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Author Topic: Hard Proofing Photographs  (Read 6716 times)
HickersonJasonC
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« on: November 20, 2007, 05:49:28 PM »
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I recently bought a sulux lamp to proof my (mainly) black and white photography, but I'm having trouble deciding how to set it up.

My monitor is calibrated at 80cd/m2 as this seems to work best with my prints viewed under daylight. Should I be setting up my proofing station to also be 80cd/m2 (reflectance)? Is there a standard level of illumination in the gallery/museum world? Or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

Basically, I just want to be able to proof my prints after the sun goes down : ).

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smthopr
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 03:09:07 AM »
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I recently bought a sulux lamp to proof my (mainly) black and white photography, but I'm having trouble deciding how to set it up.

My monitor is calibrated at 80cd/m2 as this seems to work best with my prints viewed under daylight. Should I be setting up my proofing station to also be 80cd/m2 (reflectance)? Is there a standard level of illumination in the gallery/museum world? Or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

Basically, I just want to be able to proof my prints after the sun goes down : ).

[attachment=3936:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=154520\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I would think that you might be over thinking this a little...why not just try to simulate the light level you believe the prints will be viewed at. If you don't know, and who really does usually, then all we can do is take our best guess about the "average viewing environment" and try to simulate that. The 80cd/m2 seems about right to me for your monitor.

As a B&W printer, at least you don't need to worry as much about the color of the light in the viewing environment  

-bruce
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John R Smith
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2007, 07:38:40 AM »
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I think that hard-proofing your prints under daylight is a dangerous methodology, personally. It pretty much guarantees that any low-key work will look too dark under average tungsten household illumination, which is the environment in which most framed prints will be viewed.

John
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HickersonJasonC
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 06:53:27 PM »
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I think that hard-proofing your prints under daylight is a dangerous methodology, personally. It pretty much guarantees that any low-key work will look too dark under average tungsten household illumination, which is the environment in which most framed prints will be viewed.

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=154665\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hm. I'm not convinced that printing to accomodate a poorly lit viewing environment is the way to go either. Otherwise, wouldn't everyone just be proofing under "average tungsten household" lighting? What is your method?

BTW, I have set up my solux lamp to light the proofing "station" at a 45 degree angle and 6 ft from the hanging print. Not only does this make my prints (previously proofed in daylight) look great, they match my monitor (at 80 cd/m2) quite well.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 09:37:10 PM »
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As a B&W printer, at least you don't need to worry as much about the color of the light in the viewing environment  

-bruce
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=154630\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Au contraire!
While newer inkjets are far better at minimizing metamerism than older models (I used an Epson 2000P back in the day; neon magenta in tungsten light, vomit green in indirect sunlight), the color temperature of viewing light matters a great deal for black & white. Even if color constancy of inks has improved, the color temperature of your illumination will still alter the color reflecting off of paper white. If you spend time getting the subtle toning of your black & white print just so, the color temperature of the viewing light may exaggerate or eliminate the effect you're trying to acheive.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 09:39:26 PM by Geoff Wittig » Logged
dkeyes
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 10:03:23 PM »
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I curious what temperature lights you bought? I'm planning on buying Solux lights for my studio to do just what your doing. I was thinking since my monitor and color printer profiles are set for 5000k, the closest lights at 4600k would probably work fine.

Regarding level of luminance, I try to get monitor to match output then check prints under regular tungsten/household lights just to see how the low light levels change the look of the print (if any). Obviously, gallery lighting is usually brighter than household lights.

