How do you calibrate the printer?

tecboy

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I have issue with my printer. It prints out yellow cast on my photographs and less contrast. The printing service I go and, they print out fine. How do I calibrate my printer to print in right colors?
 

amolitor

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I think that you profile printers. You measure what they do and encode that in an ICC profile, which is used to adjust the picture on output so it looks right, within the printer's capability, on output. Calibration would be altering what the printer does in an organized fashion, and I don't think you do that.

Ideally you profile printer/ink/paper combination.
 

Light Guru

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I think that you profile printers. You measure what they do and encode that in an ICC profile, which is used to adjust the picture on output so it looks right, within the printer's capability, on output. Calibration would be altering what the printer does in an organized fashion, and I don't think you do that.

Ideally you profile printer/ink/paper combination.

Yes it needs to be done with each different type of paper.
 

Big Mike

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I have issue with my printer. It prints out yellow cast on my photographs and less contrast. The printing service I go and, they print out fine. How do I calibrate my printer to print in right colors?
Why not do all your printing with the lab? By the time you factor in the cost of the printer, the cost of good paper and especially the ink it starts to add up. Now you wan to add a calibration device.
Printing at the lab probably isn't much more expensive.

Also, just FYI. There are printer calibration services, you don't have to buy the spectrophotometer. They give you a file to print, you send the print to them and they e-mail you back a profile. A good idea if you always use the same printer, paper and ink. But if you use different printers, papers and inks, then buying the spectrophotometer might be a better idea.
 
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tecboy

tecboy

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Thanks guy, I don't print very much at home. I thought it would be cheaper that way. Most often I use at the printing service. I also thought I can calibrate manually on my printer like I calibrate my monitor. I didn't know these electronic devices cost so much.
 
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Big Mike

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Well, you can't really calibrate your monitor manually. Well, you can...but not to the accuracy that most of us would want.
 

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One calibrates a printer by sending it "known" values, such as RGB values, in the form of patches, which your printer prints out. These aren't an image, but are generated at the number level so the values are understood by the software. Then you read in the series of patches using a spectrophotometer and the software creates a model of the differences, a curve to imagine where all the other thousands of colors will fall, etc. I generally print out about 5,000 patches to create a profile. (That's after doing a linearization.)

I don't' think monitor calibration is as important, I think its mostly about a clean gray. However, I have a good monitor and I do it regularly. I'm sure it helps a little. There are services which will send you a sheet of patches to print, then you send it back and they read it and send you a profile. Chromix is one such company I have used in the past, before I had my own profiling tools. The tools are expensive, and the software isn't easy to learn. Unless you plan to master it its cheaper to hire a service, at least for your favorite papers.

If you are printing things out at a store, without using a profile they supplied, then the success you have had is a matter of pure luck. By the same token, if you print something out on your own printer and its too yellow, open up photoshop, or whatever editing program you use, and make it more blue until you like it. Printing on ink jets is the same as printing in the darkroom. First you make a print, then you look at it and if you can make a better one, you adjust and do it again until its just right.

Sometimes it takes two tries and sometimes it takes 30.

Lenny
EigerStudios
 

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