jessops.com/online.store/...0183/show.html

    I just set the profile to Canon Pro and I can see into the shadows, in fact more than in a professionally printed print of a bridge I had done, different one to the above.

    If I should sell one I think I will use the Oyster paper then.

  4. #24
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I'm glad I don't have to do printer profiles; I'm a cheapskate but I can't see anything wrong with this paper at half the price of yours Rob:

    http://www.jessops.com/online.store/...0183/show.html

    I just set the profile to Canon Pro and I can see into the shadows, in fact more than in a professionally printed print of a bridge I had done, different one to the above.

    If I should sell one I think I will use the Oyster paper then.
    Haven't tried the Jessops paper. The Oyster is semi-gloss, and has a very nice sheen finish to it. Really gives some depth to a shot.

  5. #25

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Folks,
    Further points / suggestions.

    At the risk of over doing it I must emphasis how important it is to get the maximum white of your printer paper under whatever you chose as your viewing condition, and the white of the monitor that your trying to match too to be as close as you can practically get them. The human vision system has a sophisticated auto white balance system that takes max white as a primary reference. No printer that I'm aware of has white ink so it's the monitor brightness that has to be adjusted. This adjustment should be done before monitor calibration unless calibrator instructions say otherwise. You may likely need to adjust ambient light as part of the white matching exercise Again, do this prior to calibration.

    Having established a satisfactory monitor calibration, there should not be a huge difference between on-screen and printed images. That said, I find that there are very good reasons why I need to have different versions of each image. The way I deal with this is to make a master file which looks just the way I want it on my monitor. I then make copies for each different output purpose one for print, one for web, and so on. Each output file is adjusted for it's specific purpose. Don't drive yourself nuts trying to make one copy work for both printing and the web the display media have very different characteristics

    It often happens that when displaying or printing a wide tonal range image strange things happen toward the dark and light extremes This despite monitor calibration, printing with profiles, and so on. Poor linearity and / or lack of calibration / profiles can lead to an output that shows tone reversals. This is when a smooth transition from light to dark is rendered with inappropriate dark or light patches. With good linearity, proper calibration, and printing with accurate profiles, tone reversals should be banished. However please note that no printer and no monitor can output the full tonal range (1 to 255). In typical conditions most monitors are limited to about 20 at the black end and about 253 at the light end. Some good printer / ink / paper combos can go to 8 or 10 in the black and 254 at the light end. Other printer / ink / paper combos can only manage a range that is more narrow that a monitor. So the result can be a printer that prints blocked up shadows when the monitor is showing detail. Or the other result which is a monitor that cannot show shadow detail that the printer is printing. Such is life. Generally, good printers can print a much wider range of colours and tones that the sRGB colour space that is the standard for the web. So .. keep your master file in as big a colour space as you can manage. Adjust your print copy of that master file to take account of your printer / ink / paper characteristics. Adjust your web copy to take account of any gamma shift when you convert to sRGb.

    I strongly recommend that you get yourself a test file for evaluation of your set-up. It is a huge help if you use something that you have had no part in creating. See:-

    http://www.outbackphoto.com/CONTENT_...ing/index.html

    Note:- the above target can be used to evaluate monitors and projectors as well as printers. It has black to white numbered squares to show the black / white limits of display output.

    In closing.
    1)Try to achieve a consistent, repeatable process.
    2)Aim for a pleasing result.
    3)Keep thoughts of accuracy reserved for your dreams.
    4)Have fun!

    Regards,

    Nick.

  6. #26
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Dear Rob, Colin, Nick and Peter

    For someone who is just about to embark on printing for the first time you make me feel uncertain about the
    whole process. I would be grateful if you would explain your workflow for printing A-Z. I guess this would be
    a great start for all us beginners.

    Nasseem

  7. #27
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Dear Rob, Colin, Nick and Peter

    For someone who is just about to embark on printing for the first time you make me feel uncertain about the
    whole process. I would be grateful if you would explain your workflow for printing A-Z. I guess this would be
    a great start for all us beginners.

    Nasseem
    Make sure the monitor is calibrated as accurately as possible to match printing. I don't think you will ever get it to look the same because they are different display mechanisms, but you can get as close as possible.

    Stick to the same paper make and type, and get ICC printer profiles from the paper manufacturer. You could also get personalized profiles from the manufacturer to match your printer. This involves downloading some test images, printing them out on the paper you use, then sending them to the manufacturer for analysis on a Spectrometer, and profile creation.

