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Author Topic: Newbie questions about making prints  (Read 6393 times)
Philmar
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« on: April 14, 2009, 12:40:48 PM »
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Up to now, I have been happy with viewing my photos on a computer screen but I am now considering making a few uprezzed large prints to hang on the wall.

I am wondering if my system/work flow is up to the task. I use a NEC 20WGMX2 monitor calibrated with a Spyder2 express. Up to now I work exclusively in sRGB. Will I be restricted to this work space for making prints if I want predictable results (i.e. prints that look like they appear on my monitor)?

Do I need a wide gamut monitor to successfully use prophoto or AdobeRGB colour spaces?

Will I need at least a Munki calibrator to get consistent results? I want prints to look like what I see on my monitor. Or would the Spyder2express be sufficient if I callibrate monitor in the dark and do all my editing in the dark (no ambient light)?

Note that I do not have a printer and would be using a commercial studio if I choose ot make prints.

FWIW- I have CS4, Vista 64 Bit
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Damo77
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 02:45:16 PM »
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Hi Phil, have you chosen a lab, and asked them these questions?  They may be able to answer in specifics, whereas our answers might be generalisations.

Actually, asking a lab questions like this is probably a good test of whether they're a worthy lab!  If you get blank stares, they're probably not to be trusted with your masterpieces.

Anyway, I wouldn't sweat the sRGB / Adobe RGB thing too much just yet.  Best to get some prints made and decide for yourself.  However, don't go out and spend money on big prints immediately if you have some doubts - just get some 6x4s and assess the results.
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Philmar
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 08:11:52 AM »
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No, I haven't chosen a lab yet. But will avoid the Costcos and WalMart.
Iíd read a lot about problems with spyders and how it is difficult to get a decent monitor for less than $800. Iíve read that sRGB isnít the best colour space to work in and donít know how I can work in another color space if my monitor is sRGB. Just want to clear a few of these things up, if possible. If not then I guess Iíll have to research. SIGHÖ.I always fall asleep when reading up on color managementÖ
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pherold
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 06:47:28 PM »
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Aahhgg!  I am inSULTed.  I find color management to be fascinating.

A lot might depend on the content of your images.  Weddings, portraits and the like don't tend to need the wide gamut that AdobeRGB or Prophoto offers.  So you might not need anything bigger to see what your images will look like.  Some people want to get the most saturation out of their printer even if they can't see it on their display, so they'll go with a larger working space.  But it is surprising how little this extra punch in saturation is needed.  

Another factor is what your printer situation is like.  If your commercial lab is printing to a Noritsu, Fuji Frontier or the like - these have a lower gamut volume than inkjets.  Inkjets are really the only way to take full advantage of the large working spaces like AdobeRGB and Prophoto.  

There's a little more information on this in one of our articles:
www.colorwiki.com
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 06:48:10 PM by pherold » Logged

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David Sutton
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 07:39:13 PM »
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You do need to read up on colour management. And I do understand what you mean by staying awake.
The Spyder 2 should be easily up to the job. Go to the Datacolor website, they have lots of articles there and a forum.
Don't work or calibrate in the dark, it's not going to help. Just avoid too much bright light falling directly on the screen.
According to the reviews your monitor exceeds the sRGB colour space. I wouldn't get bogged down by this. Working in a larger colour space helps preserve smooth colour graduations, especially with skin tones which can be lost in sRGB (and even AdobeRGB). Which is why, if the final output is sRGB, the conversion is left until the end and done while softproofing to see which rendering intent works best for each individual image.
As far as printing goes, if you end up having your prints done on an inkjet printer, these often have a gamut larger than even AdobeRGB. In the end, you need  to make a print and look at the results, as softproofing will only get you so far...
Talking to your lab about your printing needs will help.
Have you got "From camera to print" yet?
David
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 04:27:37 PM »
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Quote from: Philmar
Up to now, I have been happy with viewing my photos on a computer screen but I am now considering making a few uprezzed large prints to hang on the wall.

