Printing Problems - not looking how I want

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Illah, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    So I'm familiar with monitor calibration and all that, but I have an LCD now. It's my first one. I calibrated it as best I could, but I know it's never going to match perfectly. Previously I had a used graphic-design CRT. While my LCD is better in almost every way, the one area I sacraficed was color accuracy when going to print (typically not a concern of mine, I don't print that many pics, but lately I've been on a photo spree).

    The other problem is my loft has all warm, halogen lighting. When I use a 6500K daylight lamp the pics are close-enough to what I see on the monitor, but under the halogens they're way off an notably warmer. Since I typically don't have people over at 12 noon, and most days I'm not even home at that time, I'm thinking 80% of the time these pics will be seen under the warm halogens in somewhat dimly lit conditions.

    So how would you go about this, would you heavily compensate in the print for the lighting conditions? Is it even possible or worth the effort?

    I use an Epson R200 with Kodak Ultra-Premium Semigloss paper.

    Thanks,

    --Illah
     
  2. Bruno

    Bruno TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't print in a way to compensate for the lights since in "daylight" they pictures will be way off. My suggestion would be to have a station or maybe even a little room that's blocked off with calibrated/daylight lights. Not sure how possible that is, but hopefully it will at least get some ideas jumping around.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am no printer myself but I was just reading in a wedding photography book that it helps for real accurate printing to calibrate your printer and computer to you specific paper type a site the book suggested going to to find preset paper/ink calibration profiles was inkjetmall.com but I couldn't find it but I'm sure there is other ways of doing it.
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    If you are printing for yourself, I'd go ahead and print for the light they are going to be displayed under.
     
  5. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    Did you know that with Epson printers you have to adjust the settings on the printer for the type of paper you use. If you use the wrong settings then it doesn't matter how good the paper is the picture will come out looking aweful.

    So adjust your settings for the correct paper and then reprint and you'll see a huge difference.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    Yep, I've done most of what's been suggested. I'm using the Epson custom profile for my paper, letting PS manage color and turning off driver level management, I've calibrated the monitor, but it's just not matching. I know to some degree they'll never match 100%, but these are pretty far off under my warm, almost reddish light.

    But, I've now realized my non-graphic design level monitor will never get to the point where it will accurately represent print. So I'm going up the other end instead :)

    I've just gotten through seven test prints of the smugmug calibration print, and I've been trying to calibrate the printer to the monitor under my halogen lighting. So far it's working pretty well - the main culprit seems to be brightness more than anything (probably due to the LCD backlight which, even at an extremely low setting, seems to be washing out the colors).

    So if all goes well, I just edit as I normally do, save a copy, then simply flatten the image and bump brightness by a few notches before I print.

    I'll update as I progress!

    UPDATE: So the brightness gets me most of the way there, but even this morning using natural light its still a little too warm. I think I'll bump the cyan to compensate for the red-ness and see if that does the trick...

    --Illah
     
  7. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    OK - in case anyone cares, I found the proper compensation. Using Photoshop's 'variations' tool and setting the intensity to one notch over 'fine', it took four 'brightness' bumps, one 'cyan', and one 'blue' to compensate.

    The reason I post this is pretty much all the info I came across online says to calibrate the monitor to print, but none talk about going the other way around. I think if you're a perfectionist like me who isn't about to buy a $2000+ Eizo color-perfect LCD, a $300 calibration tool, and $1000 printer, having the printer and monitor meet in the middle is a great compromise.

    My prints look to be about a 90% match to what I see on screen, and considering a 100% match is nearly impossible even with the best gear, that's not bad at all in my book. I might write up a tutorial on my method when I have some time as I haven't come across anything like it yet. I'm sure it could be helpful for the uncleaned masses who have consumer grade equipement.

    --Illah
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    The way I'm familiar with it being done is that the monitor is calibrated, not to a print, but to a known specific colors. You have to measure the colors somehow. The cheap way is to measure by eye, and you can compare to a color card, but you should never calibrate to your printer output. The card should be one that's printed from a known good system, like a Kodak color card. The best way is to have a piece of hardware that sits on the screen so that it can read the colors directly. The software included creates a profile to give you colors that are as close to industry spec as the monitor can do.

    After that done, you can calibrate the printer. With the monitor calibrated, you now have known good color data in your files. If your prints look off, you can create printer profiles that will adjust the color for output. That way the file still looks right on screen, but gets adjusted so that it looks good when printed.

    A monitor profile allows a monitor to show known specific colors the way they are supposed to.

    A printer profile allows a printer to print known specific colors the way they are supposed to.

    The light you view these under will affect that, so it has to be taken into consideration when making the profiles. In the case of printing, the profile will work best for the printer, ink, paper, and light that was used while creating it.
     
  9. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, 'real' calibration like you mentioned uses $300 hardware to calibrate the monitor, and then custom ICC profiles can be created for the printer as well, however this type of stuff is usually beyond the reach and/or will of the average user. Even getting the $300 tool to calibrate won't help if you have a $300 monitor - odds are the monitor just isn't color accurate. The graphic design monitors are typically $1000+, or even $2000+ for relatively small 19" displays!

    Basically what I've done is ghetto'ed that whole process...but the results seem just as good as far as me printing out pics and having them look how I intend them to when editing them on my system :)

    The disadvantage is if I took a file from you, produced on your computer, then printed it on mine, it might not come out how you intended even though it will match what I see on my screen. It's basically a workstation calibration so that my monitor matches my printer, though it won't necessarily match anyone else's.

    The 'real' way is a must for professional work as those files might be worked on by multiple designers on different workstations, printed in various shops, etc. so proper calibration to a known standard becomes critical.

    --Illah
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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  11. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    Well my method only applies compensation to the image for print only - I keep a 'clean' version for the web. Rather than use the printer drivers, I do it in Photoshop and let PS control the print (I turn off any driver-level correction). Basically the same idea.

    My monitor is pretty good for web work, but it's just not color accurate to print. I've found on various computers my stuff looks more or less as intended. Maybe it's just my printer :D

    --Illah
     

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