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Author Topic: White backgnd to compensate for bright display?  (Read 8360 times)
walter.sk
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« on: December 18, 2008, 11:32:31 AM »
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I came across this in another thread in the Printers, Papers & Inks forum.  The writer said that when editing her images in Photoshop using an LCD display whose brightness previously caused her to have prints that were too dark, she changed the background to white.  Apparently, this creates a different viewing environment for her images, which, when optimized on the display, result in the right settings to result in prints that match.

Does this make sense?  Has anybody tried it?  There are a lot of bright monitors out there, and perhaps this would be a better solution than lowering the luminosity of the monitors beyond what they can actually do.
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teddillard
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 12:37:02 PM »
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as larry small, an old farmer friend used to say...  that doesn't make a particle of sense, (to me anyway).  

he used to say "pahhtuckle" though.  

« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 12:37:24 PM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 12:57:10 PM »
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It's better to use a grey surround for your image and reduce the brightness of the display. Display luminance ion the range of 90~110 with little ambient light should be capable of delivering what you need.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 01:05:10 PM »
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It can be hard to reduce the brightness of some displays to that point.  I think my old Dell was around 150-180 at minimum brightness.
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Farmer
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 02:25:41 PM »
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Purely a guess, but if the background is white and there's enough of it, then it would make the white of the image less apparently white to the eye (since your brain will be balanced on the whiter-white) which may help to simulate paper-white in some way.  Also, if there is simply more light coming from the monitor (due to the white instead of grey) then your pupil may be further constricted which would have the effect of reducing the apparent brightness of the image on the screen - perhaps making it more similar to the printer's output on paper.

To me, though, I have to admit it sounds an awful lot like the squinting called for when using Adobe Gamma and thus not a great idea.  That said, if it's workign for someone then that's a good thing!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 07:42:45 PM »
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Quote from: Farmer
Purely a guess, but if the background is white and there's enough of it, then it would make the white of the image less apparently white to the eye (since your brain will be balanced on the whiter-white) which may help to simulate paper-white in some way.  Also, if there is simply more light coming from the monitor (due to the white instead of grey) then your pupil may be further constricted which would have the effect of reducing the apparent brightness of the image on the screen - perhaps making it more similar to the printer's output on paper.

To me, though, I have to admit it sounds an awful lot like the squinting called for when using Adobe Gamma and thus not a great idea.  That said, if it's workign for someone then that's a good thing!

No - screen white and paper white wouldn't necessarily match at all unless the white is part of the image being soft-proofed with Simulate Paper White active. And I agree with you about the latter thought not really being a good idea.

One of the advantages of using an LCD display capable of low levels of luminance, for those of us working many hours per day in front of our displays - this kind of set-up is really easy on the eyes. I kind of treasure my vision and think having a display with this capability worthwhile. Displays are just merchandise - eyes aren't. Furthermore a neutral grey surround is an ideal way not to either understate or exaggerate the tonality of the image in our minds' eyes. Those are the reasons why I recommended as I did.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 09:04:20 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
No - screen white and paper white wouldn't necessarily match at all unless the white is part of the image being soft-proofed with Simulate Paper White active. And I agree with you about the latter thought not really being a good idea.

One of the advantages of using an LCD display capable of low levels of luminance, for those of us working many hours per day in front of our displays - this kind of set-up is really easy on the eyes. I kind of treasure my vision and think having a display with this capability worthwhile. Displays are just merchandise - eyes aren't. Furthermore a neutral grey surround is an ideal way not to either understate or exaggerate the tonality of the image in our minds' eyes. Those are the reasons why I recommended as I did.

I totally agree, Mark.  I was really just trying to figure out why it was being suggested as a viable solution (and presumably works for those doing it).

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 09:29:35 PM »
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Understood - and one must have time for things that do, after all, work for some people regardless of the reasons or logic of it! Whether it's best practice or not in a general sense is another matter.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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teddillard
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 05:26:00 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Understood - and one must have time for things that do, after all, work for some people regardless of the reasons or logic of it! Whether it's best practice or not in a general sense is another matter.

Sorry, but I have to disagree, after spending as many years as I have working to explain this stuff...  calibrating a display using a simple device is a basic, inexpensive first step to solving any color management issue, and understanding why that is important is the first step to understanding how the system works.  I've seen it time and time again.  A workaround like this takes as much, if not more effort, than simply doing it right.

