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Author Topic: increasing color density  (Read 4376 times)
Nino Loss
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« on: January 25, 2011, 09:01:30 AM »
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Hi,

I played a bit with the color density slider in order to get more color laid down on the paper. I played with the 3880/K3VM and Canson Baryta Photographique.

Before I continue to waste a lot more paper and ink, I would really appreciate your insights and knowledgeable advice.

I noticed that, with this particular paper/printer combination, as you increase the color density, the paper very quickly starts to undulate. Humidifying the back of the paper just before the printing resolved that issue and I could print +50% without any waves. At such levels a heavy loss of details occurs.

What are you settings for various papers? Maybe you share some tricks?

kind regards

EDIT: SO, right now, I am particularly concerned about loss of detail. Do you just dial back the density or adjust sharpening? Or a mix of both?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 09:13:48 AM by Nino Loss » Logged
Randy Carone
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 09:59:14 AM »
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I'd increase the color density in Photoshop then send the print to the printer/paper combo using the normal profile.
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Randy Carone
Nino Loss
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 10:03:57 AM »
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Randy, this is not what I want to achieve! If I understand you, you suggest to increase saturation/vibrancy and so on, in PS. This increase in PS has no influence on the amount of ink laid down on the paper. More ink on the paper does not have to increase saturation (especially if, like in my case, you profile for that), but should produce "thicker" and "richer" color, with deeper blacks for example.

regards

PS The aim is to get after profiling, the same colors, values an tones just "thicker" and shinier
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 10:09:15 AM by Nino Loss » Logged
ronkruger
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 10:16:30 AM »
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I'm old school, so my approach my be different than most. I find putting the attention into time of capture more important than PP adjustments and printing settings. Starting with good color makes it easier to end with good color. When I'm evaluating a scene for angle, I look not only for compostion, but color elements. Sometimes I'll add something to the scene to punch the color. This is an old slide trick. We used to add something red to Kodachrome or something blue to Fujichrome. With digital, you can use either.
Also, certain lenses simply render richer colors. Certain cameras also produce richer colors, which is one of the reasons I switched to Pentax a few years ago.
A CPL also makes colors richer, but I don't use them often because there usually is a trade-off of detail. Underexposing slightly also makes colors richer. If you have a decent camera and shoot at the lowest ISO, noise is not a problem. Attached is a fall shot I underexposed considerably because the colors were all muted and rather dull. I also bumped the red and blue channels slightly in PP, but only slightly. The less you do in PP the better. When you bump a color channel, for example, it doesn't just effect that color, but the hues of all colors.
For this shot, I also used a GND to enhance the sky, which became an intregal part of the shot. I've had this shot enlarged to 20X30, and it actually looks better on the wall than the dummed down version on this screen.
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 10:23:07 AM »
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This is not my question, though I agree with you Ron, and in regard to adding color directly to the scene when photographed, it's one of my constant routines ;-)

My question is about increasing color density, the amount of color laid down on the paper and that even WITHOUT increase of overall saturation. PS saturation and/or composition, exposure ... is NOT the topic!

I'm old school, so my approach my be different than most. I find putting the attention into time of capture more important than PP adjustments and printing settings. Starting with good color makes it easier to end with good color. When I'm evaluating a scene for angle, I look not only for compostion, but color elements. Sometimes I'll add something to the scene to punch the color. This is an old slide trick. We used to add something red to Kodachrome or something blue to Fujichrome. With digital, you can use either.
Also, certain lenses simply render richer colors. Certain cameras also produce richer colors, which is one of the reasons I switched to Pentax a few years ago.
A CPL also makes colors richer, but I don't use them often because there usually is a trade-off of detail. Underexposing slightly also makes colors richer. If you have a decent camera and shoot at the lowest ISO, noise is not a problem. Attached is a fall shot I underexposed considerably because the colors were all muted and rather dull. I also bumped the red and blue channels slightly in PP, but only slightly. The less you do in PP the better. When you bump a color channel, for example, it doesn't just effect that color, but the hues of all colors.
For this shot, I also used a GND to enhance the sky, which became an intregal part of the shot. I've had this shot enlarged to 20X30, and it actually looks better on the wall than the dummed down version on this screen.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 10:24:56 AM by Nino Loss » Logged
Nino Loss
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 10:37:21 AM »
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Sorry, there seems to be a confusion about my undertaking:

We are talking about a fully profiled work flow, where I get the colors of the screen to match those of the print.

In this situation we want to increase color density to the maximum possible, before detail is lost and/or the paper undulates too much. At that point we'll profile again. (So, to get back to the previous posts, we could get under-saturated prints with increased color density).

Your knowledgeable experience and insight in this matter would be of great value to me (and, I am sure, a lot others)

kind regards
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 10:39:41 AM by Nino Loss » Logged
natas
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 10:59:38 AM »
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Nino,

I understand your question. You are talking about the option in the epson driver to increase density. There was an article on this site about doing this:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/in_search_of_the_ultimate_inkjet_print.shtml

The way I do it is two fold.

