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Author Topic: newbie questions, computer end of printing process  (Read 2637 times)
psawyer
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« on: October 04, 2012, 05:19:43 PM »
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I'm new to digital printing, and this forum has been extremely helpful!  I've learned a lot by reading and searching here, but the answers to a few basic questions still elude me.  Everyone refers to using software like lightroom, photoshop, or corel to print an image.  Why exactly is one of these programs necessary?  Wouldn't things like print size, color correction, and icc profiles be handled in the printer's driver?  Also, what is rip?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 05:21:57 AM »
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Most people who print photographic images themselves do not want the printer to control the process.
Basically the point is to take control away from the printer and put it into YOUR hands.

In fact the printer generally does not do a particularly good job rendering colour.
Specifically if the printer does the colour management it ignores ICC profiles.

What we generally would want to do is soft-proof our images in an application such as Lightroom or Photoshop using the appropriate ICC profile for the printer (ink) and paper combination that we want to use.
Soft-proofing is an imperfect process of trying to get an on screen image to look just like the print once it is printed.
In fact a VERY close match is possible but the match will never be identical for the simple reason that two different media (one a transmissive medium - the monitor and a reflective medium - the paper print) are compared.
After soft-proofing we print using the appropriate ICC profiles and specifically tell the printer, through the driver, NOT to do any colour management at all otherwise all the work done in soft-proofing is for nought.

This is just a brief summary of the process but in fact having a monitor properly profiled so that the one can trust the colours, tones, and brightness of the image is an essential prequel to softproofing and printing process.

Generally, the software options and RIP's allow a lot more formatting options as to how the image is presented in print than the printer driver itself.

Now the best possible advice that I know to give you is to buy the 'Camera to Print and Screen' video tutorial series available from this site.
This will give you essential perspective on the subject.

Regards

Tony Jay
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 08:08:32 AM »
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In fact the printer generally does not do a particularly good job rendering colour.
Specifically if the printer does the colour management it ignores ICC profiles.
To put it more mildly, the possibility to deal with ICC profiles is often buried deep in menus and cryptic options.
I totally agree on the basic assumption that the driver takes the control of the print away from you.

Everyone refers to using software like lightroom, photoshop, or corel to print an image.  Why exactly is one of these programs necessary? 
You can't send the raw data captured by the camera directly to the printer. You have to render that data in a pleasing way, and you're in a much better place than the machine to do it correctly.
Even if you consider in-camera jpeg, you'll have often to tweak the image rendering to make it look as good on paper as on the screen. Yes, in that hypothesis a treatment program is less needed (but something like Lightroom still is a huge help to keep you organized).

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Also, what is rip?
Something like a printer driver on steroids, with more powerful image treatment algorithms and added functionalities.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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IanBrowne
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 01:11:33 PM »
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one thing new to digital photographers/prints don't realize is even photos printed from film at the local mini lab are corrected in some way before printing.

The edited process, and most if not all files require basic editing, is just another (enjoyable) step in photography IMO
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 04:30:53 PM »
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In fact the printer generally does not do a particularly good job rendering colour.
Specifically if the printer does the colour management it ignores ICC profiles.
Actually modern printers do a remarkably good job of rendering colours straight out of the box, IF you use the manufacturer's own paper and ink.

Most printer drivers DON'T ignore colour profiles. They use the default installed profiles according to the choices made in the printer driver when left to handle colour management. This again assumes you're suing the manufacturer's own paper and ink. Some manufacturers install a wider range of options than others, plus some are simply better than others.

It's only really necessary to take control when using non-OEM papers or inks and in the increasingly rare instance that the OEM supplied profile isn't good enough.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 04:43:01 PM »
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Everyone refers to using software like lightroom, photoshop, or corel to print an image.  Why exactly is one of these programs necessary? 
You need to use a program to tell the printer to print an image. It doesn't need to be as sophisticated as Photoshop, but printer drivers don't usually have options for exact print dimensions so an imaging program is usually the preferred choice for printing.
Most specific image editing programs also have the provision for a range of editing options, from the simplest of cropping the shape and defining the final print size through to the almost limitless power to alter any pixel in an image of programs like Photoshop.
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Wouldn't things like print size, color correction, and icc profiles be handled in the printer's driver? 
Exact print size usually isn't an option in a driver, but scaling to fit a page size usually is.
The additional options like colour management or colour correction will vary dependant on the driver and what options are enabled.
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Also, what is rip?
A RIP is a specialist image printing application that may also act as a printer driver. They are mainly used in professional printing shops to ease workflow and reduce waste by printing many different image sizes together (usually on roll paper). Really not something most amateurs need bother considering.

