December 19, 2014, 04:08:49 AM

Author Topic: Large Prints from RAW files  (Read 4134 times)

btaoka

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Large Prints from RAW files
« on: March 05, 2014, 01:01:49 PM »
Does anyone have a good workflow from RAW files to large prints (i.e. 16x20, 20x30, 24x36, etc...)?  I'm shooting from a Canon 6D and am using Lightroom 5/Photoshop CC to do post processing.  I am using a 2009 iMac.  Are colorimeters really necessary (I don't really want to spend ~$100 just to calibrate my screen)?
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Large Prints from RAW files
« on: March 05, 2014, 01:01:49 PM »

mackguyver

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 01:50:55 PM »
I regularly make large prints and can help you with workflow questions, but please let me know what your specific questions are - capture, upsizing, sharpening? Generically, the capture is most important - you need to use a tripod, timer/remote release, and the best apertures and techniques to get the sharpest capture possible.  Mild sharpening should be done in Camera RAW and after re-sizing to the printing size (usually at 300dpi) for the appropriate printing media.  Photoshop CC has much improved re-sizing quality and sufficient for most printing. 

Also, if you are serious about printing, then yes, a calibrated monitor (using a colorimeter or spectrophotometer) is necessary.  You can calibrate other ways for free, but you'll still end up with color casts and brightness issues.  The easiest way to make high-quality large prints is to calibrate your monitor, work in AdobeRGB, and use a printer who supports ICC profiles.  If you're printing yourself, the difficulty and expense goes up considerably.

tolusina

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 06:01:12 PM »
Calibrate your monitor.
Profile your printer with the specific paper and inks you'll be using.
Soft proof in Lightroom.
Your prints will match what you see on screen.
 
http://youtu.be/LqE8FBiDLwE
 
 

 
 
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privatebydesign

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 08:10:06 PM »
Calibrate your monitor.
Profile your printer with the specific paper and inks you'll be using.
Soft proof in Lightroom.
Your prints will match what you see on screen.

That has to be one of the most naive replies ever. Where will your prints match your screen? Do the print illumination and screen have the same WB? Do they have the same white point? etc etc.

Prints never match the screen unless you put the same amount and colour of light onto them as the screen puts out, if you want to get really anal then you need to start looking at the CRI index and spectral characteristics of your print illumination bulbs too......


privatebydesign

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 08:11:37 PM »
Does anyone have a good workflow from RAW files to large prints (i.e. 16x20, 20x30, 24x36, etc...)?  I'm shooting from a Canon 6D and am using Lightroom 5/Photoshop CC to do post processing.  I am using a 2009 iMac.  Are colorimeters really necessary (I don't really want to spend ~$100 just to calibrate my screen)?

Yes you do need to get a screen profiler. With the cost if big prints it is a necessity.

But as has been said, without a lot more detail specific help is impossible. For instance are you using your own printer?

tolusina

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 01:49:33 AM »
Calibrate your monitor.
Profile your printer with the specific paper and inks you'll be using.
Soft proof in Lightroom.
Your prints will match what you see on screen.

That has to be one of the most naive replies ever. Where will your prints match your screen? Do the print illumination and screen have the same WB? Do they have the same white point? etc etc.

Prints never match the screen unless you put the same amount and colour of light onto them as the screen puts out, if you want to get really anal then you need to start looking at the CRI index and spectral characteristics of your print illumination bulbs too......
Not at all naive, though your reply certainly is.

Start with a calibrated monitor so there's no, or minimal error introduced into the workflow there.

As the printer, ink and paper combination is profiled, the profiling software sends what it knows to be true and accurate color patches to the printer to be printed.
But the printer, ink and paper combination cannot possibly reproduce the true and accurate colors that have been sent to be printed.
The spectrocolorimeter that is part of the printer profiling package is then used to measure the actual colors that ended up being printed, profiling software compares the measured color that actually printed with the true and accurate color that was intended to be printed and creates an error correction file with an .icm file extension.
 
With the soft proof function on Lightroom, select the newly created .icm file, Lightroom then displays what the printer can and will deliver.

