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Author Topic: Printing - Arghhh!!!!  (Read 27613 times)
cats_five
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« on: November 03, 2011, 12:33:59 PM »
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Am struggling to get a half-decent print.   Cry   Sad   

I'm using an HP8450 (dye ink) printer I used to get cracking prints from (on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl and the camera club judges never complained about print or image quality, just image content!), and whilst I'm printing on 'no brand' stuff I should get something far better than I am - something that looks near enough what is on the screen.  I'm not trying to produce super-accurate ultra-high-quality prints, just something that the casual eye will like, where it will look at the cute kitten not the grey-ness of it.

Bizarrely 'normal' quality is OK-ish (a bit soft and lacing detail), but whilst 'best' has much more detail it's  too dark and not properly saturated.

I've tried with Photoshop managing the colours, with the printer doing it, on some high-quality paper left over from my degree dissertation, on some HP everyday paper I have knocking around, but zilch.

I hope I'm making a basic mistake somewhere along the way. 

Am using Photoshop CS4 to print, the PC is W7x64 which means it's using a built-in driver for the printer rather than one downloaded from HP.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2011, 12:52:00 PM »
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Welcome to the slippery slope of color management.  It sounds as if you are using 3rd party branded paper without using the color profiles that the paper manufacturer probably has on their website, designed for your printer and operating system.  The short answer is that you need to have a properly profiled monitor, and a profile for the printer, ink and paper you are printing on, so that what you see in Photoshop on your monitor accurately represents what you will send to your printer, and that the printer knows how to adjust its colors for the paper you are using.

If this all sounds new to you, I suggest you download the new version of From Camera To Print by Michael Reichmann and Jeff Shewe on the Luminous Landscape home page.  It will be the best investment you can make if you want to do your own photo processing and printing.
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cats_five
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2011, 01:43:53 PM »
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No, it's not all new.  My monitor is an Eizo with an IPS panel, and I have and use a Spyder so that side of things should be fine.

I'm not looking for an exact reproduction - I'd use branded paper if I was - but for something 'near enough'.  I'm not doing camera club entries or fine art prints to sell. 

However what I'm getting is miles away - just miles.  So far away I'm sure I've made some fundamental error hence my choice of forum - or there is something horribly wrong with the build-in driver for the printer, which is a possibility.

Since I used to get good prints on Ilford paper I guess I'll cut a sheet or two of that up and try some small ones from images I have printed on that printer, with that paper, and got a good result with.  The other thing I can think of trying is installing the HP driver into the XP virtual machine and seeing if that is any better.
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JonathanRimmel
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2011, 01:50:08 PM »
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I had an issue with my Epson 3880 where the prints were WAY off. It seemed as if the magenta ink wasn't laying down. This was caused by a power outage. Everything seems to be working now on it's own. (Epson didn't bother to respond the 2nd time I contacted them, so I never sent the printer in) My point is, perhaps something IS wrong with your printer. But before jumping to that conclusion, I would do more testing. I spent quite a bit of time with my own printer, before I realized what actually caused it. I wanted to eliminate all variables.

Something to think about.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2011, 03:01:11 PM »
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Bizarrely 'normal' quality is OK-ish (a bit soft and lacing detail), but whilst 'best' has much more detail it's  too dark and not properly saturated.
Could it be that the paper is crap and does not stand well much inking?
Does it take more time to dry?
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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cats_five
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2011, 03:20:25 PM »
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No, it dries just fine - it comes out just about dry.  I think trying the paper that used to work is the next step, followed by using the XP virtual machine with the HP driver if that doesn't.
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cats_five
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 09:03:58 AM »
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OK, I have usd Ilford Galarie Smooth Pearl and downloaded and installed the profile for it.  You can click through to Flickr to see any of the images full size.

This is the image I want to use:

Elvis by Sal Woo, on Flickr

These are the settings in the various tabs for the print driver.

Hi-gloss film is apparently the right paper type to choose according to the inset in the paper box:

Paper-Quality by Sal Woo, on Flickr


Effects by Sal Woo, on Flickr


Finishing by Sal Woo, on Flickr


Color by Sal Woo, on Flickr

And this is the page setup dialog from CS4 - as soon as I select the correct profile for the paper, the image in the preview window goes all sludgy, and that's how it's printing.


PrintSetup by Sal Woo, on Flickr

I used to use this printer, with CS4, for camera club entries and have plenty of excellent prints from it, on this paper.

