June 22, 2018, 09:14:22 PM

Author Topic: Idiot proof Printing  (Read 3950 times)

Hector1970

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Idiot proof Printing
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:51:16 AM »
An idea for Canon.
Why don’t Canon work with a PC manufacturer to create a PC/Laptop and Adobe that completely automatically calibrates with the printer so that what you see on the screen is exactly what’s printed out. Printing today is way over complicated and messy.

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Idiot proof Printing
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:51:16 AM »

Zeidora

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 05:19:38 AM »
Eizo makes some self-calibrating displays, cost around $5K (for display alone, no computer, no printer). IMHO, that is the most significant source of color error. After that, not that difficult, if you know which settings to choose. That depends particularly on paper and printer (usually with standard inks). Using pre-sets can take out a lot of guess work, and avoid operator errors. I've fared well with the standard paper profiles, some like to generate custom profiles. I do profile my displays with a spider.

If you don't want to bother learning a tiny bit about which settings to choose, possibly have it done by a third party. Not always great either, but possibly better than hit and miss approach at home.

P.S. "what you see on the screen is exactly what’s printed out": That is impossible. Look into difference between additive and subtractive color models and resulting gamut, plus complications from environmental light and papers/substrates. Under good light it gets amazingly close with good printers on good paper, but there are limits.
5D2 full spectrum, 5DsR, a bunch of Zeiss (some other) primes, for documentary natural history, macro, and micro.

privatebydesign

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2018, 09:32:07 AM »
Canon already did, it didn't last long. It was called Canon Studio Solutions and cost $1,499, it automatically calibrated your workflow from camera to print.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

LDS

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2018, 10:01:31 AM »
Why don’t Canon work with a PC manufacturer to create a PC/Laptop and Adobe that completely automatically calibrates with the printer so that what you see on the screen is exactly what’s printed out. Printing today is way over complicated and messy.

It would be not cheap, and it will force users to buy the full stack without any choice - monitor, graphic card, printer, calibration device, software, etc. It would be quite a niche product, difficult to update. Just change one item, and you're back to square one. Such system may make sense for industrial products where you also sell maintenance and ensure availability of spare parts, and which may never be upgraded to different software.

Printing today is no more complicated than taking a good photo. Apple, Microsoft, Canon, Adobe and others already made it much simpler than it was when there was no or few standards.

You need to understand a few basic principles, and follow the proper workflow to select the right settings. As you select aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc., you need to select paper, profile, rendering intent, etc. Then, just you like you process an image for screen display, you process it for printing.

Tools like Adobe Lightroom or Canon Print Studio Pro already do a lot. The latter has a "Pro Mode" or "Driver Matching" that will try to print what you see on the monitor. Just, as Zeidora explained, you have to cope with two very different media and imaging technologies, and it could be physically impossible to translate exactly what you see on a monitor to a printed copy. For simple images, within reasonably limits, it is possible and already done.

Take a 8 bit sRGB JPEG image, select the paper you're printing to, let the printing software or printer driver take care of it. You can do it directly from your camera, phone or tablet as well. Results could be good enough.

For more demanding RAW/TIFF images, just like when you shoot you may have to decide if highlights or shadow details are more important, because you may not be able to record everything, when you print you may have to decide what to sacrifice and what to enhance or modify, because you may not be able to print everything - and those are decisions only the photographer can take. Maybe AI can take care of it, but as most automated methods, it will lack personality.

Personally, coming from reversal film, in the beginning I found RAW digital processing overly complicated, especially the sharpening step which greatly depends on the image contents. It took some time to master it properly.

One needs to spend a little time learning how to do it properly, using reliable sources. Trial and error will take more time, and in the case of prints, is also expensive, while results won't be often predictable and repeatable.

Otherwise, as usual the solution is to have a professional print shop take care of that.

YuengLinger

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2018, 12:53:38 PM »
Dell U2713HM (or equivalent quality) + Spyder4Pro + Epson 3880 + LR CC Soft Proofing with proper paper profile = precise matching of screen to paper (for real world use, not some theoretical perfection).

Strongly recommend The Digital Print, by Jeff Schewe, plus lots of great stuff on ronmartblog.com

Printing does take practice too.

Hector, I used to think the same as you:  There are only a few printer manufacturers, camera companies, and two major operating systems.  But then think of the variety of monitors, GPU's, papers...The variation even within the same model camera of exposure and color, the variations of room lighting, small changes from temperature, small variations in ink formulas...

