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Author Topic: Prints coming out much darker than on the monitor  (Read 8440 times)
Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2012, 07:33:50 AM »
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That "Room Lighting" thread I contributed demo images of my screen to print match setup is getting close to 2000 views and probably more to come.

I guess folks are realizing you DO need lights to view your prints or else you'll be viewing them in the dark and thus getting dark prints.

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2012, 02:18:20 PM »
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Hi,

The most frequent problem is the screen being to bright. Screen calibration does not always fix screen brightness, as a rule you have to set it by hand, although the calibrator may help you with that.

The next question is, how dark is to dark. You could try to send a print to pro lab. If the print from the lab is similar to yours you need to consider your monitor. If the print from the pro lab is different to yours you probably have an issue with your profiles and how they are handled.

Of course, you need to find a lab who prints your file with no adjustments.

Best regards
Erik

I'm hoping someone might be able to help with my prints coming out too dark.  I'm not sure whether it might be a problem with my monitor calibration or with the printing process.

I am running Windows Vista and have calibrated my monitor using i1 Match 3.  I acquired the full version from the Australia distributor who sold me the Lite version (which as I understand deals with colour but not luminosity) and they got me to upgrade it to the full version through i1 Diagnostics (which covers the luminosity issues) but this piece of software doesn't appear to provide a definitive message that you are running the full version (though it produces no error messages).   

I've been through the process in Photoshop making the picture look like it want it on my monitor.

I have then followed all the steps in LuLa "From Camera to Print 2008" in setting up Photoshop and printer and in soft proofing it first.

I am printing on Moab Somerset Rag, using the ICC profile from Moab (for my workload, profiling the printer seems too much) on an Epson 3800, but the bottom line is that prints coming are much darker than those on the screen.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on how I might go about isolating the problem.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2012, 04:33:25 PM »
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I have a sneaky suspicion this may have something to do with the way the print's tonal gradient progression from black to white appears, similar to the effect of a display calibrated with an L* type of non-tradional gamma curve vs normal 2.2 gamma both having similar mid gray density appearance but different density scaling out of black on one end and white on the other.

I notice printing to my Epson NX330 without ICC profiles and letting Printer Manage Color the Epson driver gives two choices of 1.8 gamma and 2.2 with 2.2 looking noticeably darker with noticeably richer colors. Each of them a bit exaggerated compared to actually setting the display to either of the two but still delivering a decent print match.

There's got to be a reason for so many seeing dark prints when it's so simple to just bring the print closer to the light which never gets mentioned as a solution either by contributors or the person asking for help.

I mean how hard can it be to try that out first over creating yet another thread on the subject?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 04:37:19 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
Czornyj
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« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2012, 05:24:30 PM »
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Even if the display luminance matches the illuminance of the print, different viewing condition can change the apparent contrast. For example, if the screen is in a dark surrounding, it will be visually brighter in midtones and shadows than the print viewed in bright surrounding (p.6, Bartleson-Breneman equatations: http://www.cis.rit.edu/fairchild/PDFs/AppearanceLec.pdf)
NEC PA displays as well as X-Rite i1profiler have TRC compensation feature, that changes the tonal gradation of the image, depending on actual viewing conditions measurements.
ArgyllCMS can also create device link profiles, that can be used for softproofing the different viewing conditions - p.68, p.39-51:
http://www.argyllcms.com/FCMS2010_ArgyllTute.pdf
I have a sneaky suspicion this may have something to do with the way the print's tonal gradient progression from black to white appears, similar to the effect of a display calibrated with an L* type of non-tradional gamma curve vs normal 2.2 gamma both having similar mid gray density appearance but different density scaling out of black on one end and white on the other.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 05:49:14 PM by Czornyj » Logged

