September 03, 2014, 04:33:34 AM

Author Topic: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?  (Read 5430 times)

YuengLinger

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 219
    • View Profile
Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« on: October 13, 2013, 07:11:44 AM »
I'm not asking for a print tutorial, because I can buy Jeff Schewe's  336 page THE DIGITAL PRINT.

Am I alone in wondering why we need 336 pages of instruction to produce a decent print?

I have a Canon camera and a Canon printer.  Why don't they play well together, without constant adult supervision? 

I'd bet that a significant majority of people who have higher end cameras and printers also have Photoshop or Lightroom, both made by Adobe.

So there aren't a lot of brands involved here.  Canon, Nikon, Epson, Adobe, Apple, Microsoft.  And they have had decades now to integrate and simplify.  So why is it so complicated to get a print to look like it does on my calibrated monitor or even the back of my camera?  Why can I get a $0.24 print from CVS that looks fairly accurate under sunlight, fluorescent, or tungsten, while mine and friends' home printers need test print after test print so people don't look like lobsters with white blotches of fungus?

No, not looking for another tutorial.  Just wondering why in 2013 it still takes a 336 page instruction manual to tell us how to prepare for a trial and error process!

And don't get me started on LR5's still clunky Print module.  (Sure, if you've been using it for years, it works, but try to imagine coming to it fresh or after using PS CSx for a long time.)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 07:17:43 AM by YuengLinger »

canon rumors FORUM

Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« on: October 13, 2013, 07:11:44 AM »

Hazmatt

  • SX50 HS
  • **
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 07:56:53 AM »
" because I can buy Jeff Schewe's  336 page THE DIGITAL PRINT."

But have you bought it and have you read it?
The process can seem to be a right pain but you must first make the effort to learn the process in the first place or you will be for ever having to make loads of trial prints with all the frustration and cost that that involves.
If reading a book is not your favoured way to learn try the Luminous Landscape video tutorial from Screen to Print, I had struggled myself getting info here and there and from friends but that Video was probably one of the best purchases i have ever made in getting a WYSIWYG printing set up. Sorry ended up suggesting a tutorial, but take heed it will be worth it.
You need printing profiles to make it work properly and if you buy photospeed printing paper you get free ones.
Also never use non manufactures ink, thats my advice.
You are right though it should be easier, but in the end once mastered its not quite as difficult as it seems.
Good Luck.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 09:25:50 AM by Hazmatt »

Lichtgestalt

  • Guest
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 08:56:17 AM »
first, i love printing.

printing is still complicated because it is a transformation from one medium (self illiuminated screen) to another medium (reflective medium).

from the nature of things this transformation can not be 100%.

another difficulty is, you only have limited influence under what light the print will be viewed.
a print can look good under D65 light but strange when viewed under natural light conditions.

a monitor is way more consistent.
ambient light can change your receiption of a monitor display too.
but for print it´s much worse (light color, metamerism).

it´s as difficult as translate a poem from one language into another.
 
with a color managed workflow you can come close.
even then you have to do a lot of testprints to get the best result.
but without ICC paper profiles and at least a calibrated monitor... it´s a guessing game.

i have 3 epson printer.
the cheapest is a P50 i use often for 15x10cm prints.
it produces fairly got results when i let the printer manage the colors and set the color management options to: Adobe RGB, Gamma 1.8 in the printer dialog. not perfect but usuable results are the outcome. i use this when i print on paper i have no ICC profile for.
when i use the epson standard settings the colors are too vivid and it´s a bit on the dark side.
i still get the best results when i let photoshop manage the color and use the correct ICC paper profiles.

for all my other printers (R2880, R3880) i let photoshop always manage the color and use only paper i have ICC profiles for.



no fineart printer i know does his work without testprints and then tweaks based on the print output.
no calibrated system can do this perfect, because it´s not just a numbers game.
the mediums, screen and paper, are to different.

if there was a way to make prints perfect without testprints, companys who print packaging would do it.
but they still do expensive testruns and measure the results.


i have a calibrated system from monitor to printer.
yet i still have to do 3-4 testprints to get the results i want and im happy with.

most people who watch me print say.. "why do you destroy that print, it looks great".
but i see things i can improve. :)




« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 09:41:12 AM by Lichtgestalt »

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8490
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 02:42:15 PM »
The ones who have issues are the ones who use third party inks and paper.  Each type and brand of paper interacts with ink differently.  If you use OEM ink and paper while having your camera set to SRGB, the printer will do fine.
 
However, if you set the camera to Adobe RGB, the wide gamut will include colors that can't be printed, and the 336 pages tell you how to try to work around this basic issue.
 

zim

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 695
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2013, 04:34:16 PM »
+1 Lichtgestalt
I’m in awe of photographers that create art equally I’m in awe of the professional fine art printers who actually produce the final product in many cases it’s a real skill/art not to be automated, but one which I suspect is sadly in decline. I absolutely love print I wish I had a fraction of their skills. I’ve always printed since I was about nine or ten years old and test strips are simply a fact of life, a necessary and enjoyable step in the process.

