View Full Version : Help with printing
04-11-2011, 10:20 PM
Ok so i bought a new printer (Canon MP495) i tried to print a few photos, they all came out dark, after googling i found out my screen needs calibrating and to use the spyder, I cant afford this so i used the printouts and the photos on the computer and adjusted the settings. So now my screen looks dull and web page photos black, the printing has got a little easier because i just adj the brightness in photoshop but its still not right. If i post a photo could you tell me what it looks like on your calibrated screen? or maby what i should do to fix this problem.
Top photo is on the computer the bottom is the print on plain paper with no adjustments.
05-11-2011, 04:40 PM
What software are you editing the photo in?
Your screen should not look dull and photos on web pages black, so firstly I think you may have adusted your monitor the wrong way. If you have Photoshop in your computer, you should be able to acess Adobe Gamma via your control panel, and run that through to see if it can help. Your test photo on my monitor looks overbright for the top photo, and too dark and the colours way out on the bottom photo.
I'd guess you could have a colour management conflict between your editing software and your printer at the very least. Look in your printer settings and see if the printer takes charge of managing colour.
If you are using Photoshop for your editing software, also go and check if Photoshop is managing colour as well. It is under File/print and on the right hand side are colour management settings. Probably best to allow either your software OR your printer to manage the colour, but not both. I let my printer manage it, other people let Photoshop manage it.
You also need to check the profile of your photo in your software, and make sure it is standard one your printer can cope with. I send most of my printing to an outside printer and use a standard sRBG profile.
Hopefully someone with much more expertise in this field can come along and help you out more than I can :)
07-11-2011, 10:08 AM
I do heaps of inkjet printing at home and have minimal problems with colour/brightness differences. I strongly recommend hardware calibrating your screen at a minimum (preferably printer too) - at best, you'll be editing your photos "wrong" and will cause you all sorts of grief if you change monitors, email to friends, send photos to be printed at a lab, etc.
In the mean time, the culprit is probably a combination of your monitor being too bright, and your room being too dark. First, turn down the brightness of your monitor - e.g. on my 30" Dell I need to turn down overall brightness to 0% and set each individual RGB channel to 70% in order to match an ideal monitor-versus-print viewing brightness of 80 cd/m2. Next, try viewing your prints outside during the day - do they still seem too dark? Most indoor lighting for comfortable living is woefully inadequate for viewing photo prints.
you don't need a spyder IMO. I have used digital images and photos from this mob (http://www.blackandwhitephoto.com.au/professional-photographers/monitor-calibration.php) for my calibrations. And I used to sell photos to clients.
It does not matter how good your screen is calibrated if you cannot "read" a photo for colour and density; and that takes experience.
and another point; I have never printed at home; far better to use a good lab IMO
I just bought the epson 3800, semi regret it after spending 10 hours trying to get prints perfect. I was just about to buy the spyder until i read your post Ian. I've adjusted all monitor settings as i've read on tutorials and i can see all the proper squares in those black and white charts, and i've downloaded the correct icc profiles and my screen seems pretty good but i'm still having trouble getting the colours 100%. Reds looking a bit pinkish and everything looks a little washed out. I'd advise no one buy a printer unless they really want to dedicate a lot of time getting it perfect.
Do you think i need the spyder Ian?
Also i can't print borderless even though i should be able to. Unless i'm missing something but i've read over everything 50 times.
my advice JACJAC is sell your printer and use a lab...I may have a cheap epson 3800 on here 4 sale soon if i don't figure it out :)
Do you think i need the spyder Ian?
my advice JACJAC is sell your printer and use a lab
LOL RGB do 8 x 10 photos for a $1.50!! yeah OK; plus $12 P+H but a $1.50!!! I usual wait until I have 10-20 to print.
Would pay to get some test photos done before sending in a big order though.
07-11-2011, 05:08 PM
A monitor calibrator is just a tool to help figure out what's going on in the printing. It won't magically make your prints any better, which is why some people do fine without worrying about calibration at all.