There is no part of this workflow that tries to get the print to match the screen. In fact, it's the exact opposite, it's about getting the screen to match the printer, ink and paper's capabilities.
---
Print illumination bulbs?  Really? Who made that absurdity up? Are you going to follow the print around throughout it's life making certain that the print is only ever displayed and viewed with a specific set of print illumination bulbs?
That concept of print illumination bulbs sounds like it was made up to scare people away from a task that just isn't all that complicated, buncha fictional voodoo is what print illumination bulbs are.
---
I'm using an NEC wide gamut monitor that includes an ambient light sensor. Ambient is also what I view prints in. If I can get closer, I've no idea how.
Certainly, prints will have a different appearance when viewed under different lighting, so does everything, that is beyond predictable, beyond control.
 
 edit...
While in Lightroom, let Lightroom handle all printing color management, use the actual printer property options only to select the correct paper size.
 
Getting gorgeous prints first time is not hard or complicated, it does take some calibrated and profiled hardware.
Without calibrated and profiled hardware, one's shredder will soon fill with failed print attempts, it's very frustrating. Been there, done that, it was no fun at all, gave up until I could afford hardware that just works.
 

 
 
 
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« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 02:05:54 AM by tolusina »
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TexPhoto

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 07:42:04 AM »
A bit snippy in here!

To the original poster.  What are you making posters?  Seriously, it not clear if you are printing something at walgreens to go on your wall, or or ordering 10K prints for a national advertising campaign.

Have you taken steps to calibrate your monitor via software?  Have you had some sample size prints done and found they did not match?  These do not have to be the same size to check colors, just the same process.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 06:51:26 PM by TexPhoto »

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 07:42:04 AM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 08:55:48 AM »

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 09:43:40 AM »
I just produced and printed a show for ten other photographers.

you are my hero! and i hope they are happy with the results?

but we don´t need to pat your shoulder... your constantly doing that yourself right? :D

of course the light you view you prints under has to fit the light it is edited for.
you only have to imagine the extremes to see that this is obvious.

that still doesn´t mean profiling and calibrating your hardware is completely useless and naive.


btaoka

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 10:21:20 AM »
I regularly make large prints and can help you with workflow questions, but please let me know what your specific questions are - capture, upsizing, sharpening? Generically, the capture is most important - you need to use a tripod, timer/remote release, and the best apertures and techniques to get the sharpest capture possible.  Mild sharpening should be done in Camera RAW and after re-sizing to the printing size (usually at 300dpi) for the appropriate printing media.  Photoshop CC has much improved re-sizing quality and sufficient for most printing. 

Also, if you are serious about printing, then yes, a calibrated monitor (using a colorimeter or spectrophotometer) is necessary.  You can calibrate other ways for free, but you'll still end up with color casts and brightness issues.  The easiest way to make high-quality large prints is to calibrate your monitor, work in AdobeRGB, and use a printer who supports ICC profiles.  If you're printing yourself, the difficulty and expense goes up considerably.

Hi mackguyver ,

I apologize I should have been more specific about what I'm trying to achieve.  You're correct that the most important part is the capture and I think I have that down pretty ok.  That being said, I was looking to make prints for my own home or to give out as gifts, with the biggest print probably around 24x36.  I'm not necessarily looking for museum quality fine art prints (yet anyway), just somewhere to start.  I have a friend that uses Unique Photo sometimes to do large prints so I was going to try them out.

This is what I was thinking in terms of workflow if I were just using LR5:
1) After importing the RAW file into LR5, I adjust for white balance, exposure, lens correction, CA correction, highlights/shadow detail, saturation, noise reduction (sometimes not necessary), mild sharpening.
2) Exporting the JPEG from LR5.  The 6D has a native resolution of 5,472 x 3,648 pixels (assuming no cropping needed), so if I'm printing at 36x24, my pixels per inch will be 152ppi.  This is where I have my question:  In LR5, do I choose JPEG for the image format, Quality up to 100, color space to Adobe RGB 1998? Then in the Imagize Sizing section DO NOT check resize to fit (or do I?)?  Is it better to use dpi (in that case do I choose 300)?.  Output Sharpening to matte paper, amount to standard?  On the Unique Photo site, they use a Fuji Frontier wet lab to do prints 20x30 and smaller.  For 24x36, they use an Epson 11880.  For 20x30 prints, would I use Color Space as sRGB and change the resolution to 182ppi? For the 24x36 would I use Adobe RGB 1998 and change the resolution to 152ppi?

Another person suggested using the print module in LR5 and selecting JPEG instead of an actual printer.  I'm not sure what the difference is if I use the print module vs just the export function in the library module when exporting JPEGS.