BTW it looks fine in the printer preview window.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 09:24:00 AM »
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Doyou use HiGloss film as media type for the no-brand paper too?
Something like Glossy paper might be more adapted...
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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cats_five
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 09:31:29 AM »
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No.  I can't remember what I used, but the results with the Ilford are no better - horrible dark sludgy prints.  Guess I need to take a photo of one so you can see just how horrible it is.

Incidentally I pasted the version of Elvis used above into a Word document and an 'everyday' print came out just fine.  A wee it pale and understaturated, obviously very soft, but far more acceptable than I've got on the Ilford.

All the colour patches when I did the head cleaning were fine as well - nice and bright.
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cats_five
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 10:00:23 AM »
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OK, here is a photo.  The big image on the right was done from Word with the picture of Elvis I uploaded just pasted in, using the 'everyday printing' settings.  The quality is carp, but the colours are not bad.

Top left has been done on brand X.  It's sharp but dark and undersaturted.

Bottom left has been done on Ilford and again it's dark, and the kitten on the left who is Elvis is clearly a very very wrong colour.  I installed Photoshop and the HP on my XP virtual machine for that one (hence the different picture) as I was using XP when I was getting good prints from this printer.


IMG_1415_Crop by Sal Woo, on Flickr

And thi is a better version of the original:

Elvis by Sal Woo, on Flickr
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 11:58:54 AM »
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Mmmmm... I just wouldn't want to appear as an old curmudgeon, and even less so rude, but... wouldn't be the situation a tad clearer if we had a good print as a reference? Wink
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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cats_five
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 12:05:15 PM »
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A photo of a good print from days of old?  I can't produce one now...

Not wishing to pimp my photostream, but all the images in this set at Flickr printed well enough to win a club competition.  Yes, lots of B&W, but not all of them are:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sal-woo/sets/72157600008758321/

This also was fine:

PPG Plaza, Pittburgh by Sal Woo, on Flickr

And so was this, and it was better printed than on the screen:

Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona by Sal Woo, on Flickr
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walter.sk
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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2011, 10:33:20 AM »
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OK, I have usd Ilford Galarie Smooth Pearl and downloaded and installed the profile for it.  You can click through to Flickr to see any of the images full size.

Hi-gloss film is apparently the right paper type to choose according to the inset in the paper box:

I use the Galerie Smooth Pearl in my Epson 4900, and the profile I downloaded from Ilford says to use the Epson Premium Semiglossy Photo Paper as the paper type.  My prints come out looking very good, and I would judge the Ilford profile as quite adequate.
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cats_five
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2011, 11:49:44 AM »
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OK, it's obvious a number of people have looked at the screen shots on Flickr - if any of them were from here and they saw anything obvious wrong, they haven't posted back.  So, maybe nothing is wrong in the settings?
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cats_five
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 01:38:07 AM »
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So no-one has seen anything obvious wrong in the screen shots?
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2011, 02:12:31 AM »
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So no-one has seen anything obvious wrong in the screen shots?
It's more that there may be not that much right...
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2011, 04:12:31 AM »
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That might be possible - so please tell me what's wrong.
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Farmer
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2011, 03:02:53 AM »
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Two things that stand out for me:

1. High Gloss Film?  This was already mentioned, but you're not using film.  Choose a more appropriate paper type (for example, some sort of photo media).

2. You have selected a colour managed workflow with Photoshop managing colour and using an ICC profile - so far so good - but in the driver you have some sort of pre-set chosen.  I would ditch that, choose advanced options and disable colour management in the driver (because you've chosen to manage it in Photoshop, which is the right way to do it).  Be sure to change the ICC profile when you select a paper closer to what you're using (ideally, the driver setting and ICC profile will be the exactly correct settings for the media you're using, but film is a long way off).


My guess is that you have both the wrong media settings in the driver and you are double colour managing.

Hope that helps.
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cats_five
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2011, 01:59:04 AM »
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I am using Hi-Gloss film as that's what the insert in the box of paper says to use.

Could you expand on the second point please?  The various settings shown can be saved with a name in that particular HP driver which makes switching papers etc. easier, but obviously if one of the saved settings is wrong then the output will be wrong.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2011, 06:00:09 AM »
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if you let Photoshop manage the colour profiles then it is critical to disable any form of colour management in the printer driver. I have no idea what this option looks like on an HP printer but it should be in there somewhere.
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Nick Rains
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