Really, it comes down to using a good monitor, calibrator, and printer, then tweaking things to get consistently accurate prints.  Learn to use Soft Proofing and save liters of ink, stacks of paper.  Once you get the hang of it, seems like a piece of cake to print exactly what you envision.  Really!

I don't think one manufacturer could profitably offer a unifying system. 

« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 12:57:57 PM by YuengLinger »

Talys

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2018, 01:12:01 PM »
First of all, specifically for photographs, if you use a Pixma Pro printer, a decent quality monitor, and Lightroom, what you get on the printer is a pretty darn good.  Very little work is required.


But to answer your question, the short answer is pretty simple:

Your screen creates images which are lit from behind.  Your printer creates images which are lit from the front. 

It is impossible to make those identical.  Turn off the lights, and your monitor will show white, and the piece of paper will show black.  Take it outside, and your monitor will show black, and the piece of paper will show white.

The only way that you could ever have the two match precisely is if (a) you had an electronic ink monitor, which is not backlit (like a kindle paperwhite), or (b) if the Samsung ads come true and printed materials become foldable, digital, backlit media.

So what do we do?

We use calibration tools that try to limit the gamut of the screen to the printer's limitations.  The latter is actually very important, because a Pixma Pro has very different characteristics to a 4 color offset printer.  And remember, in professional printing, you can always make a certain color look better just by printing that specific color, and some of those colors cannot be represented well on the screen; for example, a gold embossed stamp -- because metallic ink (or even the paper indentation) looks different as light strikes it from different angles, and your monitor can't replicate that.  But often with printing, you're limited by budget -- so in a newspaper, for example, the media is going to impose all sorts of limitations.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 01:15:51 PM by Talys »

privatebydesign

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 01:46:21 PM »
It is impossible to make those identical.  Turn off the lights, and your monitor will show white, and the piece of paper will show black.  Take it outside, and your monitor will show black, and the piece of paper will show white.

The only way that you could ever have the two match precisely is if (a) you had an electronic ink monitor, which is not backlit (like a kindle paperwhite), or (b) if the Samsung ads come true and printed materials become foldable, digital, backlit media.

No, whilst your experiment is true the conclusion isn't true, if you light the viewing area to the same luminosity (and temp) as the screen they can, and do, appear identical. The biggest mistake people make when comparing screen images to printed ones is they have the screen too bright and the print too dark. But that is a luminosity issue not a color issue, which is generally light temperature differences; nor is it a 'print looks flat' issue which is always a profile mismatch. http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/why-are-my-prints-too-dark/

I use this ( https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html ) on a magnetic viewing panel. Best $300 anybody getting serious about printing can spend.

The easy way to set it up is to put your camera in spot metering mode and meter your screen and your viewing panel, the exposure values should match.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 01:46:21 PM »

Talys

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2018, 04:40:48 PM »
It is impossible to make those identical.  Turn off the lights, and your monitor will show white, and the piece of paper will show black.  Take it outside, and your monitor will show black, and the piece of paper will show white.

The only way that you could ever have the two match precisely is if (a) you had an electronic ink monitor, which is not backlit (like a kindle paperwhite), or (b) if the Samsung ads come true and printed materials become foldable, digital, backlit media.

No, whilst your experiment is true the conclusion isn't true, if you light the viewing area to the same luminosity (and temp) as the screen they can, and do, appear identical. The biggest mistake people make when comparing screen images to printed ones is they have the screen too bright and the print too dark. But that is a luminosity issue not a color issue, which is generally light temperature differences; nor is it a 'print looks flat' issue which is always a profile mismatch. http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/why-are-my-prints-too-dark/

I use this ( https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html ) on a magnetic viewing panel. Best $300 anybody getting serious about printing can spend.

The easy way to set it up is to put your camera in spot metering mode and meter your screen and your viewing panel, the exposure values should match.

You're absolutely right that the first step in getting 5hem closer is to crank the brightness way down, and calibration tools (and pro monitors) help a lot.

But luminosity isn't everything. Take any picture you want, on any display you want. Take an identical screen and affix a printed photo, add a piece if glass if you want. Frame both in a cardboard cutout and ask 10 people which is paper and which is a screen and every one will get it right.

Now do a red to green gradient diagonally, and they won't even look close.

