November 28, 2014, 07:37:41 PM

Author Topic: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?  (Read 5926 times)

Lichtgestalt

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2013, 08:37:36 AM »

ah ok, now i get what you mean.

when someone has calibrated and profiled his monitor he should stay away from the controls.
it makes no sense to change brightness,  and color temps etc. after you have done the calibration/profiling.

Well yes and no. In an ideal world the calibration devices real time brightness adjustments would accurately adjust for changes in ambient, and people making minor changes to their brightness to manually allow for daytime viewing or nighttime viewing makes sense.

well that´s the problem with ambient light.
brightness is a perception... luminance not.

depending on you ambient light you may edit an image to dark or to light.
because your perception of the tones change.

thast why you best have your monitor matched to a viewing booth for prints.
and your monitor workplace under a fixed light situation.

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2013, 08:37:36 AM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2013, 09:06:55 AM »
In ideal circumstances yes everything you say is true, but even many professionals don't have that kind of work environment, almost no amateurs do, and that is one of the route causes for people being so unhappy with their prints.

Understand brightness and the difference between screen and print viewing and that, in my opinion, is the biggest hurdle to happy printing. Colour spaces, profiles, what manages colour etc are all just clicks of a button and easily repeated, but brightness isn't, and it is key.
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CTJohn

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2013, 09:37:57 AM »
In ideal circumstances yes everything you say is true, but even many professionals don't have that kind of work environment, almost no amateurs do, and that is one of the route causes for people being so unhappy with their prints.

Understand brightness and the difference between screen and print viewing and that, in my opinion, is the biggest hurdle to happy printing. Colour spaces, profiles, what manages colour etc are all just clicks of a button and easily repeated, but brightness isn't, and it is key.
Agree!  I mostly use MPIX for my printing and the process is incredibly frustrating.  I have a calibrated monitor turned down to 30% brightness, and it's way brighter than the first prints I get back from MPIX.  I then go through round 2, upping contrast, brightness, and in some cases, saturation and send them back.  The second prints can be OK, but often I need to do the process a 3rd time.  So about 3 weeks after I've taken the image, I have a usable 4x6....then I order enlargements.

It's even more frustrating when someone asks me to re-print a year later and I have to try to remember which one gave me the good print.  I could be more disciplined creating "print" folders I guess.

I understand the difference between backlit and printed images, but wish someone could work out a simpler way of adjusting between the two.
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Pi

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2013, 09:46:16 AM »
I fail to understand why anyone who is not a professional would even own a printer...it is not cost effective.
What are ya gonna do with a plethora of prints...ya only have so much wall space...shoe box in the closet like your grandmother did?
There are a myriad of on-line printing companies that usually cough out better results, at a far cheaper price in the long term, than you could hope for.

I agree to some extent. But sometimes you do have to print, and I have been very disappointed with all those online printing companies. My (cheapo) Canon printer prints better than any of them, Mpix included, and better than any local print service except for Meijers. If you have it around, try it - they use quality HP printers, and the print quality is surprisingly good. My local store has a huge HP printer for large prints as well, with excellent quality, pricing is very affordable .


privatebydesign

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2013, 10:09:41 AM »
In ideal circumstances yes everything you say is true, but even many professionals don't have that kind of work environment, almost no amateurs do, and that is one of the route causes for people being so unhappy with their prints.

Understand brightness and the difference between screen and print viewing and that, in my opinion, is the biggest hurdle to happy printing. Colour spaces, profiles, what manages colour etc are all just clicks of a button and easily repeated, but brightness isn't, and it is key.
Agree!  I mostly use MPIX for my printing and the process is incredibly frustrating.  I have a calibrated monitor turned down to 30% brightness, and it's way brighter than the first prints I get back from MPIX.  I then go through round 2, upping contrast, brightness, and in some cases, saturation and send them back.  The second prints can be OK, but often I need to do the process a 3rd time.  So about 3 weeks after I've taken the image, I have a usable 4x6....then I order enlargements.

It's even more frustrating when someone asks me to re-print a year later and I have to try to remember which one gave me the good print.  I could be more disciplined creating "print" folders I guess.

I understand the difference between backlit and printed images, but wish someone could work out a simpler way of adjusting between the two.

CTJohn,

The solution to your issue is a print viewing booth or station. Off the shelf ones are very expensive, but all it needs to be is a neutral background close to white/very light grey, with a good full spectrum light source (there are some high quality bulbs that are very cheap nowadays) that can match your screen brightness, some baffles to help keep any extraneous light off the print helps too depending on ambient conditions. To test you can use your cameras meter, take a picture of a plain piece of photo paper in the viewing station, then with the same exposure settings take a picture of your screen when it displays a white screen. Adjust until they are the same.

Here is a DIY booth PDF

http://www.rgbcmyk.net/proofingbooth.pdf

Here is the Rolls Royce of lighting kits but there are some very good flourescent choices now too.

https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html

But even with a booth it is important to understand that your viewing conditions will be different to everybody else's! Prints live and die on the light that is cast onto them. Few people have their monitor and viewing station at the same WB, and generally this isn't too important, our eyes adjust for WB quicker than we can scan between the two images next to each other, but most lights are around 3,500ºK whereas most screens display around 6,500-5,000ºK.

Try using a 3,500ºK adjusted screen for anything but print evaluation and you will see why!
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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2013, 12:36:01 PM »
In ideal circumstances yes everything you say is true, but even many professionals don't have that kind of work environment, almost no amateurs do, and that is one of the route causes for people being so unhappy with their prints.