If I were using LR5 and CC, this is a workflow I got online (any comments appreciated):
1) Import RAW File to LR, then adjust white balance, exposure, highlights/shadow detail, apply noise reduction, correct Lens profile, adjust saturation.
2) After adjusting those settings, I would then export as a 16bit TIFF using Adobe RGB
3) Import the 16bit TIFF into CC and adjust contrast/curves (if necessary), 2nd noise reduction, cloning/patching, layer editing, cropping
4) Take the edited master TIFF to create jpegs.  Convert color space to sRGB, resize, apply sharpening to taste, export as JPEG using Quality at Maximum and the slider all the way to 100, in the Format Options check the box for baseline standard.

Anyway, I realize I have limited understanding when it comes to printing, I was just looking to get started.  Thanks for the comments.
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btaoka

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2014, 10:23:52 AM »
Calibrate your monitor.
Profile your printer with the specific paper and inks you'll be using.
Soft proof in Lightroom.
Your prints will match what you see on screen.
 
http://youtu.be/LqE8FBiDLwE
 
 
 
 
.
Hi tolusina,

I appreciate the video, though 45 minutes just on paper was a bit overkill for me.  The last part of the video was somewhat useful.
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privatebydesign

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2014, 10:25:15 AM »
I just produced and printed a show for ten other photographers.

you are my hero! and i hope they are happy with the results?

but we don´t need to pat your shoulder... your constantly doing that yourself right? :D

of course the light you view you prints under has to fit the light it is edited for.
you only have to imagine the extremes to see that this is obvious.

that still doesn´t mean profiling and calibrating your hardware is completely useless and naive.

Two points, first, I wasn't boasting or seeking congratulations, I mentioned it because my experience is probably unusual on this forum in that it is not just printing for my own satisfaction or standards. Second, I never said profiling is useless or naive, I said, specifically, that this comment was naive

Quote
"Calibrate your monitor.
Profile your printer with the specific paper and inks you'll be using.
Soft proof in Lightroom.
Your prints will match what you see on screen."

and my opinion is backed up by the articles by the industry experts that I linked to.

I am not the one who " Who made that absurdity up"!

tolusina

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 10:33:41 AM »
Quote
"Not at all naive, though your reply certainly is."

Read these tasters, then get back to me.


http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/match_prints_to_screen.html

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/accessories/pdv-3d.shtml

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/colour_management/prints_too_dark.html

This is the industry standard, that I own and view my own print output with.

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

I just produced and printed a show for ten other photographers.
Yup, read all those, some time back.
 
Here's the concept I'm working with, same as spelled out in different words in the first two links you posted above, I'll hope to explain a bit clearer than I did above so that even you can grasp.

Printer gamut is no where near as wide as monitor gamut, even at sRGB. If you try and print at sRGB, aRGB or PhotoRGB you will fail as no current printer can match any of those gamuts, prints will likely come out too dark.
Since printer gamut is so much less than monitor gamut, simply configure your system so that monitor gamut is reduced to match printer gamut and Bob's your Uncle, click print.
My NEC displays 98% or 99% aRGB, something like that. At standard calibration, where I leave it, it is bright, reds are so vibrant they literally hurt to look at. Printer cannot print that brightness, nor those reds and that's the whole point, the object of soft proofing with printer emulation.
 
Open an image in Lightroom, switch to the develop module. click View in the menu bar, select soft proofing. While at the soft proofing drop down, notice that there are two gamut warnings you can activate, one for the monitor, one for the destination.
Over on the right panel under soft proofing, check the box for "Simulate Paper & Ink", your image will immediately darken, yup, that's what we're after, right there. Subjectively tweak to taste from here.

 
Regarding the last three links, I think it was P. T. Barnum who said, "A fool and his money are soon parted".
If and only if you exactly and precisely re-create your custom proofing lights for your prints when displayed, then and only then does your elaborate proofing lighting system have real value.
When displayed, there can be no other ambient light source allowed, no room lights randomly switched on or off, no ever changing daylight through windows, doors or skylights.
While I am certain that there are museum and gallery environments where such tight control of lighting is possible, allowable and desired, such conditions are far from the real world norm.
Again, only under precise reproduction of your proof light set up will a viewer see what you see under your proof light.
So, why bother.
I mean, like, really, do you explain while presenting prints to a client that those prints really don't look like what is before their very eyes because said client doesn't have your proof lights duplicated? And how does that work out for you?
 
Sounds to me like you got snookered into buying some fictional voodoo and now feel the need to justify your purchase decision and expense. Save it for your wife.
 

