Dark Prints...What Now

Discussion in 'Printers, Monitors, and Color Management' started by drpr, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. drpr

    drpr

    45
    Mar 27, 2006
    Seneca, SC
    OK Guys, I've calibrated my monitor with One Eye 2, obtained custom printer profiles for the Epson 3800, no color management, let PS manage color. Prints are still about 1 to 1 1/2 stops dark.

    About to throw everything out and start over.

    Any more suggestions.

    PRJ
     
  2. I had a similar experience. Got the Monaco ColorElite system to calibrate my monitor and then profile my printer. Print colors were spot on but the prints were too dark. The ColorElite software allows me to edit my printer profiles. A tweak to the profile curve worked for me.
     
  3. You might want to double-check your proof setup to make sure you have the correct paper selected . . . which should match the selection in your PS print screen.
     
  4. That seems to be a general Epson issue. The Epson profiles are generally o.k. but also my R1800 prints were too dark. Obviously, Epson is forcing too much black ink onto the paper, because the thing becomes even more obvious when you print B/W. The situation improved when I switched from "Best Photo" to "Photo" but it is still not perfect. I am seriously considering custom profiles now.

    Cheers
     
  5. billg71

    billg71

    712
    May 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    PRJ, what luminance are you profiling your monitor to? If it's the "recommended" 140 cd/m2, that's probably 'way too hot for most LCD monitors and your prints will come out dark.

    I've been through 3 different LCD monitors in the last couple of years and I had to profile all of them at 100-110 cd/m2 to get a good level match with both HP and Epson printers. If I went higher, my prints came out dark.

    Play around with it a little and see what happens. It doesn't sound like you're double-profiling or making any CM mis-matches, it's probably just a levels thing.

    Bill
     
  6. Wileec

    Wileec Guest

    I would tend to agree with the last post. Most LCD displays are far too bright and depending on the brand may also have a slight warm cast. A good monitor profile helps Photoshop to know the display is hot, but there is only so much it can do without sacrificing it's intent to be as accurate to the file as possible. That said, if you set up proof setup, you can often see that it will print darker, and thus tweak the file, so that it looks right in soft proof mode, so you get the print you expect.
     
  7. drpr

    drpr

    45
    Mar 27, 2006
    Seneca, SC
    Hi Guys,

    Had to go out of town for a day or two. Thank you for the responses and help.

    On the monitor I have set the luminance to 110. It has seemed a bit strange for this because I am having to set the brightness to 0 before I start the calibration or the luminence will only drop to about 125 if I start out with the brightness at 100%.

    What gives with this?????

    PRJ
     
  8. Wileec

    Wileec Guest

    To be clear - you aren't calibrating the display. You are profiling it - big difference that is important to be clear on.

    Most displays are designed more for the gaming community than they are intended for color critical work. So rather than attempt to hit a target it wasn't designed for, you're usually better off finding a reasonable compromise with the temp, contrast and brightness settings before doing the profile. With this kind of display, the best one can do is have a good image on the screen and tinker with brightness and contrast to get the best view in terms of lights to darks and reasonable contrast. Then run the profiling software. From there, it is a matter of using the software proofing options in PS, as they usually are pretty close. Turn them on, for a final tweak for your printer. You might do that on an adjustment layer and name it "printer tweak" so you know what it is, although, in truth, it's a tweak to compensate for your monitor's limitation, not the printer.
     
  9. I agree about the monitor settings. My setup is a Mac G5 with Apple Cinema Display & it's really bright. Recently I profiled the monitor at a much darker setting with a colorvision Spyder. Although not yet perfect, it helped lots. If you are using a Mac and have installed new drivers for the printer, be sure that old ones are uninstalled. I had a BIG problem with that when I went to Leopard.
     
  10. vidiot

    vidiot Guest

    Make a chart with boxes filled with a black & white ramp. Pure black should be zero, right? Ramp up your chart with boxes filled with black at 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc. You may have to go quite a way, like up to 50 or 60.

    Print this target. Let it dry. Look at it in bright sunlight. Find the point where you can't tell the difference between two adjacent boxes. That's your printer black point. Do the same, on the same chart for the white point.

    Unfortunately, my Epson 1800 keeps drifting, that is, as it ages, it lays more black. I'm up to a black point right now of 50.

    Anyway, before you print, go to Adjustments > Levels, and in the output box at the bottom, change the 0 & 255 defaults to the black & white point numbers you determined from your test chart. The contrast will go down, maybe way down depending on your numbers. Don't fret. Print it anyway. See what happens.
     
  11. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Even with profiles and calibration, I still tell folks, turn the monitors way down in brightness. In fact my new Apple cinema 24" I have turned all the way down in brightness and it only then calibrated well for me and matched my prints from the lab.) My older 24" cinema only requires a 25% reduction in brightness since it is now 4 years old and has the older style backlights.