Within nailing down some specifics (e.g. a calibrated monitor at a known brightness level, gamma, and white point), it's hard to know what's causing your mis-matched colours. Is your monitor displaying the wrong shade of red, is your printer printing the wrong shade of red, or is your viewing environment (brightness, type of bulb, etc) incapable of letting you see the correct shade of red?
The monitor problems are solved by calibrating against a known standard, e.g. all of my MacBooks and iMac are really close to sRGB without calibration except for a small deviation in the green channel, but my Dell monitor wasn't even remotely close.
The printer problems are solved by ensuring that you have the correct media settings (easy if you use the manufacturer's brand of paper and other consumables), making sure there are no clogged nozzles, and creating a custom printer profile for each type of paper (the ICC profiles that you download are rough approximations at best - you need custom profiles for best performance).
The viewing conditions are just as important - the same print will look radically different under sunlight, incandescent, fluorescent, etc, or if your monitor is too bright for the viewing environment (e.g. my iMac at minimum brightness is still too bright!) then your prints are never going to match.
Finally, the range of colours that your camera can capture, your monitor can display, and that your printer can print are very, very different. All photo prints on paper do a poor job of backlit scenes, but almost all monitors do a very poor job of dark blacks. How these differences are handled (e.g. rendering intents, post-processing while proofing with the printer profile).
So why do I bother with such a huuuge hassle?
1. Convenience - I can whip out two 12x18 inch prints on high quality archival paper in less than 10 minutes total, from waking up the printer out of sleep mode until the prints are ready, any time of day.
2. Economies of scale - despite high overall costs for a variety of reasons, the cost of printing in terms of "dollars per square foot" is very cheap. For example, a 24x20 inch print costs me a bit about $11 for ink/paper/maintenance (full coverage) but the same service on identical paper at a pro lab such as Image Science would have cost me $60.
3. Control - since I can now print quickly and cheaply, if I'm not happy with a print for whatever reason I'm more than happy to bin it and re-print it. If I know where the print is going to be displayed (e.g. a dimly lit staircase) then I can tweak and reprint the original image until I achieve the desired look.
07-11-2011, 05:22 PM
I just bought the epson 3800, semi regret it after spending 10 hours trying to get prints perfect. I was just about to buy the spyder until i read your post Ian. I've adjusted all monitor settings as i've read on tutorials and i can see all the proper squares in those black and white charts, and i've downloaded the correct icc profiles and my screen seems pretty good but i'm still having trouble getting the colours 100%. Reds looking a bit pinkish and everything looks a little washed out.
Without monitor or printer profiling, it's hard to know exactly what the cause is (or what you mean by "getting the colours 100%"). The washed out look makes me think of a few potential problems:
* Double profiling - your photo software / printer driver / operating system may inadvertently be applying your printer profile twice. For example, if you use Photoshop then you need to make sure that either Photoshop manages the colours (and the driver is set to colour management OFF - not sRGB or the same profile), or the printer manages the colours. Both is guaranteed to cause problems.
* Make sure you're using the correct ICC profile for your printer *and* paper.
* Incorrect print media - are you using the manufacturer's paper, or a third party? Things like ink density settings have a huge effect on print quality.
If you're using a software package like Photoshop, try "soft proofing" the photo using the paper+paper's ICC profile and see whether it has the same washed out look. Check your settings for rendering intent, black point compensation, etc.
It's also worth looking at the test images such as the ones on this site (different to media setting test images). My favourites to start with is the monitor check, Graham Preston grayscale linearization, and DataColor Test Image (read through the descriptions of each photo square - they tell you what to look for in the test print).
[this website won't let me post links - just search for northlight test images on Google]
Thanks for all that info guys, i'm sure my answer lies within. I'll need a few days or weeks to go through all these things though. I think you might be on the right track naskies. I'm using Canson paper with its icc profile, i've done everything i think is possible except calibration with a spyder. I'll let you know how i go with it anyway. Luckily my prints are only going on a Kick boxing gym wall so all my try and error prints aren't wasted, no on else even understands what i'm talking about with the colours and stuff but i do and i hate it.
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