There are so many variables in lighting, all one can control is what they see under their own conditions. I personally try to match gallery luminance. It's very unscientific, I just know what kind of lights my gallery has and how many. The distance from lights to print are similar to my studio so I feel confident it's close enough.
- Doug
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2007, 10:13:32 PM »
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My monitor is calibrated at 80cd/m2 as this seems to work best with my prints viewed under daylight. Should I be setting up my proofing station to also be 80cd/m2 (reflectance)? Is there a standard level of illumination in the gallery/museum world? Or am I just overthinking the whole thing?
There's a nice article here. It goes into color of light and the amount (i.e., brightness). Fabricating or buying a quality viewing booth is essential if you're going to make critical output for others.
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neil snape
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2007, 02:14:19 AM »
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An interesting clip from Robin Myers, "CIE Standard Illuminant A is specified as 2856 K and corresponds to a
standard tungsten lamp (not tungsten halogen!). Tungsten halogen lamps
can go higher in color temperature but never as high as 3800 K. Tungsten
melts at 3410 K +-20 K. The halogen allows the vaporizing tungsten to
deposit back onto the filament and the close proximity of the bulb walls
to the filament keeps the tunsten from depositing on the glass. If you
are using 3800 K lighting then it is a filtered lamp or a standard lamp
in a filtered housing. If it is a commonly available lamp, then someone
could measure one for you and send the emission spectrum. If it is a
custom filtered housing, then you would probably have to measure the
emission spectrum in situ.".
Also this"Can prints be made that do appear similar under different lighting, yes,
but... It is mainly a function of the colorants used, the substrate materials,
the display environment (e.g. surrounding colors) and the illumination (there
are other factors but they tend to be lower order effects). As the
illumination changes, the goals are to have prints that maintain their basic
color balance (e.g. do not acquire a color cast), memory colors remain
somewhat similar (e.g. sky stays blue, grass green, flesh tones maintain
healthy appearance) and the tonality of the image is maintained. Most printing
systems achieve this. The printing industry has worked on this issue for a
long time, specifically to address the metamerism issue and has selected
colorants and materials that minimize problems with illumination changes. As
an example, take a magazine page into different lighting. The images and
colors maintain their basic relationships even though they may be viewed under
tungsten, fluorescent, natural light, or combinations of these. The exact
color values do change, but the relationship to the whole image is maintained
within the tolerance of our acceptability."
 And this from Chris Murphy, "> In the process of changing out the generic Halogen bulbs to the Solux
> 4700K bulbs I realized that this CANNOT be what is used in many fine
> art and modern art galleries around the world – the blue-shift was
> substantial and it took a Solux 3500K bulb to come close to what
> “seemed” neutral light.  Also, the Kelvin rated bulbs made some art
> more flat…

At lower ambient light levels, rods in the retina become more sensitive
to blue light. It's similar to the sensation of things getting
bluer/cooler in appearance after the sun as set. So in a fine art
setting, something less than 5000K is as necessary as it is
appropriate.

> I understand that using a 5000K booth for viewing is standard but
> isn’t this standard more realistic in office-type atmospheres where
> Fluorescent lighting is abundant?  If one is printing a digital fine
> art print that is expected to be viewed in a gallery-like atmosphere,
> isn’t 5000K too high of a rating for viewing such work?

It depends on the nature of the work, and the ambient light level.
Outdoor photography could reasonably be lit with more light, and also
something closer to 5000K, for example.


> I understand that 5000K is basically “sun straight up” noon but that
> reference point, it seems to me, should not be relevant to fine art –
> whether that be painting, giclee, dye-sub, photography, etc.  I
> recently read that the Van Gogh Gallery uses Solux Halogen MR-16 bulbs
> but I find it hard to believe that they would use a bulb rated at
> 4700K with its slight bias toward the blue spectrum (as far as I can
> see).  I am not an expert but I would like anyone experienced with
> this topic to please respond.

I don't know what they are using for certain, but I think they are
using the 3500K bulb, which is specifically marketed for museum use.

Interesting questions that result from this are, which of the following
methods produces better results, and are "better" results dictated by
more by the originator, viewer, or the artwork itself?

a.) Produce printer profile based on 5000K/D50 (most are), view under
ISO 3664 recommended conditions which is a fairly bright D50-based
environment for critical evaluation and any editing; and then display
the artwork in lower ambient light with a corresponding lower color
temperature.

b.) Produce printer profile based on custom spectral power distribution
(e.g. 3500K SoLux), view under that condition for critical evaluation
and editing; and display artwork under that same condition.

I think when the SPD's are similar, just the amount of light and the
color temperature are  being reduced, I think a.) would work as well as
b.) perhaps with a little more effort. But if the SPD's are not the
same between the two light sources, then I think the way to go is
method b.)
"

I couldn't find the article on museum ISO lighting, but it should be somewhere on the web.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2007, 02:16:29 AM »
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There's a nice article here. It goes into color of light and the amount (i.e., brightness). Fabricating or buying a quality viewing booth is essential if you're going to make critical output for others.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

While you may be able to create your DIY solutions if you know the fundamentals:

[a href=\"http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/waac/wn/wn21/wn21-3/wn21-308.html]http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/waac/wn/wn2...3/wn21-308.html[/url]

Most commercial viewing booths are fixed at 5000-5500 K that has been the graphic industry standard for a long time. Printing for art and photo galleries this is too cool. The Kruithof curve gives an indication how much light at a given light temperature is needed.



Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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John R Smith
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2007, 02:32:59 AM »
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Once again, something which I never really thought about too much and which seemed pretty straightforward back in the wet darkroom era becomes unbelievably complicated in the digital age. Mind you, in some ways B/W is more tricky than colour to get right - as explained above, our eyes will acommodate quite a lot of metamerism, provided that everything shifts together, whereas a moody low-key B/W print can look completely different in its tonal balance between (diffused) daylight and a dim 100W bulb in my kitchen. Most gallery and museum lighting is actually quite low in intensity (or it is over here). Some of the difference in opinion may be to do with where we live and the environment in which we work. I think the simple answer is to be consistent - it probably doesn't matter too much what proofing environment you use, as long as you always use the same one, and keep cross referencing what you do tonight with previous satisfactory work.

John
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2007, 02:35:23 AM »
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Chris,
Thanks for that link. It's the first article I've read on light booths. Sounds like the viewing area should be close to 500 lux to get normal/studio illumination levels. That translates with a light meter at EV 6.5. Of course the color of the room your viewing your monitor or prints is critical as well. Remembering my old color theory class,  the eye will take the background color of the walls and add the complimentary color to whatever your looking at. Also, a lighter wall will make images look darker and visa versa. Not ready to paint my studio/house neutral grey.
- Doug
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HickersonJasonC
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2007, 11:01:58 AM »
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I curious what temperature lights you bought? I'm planning on buying Solux lights for my studio to do just what your doing. I was thinking since my monitor and color printer profiles are set for 5000k, the closest lights at 4600k would probably work fine.

Regarding level of luminance, I try to get monitor to match output then check prints under regular tungsten/household lights just to see how the low light levels change the look of the print (if any). Obviously, gallery lighting is usually brighter than household lights.

There are so many variables in lighting, all one can control is what they see under their own conditions. I personally try to match gallery luminance. It's very unscientific, I just know what kind of lights my gallery has and how many. The distance from lights to print are similar to my studio so I feel confident it's close enough.
- Doug
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=154845\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm using one 35watt 4700K bulb. I bought this somewhat arbitrarily, though. While the fixtures by Solux are pretty expensive, I think, the bulbs are easily replaceable at $8 US each. You may want to  initially buy the 4700K as well as the 3500K and see which you prefer/will work best for you. I think I will get a 3500K bulb and the diffuser as well to see what that looks like. So far, though, I am very satisfied that my prints look like my display.
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HickersonJasonC
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2007, 11:27:34 AM »
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On a related note, where can I get a wall-mountable magnetic board for proofing prints? I can't find anything though I suspect these are readily available.

Thanks for all the great responses.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2007, 01:31:59 PM »
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On a related note, where can I get a wall-mountable magnetic board for proofing prints? I can't find anything though I suspect these are readily available.

Thanks for all the great responses.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I'm considering something like this, bottom page:

[a href=\"http://www.usmarkerboard.com/Sheet-Material/5483/]http://www.usmarkerboard.com/Sheet-Material/5483/[/url]

Together with strips of magnetic vinyl or just magnets it should work and the hard surface is easy to clean. It has to be applied to plywood I guess.


Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2007, 10:09:29 PM »
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On a related note, where can I get a wall-mountable magnetic board for proofing prints? I can't find anything though I suspect these are readily available.
There's a nice tack board here. But to use magnets, you'll have to wall-mount steel--in either sheet form or strip form--to your viewing wall. Can you say "heavy"? Unless, of course, you plan on using three or four refrigerators filled with ale. Then you can use any one of these items to hold your prints.

Currently I have a large wall with three 4'x8' sheets of Homasote Pinnacle tackboards mounted side by side. The boards are painted with a neutral gray paint (not the pricey Munsell stuff). It gives me a 8'x12' area to evaluate prints. All prints are hung using pushpins. The room is lit with 8' long GE Chroma 50 lamps (the majority of my work is for commercial and graphic arts, not prints for galleries). I use these lamps throughout my studio, except in the bathrooms. My print evaluation lighting is far flatter and cooler than any gallery I've been in but it's the right brightness and makes it easy to accurately evaluate CMYK proofs for clients. I prefer an open lighting rather than moody spots.