The goal of color calibration is often not so much to represent print perfectly, but to make sure that you don't blow it when you go to print by having colors that just won't print - often because your screen colors are more vibrant than what the printer can output. And, to ensure that certain colors (like skin tones) are the right warmth when output on the desired device.

Still, I go back to what I said originally... For most photos, LR with default settings does a good job with a lot of inkjet printers that photographers are likely to have at home or work.

Hector1970

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2018, 05:15:19 PM »
Thanks for all the great comments.
The lights are certainly interesting.
I'm actually printing for years. I can print properly but I find the whole thing overly complicated. Its like computing before plug and play. I think Canon would sell alot more printers if they were more idiot proof. Beginners are totally baffled by it.
I'm usually printing through lightroom. But by doing that I'm also passing through the Canon printer software. You have to tell both things what size paper you are using. To do borderless printing you have to tick a box on the Canon software. Canon Ink catridges are too small so after a while you are endlessly replacing them. Leave the flap where you put the paper in (Pro-10) the printer won't print. Different colour spaces, different paper profiles (with awful standard namings), corrupting paper profiles, sending samples off to get paper profiles. The need to calibrate screens etc its seems all too complicated to me. May its too late now but it should have a been easier. It's a real throw back to what computing was like a few years ago. Now a two year old has no issue using an iPad.

LDS

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 08:26:51 AM »
You're now conflating different issues. Cartridges size and ink cost are a commercial decision. Some country regulators are now giving a deeper look to planned obsolescence and supplies costs.

The level of integration between an application and the printer settings is another matter, but it's difficult for an application being able to handle all the printer driver nuisances. For example, the Pixma Pro 10 doesn't allow borderless prints with fine art papers, where instead it enforces a 30mm border. The driver knows it, but the application may not. The only applications that may know everything about the printer are their printer plug-ins. Just, they may not support some of the applications features. I.e. LR does print sharpening on the fly, plug-ins may not.

Moreover, whatever the page size you send to a printer, the printer can still rescale it to fit a different paper size, or even print several pages on a single sheet, or a single page over several sheets. LR print module could be improved, but that's probably not on Adobe top priority list.

Color spaces and calibration are an inherent need of actual imaging technologies - there are not only different kind of monitors and inkjet printers, you have different print technologies as well, each with different characteristics. Limiting everybody to a single, small color space made by the intersection of each technology would deliver lower quality outputs, and would be a closed system, any change would need to be supported by every device - think how slowly such a system could evolve. And those needs are anyway needs only of a subset of computer users. Many would not like to bear the costs.

The actual system is open, you can add new technologies as soon as they become available, and exploit them fully.

The price is the need of profiles and calibrations, but their use became easier and cheaper.

You can't compare the iPad with the printing workflow. The iPad has been designed from scratch as a simple fully consumer devices, and its ease of use is also a result of its limitations. It has limited input/output capabilities, but that's OK for its target use.

The printing workflow is designed to support very simple scenarios to the most complex ones. When you cross the boundaries between the physical world and the digital one, things usually get more complex. It is true for scanning, taking photos, 3D printing, recording and playing audio, etc. etc.

There are shortcuts for beginners - think PictBridge, and many other tools for simple printing that comes with most printers and image management tools, but of course are OK only if you accept their results.

Color management may be simpler than most people think - sure, you need to learn something new, and understand how it works, but you don't really need a deep knowledge of color spaces and transformations - just like you didn't really need to understand how a film was made and developed to use it - but you did need to know what to expect under different light temperatures. You still need to know - it's white balance.

Maybe some explanations are more complex than necessary (although knowing the foundations helps). Probably a good "Colour Magement For Dummies" explanation would help to dissipate the doubt it's an arcane science for a few initiated ones.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 02:31:57 PM by LDS »

BillB

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2018, 08:41:21 AM »
A few good classes on printing photographs can be very helpful too.  It may cost some money, but that is what we do --spend money on photography.

ashleykaryl

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 08:05:46 AM »
I deal a lot with colour management and actually wrote a book on the subject. Printers are effectively self-calibrating, but the big variable is the ink and paper type, since every combination has different qualities.

This is why you need a specific profile for your chosen paper to see an accurate reproduction of your screen colours in print, but it's far from complicated once you understand the basic concept and saves you a lot of time & hassle over the long run.

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Re: Idiot proof Printing
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 08:05:46 AM »