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Author Topic: Costco Prints WAY too dark in Shadows  (Read 34139 times)
dwdallam
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« Reply #80 on: April 09, 2007, 12:17:42 AM »
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How many different levels of backlighting settings prior to calibration have you tried? Sounds to me like a bit of experimentation is required. If print shadows are too dark, that implies to me that maybe your monitor brightness (backlighting) was too high prior to calibration.

My Sony CRT is 6 or 7 years old and I calibrate with brightness at a minimum and no further adjustment.

Does ColorEyes work with the Spyder? Before my current GratagMacbeth system I was also getting good results with Coloreyes and the X-rite DTP94.
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I have no idea how to adjust backlighting. My monirtor only ahs "brightness" and "contrast" on the user interface. I think I've posted my exact monitor above somewhere. The calibration software says one is for white point and one for black point--brightness being black and contrast being white, I believe.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #81 on: April 09, 2007, 12:25:56 AM »
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Ray, that is correct.

I use the Costco profile from Dry Creek, which is the extended (or whatever the best profile is) profile, not the basic.

Then I do all my adjustments, and soft proof with the profile. Then I adjust to where I think it looks as good as I can get it when softproofing.

Then I send it to Costco for printing without Costco doing any adjustments. They print it on their Noritsu printer, and most of the time the shadows in landscape, sunset  images are much darker than on screen, which means the shadows are much more black than on screen. When I print portraits, other images such as night shoots of cities, etc. the shadows are perfect. It only happens with large tonality landscape sunset images. Of course these are the most important regarding shadows because lots of the image is in shadow--I think I've posted images above.

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Dwdallam,
Perhaps you should go through the precise steps you are taking prior to sending your processed image to Costco.

It's not clear to me what it is you are doing. I get the impression that either you don't have your own printer, or you do have a printer but don't have custom profiles for it and are therefore using a third party to make your prints.

If this is the case, then I presume you have downloaded the relevant Costco profile for the paper you've requested for your prints and have soft-proofed your image in relation to that Costco profile, and have converted the working space profile (or whatever's embedded in the image) to the Costco profile, prior to sending them your image for printing.

Below is what my 'Proof Setup' dialog box looks like. The 'Device to Simulate', ie. 9600 PrmLustre....., is the profile for the Premium Lustre paper I use. I imagine that this is what your Proof Setup dialog box should look like, except you'll have a Costco profile there instead of 9600 PrmLustre. Is that right?

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« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 12:27:50 AM by dwdallam » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #82 on: April 09, 2007, 03:08:20 AM »
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I have no idea how to adjust backlighting. My monirtor only ahs "brightness" and "contrast" on the user interface. I think I've posted my exact monitor above somewhere. The calibration software says one is for white point and one for black point--brightness being black and contrast being white, I believe.
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I thought it was mentioned earlier in the thread that brightness on an LCD monitor is synonymous with backlighting. I vaguely recall when I was trying to get a good calibration with a Spyder on my CRT monitors there was a recommended post-calibrated brightness of 65-95 cd/m^ for best results. In other words, if the monitor was brighter than 95 cd/m^ after calibration, then you couldn't expect good results, and the closer to 65 cd/m^ the better. But I guess LCDs are a different ball game.

Anyway, before getting a reasonably satisfactory calibration, I tried many times with different settings. Sometimes the calibration was so bad, I could get an improvement by doing an Adobe Gamma adjustment afterwards, so in effect I had two calibration systems working together, which is definitely not recommended.

I never had such problems with ColorEyes. Why don't you try the free demo at [a href=\"http://www.integrated-color.com/cedpro/coloreyesdisplay.html]http://www.integrated-color.com/cedpro/coloreyesdisplay.html[/url]  .

I believe ColorEyes supports the Spyder.

However, not having your own printer with a custom profile would tend to make calibration experimentation rather slow and cumbersome. wouldn't it? Not to mention expensive. You have to keep ordering prints from Costco, don't you?
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dwdallam
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« Reply #83 on: April 10, 2007, 02:02:09 AM »
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However, not having your own printer with a custom profile would tend to make calibration experimentation rather slow and cumbersome. wouldn't it? Not to mention expensive. You have to keep ordering prints from Costco, don't you?
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Well, actually, a 12 x 18 print is 3.00 US which is cheaper than an inkjet. The progblem may be that the printer itself may not always be consistent. I will look at the coloreyes. thanks.
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bjanes
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« Reply #84 on: April 12, 2007, 08:23:31 AM »
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Well, actually, a 12 x 18 print is 3.00 US which is cheaper than an inkjet. The progblem may be that the printer itself may not always be consistent. I will look at the coloreyes. thanks.
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The [a href=\"http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/monitor_calibration_tools.htm]Drycreek.com[/url] site has a review of calibration tools and rates the coloreyes highly. I was dismayed to see that my current tool (the original Spider with Optical) was rated the lowest. Some of your monitor/print matching problems could arise from a bad measurement of the black point of the monitor. In his color management book, Bruce Fraser noted that setting the black point can be problematic. With my current tool and LCD monitor, I can't change the black point but merely take a reading of it for incorporation into the profile. If I take several readings, they do not reproduce well. With CRTs that can adjust the black point, some packages allow a manual setting according to the appearance of an image that is mostly black but with a watermark slightly above black.

Once you get the monitor to match the print, you might find it helpful to remap the quarter tones to get improved shadow detail. The default TRC of most raw converters  use an S curve for better mid-tone contrast, at the expense of shadow and highlight contrast.

