Screen Calibration

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Xeep, May 12, 2011.

  1. Xeep macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    #1
    I'm a little confused on screen calibration. All I know is that the photo I adjust on the screen looks different than the one I have printed from a lab. The iMac's main screen is not too bad, but my secondary monitor is so atrocious that it's pointless to place a photo on it. The only screen calibration I've gone through is the manual colour calibration in the Displays preference pane. I've been reading up on a Spyder, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the cost. So, can anyone offer me some first hand advice on screen calibration? Thanks.
     
  2. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #2
    In theory, if you calibrated your screen with a good calibrator like a Spyder, what you see on the screen will more closely match what you get back from the print lab, and that the colors on each of your screens (iMac and external monitor) should match more closely as well.

    While they may not end up being exact matches (especially between the screen and printer, as this goes a little beyond simple calibration), the main point of calibrating is so that you can adjust a photo on screen and have confidence that when you get it printed, it will look like you intended. Also, so that when others using calibrated monitors view your pictures, they are seeing the image colors as you see them.

    Something like a spyder can be an initial investment in money, but once you have one it can be used for a long time. Also, having a properly calibrated display setup can pay for itself over time in that you won't need to re-print things due to them looking way different than you intended.

    Ruahrc
     
  3. legreve macrumors regular

    legreve

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #3
    Back in the days when I was retouching for another photographer, we would use specific profiles that suited the paper the prints were going on.
    Most printers have a profile you can download. Then proof the image against this.

    Regarding your bad screen... well a couple of options :)

    - In my own screen setup I've always used the "bad" screen as the tool screen.
    - Do you know someone who has a calibrator? Borrow it?

    I like the Eye1 very much. Actually it's the only one I've ever used, but the results have always been spot on for me.

    Depending on the brand and age of the screen it could also just be tired. Screens that at this point are around 4-5 years old and was cheap when new are often pretty bad. Before I went Eizo I went through the whole "I wont spend that on a screen... cant be worth it!" ideology. But guess what, the cheap Viewsonic I bought started messing up in color after only 3 years... what a waste.
     
  4. Dana Beck macrumors member

    Dana Beck

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Location:
    Blackwell, OK
    #4
    Photo editing color space

    I, too, like the Eye1...but even with calibration, your photo's color space will generate different results depending on your intended purpose, i.e. sRGB for web/screen, AdobeRGB1998 for print. If your editing software allows (Photoshop), be sure to proof the image (and then convert when necessary for your chosen output) in the correct color space before you print it or send it to the printer. If you are printing from Photoshop, also be sure to let Photoshop manage the color and turn off any color correction in your printer software. This "soft proofing," along with the correct paper profiles that were already mentioned should help.

    Also, many online photo labs now want sRGB files, even for print, and if you have an inkjet personal printer, it no doubt also uses sRGB as the default. The theory is apparently that the "punchier" colors of sRGB cancel out the "less-than-perfect" exposures from consumer cameras, despite AdobeRGB1998's having a bigger gamut (color space).
     
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #5
    Actually, I think it has to do with the fact that some of the modern ink sets have been designed to match as closely as possible to the sRGB colorspace. If the inks can't print outside sRGB, what's the use of sending color beyond sRGB? But, there are inksets out there that can exceed sRGB in some colors, and it would behoove the user to take full advantage of the entire color gamut the ink is able to produce. Technically, you should be able to send a file in any colorspace and the print drivers should be able to do the appropriate conversion. However, IMHO if a print shop demands you send things in sRGB, it may be time to find a new print shop...

    Another reason for using sRGB is that if you're submitting a JPG file, you are limited to 8-bits, and the smaller spaces like sRGB or AdobeRGB handle the limited range of colors available within 8 bits. ProPhotoRGB is too wide of a colorspace, and when quantized to 8 bits per channel, the deltaE between shades is too great and can cause banding.

    Ruahrc
     
  6. Dana Beck macrumors member

    Dana Beck

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Location:
    Blackwell, OK
    #6
    Good analysis, Ruahrc

    Good to see this explained from a technical aspect. I often wondered why, if the gamut of ProPhotoRGB is wider, all print professionals weren't pushing it. So, I guess sRGB seems to be the lowest common denominator, of sorts, albeit the most readily accessible. Appreciate the heads up rationale for jpg's as a preferred format...although I, too, am suspicious of printers who push this upload format for bandwidth-saving-only reasons.

    Since my work is almost all website-based, would be interested in your preferences/experiences with online print labs on those occasions when I can't dodge a print job :eek: I have used MPix primarily (quick turnaround and reliable results for me, but I'm always looking), as well as our local print shop, but we have only one in a town of about 5,000...and they are very limited. Good reviews on another MF thread for moo business cards. Consensus thumbs down on VistaPrint. Be interested in your thoughts.
     
  7. jammiefreerider macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    #7
    Check your camera rental houses for Calibration tools. I know my local Calumet (in UK) has a Sypder available.
     
  8. Ruahrc, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #8
    Well I can certainly understand the use of JPG for online-based print shops. A large image sent as a JPG might be say 10-15MB whereas the same file sent in 16-bit TIFF format can weigh in at 500MB or more. For people like wedding photographers who are sending hundreds of pictures in to get printed, well you can just see the enormous bandwidth requirements that would be involved, and for a very minimal and specialized gain. A high quality JPG will be unresolvable from a TIFF as JPG compression artifacts are only a few pixels wide at most (i.e. 1/100 an inch when produced in print), and the real gain in going TIFF is 16-bits, so you can use ProPhoto, and take advantage of the small areas in which inks can print outside sRGB or AdobeRGB.

    I have used white house custom color in the past for some prints, and have been satisfied with them. I have never used MPix myself, but I hear that they are just as good though. Actually I have also heard a lot of good things about Costco's printing, the people there usually know what they're doing and the price is very favorable. There is even a website somewhere I have seen before where you can download the printer profiles for the Costco printers so you can soft proof. Another one you might consider is Aspen Creek Photo, the "large-scale" subsidiary of west coast imaging. I used to print from WCI, but they seem to have a new policy where they will not accept print orders of less than $250, which means it's not a practical solution for me anymore.

    My biggest complaint about the large scale online shops are a limited selection of papers and printing techniques. For example, I mainly shoot landscapes and thus prefer the output of an inkjet to that of a lightjet or C4 process. Neither MPix or WHCC have inkjet printing available AFAIK, and their selection of papers is limited. But I tend to favor fine-art style output rather than a larger commercial scale output, because I only shoot for myself.

    Ruahrc
     
  9. Dana Beck, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 15, 2011

    Dana Beck macrumors member

    Dana Beck

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Location:
    Blackwell, OK
    #9
    white house custom color appears to have just what I am looking for: square, multifold layouts. Have had trouble finding these...and voila :D I will check out Costco also, but I'm pretty sure that the white house outfit is able to do what I need for this specific project, so thanks...for your recommendations and your expertise.
     

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