Do I need a wide gamut monitor to successfully use prophoto or AdobeRGB colour spaces?
I do not know much about colour management - but even if I do not know the answers, I know some of the questions and problems:

You do not tell us what camera you have, and it would help to know what printer was to be used. ... I use a 50 Megapixel 16 bit Hasselblad, and an 11 colour 24 inch "all bells and whistles" Epson Stylus Pro 7900, and to get the best out of both the DCAM profile has been recommended.

The default res of the target printer is significant ... any printer will print any size, but you may have problems if the print res is not an exact multiple of the camera res... Epson printers like to work at 240 or 360 original camera pixels per print inch.

A good printer driver or Raster Image Processor will do the uprezzing for you, and generally, now, up-uprezzing is a waste of time, and most digital print companies will not want the spend the extra minute or two it takes to load the larger files. If you send them a stitched file of 100 original camera Megapixels they might think that it is an upressed file, and down res it before printing, or ask you for a smaller file, and print it at 72 ppi instead of the 360 you thought you had paid for.

I have found that even "pro" labs are "less than adequate" and expensive.... you might be better off to contact a local colleague who has a decent printer. A £300 amateur printer may do a better job that the average 2nd rate "pro" lab... have the rest of you had that experience?

... and, generally, inkjet or whatever, colour always looks better than color!
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situgrrl
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2009, 04:50:07 PM »
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Dick's right to a point; don't entrust anyone with your money/photographs until they've answered your questions to your satisfaction.  You don't need a wide gamut monitor to work successfully in aRGB/prophoto - but it's a nice luxury!  I've been working in Pro Photo since I was using an Apple Studio 15" and now get by on a 17" MBP. sRGB was the display space for old skool crts back when I wore knee high socks to school and as I understand, modern displays have a different and wider gamut - though you have to pay ££££ for all of aRGB.

What software do they print through?
Does it auto-sharpen?
Is their workflow colour managed?  How?
Do they accept tiffs in aRGB/prophoto?
Most importantly - what do they print on?

I'm not a fan of Noritsu/Fuji "printers - possibly because they tend to be operated by muppets.  Equally, prints to inkjets run to considerably more £££ - to the point you may consider purchasing....If you are on a budget, might I politely recommend you leave this forum though!  A bunch of knowledgeable perfectionists does nothing for the health of your bank account.
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Philmar
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2009, 03:00:34 PM »
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I am just an amateur enthusiast who wants to get prints that closely match what I can produce using my Canon 30D, CS4, a spyder2express and a NEC 20WGMX2 without having to buy new expensive wide gamut monitors or calibration devices/software and have to learn about ICC profiles ect.

I guess I have some reading ahead of me. My condolences to those who are sufficently passionate about colour management to be insulted by my stated contempt.  
I guess I read the conundrums and problems that professionals creating time critical prints for clients and I worry that I'll have to grapple with the same issues!

Once again - thanks to all for your responses.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2009, 05:42:41 PM »
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Quote from: Philmar
I guess I have some reading ahead of me.

Frankly, even without knowing color management, etc, you can probably get "decent" print quality sending a high resolution sRGB file to a commercial lab.  But if you want your prints to "look like they appear on your monitor" on a reliable, repeatable basis, you'll need to read up.

There's a LOT of good information on Luminous Landscape in the "tutorials" and "understanding series" sections:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorial...tanding-series/

Another good source is Michael's "From Camera to Print" video tutorial -- a 6 hour+ tutorial download for $34.95 and also available on DVD through Calumet.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/camera-print.shtml

Paul
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JDClements
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2009, 06:33:50 PM »
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Quote from: Philmar
... large prints to hang on the wall.
How large?
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Philmar
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2009, 01:37:37 PM »
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Quote from: JDClements
How large?

Hi Dan!!

I was thinking of starting at 12x18 and depending on the results perhaps going bigger......of course the price of framing may dictate what I do as well.
To be honest I haven't really given the size much consideration. I've been more focused on whether I have the PC hardware to do the task. I guess I'll start with 4x6 just to see the results first.
Being a lazy cad, I find that with the prospect of tons of reading and study ahead of me I prefer to always take more pictures instead of learning how to print them. Viewing them on my monitor has been sufficient - but the wife keeps begging me to print a few to cover the holes in the wall.