One peeve of mine is lousy gallery lighting. I've had a few exhibits and halogen spot lights never light prints well, especially large prints. Perhaps the low intensity spot lights are for paintings or older color prints.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2007, 09:04:46 AM by Chris_Brown » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2007, 05:32:35 AM »
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I've been reading this as an interested observer.  I'd love to know what is a practicable & affordable solution to hard-proof viewing of prints for someone like myself who doesn't make a living from photography and can't spend a lot on "extras".
« Last Edit: November 23, 2007, 05:33:15 AM by RogerW » Logged
Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2007, 12:09:48 PM »
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I've been reading this as an interested observer.  I'd love to know what is a practicable & affordable solution to hard-proof viewing of prints for someone like myself who doesn't make a living from photography and can't spend a lot on "extras".
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=155172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Here's my no-cost solution. I have standard tungsten household bulbs in the ceiling fixtures in my library/"printing studio", along with both east and west facing windows which are normally draped and blinded. When a print is done, I check it under tungsten lighting. Then I turn off the lights and check it in indirect window light, which varies depending on cloud cover but in general is quite cool. Then I turn the lights on & off to get a feel for any objectionable shift in perceived color. Occasionally with black & white prints (destined to be viewed 90% of the time under tungsten lighting) I will reprint to match my intent; most of the time all is well.

Back a few years ago I was printing with an Epson 2000p, and the metamerism was so bad it was comical. Nowadays from an HP Z3100 the appearance of prints will change surprisingly little even with this radical shift in light source, so I haven't felt the need to buy expensive hard-proof lighting. I readily concede that this would probably be a different story if I was doing any color-critical work like fashion or architecture.
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HickersonJasonC
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2007, 10:48:40 AM »
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I've been reading this as an interested observer.  I'd love to know what is a practicable & affordable solution to hard-proof viewing of prints for someone like myself who doesn't make a living from photography and can't spend a lot on "extras".
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, what do you consider "affordable"?  A solux lamp and fixture can cost you less than $100. Bulbs are around $8 each after the initial investment.

After looking around for steel sheets or magnetized markerboard, etc., I've decided to try "magnetic paint" seen here [a href=\"http://secure.netsolhost.com/600566.612678/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=M&Category_Code=AMPP]http://secure.netsolhost.com/600566.612678...egory_Code=AMPP[/url] . The paint isn't actually magnetic but contains high levels of iron.

I plan to paint a 4x4' section of wall, which can then be painted over with a neutral grey or to match your room (the magnetic paint is a primer and dark grey).  I'll then use neodymium magnets to hold up prints for inspection.

Anyone have experience with this? Total cost for paint and magnets is around $40.
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neil snape
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2007, 10:54:49 AM »
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Well, what do you consider "affordable"?  A solux lamp and fixture can cost you less than $100. Bulbs are around $8 each after the initial investment.

After looking around for steel sheets or magnetized markerboard, etc., I've decided to try "magnetic paint" seen here http://secure.netsolhost.com/600566.612678...egory_Code=AMPP . The paint isn't actually magnetic but contains high levels of iron.

I plan to paint a 4x4' section of wall, which can then be painted over with a neutral grey or to match your room (the magnetic paint is a primer and dark grey).  I'll then use neodymium magnets to hold up prints for inspection.

Anyone have experience with this? Total cost for paint and magnets is around $40.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=155796\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The paint easily holds magazine tear sheets, copy paper but isn't so great at thick inkjet prints.

Yes for solux bulbs, they are the way to go. After many years of testing control lighting for prints, I've always been a fan of tungsten over our "standard" expensive 5000 K lights.
You can also use most 3200 K hot lights filtered, just you'll need to replace the filters often, strike that , almost every use. I used to have some 500W  Fresnels mounted with 80 B filters but they do eat up filter material.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2007, 02:49:05 AM »
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I'm considering something like this, bottom page:

http://www.usmarkerboard.com/Sheet-Material/5483/

Together with strips of magnetic vinyl or just magnets it should work and the hard surface is easy to clean. It has to be applied to plywood I guess.
Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This stuff is expensive and while I did find the address of the plant that produces it in Belgium it isn't easy to get sheets from that factory. Polyvision which has plants in the US too.

There are however steel sheets that are lacquered inline (PET coating) and used to form parts for refrigerators etc. That's not expensive, about 30 Euro per sheet of 8 x 4 feet:

[a href=\"http://www.eccacoil.com/main.asp?Page=58]http://www.eccacoil.com/main.asp?Page=58[/url]

Now I have to figure out whether they sell it per 100 kg or 10 kg. I have no need for 10 sheets though it inspires interior design concepts.


Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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