Establishing a consistent colour work flow.

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Hi,

Thought I was pretty okay with solving most problems, but I may be missing something fundamental here and need some help to figure it out.

So; I have calibrated my Dell 24” monitor using a SpyderX Pro and saved the profile, I’ve edited the images using Lightroom and when printing out the images, I make sure that I am using the correct ICC profile for my 6 month old Epson XP-970 ink jet printer using Epson A3 Photo glossy paper.

However; the images are coming out slightly darker than the images that I view/edit/see on the screen. I have tried various routes to the printer, using the correct ICC where I can such as in Lightroom or Photoshop as well as using the basic Windows printing mechanism where it allows you to pick the media - I assume picking up the correct ICC along the way - but again the results are always slightly darker than appears on the screen.

I can of course overcome the issue by making the image lighter(upping the exposure setting) in Lightroom, but that not the point is it.

The monitor is only four years old and calibrates correctly using with the Windows built in function and the SpyderX Pro which I purchased as I understood it to be more accurate in calibrating monitors.

So what am I missing or doing wrong? Clearly something; so I am open to any suggestions/tips as to how to solve this.

Many thanks for any help/guidance.

Mike
 
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It’s a myth that you can produce prints that are exactly the same as what you see on a monitor. A monitor emits light, a print reflects light. That means that a print is bound to be slightly darker. It also means that the brightness of a print is not constant. It depends on the light source you use to view it.
 
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Two other things that I can add to Johan's remarks:
  1. Are you using the Soft Proofing option in Develop? SoftProofing attempts to mimic the reflective properties of the print media with the screen and the icc profile for the printer and paper.
  2. Have you created a custom icc profile for your printer? The icc profile provided for your paper and printer combination is developed by the paper company for a generic printer of your brand and model. Individual printers (just like monitors) will vary from the standard
Depending upon the paper used, matte papers tend to produce slightly darker prints than glossy papers. Another thing that I have learned from using a calibration tool on two monitors is that it is impossible trying to tune two monitors to have exactly the same color response when each is calibrated with the same calibration tool (in my case an i1DisplayPro).
 
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In the Spyder software, what are you setting as the target screen brightness? It might still be a bit bright.

Edit - snap! :D
 
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It’s a myth that you can produce prints that are exactly the same as what you see on a monitor. A monitor emits light, a print reflects light. That means that a print is bound to be slightly darker. It also means that the brightness of a print is not constant. It depends on the light source you use to view it.
Two other things that I can add to Johan's remarks:
  1. Are you using the Soft Proofing option in Develop? SoftProofing attempts to mimic the reflective properties of the print media with the screen and the icc profile for the printer and paper.
  2. Have you created a custom icc profile for your printer? The icc profile provided for your paper and printer combination is developed by the paper company for a generic printer of your brand and model. Individual printers (just like monitors) will vary from the standard
Depending upon the paper used, matte papers tend to produce slightly darker prints than glossy papers. Another thing that I have learned from using a calibration tool on two monitors is that it is impossible trying to tune two monitors to have exactly the same color response when each is calibrated with the same calibration tool (in my case an i1DisplayPro).
Hi, Thank you for pointing me at the soft proffing, new about the tick box, but forgot about the setup window. Has helped but not totally. I don't seem to be able to find any tool to creat an ICC from scratch. Do you have a link?
Mike
 
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Did you have the ability to adjust the brightness/Intensity of your monitor during calibration? An adjustment might help a bit if this is the only issue you are experiencing when printing.

--Ken
Hi, yes during the calibration process the Spyder software runs through that and was adjusted accordingly.
Mike
 
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Hi, Thank you for pointing me at the soft proffing, new about the tick box, but forgot about the setup window. Has helped but not totally. I don't seem to be able to find any tool to creat an ICC from scratch. Do you have a link?
Mike

Does you spider calibration tool not offer printer calibration? My i1DisplayPro does. Basically you print a special image and use the tool to generated the profile for the printer based upon the calibration of the print.


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Hi, yes during the calibration process the Spyder software runs through that and was adjusted accordingly.
Mike
Having switched from Spyder software to Spectraview, I cannot recall if it allows you to set a specific cd/m2 level like Spectraview. "Adjusted accordingly" does not really take into account what level of brightness/intensity you are wanting, as Victoria alluded to in her asking your target level of brightness. Many people recommend a lower level around 80-120 cd/m2 if you are printing. which is typically lower than what one might set for just viewing. If the Spyder software allows you to manually set a lower target level, I would recommend trying that.

--Ken
 
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Does you spider calibration tool not offer printer calibration? My i1DisplayPro does. Basically you print a special image and use the tool to generated the profile for the printer based upon the calibration of the print.