Given the choice of spending my free time reading & researching colour management or shooting more photos, I always seem to prefer to be out shooting.
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An office drone pension administrator by day and a photo-enthusiast by night, week-end and on vacation who carries his camera when traveling the world:
Please have a chew on my photos:
http://www.fluidr.com/photos/phil_marion/sets
Damo77
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2009, 02:05:22 PM »
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Quote from: Philmar
Being a lazy cad, I find that with the prospect of tons of reading and study ahead of me I prefer to always take more pictures instead of learning how to print them
sRGB was made for folk like you.

Honestly, stick with sRGB, calibrated your monitor (whatever it is) and you'll be perfectly fine.
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Damien
Philmar
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 10:36:37 AM »
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Quote from: Damo77
sRGB was made for folk like you.

Thanks..........I think.  

Honestly, I want to change. Just gimmee time to read. I wanna use prophoto too, rather than be one of THOSE folk. Gimmee a chance!
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An office drone pension administrator by day and a photo-enthusiast by night, week-end and on vacation who carries his camera when traveling the world:
Please have a chew on my photos:
http://www.fluidr.com/photos/phil_marion/sets
Tony B.
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2009, 07:34:54 PM »
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You might try a few labs.  First, do your normal adjustments using CS4 and save the file.  Then take the file to a few labs and get a print, I would think 4x6 might be a little small for comparisons, so maybe 8x10.  Then compare each print with your monitor and see if any of them come close to what you would want your print to look like.

If your lucky, one of the labs prints will be a close match to your monitor and you can just use them.  If not that is when color management comes into play.

I do not think you should mess with prophoto, your camera probably has aRBG and sRGB, so you could use aRGB.

Starting with color management, talk with a lab or two that you liked their service or their prints and ask if they have profiles for their printers.  If they do then get a copy so you can soft proof your images with CS4.  Now, once you adjust your images 'print to file' using let photoshop manage colors and use the labs printer profile.  Note-I use Qimage but I would expect CS4 to print to file.

Now take that file to the lab and make sure they turn off color management because you have their profile embedded into the image.  Then see how the prints look.

Because you are calibrating your monitor you have to hope your monitors colors are correct.

There is no reason not to use Costco, you can check with drycreekphoto.com to see if they have a profile for any of the Costco's local to you.  A quick look at their site shows they have profiles for a place called Pheonix Professional Labs, you could talk with them on how to use the custom profile.

Once you get involved with color management you hope it works, if it does not work then trying to find the problem becomes very difficult.  Could be monitor, viewing light, printer, any associated profile etc.

I have a color managed workflow but still is not perfect, my monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 213T) is calibrated with an i1display2, my printer is profiled using profiles produced with MonacoProfiler.  Its hard to match brightness and I seem to have an issue with reds/orange that I am still trying to sort out.

Just remember, if your prints come out close enough you might want to keep it that way.  Once you start with color management it could just work or open many more issues that become harder to figure out.

But like many here, I enjoy using color management, it just gets frustrating when you can not figure something out.

Tony
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JDClements
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 04:41:29 PM »
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Quote from: Philmar
Hi Dan!!

I was thinking of starting at 12x18 and depending on the results perhaps going bigger......of course the price of framing may dictate what I do as well.

Being a lazy cad...
Right, so go get an Epson printer that prints up to 13x19. Because it will actually be less work than going the lab route, and you get instant feedback. You'll end up doing all sorts of prints on 8.5x11 paper, and you can keep those in nice piles that people can flip through.

I found with an Epson R2400, I was making nice prints (using Lightroom) *before* I even knew what I was doing! (At least, they look nice to me. And my kids like 'em too!)

13x19 is a pretty good size once you frame it. Unless you have HUGE empty walls, which you might.


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JDClements
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2009, 04:44:30 PM »
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Quote from: Tony B.
I do not think you should mess with prophoto, your camera probably has aRBG and sRGB, so you could use aRGB.
What the camera "has" is irrelevant if you are shooting RAW.

I use a Prophoto workflow with Lightroom, and it is easy as long as there are good profiles already done for the paper I am using.
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