I guess this just seems about as ill-advised to me as the old, "make a print and adjust your monitor to match it..." caper.  

...sorry if that seems harsh, I'm cranky, my coffee maker just broke.  bah!  (anybody know how to make coffee by rubbing two sticks together?)
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Ted Dillard
Kaisa
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 07:34:25 AM »
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AFAIK,

The origins of this is advice I attribute to Joseph Holmes (as in www.josephholmes.com). That's where I first heard it:

You view your image in PS with a neutral grey/gray background to help ascertain colour/color casts (even ones you weren't aware of before...), and viewing it on the white bg gives you a more accurate idea of the true contrast of your image. (ie. viewing your pic on a black bg on a monitor will always make it look more fabulous and contrasty than it really is, and as a result your printed image will look washed out).  

All assuming viewing a file on a calibrated monitor, etc.
And  an Elektra Micro-Casa Leva coffee machine. As reliable as two sticks, they don't break down, and make unreal coffee. If you take the time to learn how to handle it... just like colour management and listening to Joseph Holmes. I wonder, how many colour-management fanatics are also coffee and coffee-machine fanatics...

For what it's worth,

Kaisa Breeden
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 07:47:55 AM by Kaisa » Logged

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teddillard
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 07:51:09 AM »
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Quote from: Kaisa
AFAIK,

The origins of this is advice I attribute to Joseph Holmes (as in www.josephholmes.com). That's where I first heard it:

You view your image in PS with a neutral grey/gray background to help ascertain colour/color casts (even ones you weren't aware of before...), and viewing it on the white bg gives you a more accurate idea of the true contrast of your image. (ie. viewing your pic on a black bg on a monitor will always make it look more fabulous and contrasty than it really is, and as a result your printed image will look washed out).  

All assuming viewing a file on a calibrated monitor, etc.
And  an Elektra Micro-Casa Leva coffee machine. As reliable as two sticks, they don't break down, and make unreal coffee. If you take the time to learn how to handle it... just like colour management and listening to Joseph Holmes. I wonder, how many colour-management fanatics are also coffee and coffee-machine fanatics...

For what it's worth,

Kaisa Breeden

absolutely, and predicated on the statement: "All assuming viewing a file on a calibrated monitor, etc."

I'm not commenting on the importance of the background color, or even the bigger issue of the viewing impression of colors in context, that particular issue is undeniably huge.  Besides, I'd never presume to disagree with Joe.  I am, however, talking about the idea that this is somehow a substitute for a good monitor calibrated properly.  ("There are a lot of bright monitors out there, and perhaps this would be a better solution than lowering the luminosity of the monitors beyond what they can actually do.")

Thanks for the tip, I'm doing the cowboy-coffee route right now.  Now where did I put my socks?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 07:52:19 AM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 08:43:48 AM »
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ok wow.  just wow.

http://www.aerobie.com/Products/aeropress_story.htm

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Ted Dillard
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2008, 08:58:37 AM »
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Quote from: teddillard
Sorry, but I have to disagree, after spending as many years as I have working to explain this stuff...  calibrating a display using a simple device is a basic, inexpensive first step to solving any color management issue, and understanding why that is important is the first step to understanding how the system works.  I've seen it time and time again.  A workaround like this takes as much, if not more effort, than simply doing it right.

I guess this just seems about as ill-advised to me as the old, "make a print and adjust your monitor to match it..." caper.  

...sorry if that seems harsh, I'm cranky, my coffee maker just broke.  bah!  (anybody know how to make coffee by rubbing two sticks together?)

I don't know what you are disagreeing with, because we both know what "best practice" is and that is what I would always encourage readers to do. Profile and calibrate the display, use appropriate luminance values in the process, and surround the image with a grey frame or full-screen. But at the same time we should cut some slack for people who have found other solutions that give them results they find satisfactory for themselves - it's simply, as I said, one wouldn't endorse those "sub-optimal" solutions in a more general sense.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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teddillard
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2008, 09:41:15 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
I don't know what you are disagreeing with, because we both know what "best practice" is and that is what I would always encourage readers to do. Profile and calibrate the display, use appropriate luminance values in the process, and surround the image with a grey frame or full-screen. But at the same time we should cut some slack for people who have found other solutions that give them results they find satisfactory for themselves - it's simply, as I said, one wouldn't endorse those "sub-optimal" solutions in a more general sense.

Simply, I disagree with accepting, encouraging or reinforcing an erroneous assumption or practice, regardless of the results...