    Create the edited shot in Photoshop from RAW so it looked good on screen, then try a test print using the profiles mentioned above. If it doesn't look right, you may need to change the exposure, and perhaps the colours. When it looks 'right' on print, sign it off. It's all very well to get worked up about the technicalities of all this, but the only thing that matters is what it looks like in the finished product - print!

    I use Photoshop to handle the printing, not the software that comes with the printer, and I let Photoshop control everything, not the printer (you should have options for this in PS).

    For posting images on-line (forums etc) you may need to create a version of the final shot with different settings, particularly on exposure. But whilst you can control things between your calibrated monitor and your printer because you can see both, there is no accounting for what other people see on their monitors.

  8. #28
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Dear Rob, Colin, Nick and Peter

    For someone who is just about to embark on printing for the first time you make me feel uncertain about the
    whole process. I would be grateful if you would explain your workflow for printing A-Z. I guess this would be
    a great start for all us beginners.

    Nasseem
    Hi Naseem,

    Yes it is another steep learning curve but a fun one. I understand Sean is going to do a tutorial on it soon so it might be best to wait and see what is in store there first.

  9. #29
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Thanks for that reference Nick.

  10. #30

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    For someone who is just about to embark on printing for the first time you make me feel uncertain about the
    whole process. I would be grateful if you would explain your workflow for printing A-Z. I guess this would be
    a great start for all us beginners.

    Nasseem
    Hi Nasseem,

    I made the leap to large format printing about 5 years ago. Steep learning curve for sure, but I've never looked back - so don't hesitate to "jump in boots and all".

    Four things come to mind ...

    1. Don't try to learn everything in advance - just jump in - make mistakes - and then learn from them. Much easier that way, and of course we can help.

    2. Accept that as you get a better eye for detail, that what you see on the screen will NEVER match what you print; one is an additive process with a 6 stop dynamic range (in broad terms), whilst the other is a subtractive process with a 4 stop dynamic range, so it's apples and oranges.

    3. With reference to #2 above, you'll usually get better results if you push the clipping points (both white and black) so that images use the full tonal range (and probably push them further than you'd think too).

    4. Get a Photospectrometer and learn to create your own profiles. You may wonder if (a) this is really necessary, and (b) if you're biting off more than you can chew, but trust me on this. You won't thank me for it initially, but you will in about 18 months time! Despite the "reverent" sounding name, they're not hard to use, and they don't cost much.

  11. #31
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Hi Nasseem,

    I am up to the 18 month mark and just now getting a handle on this process and relaible output. I have control over my output and it is wonderful but Colin is right - your mistakes are the only things you can really call you own and you will learn from them and support from here.

  12. #32
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Okidoki...

    Having read through the very informative, education, deep and meaningful posts above I checked that I was using the .icm profile for this monitor as was created with a borrowed Spyder a few months ago. Brightness was set at 72 which when compared to some hard copy A4 under my typical lighting conditions, was found to be way too bright. I've cut it back to 50 but suspect it may need to wound down a bit more.

    Generally I'm happy with the new image although I think the rock wall in the RHS background is a bit washed out.

    C&C welcome.

    This is the reprocessed image and is meant for the printers (by this I mean it'll will be darker in hard copy). The same post processing as before but with the monitor brightness adjusted. Additional adjustments to the highlights and shadows added.
    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    The original processed image.
    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

  13. #33
    rob marshall

    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ... you'll usually get better results if you push the clipping points (both white and black) so that images use the full tonal range (and probably push them further than you'd think too).
    Yes, I have certainly found that. There is a tendency to pull back in editing, especially on the whites because it can look so bright on your monitor. Which is one of the problems of having a monitor set too brightly.

    May I just thank everyone for their contributions so far to this thread. It's all very informative and interesting. I've certainly learnt a lot in the past few days trying to get my monitor/printer set-up better tuned.

  14. #34

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    There is a tendency to pull back in editing, especially on the whites because it can look so bright on your monitor.
    Not really (well not in my case anyway). What I normally do is leave a little "wiggle room" in ACR (using highlight / shadows alert) (ie small flats at each end of the histogram), but in Photoshop - when I'm ready - I'll stretch the range more agressively. The reason I cut into the histogram more agressively is that if I don't then although there may technically already be pure blacks and whites, but often they're so geographically dispersed that the eye doesn't register those areas as being areas of true black / white; or put in a less technical way, "the image just looks better when I do it that way". Keeping in mind though that I work with canvas a lot, and canvas doesn't give deep blacks, so this tends to compensate for that to a degree as well.