I bump it up in increments and look at the output and compare. When I see the image get soft I tone it down and find a happy medium.

I also found that I have to increase drying time at each pass when I bump it to high. Epson exhibition Fibre seems to puddle very quickly when you increase ink density...so I played with the settings and watched the printer print it and found the proper time. You can actually see it dry on this paper to get your dry time.

hope this helps
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 11:04:03 AM »
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Thank you for that link natas!

What are the usual gains in density that you obtain?

regards


Nino,

I understand your question. You are talking about the option in the epson driver to increase density. There was an article on this site about doing this:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/in_search_of_the_ultimate_inkjet_print.shtml

The way I do it is two fold.

I bump it up in increments and look at the output and compare. When I see the image get soft I tone it down and find a happy medium.

I also found that I have to increase drying time at each pass when I bump it to high. Epson exhibition Fibre seems to puddle very quickly when you increase ink density...so I played with the settings and watched the printer print it and found the proper time. You can actually see it dry on this paper to get your dry time.

hope this helps
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natas
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 11:26:22 AM »
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It really depends on the paper. Last week I got a new paper in from breathing color (Luster paper). I got my ink density up to 20 and stayed there.

I am not in front of my printer right now so my wording maybe off. One thing you also need to do is make sure your paper thickness is set right. Manufactures will give you the canned settings but many times they can be wrong. A perfect example here is for the new paper I got yesterday. The manufacture said to set paper thickness in the driver to 3 but when I did a print test from the printer that shows you the proper thickness I found a setting of 2 was better (via a loupe).

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RHPS
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 11:33:16 AM »
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I too use an increased ink load (with third-party inks/papers) to get the optimum black level and colour gamut. I increase the ink limt until I start to see blocking of shadows (measured with a spectro), ink pooling, or excessive dot gain (bleeding). This has worked well for me and given me useful improvements.

But. my logic tells me that after profiling with the new ink limit the amount of ink used to produce any given in-gamut colour should stay the same. The profile will "demand" sufficient ink to produce any given colour - no more and no less. If you were to put down more ink for a given image colour then the printed colour would change. So, while you may benefit from increased Dmax and colour gamut there no change in "colour density" until you get to the gamut boundary. Or am I being too simplistic?
 
Sorry, there seems to be a confusion about my undertaking:

We are talking about a fully profiled work flow, where I get the colors of the screen to match those of the print.

In this situation we want to increase color density to the maximum possible, before detail is lost and/or the paper undulates too much. At that point we'll profile again. (So, to get back to the previous posts, we could get under-saturated prints with increased color density).

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RHPS
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2011, 12:39:29 PM »
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Or am I being too simplistic?
 

Sorry, I probably am. If you increase the gamut then colours will be rendered with slightly increased saturation, at least with Perceptual rendering intent.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 01:31:51 PM »
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This may prove useful in addressing the color density issue:  http://www.on-sight.com/2008/04/04/how-to-determine-the-optimal-media-selection-for-any-paper/  Even though the focus is on media selection for third party papers, it should also apply to increased inking.
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2011, 02:17:47 PM »
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In addition to the above mentioned visual media testing, you can also make several profiles at different color density settings and compare the results in a gamut graphing application looking for Dmax and gamut volume.

Be aware that there is only one, exact setting that is optimal! Go below that (less density) and you'll get weak blacks and a smaller gamut. Go above that (more density) and you'll get blocked up shadows and a smaller gamut. Increased density does not always equate to increased saturation! When we graph these two things out we find that they increase together for a while until saturation plateaus and then starts to fall off while density continues to increase.

Whatever you do, use the same Color Density setting that the profile was made with. If you're wanting increased print saturation it's better to apply that to your images at the application level prior to printing.
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2011, 02:25:34 PM »
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This may prove useful in addressing the color density issue:  http://www.on-sight.com/2008/04/04/how-to-determine-the-optimal-media-selection-for-any-paper/  Even though the focus is on media selection for third party papers, it should also apply to increased inking.
One more interesting link! Thank you Alan!

regards
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Schewe
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 02:26:14 PM »
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Increased density does not always equate to increased saturation! When we graph these two things out we find that they increase together for a while until saturation plateaus and then starts to fall off while density continues to increase.

Whatever you do, use the same Color Density setting that the profile was made with. If you're wanting increased print saturation it's better to apply that to your images at the application level prior to printing.

I agree...

Also note that increasing or decreasing the ink density when making a profile target will tend to get the increase/decrease profiled out. There is an optimal settings and that will work the best for making profiles.