YuengLinger

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 219
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 08:06:17 PM »
Thanks, all.  Your experience born insights have calmed me down.

And, yes, I'm one of those who has the camera set for Adobe RGB, PS CS6 for ProPhoto, and my poor printer is all confused.

I'm getting the book.

But despite all the challenges eloquently laid out here, I still think it shouldn't be this complicated.

privatebydesign

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2267
  • Ermintrude says "moo"
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2013, 08:28:40 PM »
It isn't complicated, you don't need the book and it doesn't matter what you set your camera to if you shoot RAW (which you should be if you are printing) because RAW files don't have a colour space. Editing in ProPhoto is fine too, I do all the time and get very consistent results.

Whilst it isn't complicated there are a few "gottchas" along the way, first one is everybody has their screen way too bright, it isn't enough to calibrate, you need to maintain brightness too, think about it, if the paper can't be that bright how can your print? Another common gottcha, choose what manages colours, either your editing program or your printer, by default it is the printer, most times the software (PS/Lightroom/etc) will do a better job, but having both selected is a sure fire way to bad prints. Use the correct medium profile for your printer, if you are printing on glossy paper use a profile for that paper and inkset via that printer, nothing else, change paper? Then change printer profile.

Work through each setting one by one, and all will be good, most software now has soft proofing too so it makes the entire thing much easier on paper wastage. Use soft proofing.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2013, 08:28:40 PM »

LetTheRightLensIn

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 3538
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 09:22:55 PM »
I'm not asking for a print tutorial, because I can buy Jeff Schewe's  336 page THE DIGITAL PRINT.

Am I alone in wondering why we need 336 pages of instruction to produce a decent print?

I have a Canon camera and a Canon printer.  Why don't they play well together, without constant adult supervision? 

I'd bet that a significant majority of people who have higher end cameras and printers also have Photoshop or Lightroom, both made by Adobe.

So there aren't a lot of brands involved here.  Canon, Nikon, Epson, Adobe, Apple, Microsoft.  And they have had decades now to integrate and simplify.  So why is it so complicated to get a print to look like it does on my calibrated monitor or even the back of my camera?  Why can I get a $0.24 print from CVS that looks fairly accurate under sunlight, fluorescent, or tungsten, while mine and friends' home printers need test print after test print so people don't look like lobsters with white blotches of fungus?

No, not looking for another tutorial.  Just wondering why in 2013 it still takes a 336 page instruction manual to tell us how to prepare for a trial and error process!

And don't get me started on LR5's still clunky Print module.  (Sure, if you've been using it for years, it works, but try to imagine coming to it fresh or after using PS CSx for a long time.)

it doesn't really. Just use a proper profile for your printer and the paper type and tell photoshop about it and turn off color management in the printer and then set the printer driver to the proper paper and ink types and desired quality levels and then print.

The gamut and DR are different so you might want to add a bit of contrast and alter saturation a bit and such but that is something you'd need to do for costco too, no way around that. That shouldn't make people turn into lobsters or lobsters into green monsters or whatnot though. You also might want to add some excess sharpening to make up from the fuzzy way ink gets absorbed. Also prints tend to look very dull if the brightest tone of the image is not 255,255,255 max white so you might want to slide the top slider down to insure that if need be. And same goes for black, with limited DR of paper you generally want the darkest tone to be 0,0,0 and the brightest 255,255,255 no matter what (although there can be exceptions though certainly).



if you use who knows what ink with a low end printer and random paper for which few, if any profile are available, then it can be very tricky and take a long time and waste a ton of paper and ink until you dial it in (almost enough to have used more name brand paper and a more profiled printer to begin with)

you also need to make sure your monitor has been calibrated and profiled otherwise the printer would have no way to know what it is trying to match up to
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 09:30:17 PM by LetTheRightLensIn »

Lichtgestalt

  • Guest
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2013, 06:10:34 AM »
Whilst it isn't complicated there are a few "gottchas" along the way, first one is everybody has their screen way too bright, it isn't enough to calibrate....

you say it´s not enough to calibrate your monitor.

sorry but which calibration/profiling product does not measure and set the brigthness?
i had 3 so far and setting the correct brightness was the first step.

so what you write is sure true for uncalibrated monitors... but for calibrated it should not.
but you either have a user who don´t read the manual or a calibration product that sux when a monitor is to bright after calibration/profiling.