---
Again, calibrate the monitor, profile the printer, tell Lightroom to display what the printer can print by using that printer profile, then print it. Don't over think it and attempt to adjust any other printer or monitor settings, disappointment and failure are sure to result if you do.
It's not as complicated as you and your links make it out to be.
---
I must admit, this thread, those links, have given me a bit of pause for thought. If I ever find myself in a situation where my prints will be displayed in a tightly controlled lighting environment, it would behoove me to duplicate that environment as completely and as best possible while proofing.

Otherwise, with randomly variable lighting environments as found in the rest of the real world, your proof lighting efforts can only result in futility.

Many things in life, and especially photography, are compromises due to unpredictable and uncontrollable variables. Some things you just have to wing it and settle for pretty approximate that still satisfies your personal inner vision, goals and tastes, it's called, "Art" and it's quite subjective.

---

 
 
 
 
.
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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 10:33:41 AM »

btaoka

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2014, 10:44:15 AM »
A bit snippy in here!

To the original poster.  What are you making posters?  Seriously, it not clear iic you are printing something at walgreens to go on your awl, or or ordering 10K prints for a national advertising campaign.

Have you taken steps to calibrate your monitor via software?  Have you had some sample size prints done and found they did not match?  These do not have to be the same size to check colors, just the same process.

Hi TexPhoto,

Thanks for the response.  Really stupid question but what exactly is the definition of poster?  Is it basically just a much bigger 4x6 photo you get from CVS?  Does a 20x30 print count as a poster? (I'm not trying to be a wise ass btw, I'm really asking).  I'm basically just printing for my own home, for me to look at and possibly give out these larger prints to family and friends as gifts.

I have not taken steps to calibrate my monitor.  I realize this is a must and if I don't do it I'm basically waisting my time trying to guess what the prints will actually turn out like.  It doesn't seem like there's a way around this and I will just have to bite the bullet and spend the money to get a calibrator.
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mackguyver

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 11:08:21 AM »
I regularly make large prints and can help you with workflow questions, but please let me know what your specific questions are - capture, upsizing, sharpening? Generically, the capture is most important - you need to use a tripod, timer/remote release, and the best apertures and techniques to get the sharpest capture possible.  Mild sharpening should be done in Camera RAW and after re-sizing to the printing size (usually at 300dpi) for the appropriate printing media.  Photoshop CC has much improved re-sizing quality and sufficient for most printing. 

Also, if you are serious about printing, then yes, a calibrated monitor (using a colorimeter or spectrophotometer) is necessary.  You can calibrate other ways for free, but you'll still end up with color casts and brightness issues.  The easiest way to make high-quality large prints is to calibrate your monitor, work in AdobeRGB, and use a printer who supports ICC profiles.  If you're printing yourself, the difficulty and expense goes up considerably.

Hi mackguyver ,

I apologize I should have been more specific about what I'm trying to achieve.  You're correct that the most important part is the capture and I think I have that down pretty ok.  That being said, I was looking to make prints for my own home or to give out as gifts, with the biggest print probably around 24x36.  I'm not necessarily looking for museum quality fine art prints (yet anyway), just somewhere to start.  I have a friend that uses Unique Photo sometimes to do large prints so I was going to try them out.

This is what I was thinking in terms of workflow if I were just using LR5:
1) After importing the RAW file into LR5, I adjust for white balance, exposure, lens correction, CA correction, highlights/shadow detail, saturation, noise reduction (sometimes not necessary), mild sharpening.
2) Exporting the JPEG from LR5.  The 6D has a native resolution of 5,472 x 3,648 pixels (assuming no cropping needed), so if I'm printing at 36x24, my pixels per inch will be 152ppi.  This is where I have my question:  In LR5, do I choose JPEG for the image format, Quality up to 100, color space to Adobe RGB 1998? Then in the Imagize Sizing section DO NOT check resize to fit (or do I?)?  Is it better to use dpi (in that case do I choose 300)?.  Output Sharpening to matte paper, amount to standard?  On the Unique Photo site, they use a Fuji Frontier wet lab to do prints 20x30 and smaller.  For 24x36, they use an Epson 11880.  For 20x30 prints, would I use Color Space as sRGB and change the resolution to 182ppi? For the 24x36 would I use Adobe RGB 1998 and change the resolution to 152ppi?

Another person suggested using the print module in LR5 and selecting JPEG instead of an actual printer.  I'm not sure what the difference is if I use the print module vs just the export function in the library module when exporting JPEGS.