I say this, with respect, simply because of the very nature of Color Management and the confusion surrounding it.  I have seen, time and time again, completely wrong policies that gave acceptable results...  I kind of wish I'd complied a list of them at this point, but, for instance, setting the working color space at the monitor profile is one practice that sometimes actually works fine, but is not correct.  This does nothing more than increase the user's confusion.  

We obviously are in agreement about the basic principles here, and I don't mean to make an issue out of it...  the question was simply, is this a valid practice, and I feel that the answer is simply, no.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 09:44:08 AM by teddillard » Logged

Ted Dillard
tony field
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2008, 12:10:48 PM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
The writer said that when editing her images in Photoshop using an LCD display whose brightness previously caused her to have prints that were too dark, she changed the background to white.

As far as my eyes have taught me, the brightness of the screen should be set based upon the ambient light working conditions.   If you are in a bright room, the screen should be brighter and in a dark room the screen should be darker.  This makes it easier for the eye to adjust while viewing the screen or the proof prints and reduces eye strain.  I personally avoid a white background (I use RGB 50,50,50) because of my perceived eye strain.  Of course, a suitably bright viewing lamp should be used for print evaluation.

With my monitor settings (relatively dark in a darkish room), the edited image is perceived as "very good" however is still brighter than a print.  When I use the Soft Proof (CTL/Y) the print and the screen are virtually a perfect match for colour and for brightness when I have the print suitably illuminated by a bright fluorescent lamp with high CRI.  

The lamp I use comes from one of the fluorescent continuous lighting systems that are commonly available at your local camera emporium.  When I compare the print to the soft-proof, the lamp is about 30-40 cm away from the print.  I suspect that too many people are using an insufficiently bright viewing lamp that is too far away from the print for proper evaluation of colour and brightness.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 12:12:21 PM by tony field » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2008, 12:10:52 PM »
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"Valid practice" - interesting concept. What's "valid"? "best practice", "the generally accepted correct way of doing something", or more flexibly "what works"? I'm on the same page with you about adopting "best practice", but to say that something which works for someone is not "valid" I guess raises a philosophic issue, even though you won't find me, nor yourself, actually recommending sub-optimal workflow set-ups to others.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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teddillard
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2008, 01:09:23 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
"Valid practice" - interesting concept. What's "valid"? "best practice", "the generally accepted correct way of doing something", or more flexibly "what works"? I'm on the same page with you about adopting "best practice", but to say that something which works for someone is not "valid" I guess raises a philosophic issue, even though you won't find me, nor yourself, actually recommending sub-optimal workflow set-ups to others.

Well, I'd say a "valid" practice is one that works within the color management system, as it was designed to work  If "best" works for you, then that's fine, no need to mince words.
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Ted Dillard
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2008, 03:04:53 PM »
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I think I'm with Mark on this, purely from a philosophical point of view.

I recommend orthodox monitor calibration based colour management every day to our end users, but there is a real value in attempting to understand how someone's unorthodox method works, particularly if it gives them accurate or good (not always the same thing) results.

Every now and then, a little gem is discovered.  It may only be a tiny part of the whole but it may add then to our own methods or at least to our understanding of the subject (even if that then reinforces the orthodox view).  By understanding the unorthodox it is often easier to then suggest the orthodox approach by explaining the differences and thus pros and cons more effectively.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2008, 05:15:56 PM »
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Ted and Phil,

Yes, that's one of the real interesting aspects of digital imaging - while in a general sense there is something called "best practice" as we've come to understand it - and encourage others to do so as well, there are so many ways of "skinning a cat" in this field one is sometimes surprised by what works and what doesn't for some folks, so best to keep the antennae up. Anyhow, I think we've beat this one pretty much to the ground - we all know what eachother means here.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2008, 05:26:48 PM »
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The appropriate monitor brightness depends on ambient lighting level, and vice versa. There is no single perfect monitor luminance value; the important thing is to adjust the balance between the monitor luminance and ambient luminance so that a good match between monitor image and print is achieved. This is the point of print viewing boxes with dimmable illumination. Changing the brightness of the border around the image can affect the perceived brightness of the monitor image, but it's not a very effective strategy--you can't change the perceived brightness of the image very much that way. Adjusting ambient lighting offers far more control. If you can't lower the brightness of the monitor any further, put brighter bulbs in the fixtures around your work area.
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