With Epson paper, it's really not useful to do anything with ink settings other than subtle tweaks...with 3rd party paper, it is useful to work the settings to optimize the ink density prior to making profiles because 3rd party papers don't necessarily fall into the Epson Media settings exactly. But simply increasing the ink density to pump more in onto the paper will not always be useful (and often causes more problems).
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2011, 02:31:41 PM »
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[...]
Be aware that there is only one, exact setting that is optimal! Go below that (less density) and you'll get weak blacks and a smaller gamut. Go above that (more density) and you'll get blocked up shadows and a smaller gamut. Increased density does not always equate to increased saturation! When we graph these two things out we find that they increase together for a while until saturation plateaus and then starts to fall off while density continues to increase.
[...]

I suppose you go through this procedure when testing new paper. Before doing such a series of tests one can't really asses the gamut and other capabilities of a given paper-printer combination.
(Did you try with Baryta Photographique?)

regards
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Nino Loss
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2011, 02:38:58 PM »
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[...]
Also note that increasing or decreasing the ink density when making a profile target will tend to get the increase/decrease profiled out. There is an optimal settings and that will work the best for making profiles.[...]

I suppose that all those findings are kept secret. Even though one would have to tweak and fine tune color density, paper thickness and drying time settings, it would be VERY nice if some could give hints for values, in order to get close to it (x880 Epsons with K3VM is my combo ;-). It's really not that I'm lazy, or would not like to do it, it's just that I outsource the profile making to the very best people I can find, 'cause they always do a better job than me.

regards


EDIT: In this vein Mark Dubovoy writes
Quote
Just to give the reader a general feeling for my settings, I have found a number of semi-gloss papers that produce better prints using Ultrasmooth Fine Art for the Media setting plus adding +5 % or even +10% to the color density at the same time. For some papers, this will also require a small increase in the drying time per pass.

For my current two favorite papers, I use the Ultra Premium Semigloss media setting and I add +10% to the color density. Luckily, no extra drying time is needed.
In Search Of The Ultimate Inkjet Print http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/in_search_of_the_ultimate_inkjet_print.shtml
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 03:21:35 PM by Nino Loss » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2011, 04:57:38 PM »
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I suppose that all those findings are kept secret. Even though one would have to tweak and fine tune color density, paper thickness and drying time settings, it would be VERY nice if some could give hints for values, in order to get close to it (x880 Epsons with K3VM is my combo ;-).

I don't know that it's secret...I've only ever done it for 1 3rd party paper that I don't use any more and I don't remember. I know I was going back and forth between an Epson watercolor setting and Enhanced Matte. I don't remember which setting I ended up using nor exactly what I did but I'm pretty sure I actually reduced the ink density due to over inking.

Quote
EDIT: In this vein Mark Dubovoy writes  In Search Of The Ultimate Inkjet Print http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/in_search_of_the_ultimate_inkjet_print.shtml

But I don't know if that was pre or post target making...I suspect it might have been post target. But a 10% boost is very mild compared to what you were talking about at +50 which to my mind would be over inked (as you indicated regarding the loss of shadow detail which won't be helped by sharpening but might be by lightening the shadows which kinda defeats the purpose of the ink increase).
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Light Seeker
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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2011, 06:42:17 PM »
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In addition to the above mentioned visual media testing, you can also make several profiles at different color density settings and compare the results in a gamut graphing application looking for Dmax and gamut volume.

Can you suggest a relatively inexpensive application for the Mac that will do this?

Thanks.

Terry.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2011, 02:59:04 AM »
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EDIT: SO, right now, I am particularly concerned about loss of detail. Do you just dial back the density or adjust sharpening? Or a mix of both?

Normally this is work that is done by the printer/paper manufacturer with the help of a kind of RIP and then translated to the media presets in the normal driver. With only the driver at hand your only choice is to try out different media presets and see what the paper can handle without warping, the coating can handle without bleeding. The parameters to measure are Dmax on the black and chroma on the color channels. There are some 21 step greyscale targets on my website that can be converted to color to check the detail and measure the Dmax and chroma. You should start with the media preset that has the highest ink load. It is a clumsy method, in fact starting with a RIP would give it the right base, the normal driver just isn't the way to do it. On the other hand the HP Z drivers allow much more control and HP documents tell what the media presets are based on, what their ink limit is and HP also gives a summary of third party papers/media preset combinations. So with an HP you are halfway to a RIP. Epson is just more secretive with information like that.

More density in color doesn't have to create a wider gamut as written in this thread already. An overload of magenta ink will measure a lower chroma than the right amount, depending on the transparency of the ink. This was very obvious with early pigment inks versus dye inks, the last will increase chroma with every ML added. I did print some hard edge art prints that needed a lot of blue/purple density. So I did that by running it twice through the printer, Epson 10000 loaded with MIS 7600, Photorag. It delivered a color impossible to make with any of the normal paper settings. Added register tabs etc on the printer to align the images. The ink layer was extremely delicate, a lot still didn't aligh properly but I got there though it was a financial disaster. With that method you couldn't print a decent photo though.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

New: Spectral plots of +230 inkjet papers:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm




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