If I were using LR5 and CC, this is a workflow I got online (any comments appreciated):
1) Import RAW File to LR, then adjust white balance, exposure, highlights/shadow detail, apply noise reduction, correct Lens profile, adjust saturation.
2) After adjusting those settings, I would then export as a 16bit TIFF using Adobe RGB
3) Import the 16bit TIFF into CC and adjust contrast/curves (if necessary), 2nd noise reduction, cloning/patching, layer editing, cropping
4) Take the edited master TIFF to create jpegs.  Convert color space to sRGB, resize, apply sharpening to taste, export as JPEG using Quality at Maximum and the slider all the way to 100, in the Format Options check the box for baseline standard.

Anyway, I realize I have limited understanding when it comes to printing, I was just looking to get started.  Thanks for the comments.
btaoka, I'm glad the other posters didn't scare you off and you've replied.  Let me see if I can answer your questions with answers tailored to your needs.  First of all, I understand your goals/needs and if you get an entry-level calibration tool like the Spyder Express ($79 on their site right now) or a X-Rite Colormunki ($89), that will be sufficient for your purposes. 

Second, while it looks like Unique Photo does some nice printing, I couldn't find enough detail on their site to tell me about their calibration and such.  I highly recommend Bay Photo (and Aspen Creek) as they use ICC profiles and have excellent customer service.  Bay Photo also has $1.50 shipping and they ship prints VERY carefully so they arrive in perfect condition.  Both labs use a Java program called ROES that allow you to order and upload the prints and I think the latest version even allows TIFF uploads.  Also, both of them offer, but don't require, color correction.  Generally you want to avoid this as the print will not match what you send them.  Good for amateurs, bad for most people who use LR and PS :).  If you use Unique Photo or another lab, make sure you find out whether they accept ICC files and if you're unsure, send them sRGB files.

Getting to your workflow, you want to make as many of the adjustments as possible in LR / Camera RAW because that's the best place to do it.  You are working with the raw de-bayered data, so the adjustments there degrade the image the least.  You should generally adjust cropping, white balance, lens corrections, black & white points, color balance (if needed to remove color casts), contrast, tone curves (as needed), vibrancy (if desired), noise reduction, and sharpness.  Some adjustments like contrast may need to be adjusted again after making other changes.  If the image is final, zoom to 50% and adjust the sharpness to slightly more than you'd like on screen (the printing process will soften it).  Export as AdobeRGB 16-bit TIFF (for archive) and AdobeRGB JPEG (max quality - 12 or 100 depending on software).  The AdobeRGB JPEG will be used for printing.

If you need to edit further (local adjustments, layer edits, retouching, etc.), sharpen mildly instead (in LR), take the 16-bit Adobe RGB TIFF into PS, edit, sharpen at 50% as described above, save, and then export as AdobeRGB JPEG (max quality) again. 

150 DPI is the minimum you'll want to use for most large prints (100 DPI works for canvas), but if you have to crop the photo or can't reach that DPI, it's usually best to up-size using PS and sharpen again if needed.  Make sure you examine the file for any ugly artifacts.  If your file is 206 or some other random DPI, just send it that way, they will print it the best way possible.

Also, crop to the final size yourself (i.e. 20x30" @300DPI is a 6000x9000 pixels) - don't send a file that's over on one side or the other.

The above advice will work for 98% of people, but as privatebydesign and others will tell you, calibration and printing can be taken to much further extremes, particularly if you calibrate the printer and papers.  Printing yourself takes the complexity level up significantly and viewing booths, controlled lighting, monitor hoods, neutral gray walls, and lots of other stuff are used for people in fashion and other industries where getting the color close is unacceptable - the color must be precise.  This is way beyond what you're talking about, but you might find it interesting.  The links posted by privatebydesign are excellent and are good reads if you want to get to that Nth degree someday.

Also, softproofing can be done (good labs like those I suggested have ICC profiles you can download), but unless you really know what you're doing, making adjustments based on soft proofs is not a good idea.  It's not an accurate view of the paper, and should really be used for advanced purposes like checking color gamut issues and validating self-made printer profiles.  I'd stay away from it until you are really comfortable with color calibration.

Finally, while tolusina is trying to be helpful, the prints will never "match" the screen as one is transmissive and the other reflective, but the goal is to get a close representation based on human vision.  Keep in mind that while commercial prints are less affected by the type of lighting (something called metamerism), your prints will look slightly different in daylight vs. fluorescent light and other types of lighting.

Finally, while color calibration has come a long way in terms of ease of use & accuracy, don't trust anyone who says it's easy or perfect.

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Re: Large Prints from RAW files
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 11:08:21 AM »