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Author Topic: Gamma and Mac, and is this my problem at all?  (Read 3773 times)
dandrake
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« on: June 21, 2012, 06:33:17 PM »
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Thanks for hosting a forum that welcomes really ignorant questions. And this isn't even about fine photo printing, but just stuff that's barely good enough.

What I'm doing is a cataloguing project. Not museum-exhibition quality or sell-stuff quality -- just good enough to make a good-looking page on plain paper, with well-printed type and a photo that shows what the thing looks like and brings out whatever attractiveness it has. When the project was suspended a few years ago, it had a couple of hundred pages, and it needs to be expanded and improved.

My current problem problem, having changed hardware, is something that looks like wrong gamma correction (pictures dark & muddy), and I'm told that the Mac handles gamma in some different way from other systems. But also, I seem to have proved that this difference is not my real problem. So, I'm looking for advice, and here are the details.

The project ran on a system that's kind of out of date: OS/2-eCS, with Lexmark Optra-45 inkjet printer. It has been ported to Mac OS 10.6.x; the current printer, to show how far this is from fine printing, is an HP LaserJet CP2025, which can produce good enough output for current purposes.

(And if the immediate answer is "Trash that thing, there's no way of knowing what it will produce", let me know. It might simplify things. Of course I'll be asking for advice on this change.)

Anyway, I take the old pictures and text, and crank them through my workflow as adapted to the Mac, and I don't like the results. And the main problem is that they come out sort of dark and muddy and with poor detail. And that seems to shout "Gamma!" And I'm informed that "Macs often use a standard value of 1.8 with is optimized for prepress applications and PCs and the web normally use 2.2 which is optimized for monitors and video."

Interesting, but if it's my problem, I don't know where I should fix it.

The reason it doesn't seem to be the problem: I can run my new workflow, from old JPEG files etc. to new PDF, and send the PDF to the printer via lpr, which ought to keep the drivers well out of it. Or, I can take the final output of the old system, a PostScript file, copy it to the Mac, and print it via lpr. And the results are the same, visibly worse than the old stuff I printed with the same PS file and a different printer.

So if I'm right, I have to adjust the printing, or adjust the pictures, or change the printer. What I don't know is whether my logic is right, or what adjustments I should make, or what sort of printer to get. I'd also like to know what's the soundest advice technically, so that for instance if I make another change in my configuration, I'll get better results and easier fixes than I've got this time.

BTW I have rashly put in an order for a printer that seems better for color work than the current HP. It's the
Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4090. Because I think they have a good reputation in color printing, and the model description looked good. At the moment I could quickly cancel it, before it comes out of back-order. Any suggestions?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 06:57:39 PM »
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Actually, I think from what you have written that you need to research colour management and how it relates to every part of your workflow.
Possibly you are a colour management whizz but your post does not suggest this.

Do yourself a massive favour and buy the tutorial "Camera to Print and Screen" available on this website.
This covers the entire workflow and colour management troubleshooting for printing.

Specific (for you) hardware issues may not be covered but the tutorial will give you the insight and the vocabulary to tackle what are the real issues.
It is possible that your monitor is not profiled correctly and is much too bright leading to the dark prints. Some of the other issues mentioned may be due more diverse problems in your workflow.

Feel free to further clarify your knowledge and experience. This will allow forum members to focus on the key solutions for you.
With more directed issues some of the acknowledged world experts in colour management who are members of this forum should easily be able to help solve your dilemmas.

BTW all of us were ignorant of this stuff at some point, so the only way to get an answer is to ask a question.
And, Dan, welcome to LuLa.

Regards

Tony Jay
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francois
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 01:52:00 AM »
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Welcome to the forum!

Regarding Gamma value, if you're on Mac OS X 10.6.x, Gamma is 2.2. (ref.)

Edit: typo correction
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 08:57:51 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 10:38:55 AM »
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In ICC aware applications, the display gamma assumption is not a factor at all. In non ICC aware applications, it plays a role but in non ICC aware app’s, there is never a guarantee that what you see and what others see will match a lick, so it’s kind of moot.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/
dandrake
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 08:50:07 PM »
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My embarrassed apologies for taking so long to pick up a thread that I'd started. The press of other business suspended the project, but that's no excuse, after all.

Anyway, many thanks for your attention to my newbie questions. Indeed, I am starting from zero in color management; clearly I need to get a bit educated on it before I can make any progress. I look forward to being able to study the tutorial. Then maybe I can pepper the forum with more useful questions.

Dan
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 08:59:52 PM »
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Good on you Dan - look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Regards

Tony Jay
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