Understand brightness and the difference between screen and print viewing and that, in my opinion, is the biggest hurdle to happy printing. Colour spaces, profiles, what manages colour etc are all just clicks of a button and easily repeated, but brightness isn't, and it is key.
Agree!  I mostly use MPIX for my printing and the process is incredibly frustrating.  I have a calibrated monitor turned down to 30% brightness, and it's way brighter than the first prints I get back from MPIX.  I then go through round 2, upping contrast, brightness, and in some cases, saturation and send them back.  The second prints can be OK, but often I need to do the process a 3rd time.  So about 3 weeks after I've taken the image, I have a usable 4x6....then I order enlargements.

It's even more frustrating when someone asks me to re-print a year later and I have to try to remember which one gave me the good print.  I could be more disciplined creating "print" folders I guess.

I understand the difference between backlit and printed images, but wish someone could work out a simpler way of adjusting between the two.

CTJohn,

The solution to your issue is a print viewing booth or station. Off the shelf ones are very expensive, but all it needs to be is a neutral background close to white/very light grey, with a good full spectrum light source (there are some high quality bulbs that are very cheap nowadays) that can match your screen brightness, some baffles to help keep any extraneous light off the print helps too depending on ambient conditions. To test you can use your cameras meter, take a picture of a plain piece of photo paper in the viewing station, then with the same exposure settings take a picture of your screen when it displays a white screen. Adjust until they are the same.

Here is a DIY booth PDF

http://www.rgbcmyk.net/proofingbooth.pdf

Here is the Rolls Royce of lighting kits but there are some very good flourescent choices now too.

https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html

But even with a booth it is important to understand that your viewing conditions will be different to everybody else's! Prints live and die on the light that is cast onto them. Few people have their monitor and viewing station at the same WB, and generally this isn't too important, our eyes adjust for WB quicker than we can scan between the two images next to each other, but most lights are around 3,500ºK whereas most screens display around 6,500-5,000ºK.

Try using a 3,500ºK adjusted screen for anything but print evaluation and you will see why!
Thanks for the suggestion!

I'll still have the problem of my prints being darker than my display though, won't I?  That seems to be the crux of my issue since I bought the Spyder.
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privatebydesign

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2013, 12:51:04 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion!

I'll still have the problem of my prints being darker than my display though, won't I?  That seems to be the crux of my issue since I bought the Spyder.

You shouldn't. The entire point is to get the print and screen the same apparent brightness. If the print is still too dark you need to put more light on it, or dim your screen regardless of calibration. In reality with four Solux bulbs in a booth you normally need to brighten your screen a touch. I use 105-110 cd/m² as my basic calibration but will change throughout the day as my room brightness changes. On a Mac Option and Shift and brightness moves the brightness in quarter stops.

True high end printers selling to collectors will often ask their most discerning clients the lighting conditions where the print will hang, this will affect the way they print as the light falling on the print is fundamental to how it will look.

If the booth is too much, just get some good lamps and view your prints under them, do the exposure test I laid out before to check for luminance of both print and screen.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 12:58:12 PM by privatebydesign »
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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2013, 12:51:04 PM »

ashmadux

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2013, 02:27:25 PM »
Ive been shooting for a few years and this thread is pure gold for me. Thx guys.

I have not printed not even one of my images...ever since my first SLR. However im at the point im interested in selling my images- online, print, etc. The bad experience with home printers is a super turn off, but you have to pay to play. Gotta learn.

I found that it was easier working with commercial print houses than printing at home.

I think one of the points was that the tools haven't seemed to mature over the years- since there was no indesign, and we still used terms like "desktop publishing'. The Software just doesn't seem to take into account the basic necessities listed in this thread here. As opposed to virtually the most of the pc software sectors, print UI's havent changed a lick in 15+ years.

Imagine one print APPLICATION for the entire computer - that other software 'plugs' into. A true print center that's its own app, not some status mundane status box tacked on to your favorite application.  Only then will devs build in common sense usability standards to make it easier for all of us. Need pantone colors? Plug it in! Your favorite print house exclusive setup? Plug it in. All with a standards based approach. Print heaven.

Everything would be listed there.

color space- check
monitor/ambient light equivalent view - check
correct print profile- check
rgb simulated preview- on/off
cmyk simulated preview- on/off
software status check- check
test run at current settings option- yes/no
one click 'print scenario' saves- yes/no
green light - all pieces are in place or red light- there's seems to be a mismatch

Something along these lines  8) 8) 8)
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LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2013, 03:17:00 PM »
I fail to understand why anyone who is not a professional would even own a printer...it is not cost effective.
What are ya gonna do with a plethora of prints...ya only have so much wall space...shoe box in the closet like your grandmother did?
There are a myriad of on-line printing companies that usually cough out better results, at a far cheaper price in the long term, than you could hope for.

Most of them don't even accept anything other than sRGB! You lose all power for mapping one gamut and DR to another. In my experience, the usually do NOT cough out better results.

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 03:19:25 PM »
it also matter if you have black point compensation turned on or not.
with BPC enabled the tone curve will be slightly rounded, blacks around the papers DMAX will be slightly lightened. means there is no hard clipping when the DMAX of the paper is reached.

I took having BPC on as a given.

Lichtgestalt

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2013, 05:49:03 PM »
it also matter if you have black point compensation turned on or not.
with BPC enabled the tone curve will be slightly rounded, blacks around the papers DMAX will be slightly lightened. means there is no hard clipping when the DMAX of the paper is reached.

I took having BPC on as a given.

yes, but BPC is just a part.

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Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2013, 05:49:03 PM »