Although a 12 bit raw file is not HDR, some photographers are converting the image to 32 bit floating point in Photoshop and use the HDR tone mapping tools to map the tones. With the HDR tools, one can use local operators which take into account the pixel's location in the image in order to determine the appropriate scaling for this pixel. So, a pixel of a given intensity will be mapped to a different value depending on whether it is located in a dark or bright area (reference).

Sarah Thompson, a rocket scientist with considerable expertise in digital imaging, has developed a Photoshop plugin that uses a convolution kernel for synthetic HDR. That might be useful for your image. I downloaded your raw file to see how the plugin would work with it, but the rar appeared to be password encrypted.

Bill
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Ray
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« Reply #85 on: April 12, 2007, 11:28:56 PM »
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Well, actually, a 12 x 18 print is 3.00 US which is cheaper than an inkjet. The progblem may be that the printer itself may not always be consistent. I will look at the coloreyes. thanks.
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When things are not right, you have to determine the cause by a process of elimination. It might well be the case that the Costco branch you are sending your prints to, is being run by a bunch of trainees. They are making mistakes perhaps which natuarally they would be reluctant to admit.

There are so many variables but so far in this thread you haven't eliminated any of them. Do you know that your video card is ideally suited for calibration with the Spyder/Optical package? Is your brand and model of monitor particularly unsuited, or has a problematic reputation, for accurate calibration? Have you definitely followed instructions and warmed up the monitor prior to calibration and made sure no other calibration system, such as Adobe Gamma, is in operation? Have you tried sending the same file to another online processor to compare results with Costco?

These are just some of the things you should be doing, otherwise there are simply too many variables to make sense of it all.
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Ray
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« Reply #86 on: April 12, 2007, 11:36:15 PM »
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Sarah Thompson, a rocket scientist with considerable expertise in digital imaging, has developed a Photoshop plugin that uses a convolution kernel for synthetic HDR. That might be useful for your image. I downloaded your raw file to see how the plugin would work with it, but the rar appeared to be password encrypted.
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I doubt it, Bill. This is a different issue. Dwdallam's problem is that what he sees on his monitor is not what he gets on the print (from Costco). He's not complaining that his images per se lack shadow detail.
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bjanes
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« Reply #87 on: April 13, 2007, 09:25:44 AM »
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I doubt it, Bill. This is a different issue. Dwdallam's problem is that what he sees on his monitor is not what he gets on the print (from Costco). He's not complaining that his images per se lack shadow detail.
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Ray,

Perhaps, but I think that there may be more than one issue here. That is why I included the following preface in my message:

"Once you get the monitor to match the print, you might find it helpful to remap the quarter tones to get improved shadow detail. The default TRC of most raw converters use an S curve for better mid-tone contrast, at the expense of shadow and highlight contrast."

The fact is that the image does lack shadow detail as observed by Jonathan in an early post in this thread:

"Your blocked shadows are truly blocked; you have huge areas where the RGB values fluctuate between 2 and 3 in all channels (the large rocks on the left and right in particular). If you think you're seeing significant detail there, you're mistaken; it's noise and/or pixellated JPEG artifacts. Look at the histogram in Photoshop, and you'll see that 14.25% of your entire image is < RGB value 10, as well as a huge spike between levels 2 and 5. You should not expect to see shadow detail under such circumstances,..."

If the OP gets his screen to match the prints, I think he will still have problems. It might be that the 12 bit raw file contains shadow detail that can be tweaked. Thus far he has not acted on any of the suggestions that have been suggested, and I fear that we are wasting our time.

Bill
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Ray
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« Reply #88 on: April 13, 2007, 10:18:55 AM »
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The fact is that the image does lack shadow detail as observed by Jonathan in an early post in this thread:

Bill,
I missed that comment. Where is it? The last I heard from Jonathan was that he was going to work on the image in the PM from Dwdallam over the weekend. But Jonathan seems to have absconded with Dwdallam's image, never to be heard from again.

My understanding of this issue is that the dark parts in the prints from Costco are darker than what Dwdallam sees on his monitor. It's either a calibration issue or a lighting issue when viewing the prints.

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If the OP gets his screen to match the prints, I think he will still have problems. It might be that the 12 bit raw file contains shadow detail that can be tweaked. Thus far he has not acted on any of the suggestions that have been suggested, and I fear that we are wasting our time.

Maybe. But I generally find that appropriate shadow and contrast adjustments in the RAW converter, coupled with a shadow/highlight adjustment in PS gives you  as much shadow detail as you want. The quality of that detail is another matter, however.
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bjanes
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« Reply #89 on: April 13, 2007, 10:56:58 AM »
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Bill,
I missed that comment. Where is it? The last I heard from Jonathan was that he was going to work on the image in the PM from Dwdallam over the weekend. But Jonathan seems to have absconded with Dwdallam's image, never to be heard from again.
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That comment was in [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=14432&view=findpost&p=97745]Post # 11[/url]. If Jonathan had the answer to the problem, I'm sure we would hear from him, but I think that, contrary to his initial assertions, his custom profiles were not up to the task.
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My understanding of this issue is that the dark parts in the prints from Costco are darker than what Dwdallam sees on his monitor. It's either a calibration issue or a lighting issue when viewing the prints.
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I agree with you 100%.
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Maybe. But I generally find that appropriate shadow and contrast adjustments in the RAW converter, coupled with a shadow/highlight adjustment in PS gives you  as much shadow detail as you want. The quality of that detail is another matter, however.
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I mostly agree here. Proper use of these controls probably can achieve the same results as more complex manipulations such as double conversion of the raw files and combining them with a luminance mask. If you need more shadow detail, true HDR may be the best answer if the subject is static and multiple exposures are feasible. However, the local operators in the PS HDR implementation or in other software such as Photomatix may be of some help when one has only a single raw image file.

Bill
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