Marcin Kałuża
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« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2012, 01:41:47 AM »
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I use a Mac book Pro with a second display Apple Cinema 20 inch.   I have always had problems with matching image on screen and prints.  Two days ago a stumbled across this article.  (probably same details as you have all read on various blogs and write-ups) but I decided to follow the instructions.   
I work with original art and therefore did the Gamma 1.8 and Color Temp 5000.  lowered the screen brightness to a very low level.  (There is no indicator to show how low or high it is )
Guess what? after using soft proof also all??? the prints I did for quick job came out exactly(98%) as they looked on the  screen.(I never promise or say 100% - nothing ever will be)
I use DataColor's Spyder4Pro.
Article here....
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2012/01/17/how-to-calibrate-your-monitor/

I would appreciate comments as I am going to build on this if possible

Cheers Elo
(you never stop learning on this site)
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Czornyj
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« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2012, 01:54:37 AM »
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He doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.
Once again: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
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Marcin Kałuża
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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2012, 02:05:13 AM »
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He doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.
Once again: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
I have to agree - some inaccuracies in his article.  
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elolaugesen
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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2012, 11:06:52 AM »
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what are the inaccuracies... ?

are facts wrong or the general background of printing, methods etc...

cheers elo 

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FMueller
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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2012, 12:40:28 PM »
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Do you think the LR engineers are such fools that they don't realize that not all LR consumers are sitting front of $1500 monitors.

Matt Kosklowski's video that covers this "feature" of the print module is certainly aimed below the heads of those of us lucky enough and willing to shell out the dough for $1500 monitors with dedicated calibration systems. At least he doesn't breeze buy this part of the program with dismissive instructions for his viewers to buy equipment outside of their budget or inclinations. I'll bet you he understands monitor calibration quite well.


Maybe we should take up a collection and buy poor Matt a copy of Michael and Jeff's 'From Camera to Print and Screen.'  But then Matt would have to begin to calibrate his monitor!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2012, 01:04:37 PM »
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You don't have to shell out anything close to $1500 to get a decent display that can match your prints closely.

Let's just say that this setting Matt loves does make the print lighter. It should. Now if you send that document out to any other software to print, it isn't going to match.

If the print was too dark in the first place, what was the cause? He states he doesn’t want to turn down the display luminance because somehow that ruins the rest of his viewing experience. That made the print too dark? I don't see the connection. If the print wasn't too dark, it sure is lighter after this setting so how's it look elsewhere? You'd suspect too light.

No one has yet explained the connection here. Are the prints really too dark? If so, why is Matt commenting on display calibration and the web (we are to assume he calibrates his display, who knows how or why, and I assume he recommends this process to others).

What we need to ask Matt is, "Do you think the LR engineers (and PS engineers dating back to 1998) are such fools that soft proofing along with proper display calibration doesn't work?" If the answer is no, then what's going on with the disconnect between display and print and as importantly, is the print really too dark? Does Matt and others understand that how you illuminant the print has some effect on all this?
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2012, 01:14:29 PM »
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are facts wrong or the general background of printing, methods etc...

Both...the old D50 / gamma 1.8 is from last millennium actually...D65 / gamma 2.2 has been the standard really since Bruce Fraser started advocating adoption about the turn of the century. However, for certain display (notably laptops) it may be better to simply profiles the native state rather than trying to force the D65 gamma 2.2 because of issues of banding...YMMV
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elolaugesen
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« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »
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Thanks for comments on last millennium..   I move to 2.2 immediately but always had some issues.  Then this at article made me go back to basics.  Now it all looks great.

Prints/screen continues to match.

Most of the experts on this site seem to be photographers versus those of us who work with only original art.(I have never printed a landscape/Portrait/my daughters wedding etc)

The comments from some other users on other threads seem to think there are different things to consider for different kinds of work.  Yet it is the same with a different objective.

I will now try 2.2 again apply some of the ideas presented and see where I go from here.


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digitaldog
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« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2012, 02:18:58 PM »
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FWIW, in ICC aware applications where all this counts, it didn't make a difference if you aimed at 1.8 or 2.2.. The display TRC is what it is. Hence the recommendation that in some cases, native is a good call. 
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Andrew Rodney
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elolaugesen
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« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2012, 02:27:56 PM »
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Digital Dog.    thank you will go back...