    Having just said all that though, it really comes down to the degree of shadow detail desired in the image ... and these can take several tweaks / reprints to get right. I've been known to take back a framed canvas print forsale in a shop - strip the canvas off the frame - reprint it - spray it - frame it - all for a shadows adjustment of exactly 1 level. It's really that sensitive in some images (which is another reason why I NEVER adjust printer profiles because - right or wrong - I want consistency, especially for my canvas profiles).

  15. #35

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Hi Mark,

    Personally, I'd go for something like this ...

    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

  16. #36

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Thanks to everyone for this particularly lucid discussion.Thanks to all who've provided links to further assistance and discussion. I've tried and stumbled and tried again and will keep working on this fascinating subject. I'm a little sorry that i have never had the experience of watching a colour print evolve in chemicals. I'm sure it must give an indescribable feeling. As I sit next to my printer waiting for the result to come to hand the feeling of anticipation may in some way equate with the darkroom experience.
    Something only lightly touched on in this discussion is,"under what lighting will the print be viewed?"
    There have been times that I've thought the print too dark, and yet when viewed in a number of differing light sources it has been OK.

  17. #37

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Dear Rob, Colin, Nick and Peter

    For someone who is just about to embark on printing for the first time you make me feel uncertain about the
    whole process. I would be grateful if you would explain your workflow for printing A-Z. I guess this would be
    a great start for all us beginners.

    Nasseem
    Dear Nasseem,
    I'm with Colin and the others on this – please don't be put off – give it a go. Here are some of the things you stand to gain.
    1)A real touch and feel understanding of the photographic process.
    2)A physical result – to hold in your hand – of all your hard work.
    3)A result that is unique to you and is all your own work.

    The information I have given so far is deliberately generic so that all may use as they see fit. I'm sure that we will be able to help with the specifics of your situation as and when difficulties may arise. In the meantime – just give it a go!

    Regards,

    Nick.

  18. #38

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Anson View Post
    Thanks to everyone for this particularly lucid discussion.Thanks to all who've provided links to further assistance and discussion. I've tried and stumbled and tried again and will keep working on this fascinating subject. I'm a little sorry that i have never had the experience of watching a colour print evolve in chemicals. I'm sure it must give an indescribable feeling. As I sit next to my printer waiting for the result to come to hand the feeling of anticipation may in some way equate with the darkroom experience.
    Something only lightly touched on in this discussion is,"under what lighting will the print be viewed?"
    There have been times that I've thought the print too dark, and yet when viewed in a number of differing light sources it has been OK.
    Dear Peter,
    Yes, the viewing conditions can have an effect on a print that varies wildly from “very little” to “Oh No !”. By way of example, my club competition prints are viewed under very bright full spectrum florescent light. Knowing this, and also that my printer / ink / paper combo is very good at doing deep blacks – I print my stuff a little “down”. I check them under direct bright sunlight (it's often a long wait !). Now contrast that with the situation Colin described above with his canvas print in the gallery window. At first sight it may look as if we are contradicting one another a little. But in fact we are using different materials for different purposes in different viewing conditions. We can both do what we do because we both have a consistent repeatable process. Some folks may feel that such an approach is too regimented or is restrictive. That is not the case at all. Having a consistent process enables you to concentrate on achieving your artistic objectives. You can make adjustments for artistic effect knowing that those adjustments will be present and as expected in your prints.

    Regards,

    Nick.

  19. #39
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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Thanks Colin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Mark,

    Personally, I'd go for something like this ...

    monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

  20. #40

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    Re: monitor calibration - I suggest you all read this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Anson View Post
    Thanks to everyone for this particularly lucid discussion.Thanks to all who've provided links to further assistance and discussion. I've tried and stumbled and tried again and will keep working on this fascinating subject. I'm a little sorry that i have never had the experience of watching a colour print evolve in chemicals. I'm sure it must give an indescribable feeling. As I sit next to my printer waiting for the result to come to hand the feeling of anticipation may in some way equate with the darkroom experience.
    Something only lightly touched on in this discussion is,"under what lighting will the print be viewed?"
    There have been times that I've thought the print too dark, and yet when viewed in a number of differing light sources it has been OK.
    Peter,

    Sorry - forgot to mention ...

    If you don't have Real World Color Management 2nd Ed By Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting, then get it. Period.

    It's the undisputed reference text for learing colour management.

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