    Also, darker room, with maybe a single incandescent or small compact Flor fixture with low lumens, Keys to getting good colors and brightness on your prints.

    If you adjust during bright midday light and lots of lights your images may be darker because you turn up the Monitor to compensate.
     
  12. That's a good idea, worth a try.

    Thanks
     
  13. whichwayisup

    whichwayisup Guest

    Those were all great suggestions, but really confusing. I use the epson 4800 and 9800 with fantastic results. My question to you is........ do you use photoshop to edit your photos and print through photoshop ? If your answer is YES then the solution may be simple. In photoshop just goto "View", "Proof Setup", "Monitor RGB". Edit and print using that profile.
     
  14. vidiot

    vidiot Guest

    From Tim Grey's Digital Darkroom Questions:

    Digital Darkroom Questions (DDQ)
    October 10, 2008
    by Tim Grey
    www.timgrey.com
    [email protected]

    Books: www.timgrey.com/books/index.htm
    Blog: www.timgrey.com/blog

    ##########

    I downloaded the Printer Tonal Range Target from your website, but I am not sure how to interpret the top two bars. Both of them are solid black and therefore, it does not help me determine the shadow range of the Epson 2400 printer. Please advise in how I should interpret the black bars.

    ==========

    This is a printer target image I describe how to use in my book, Color Confidence: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Color Management. Even with a high-quality printer profile, you'll often find that a printer can't reproduce the full range of tonal values at the extremes (black and white). The Printer Tonal Range Target image allows you to determine where the cutoff point is for your printer, so you can apply a compensation to help maximize tonal range in your prints.

    The two black bars are not solid black, and shouldn't print that way with most printers. The numbers below each bar indicate the luminosity value for the block above it. You can verify this by holding your mouse over each block while reviewing the Info palette (Window > Info) to see what the actual value is.

    If you print the image and both bars appear completely black even under a very bright light source, then I would check your printer settings. With some uncoated matte papers you might see very high minimum black values (around 16 to 20), but you should still be able to see a subtle difference between blocks in the chart with higher values. So, you'll want to verify you're using the correct output settings for your printer, and perhaps get a new custom printer profile to improve the results.

    Once you're able to print the target image successfully you can use a Levels adjustment to alter the Output Levels values based on the numbers you determine when printing the Printer Tonal Range Target image. You would then print your photographic images with that compensation applied, using the exact same settings you used to print the Printer Tonal Range Target image, yielding prints with greater detail (particularly in the shadows).
     
  15. download the patch for Adobe Photoshop CS2/3
    this resolved all of my issues, I recently reinstalled photoshop CS3 and had to reinstall the patch because I was getting dark prints. This has been a known issue for a couple of years now with Photoshop and Epson.
    ok, heres the link
    Good Luck,
    Kevin P.
    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=3775
     
  16. web52

    web52

    May 9, 2008
    houston tx
    Thank you, Kevin. Unfortunately, I already have update 10.0.1 (the target for you link) and both my R200 and my R1900 print almost black on 'best photo' and almost acceptable but still dark on 'photo'.

    I tell it Photoshop handles the colors, and in the printer settings dialog I turn off all color adjustments.

    I convert the photo profile to the printer profile just before sending file to print.

    Spyder wants the flat screen set to default factory brightness. Have set it down. Was at 78% brightness, now it's at 50%. will see if Spyder allows that, and if maybe it works.
     
  17. I just got the Epson R1900 and found the prints very dark.

    I have Photoshop managing color according to profile chosen and then after some trial and error I found that even if PS was handling the color that the prints were much better if I also set the printer profile the same as the proof profile.

    I do however still have to lighten the photos before printing. Kevin P. I will download the patch and see if it makes any difference.

    Is there anything I can set so that the printer profile matches the proof profile automatically? Now when I chose Photoshop to manage the color the printer profile automatically goes to Working RGB - sRGB.

    Marlene

    Edit: Just checked and I do have the latest PS update.
     
  18. Rapman1959

    Rapman1959

    160
    May 7, 2005
    Dubois PA
    try this,
    Printers tend to over ink and the difference between reflected light (Print) and transmited light (monitor) will also add to darker appearance. Rather than guess you can do a bracket print. Make a new curves layer. In the mask add a gradient then move the curve to a point that the image is very bright. Print this file and you have a print that has a gradient of lightness. Turn off the new curves ;layer and Look at this print and compare to your monitor. you should find an area on your print that matches the monitor in terms of brightness. Turn your curves layer back on and with the eye drop tool sample this area then use edit fill comand and fill the mask with this sample ( mask will turn a shade of gray). Now with this layer turned on make your print. It should look just like your monitor in terms of brightness.

    I was taught this last weel by John Paul Caponigro. It was an incredible workshop with J.P. and Mac Holbert from Nash editions.

    Adolfo
     
  19. I will try it Adolfo.

    I have a new OS coming shortly with a new monitor and will wait to see how things go with it first.

    Marlene