(ps..   I have lowered the brightness of my screen significantly and seems to make all the difference)


cheers elo
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #34 on: October 24, 2012, 08:57:09 PM »
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Quote
If the print was too dark in the first place, what was the cause?

mmh...I think Matt admits and shows us in that video but doesn't seem to admit it as the reason which is he views and edits his images on a bright display with a dark surround in LR.

When I view and work on images viewing in Bridge and editing in ACR with the same dark surround and post them on a white browser page online I have to go back and lighten the image because my eyes have adjusted to seeing the image lighter than it really is when editing. I'm almost blinded by the white of a browser page after long edits on a Raw image.

I have to constantly keep this in mind when printing because of my eyes not keeping up with the behavior of transmissive and reflective light. But why am I not having the same problem on a $300 calibrated Dell LCD and printing to a $50 Epson NX330?

I just move the print closer to the light.
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RHPS
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« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2012, 04:45:42 AM »
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I just move the print closer to the light.
I'm with you 100% on this. In my experience the "dark print" syndrome is just as likely to be the result of dim viewing conditions as over-bright monitors. I have calibrated monitors for people and they still complain about dark prints. Then I point out that to get the print brightness to match the monitor they need to place the print at about 18" from an ordinary 60W lamp.

I believe that if you really want to view your prints at 50 lux you have to make the prints lighter to make them look "right"; that is to say they have to be colorimetrically "wrong". The link that I posted earlier in this thread tries to explain that.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2012, 08:54:33 AM »
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The link that I posted earlier in this thread tries to explain that.

Meant to thank you for posting that link. I've been looking all over for that camera exposure formula and method of measuring display luminance since I heard about it a while back.

BTW it's very accurate. My colorimeter measured my display's white luminance at 100 cd/m2 after calibration/profiling, my camera 1/100 sec., f/5.6, ISO 400.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #37 on: October 25, 2012, 09:33:33 AM »
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mmh...I think Matt admits and shows us in that video but doesn't seem to admit it as the reason which is he views and edits his images on a bright display with a dark surround in LR.

I just move the print closer to the light.

I think you hit the nail on the hammer <g>. Sarcasm filter on:

Matt and his buddies have illustrated an issue that apparently those who have no actual training in photography (understanding of light, exposure, making and actually viewing a print) have discovered: IF you view a print (analog or digital), or for that matter a book, painting, or similar non emissive object in a dimly lighted environment, those items appear too dark! Amazing discovery.

Turn sarcasm filter off, back to the real world.

Do we all agree a print can be too dark if viewed properly? Of course. I asked why this might occur.

At this point, the display has nothing to do with the question. The print is either too dark or it isn't. Over the last few years of people reporting that their prints are too dark, I've asked many to move the print to another area of different (hopefully brighter illuminant) then I asked if the print still is too dark. 9 times out of ten they tell me that the print isn't too dark. So at this point, the print is NOT too dark.

Does the slider Matt seems to feel needs more attention than soft proofing or proper display calibration make the print lighter (or darker)? Sure does. Those Adobe engineers generally do these things correctly. And for the uneducated mass of people who don't understand the relationship between a print and whatever makes it look too dark will find the slider does indeed alter the density of the print.

So what are the possibilities and the possible fixes?

1. Print IS too dark. Why? LR Print module slider will make it lighter but one has to suspect that the data is such that it produces a dark print. We've been able to fix this since Photoshop 1.0 and those who worked in a analog darkroom understand what that funny ring around the lens did when you altered it (or that funny stopwatch thing that controlled how long light struck the paper). Creating prints that are too dark, too light or just right isn't anything new in terms of photography 101 (I'm preaching to the choir here at LuLa, hopefully newbies or Matt will actually read this and think about these points).