HTH
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hugowolf
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 09:15:36 PM »
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A RIP is a specialist image printing application that may also act as a printer driver. They are mainly used in professional printing shops to ease workflow and reduce waste by printing many different image sizes together (usually on roll paper). Really not something most amateurs need bother considering.
HTH
Since no one else seems to have mentioned it: RIP = Raster Image Processor. Grossly over simplifying: it is specialist software that renders raster (bitmapped, pixel based) images, taking RGB or CMYK input pixels and converting them into the dots that appear on the media. Raster as opposed vector images: vector files contain things like fonts and lines which are described by coordinates and formulas.

Brian A
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IanBrowne
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2012, 11:13:46 PM »
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Since no one else seems to have mentioned it: RIP = Raster Image Processor. Grossly over simplifying: it is specialist software that renders raster (bitmapped, pixel based) images, taking RGB or CMYK input pixels and converting them into the dots that appear on the media. Raster as opposed vector images: vector files contain things like fonts and lines which are described by coordinates and formulas.

Brian A

ROFLOL Brian, i will believe you mate but I have no idea what it all means   Smiley

I print very few photos these days, but in the past i have relied on labs to most/all of my photo printing as it's cheaper and seems easier. 
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hugowolf
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012, 09:14:16 AM »
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ROFLOL Brian, i will believe you mate but I have no idea what it all means   Smiley
That reminds me of the automobile analogy sometimes used to illustrate the low and high levels of abstraction used in fields as diverse as computer science and anthropology.

“You don’t need to know how a car works to drive a car and you don’t need the ability to drive a car to be a auto mechanic, but sure helps if you want to be a good one.”

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I print very few photos these days, but in the past i have relied on labs to most/all of my photo printing as it's cheaper and seems easier.  
It is certainly easier and cheaper, but it is a loss of control of your image at the very last stage. It is also a loss of consistency.

A good lab will recalibrate at least every day, but even with the best Noritsu or Fujitsu machines, you are still looking at a wet chemical process and images printed in the morning will be different from those printed later in the afternoon.

Before large format pigment ink printers, if you were exhibiting photographic prints with an option to buy copies, you would have to have all those copies made at the same time. It was a lot of overhead without any way of predicting which images would sell better than others.

Brian A
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IanBrowne
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2012, 07:09:19 PM »
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That reminds me of the automobile analogy sometimes used to illustrate the low and high levels of abstraction used in fields as diverse as computer science and anthropology.

“You don’t need to know how a car works to drive a car and you don’t need the ability to drive a car to be a auto mechanic, but sure helps if you want to be a good one.”
It is certainly easier and cheaper, but it is a loss of control of your image at the very last stage. It is also a loss of consistency.

A good lab will recalibrate at least every day, but even with the best Noritsu or Fujitsu machines, you are still looking at a wet chemical process and images printed in the morning will be different from those printed later in the afternoon.

Before large format pigment ink printers, if you were exhibiting photographic prints with an option to buy copies, you would have to have all those copies made at the same time. It was a lot of overhead without any way of predicting which images would sell better than others.

Brian A


i have often felt we can get a bit carried away with the want/need "The Prefect Print" My working photography was mainly domestic work where the expression is more important than the actual print quality to most clients who could never see a colour cast in a photo. Clients were amazed at the lab printed photos I rejected and most of those rejects were my mistakes. It would make little difference if I printed in house or at a lab. I didn't read the photograph correctly

At the Aust pro-print awards, I often found it rather amusing at how the judges waffled-on about things most of us could not see. But of course it was important to them and the industry, and I take my hat off to anyone [including you Brian] with that level of expertise and professionalism.

The big problem I feel for most amateurs is they cannot or have not learnt how to "read" a photographic image on the screen, even if they have the most accurately calibrated screen. I'm often amazed to what some never see whether it be a colour cast or lack of/too much contrast. But then I have often posted photos only to have someone pointed out the obvious (mistake) me. I'm then left wondering what the hell was I thinking lol

I'm very much into not making digital photography harder than it has to be for those new to photography and I have spent many hours typing "gear alone doesn't make someone a better photographer. Great pro gear (including printers) may produce a better quality photograph but IMO there is a big difference between a photograph and photography. Great photography can be displayed in 5 x 7" photograph. My favourite photo size is the humble  8/7 x 10". Yes I have some 30 and 40" photos but they were mostly to impress others (to spend more $$) and today I only need to impress myself.

Sorry to waffle-on   Grin so much, and I hope the OP doesn't  mind the off topic comments  

 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 07:11:18 PM by IanBrowne » Logged
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