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Author Topic: How many prints does it take?  (Read 5218 times)
MHMG
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« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2011, 09:16:32 AM »
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It's actually no different to soft-proofing with Photoshop except that instead of Photoshop converting to the printer space, then back to the monitor space and sending the resultant values to the monitor, a new monitor space (and corresponding internal LUT) is constructed that combines these two steps. In other words, it's no less colour managed. I spent a few hours this afternoon comparing the results with those from Photoshop (same paper profile, rendering, settings etc) as was impressed. And, as I said, you can just toggle between this and the original calibration. Well worth a try!

Hi Gromit, So, if I understand you correctly, NEC has brought an ICC profile enabled softproofing workflow to it's monitor calibration app. That is indeed clever in that the end-user would now have a practical softproofing tool for apps that don't support softproofing (like lightroom). However, I'm curious about how NEC implemented this solution. It sounds like NEC is using a device link profile (combining the native calibrated monitor profile with the chosen printer profile). If so, then everything on your screen including your tool sets and menu items changes in appearance, right? Yes, that's still clever, but it does have one minor drawback for advanced users, namely, that PS can let you view before/after results simultaneously by opening a duplicate image in a second window and applying the softproof condition only to the image in the second window. With the NEC approach, side-by-side viewing of source and destination appearance doesn't seem possible, only the toggled before-then-after view.
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gromit
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« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2011, 09:50:14 AM »
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With the NEC approach, side-by-side viewing of source and destination appearance doesn't seem possible, only the toggled before-then-after view.

For this you just need a second video card/cable and turn on PIP :-). Yes, how you described it is overall how it works. A neat twist is that the settings (luminance, contrast, colour temperature) can be different to those for your default calibration. I run a dual monitor setup with the screen dedicated to just the image (I always work this way) but I guess the colours of interface elements etc will just be clipped to the combined monitor/printer space. Non colour-managed apps display garbage in any case.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 10:07:23 AM by gromit » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2011, 10:01:05 AM »
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Apologies to all that we seem to have gotten a bit OT with regard to how many prints does it take to get a keeper, but the monitor calibration/softproofing detour we've been on lately is actually pertinent to the question. You don't need softproofing to make a great print. A great print can be done iteratively (even by the numbers on a crummy, uncalibrated monitor) just as it was in the chemical darkroom era. Moreover, if we stick to a limited set of media and perhaps just glossy or pearl photo type papers that have excellent  color gamut and dmax, then many people can get pretty good at "Kentucky windage" where they anticipate what the print will look like as it is translated from image appearance on the display to print on paper. That said, a prime reason for softproofing is to cut down on the iterations. Softproofing helps me get really close on the first try. From there, I may make one, two, or sometimes three additional prints to get to my keeper when I'm in a perfectionist mood. If I don't use softproofing, the iteration count definitely goes up, even when printing on a well calibrated output device.  And, without a calibrated printer and good printer profile, all bets are off. Sometimes, you get lucky, but most times it's an exercise in pure frustration, so I truly dislike printing on uncalibrated systems, even ones that are nominally characterized with generic profiles. The very first thing I do with a new printer/ink/paper combination is build a custom profile. It definitely saves time and paper.  This has been my personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

I am just beginning to try printing from Lightroom sans a softproof method, but I'm sticking to high color gamut, high dmax media where the printed results aren't so far off what you see on screen without softproofing. It's not hard to anticipate the outcome in this specific circumstance and dial in some lightroom presets.  Yet, if truth be told, what I mainly do with Lightroom is repurpose RAW files in batch to standard colorspaces like sRGB for friends and clients who would have no clue what to do with the RAW files.  For this purpose, Lightroom needs no softproof feature. For high-end printing to fine art media, my files definitely make the trip into PS for the softproof capability, even though I may then take the final print-specific version of the file out to other page layout apps for the final printing.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2011, 11:06:17 AM »
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The critical issue is as was stated above in several posts.  If one sticks to a well behaved paper (usually a gloss/semi-gloss) with PK ink, the need for soft proofing is minimized as long as one has calibrated all the workflow steps.  With Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and Museo Silver Rag, I find that I seldom need to make any corrections when I move from LR to PS to insure the final image is to my liking.  Matte papers are a whole different story and I will never print out a LR image without soft proofing first.  Usually a curves adjustment or in some cases color adjustment is required.  I think you can use the approach Gromit set forth but for me it's less than optimal compared to softproofing.
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gromit
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« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2011, 11:09:16 PM »
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No. That is incorrect. Make a few prints with excellent profiles on various papers ranging from gloss to matte to plain uncoated paper and compare L=50 input to the final printed output values. This test will definitely not yield "constant" mid tone (L=50) results unless using absolute absolute rendering intent or to a lesser extent relative rendering intent without BPC, definitely not with perceptual mapping intents. However, Absolute and Relcol fail miserably for most digital images when printed to matte papers due to severe clipping of the shadow values and out-of-gamut colors among other issues. Hence the need for relcol with BPC and/or perceptual mapping, and hence the variability in mid-point mapping results.

OK, so I did the tests and the results are attached. Minor changes are expected with longer drydown.

CBP2 (Canson Baryta Photographique) shows an L* 50 value of 48, CRP (Canson Rag Photographique Duo) is 52, HPN (Epson Hot Press Natural) is 50. All the preceding were printed in RGB mode, RelCol with BPC (a small uplift is expected with BPC). Also included is HPNBW (Epson Hot Press Natural) in Advanced Black & White mode. While there is some variability around the midpoint, it's close enough that I switch from glossy to matte at will without substantive changes to overall look of the result. In all cases there is a smooth progression to the maximum black for each paper, with compression on the matte papers (as previously discussed). It should be noted that I optimize colour output on gamut, not density. While this test doesn't show what's happening with dark non-neutrals, there's no evidence of any clipping.

The printers used were an Epson 7900 (PK) and 9900 (MK). These results were obtained by printing a 51 stepwedge assigned an L* space, measuring with the output with MeasureTool and processing the results with QuadToneRIP's QTR-Linearize-Data.app.
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