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No, this model does not offer printable images, but you do see a 'test' sheet which you can then view 'calibrated/calibrated' to show what calibration of the monitor has done.
 
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Regarding how far down to set the display brightness within that 80–120 cd/m2 range: It depends on how much light is going to fall on the print where it’s going to be permanently viewed, so how the print looks next to the display might be misleading. If the print is going to be on an interior wall some distance from an indirect light source, setting and profiling the display at a lower cd/m2 value should be more consistent with that. If it’s going to be by a sunny window or it will have a lamp shining directly on it, a higher cd/m2 value should be more consistent with that.

In other words, while we talk about the lightness of the print or display, those levels are only helpful within the right context. This thread led me to do some searches about that, and found these links which help shed light on that (pun totally intended):

Tom Ashe on Proper Lighting for Evaluating Photographic Prints
The Key to Accurate Color Viewing
Standard Viewing Conditions (X-Rite, PDF)
 
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Having switched from Spyder software to Spectraview, I cannot recall if it allows you to set a specific cd/m2 level like Spectraview. "Adjusted accordingly" does not really take into account what level of brightness/intensity you are wanting, as Victoria alluded to in her asking your target level of brightness. Many people recommend a lower level around 80-120 cd/m2 if you are printing. which is typically lower than what one might set for just viewing. If the Spyder software allows you to manually set a lower target level, I would recommend trying that.

--Ken
Will try that and see what results I get.
 
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Regarding how far down to set the display brightness within that 80–120 cd/m2 range: It depends on how much light is going to fall on the print where it’s going to be permanently viewed, so how the print looks next to the display might be misleading. If the print is going to be on an interior wall some distance from an indirect light source, setting and profiling the display at a lower cd/m2 value should be more consistent with that. If it’s going to be by a sunny window or it will have a lamp shining directly on it, a higher cd/m2 value should be more consistent with that.

In other words, while we talk about the lightness of the print or display, those levels are only helpful within the right context. This thread led me to do some searches about that, and found these links which help shed light on that (pun totally intended):

Tom Ashe on Proper Lighting for Evaluating Photographic Prints
The Key to Accurate Color Viewing
Standard Viewing Conditions (X-Rite, PDF)
Excellent links.

Thank you.
 
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It’s a myth that you can produce prints that are exactly the same as what you see on a monitor. A monitor emits light, a print reflects light. That means that a print is bound to be slightly darker. It also means that the brightness of a print is not constant. It depends on the light source you use to view it.
Agree.
 
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Hi all and firstly many thanks for the comments and feedback to my original post.

So where am I now?

I decided to go right back to the beginning and following various searches on the web came across a number of interesting items on the same subject in particular a video from Jose Rodriguez who has an interesting channel on YouTube.

He covers various issues around printing/inks/monitors/paper combinations and had a number of views of this one particular video...
“OMG! My Prints are Darker Than My Monitor YET AGAIN!” -
. Quite lots of other interesting videos as well, too many to list here.

But basically the steps I have taken to sort this out are...

- reset the printer defaults

- downloaded a couple of high quality Test Images from Northlight Images - Printer Test Images - colour and monochrome images for testing

- purchased a 6500k lamp for my study

- printed out the test images without any manipulation, viewed these under the 6500k lamp and listened to the guidance from Jose Rodriguez in another video -
and the info on Northlight Images

- fully re-calibrated my monitor using the SpyderX calibrator and the 6500k and 2.2 gamma settings with the ambient light turned off

- once the calibration was complete, I now have a very very good match up between the monitor when viewing the test images that I downloaded and the ones that have come out of the printer

- opened up some of my images I was trying to get right and made some adjustments in Lightroom and printed them out and when viewed under the 6500k lamp they near enough match what I see on the screen i the subdued ambient light.

Of course I can’t have the 6500k light on full in the room when editing, so maybe a DIY project to built a ‘light-booth’ to view the prints in at some stage.

Anyway, a good learning experience.
(Did I leave anything out?)

Kind regards

Mike
 
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Of course I can’t have the 6500k light on full in the room when editing, so maybe a DIY project to built a ‘light-booth’ to view the prints in at some stage.
Light that is 6500K is “full spectrum” 3000K-4000K light has a reddish cast to it. The brightness of the light (lumens) does not impact the reflected color. “Full Spectrum” light will be reflected off of the print no matter the intensity(lumens). If you are trying to read your computer monitor outside, a bright sunny day might be too many lumens to read the screen but it will still be 6500K (full spectrum)
If you have a dimmable 6500K light, you can dim it until your screen is viewable but the light emitted will still be 6500K.


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