Its starting to become clear...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jakfrost, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. jakfrost macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #1
    that all this time I've been blaming the printer for the fact that almost NEVER do the prints look like the images as they are displayed on my 24" iMac.

    I have tried 2 or 3 times with a borrowed Spyder 2 and came up with such mixed results, like different every time, that I just stayed with the default color space.

    Tried 3 different printers, from Canon Epson and HP. Tried multiple paper combinations in each printer.

    Finally figured that I would just have to boost the exposure until it looked like crap on the iMac, just to get some detail in the printed version.

    Then while searching this forum for some information on 'second screen' recommendations I came across a few threads mentioning that the 'glossy 24 iMac' is really difficult if not impossible to get consistent readings from, and that the image on the screen is really boosted, ( by design ).

    Sooo, I'm thinking the problem hasn't been the printers so much as my unrealistic image on the screen...and my misplaced expectations of being able to simply hit 'print' and get something close to what I was looking at on the screen.

    OK, so I'm slow on the learning curve, but now that I have had this 'epiphany'...could someone suggest a screen and printer combination that could possibly provide me with a 'what you see is what you get' solution. Or something that I could work with to get there without having to 'shop' almost every image...??

    I have found suggestions for everything from the Dell 2408 to the Lacie line of monitors. I don't mind spending the money to get something that will do the job, ( however I am not a pro photog, just a 30+ years into it, keen hobbyist ), but I can't afford to keep 'trying different combinations' forever.

    I realize I should have asked this question before I bought the iMac, but well, I did the transition from PC over a year ago, and so between the iMac and the Air am kinda locked into the Apple program. Still, I think that was a good thing, now I would like to make another 'good' move but need some advice first?

    Anyone?

    Jim
     
  2. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #2
    I don't think the iMac is to blame, it sounds like a software issue to me.

    Running your screen uncalibrated is the worst thing you could have done. It's quite likely that your attempts at calibrating the screen have been successful. Buying a cheap monitor with TN panel (such as the Dell 2408) will make matters worse. (I'm not saying Dell doesn't make good monitors, they do, their UltraSharp line-up that doesn't use TN panels is very good.)

    Matching colors in your work flow (including printing) is very difficult. Why?
    (i) Your screen and your printer use different methods to make colors (subtractive in case of your screen and additive with printers). This means, getting the same color on your printer than on your screen is very difficult.
    (ii) Most printers have a smaller gamut than screens, images tend to look flatter, for example.
    (iii) The printers were (from what I can tell) not calibrated. Technically, you even have to calibrate each paper-printer combination as the output crucially depends on the paper!
    (iv) Software problems: look in the forums for Aperture/Lightroom/Photoshop and you will discover that many people have problems with printing. The problems are too manifold to explain.

    Why do I think it's not your iMac's screen? Well, your problem is that print outs are too dark. Calibration problems usually manifest themselves in color problems (e. g. skin tones have different hues), but not in brightness problems. Dark printouts sound like a software problem to me, see for example here (dark printouts Epson + Photoshop CS3) or here.

    In all likelihood, your calibrations were successful and buying another screen with a worse panel will do nothing to alleviate the problem.
     
  3. jakfrost thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #3
    Thanks for the reply...at least I can take some comfort in the realization that I am not alone with this issue, "many people have problems with printing".

    However your comments raise another question, (or two, sorry...)

    1. software problem? Like with Lightroom? I'm still only halfway thru the "Lynda.com", "Photoshop Lightroom 2 Essential Training" videos. All 8 hours.

    2. calibrating the printer? Sorry, first time I hear of this, and of course calibrating the paper is equally foreign to me...

    I would love to attend some kind of course on all things 'printing' since that is the primary the output of my images, but living on a farm 100kms from anywhere...well, this is my only source of information, ( and I am very grateful for it !! ).

    So I'm not asking for a course, but if you know of a link where I might be able to crank up the learning curve a stop or two, I would be thankful.

    EDIT...OMG, I just read the 2 links you included in your reply, OreoCookie, and this issue is so much more involved than I realized. I think I'll start using the Tri-X I have in a bulk loader in the freezer, load up some reels, run them thru the F3 and shake the results into reality using Accufine. No mystery there. Man this move to digital can be a PITA.

    Jim
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    Luminous Landscape sell a printing tutorial that may really be worth it...

    Printer profiling is expensive to DIY equipment-wise, but if you can get generic profiles for your inks and papers, then you'll be "close enough" for most people.


    http://store.luminous-landscape.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=164
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    What compuwar said. I would start by calibrating your screen/using a calibrated profile of your screen.

    I agree that calibrating a printer is something rather high-end, but I wanted to point out that making a color profile for your display is not enough. As you can see from the links, the problems are not associated to one specific piece of software, but rather all software that has sophisticated color management. So in some cases, people get mixed up (apply color profiles twice, use two different color profiling systems at the same time, etc.) -- or there are software bugs (Epson drivers have a reputation of being particularly finicky).

    To give you an idea: Aperture, for example, has a `preview' option that allows you to preview your printouts. Of course you need to specify printer type and paper for each preview, but it's necessary. As I have written before, the gamut of printers is smaller, so you will probably want to boost saturation before printing.

    All of this is no more or less difficult than developing film yourself, it's just different. ;)
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    I hope I didn't come off as contesting what you said instead of simply adding to it ('cause I hate for people to think I'm contesting what they say when I'm not- rare event that it seems to be ;) )

    The one thing I will say is that the high contrast of a glossy screen may really want a gamma boost to get effectively into print range (probably good's too strong a modifier) shadow details. That's conjecture on my part because I've avoided glossy high-contrast screens as much as possible.

    I'm pretty happy when I get ink/paper profiles, but I'm not as picky as some folks. :cool:
     

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