2. IF the print is too dark and we use the LR Print Module slider, then we fixed the problem but presented potentially a few more issues. Now if one prints that file anywhere but LR, it is too dark. Why not just fix the document in the first place in say Develop? The display *might* be the cause for a document that is too dark and needs editing but the user doesn't know that (hello histogram, number feedback and colorimeter set properly).

3. The print looks darker than the display, people who don't understand how to communicate the issue or again, don't understand photography 101 and try to lighten a print that isn't too dark to match the object that needs alteration: The display. Notice how Matt hasn't indicated the importance of setting the software for calibration correctly? The crux of THIS series of posts!

3A. Same as above but the display isn't the issue, the print isn't too dark, the display isn't too light, the person viewing the print is doing so with a horribly non sensible viewing condition (the 6 watt night light example in my article. I guess for non LuLa audiences, I should have make that analogy bold, underlined and in red <g>). But Tim, you have the correct fix for this: Move the light closer, or turn up the dimmer, or put a higher watt bulb in etc.

OK gang, explain to me why, for thousands of years, artists have created all nature of reflective artwork and didn't seem to have an issue making their expressions too dark. I mean, Solux bulbs, the stinking electric light bulb hasn't been around that long. Why is it that in the last few years, people have complained their prints are too dark when most of the time, when asked, they tell you the print isn't too dark. It is darker than the display. We have people like Matt totally confusing the issue and worse, dismissing the process that makes this all go away: Color Management. Color management is a lot younger than the light bulb right? And most would admit it isn't as easy or intuitive as it could be. I wonder why, looking at the history of inexpensive devices to calibrate a display, that time span and the time span of dark prints seem historically to sync up pretty well. And historically we have people like Matt and prior, David Brooks, writing to their audience a lot of nonsensical web posts about prints being too dark and getting the cause and solution totally wrong.

Someone call up the Louvre and tell them that at night, when the place is closed and the lights are dim, one of guards there (trained as a salesman but working part time as a guard and photographer) thinks all the art work is way too dark.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 03:10:23 PM by digitaldog » Logged

Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2012, 07:08:49 AM »
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I too have been a sufferer of the "my prints are too dark" syndrome. Andrew's article and forum posts though have been most therapeutic for my complaint.

 I have now come out of the closet because I believe it's the closet (or the lighting within) that is the main problem with fellow sufferers. In other words, the viewing environment.

As Andrew and others have stated, most of us who have complained about "too dark prints" don't really have "too dark prints ". (When properly viewed). Our prints viewed under proper lighting conditions match our properly calibrated monitors.

If so, they should then look OK under a range of different lighting conditions based on the ability of the eye and brain to compensate for the viewing environment.

But for many sufferers they don't. I assume then that there is a point where the ability of the eye/brain to compensate for the viewing conditions fails. eg The night guard in the Louvre wondering why all artists paint too dark.

My assumption is that "enthusiastic amateurs" such as I are viewing/displaying prints in viewing conditions not far from those of the Louvre at night (our homes are lit for "warm ambience"  and pokey offices are poorly lit because they are). I'm guessing the pros on this forum are looking at prints under better conditions, so don't complain about this so much  (except Matt).

My uncertainty is where does the eye/brain start to fail to compensate and what to do then? I'm thinking about prints destined for the dim restaurant walls, and longe rooms lit by a couple of shaded lamps. Do you then reach for a curves compensation to lighten the print (or even Matt's maligned slider in LR)?

Thanks for advice.

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Czornyj
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« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2012, 07:40:23 AM »
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My uncertainty is where does the eye/brain start to fail to compensate and what to do then? I'm thinking about prints destined for the dim restaurant walls, and longe rooms lit by a couple of shaded lamps. Do you then reach for a curves compensation to lighten the print (or even Matt's maligned slider in LR)?

In ArgyllCMS you can compensate perceptual rendering intent of printer profile by defining viewing conditions (flag -c and -d)
http://www.argyllcms.com/doc/colprof.html
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Marcin Kałuża
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