Quote from: LetTheRightLensIn
And same goes for black, with limited DR of paper you generally want the darkest tone to be 0,0,0 and the brightest 255,255,255 no matter what (although there can be exceptions though certainly).

setting the RGB values to 0,0,0 achives (in many situations) only that everything below RGB 15,15,15 - 20,20,20 will be printed as complete black (depending on printer, ink and paper even higher values could be printes as complete black). as result details in the printed shadows will be lost.

the printer should map the lowest RGB 0/0/0 to the deepest black it can produce and change the brigthness so that the tonal apperance is preserved.
unfortunately in real world this does not work very well.

so this is not a good common advice. it´s good for maximizing screen contrast.

i often set the darkest black to 0,0,0 but then i have to use a tonal curve adjustment to
tweak the darkest shadow regions (or they would just vanish into paper black).
 


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.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 08:26:37 AM by Lichtgestalt »

chauncey

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 200
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 07:00:55 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.

Lichtgestalt

  • Guest
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 07:09:48 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.

first, you can sell prints. you don´t have to store them in a box.

second, it´s a craft.
why do people like to build something that they could buy in a store?
my retired father builds bird houses and dollhouses.
it´s not cost effective.

but i agree, if you just want your images on paper.... use a service.

privatebydesign

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2267
  • Ermintrude says "moo"
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2013, 07:28:12 AM »
Whilst it isn't complicated there are a few "gottchas" along the way, first one is everybody has their screen way too bright, it isn't enough to calibrate....

you say it´s not enough to calibrate your monitor.

sorry but which calibration/profiling product does not measure and set the brigthness?
i had 3 so far and setting the correct brightness was the first step.

so what you write is sure true for uncalibrated monitors... but for calibrated it should not.
but you either have a user who don´t read the manual or a calibration product that sux when a monitor is to bright after calibration/profiling.


They all do, well every one I have used does. But, very few peoples screens are in constant ambient situations, the first thing everybody does is adjust their brightness (and to be fair calibration is impacted by ambient too), this loses the calibration setting. Many calibration packages even have ambient measures to raise and lower the screens brightness to compensate for the changes in ambient, but in my experience they are not very good. So people resort to raising and lowering the brightness of their "calibrated" screen by eye, crazy but true.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.

Rienzphotoz

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 3322
  • Peace unto all ye Canon, Nikon & Sony shooters
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2013, 07:45:58 AM »
Just wondering why in 2013 it still takes a 336 page instruction manual to tell us how to prepare for a trial and error process!
Just like photography, printing too requires good understanding / study of the art of printing, color and understanding the basics of the specific printer we use. If it was so freaking simple as 'connect and click print' for awesome/accurate prints, there would be no need for any lab ... just like there would be no need for professional sports, wedding etc photographers if we could all just point and shoot awesome images (just because it is "2013").
Canon 5DMK3 70D | Nikon D610 | Sony a7 a6000 | RX100M3 | 16-35/2.8LII | 70-200/2.8LISII | 100/2.8LIS | 100-400LIS | 40/2.8 | 50/1.4 | 85/1.8 | 600EX-RTx2 | ST-E3-RT | 24/3.5 T-S | 10-18/4 OSS 16-50 | 24-70/4OSS | 55/1.8 | 55-210 OSS | 70-200/4 OSS | 28-300VR | HVL-F43M | GoPro Black 3+ & DJI Phantom

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2013, 07:45:58 AM »

Lichtgestalt

  • Guest
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2013, 07:58:50 AM »
Whilst it isn't complicated there are a few "gottchas" along the way, first one is everybody has their screen way too bright, it isn't enough to calibrate....

you say it´s not enough to calibrate your monitor.

sorry but which calibration/profiling product does not measure and set the brigthness?
i had 3 so far and setting the correct brightness was the first step.

so what you write is sure true for uncalibrated monitors... but for calibrated it should not.
but you either have a user who don´t read the manual or a calibration product that sux when a monitor is to bright after calibration/profiling.


They all do, well every one I have used does. But, very few peoples screens are in constant ambient situations, the first thing everybody does is adjust their brightness (and to be fair calibration is impacted by ambient too), this loses the calibration setting. Many calibration packages even have ambient measures to raise and lower the screens brightness to compensate for the changes in ambient, but in my experience they are not very good. So people resort to raising and lowering the brightness of their "calibrated" screen by eye, crazy but true.

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.

you set your luminance, to lets say 120 cd/m2 (depending on conditions you view your prints under), calibrate and profile your screen and then you don´t touch the brightness anymore. 



« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 08:14:26 AM by Lichtgestalt »

privatebydesign

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2267
  • Ermintrude says "moo"
    • View Profile
Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2013, 08:20:39 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. But, in my experience, all to often people lose track of how dim a correctly calibrated screen should be and that leads into the commonest print to screen complaint "Why are my prints so dark?"
The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Why is printing still so freakin' complicated?
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2013, 08:20:39 AM »