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Author Topic: Strange print behavior...  (Read 1392 times)
manzico
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« on: January 08, 2013, 12:41:29 AM »
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I've not posted on LL before (I'm a bit of a lurker), but I'm completely stymied by a problem I'm encountering right now, I've turned to both Epson and Adobe for help and, while they are both trying to be of assistance, I don't seem to be getting anywhere.  I know there are many top notch folks here so this is my hail mary pass.  A little background:

I've had a nice workflow that I've used for years.  I'm sure many of you would find it a bit tedious and I won't go into the details of it, but the important part is that I always printed out of Photoshop (CS6 Extended - now at 13.0.3 - yes I have the stupid Trial window bug, but that's another matter).  My monitors are profiled (no custom printer profiles, but I've downloaded appropriate profiles from PixelGenius for those times when I've needed them, and with my color management my prints have been fairly accurate.  I use and Epson Stylus Photo R2880 and I've been very happy with it.  I mainly work on a 24" iMac (2009 vintage).  Recently I decided to change my workflow entirely based on some of the tutorial videos I've purchased from LL.  I decided I was ready to integrate much more LR into the workflow, especially now that it includes soft proofing.  Because of the new workflow I was really looking forward to printing out of LR.  That should more or less get you current.

To date, I haven't printed with my new workflow and I'd say I haven't printed anything since 13.0.1 on PS and 4.1 on LR (not that I was printing from LR at the time).  Having not printed in a while I knew I'd need a head cleaning (sure enough I did) and, as is my habit, once the head was clean, I printed (from LR) a 4x6 of the image I planned on printing at a larger size.  It catches any lingering gunk after a cleaning.  The print just didn't look right to me (too dark and the colors were a little off).  I've encountered prints with bad colors once before and it turned out to be a driver issue.  In the process I found a great image that is indicative of some kind of problem and I keep both good and bad prints of it handy... just in case.  I decided to print this image, and sure enough it came out looking like the standard craptastic version I was getting with the bad driver ages ago.  Just to check out that it didn't have to do with my new process, I printed the same image from PS (which worked fine last time I printed this image).  It too came out all wrong (the same all wrong as LR).  Since the bad prints looked just like the old "bad driver" prints, I figured I knew what was going on and worked with Epson to reset my print pipeline and reinstall my printers (I also have a Workforce 845 for "throw away" printing and for my wife to use).

With new installs for my printers in place I went ahead and printed again... and again it came out wrong.  I was, to say the least, despondent.  As a final sanity check I loaded the image up in Nikon Capture NX2 (version 2.3.1) and did a print.  All of a sudden the print came out perfect.  It matched my old "good" prints and, just as importantly, was a dead ringer for the image on the screen.  This is where I find myself.  Apparently color management is broken in my Adobe products, but works fine in my Nikon software.  I'm at a bit of a loss.  I'm 99.999999999% sure that I'm printing out of LR, and especially PS, correctly.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd love to be able to print again.  Printing out of Capture NX2 is really not a great option.

Thanks in advance,

David
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David Sutton
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 02:48:57 PM »
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  My monitors are profiled (no custom printer profiles, but I've downloaded appropriate profiles from PixelGenius for those times when I've needed them, and with my color management my prints have been fairly accurate. 


We could start there. Maybe PixelGenius do printer/paper profiles, but the monitor profiling you have to do yourself. Without screenshots of your LR print setup it's impossible to say what is happening.
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manzico
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 08:32:23 PM »
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We could start there. Maybe PixelGenius do printer/paper profiles, but the monitor profiling you have to do yourself. Without screenshots of your LR print setup it's impossible to say what is happening.

Thanks for the reply.  I regularly calibrate my monitor, but I don't think that's the issue.  As for screenshots, I'm with you completely (see below), maybe you'll find what I'm missing.  I opted to show my PS print dialogs since both PS and LR are producing the exact same bad colors, and I'm fairly certain I'm doing the PS print setup correctly (I've been doing it for years).

Here's the general print dialog:


Here's the Print Settings dialog:


And here's the Advanced tab from within the Print Settings dialog (just for completeness):


In this case I'm actually using the standard Epson profile for that paper.  When I have previously printed with these settings, I got the correct colors.  For some reason when I print now, I get the wrong colors and this behavior extends to both PS (with settings shown in the screenshots), and LR.  I believe I'm setting LR up correctly as well, but since PS doesn't even work, LR matches it, but mysteriously other applications (e.g. my Nikon Capture software) does yield the right results (using the same profile btw), I'm at a bit of a loss.  It seems to me that PS and LR may not be managing color at all even though they are saying so.  I'm going to try setting the profile to something outlandishly different (something as weird as I can find) so that I can see if there is any change at all.  I'll post the results.  If you see anything obviously wrong with how I set up the print, please let me know.

Thanks again,

Dave
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manzico
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 08:41:15 PM »
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So I found a really weird color space and selected it.  Here's the print dialog:



You can see how weird the image should look.  The print definitely reflected the change, although it's hard to tell here, what the right output really is.  So obviously the color profile I'm selecting is having an impact.  The question I now have is why is the same color profile resulting in one (wrong) output from both PS and LR, but a different (right) output from Nikon Capture?

I'm just passing on new information.  Any help would be awesome.

Thanks,

Dave
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manzico
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 08:58:33 PM »
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Here's a photo to give you an idea of what I'm seeing:



It's just a quick snap from my iPhone, so the colors aren't accurate, but the relative difference comes across.  The top print is the "correct" one printed from Nikon Capture (that matches older "correct" prints).  The lower print is the "wrong" one that I get from both PS and LR.

Thanks,

Dave
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David Sutton
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 06:34:19 PM »
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A couple of things.
I don't print from Photoshop but those settings look okay except possibly the printer profile. Is that the correct one downloaded from the paper manufacturer for that printer?
Next, are you sure you have turned off colour management in the Epson driver?  On my printer it's easy, I select "no colour management". It's a while since I had an Epson printer, but from memory turning off colour management in the printer was a bit fraught.
Finally, it looks like you have your monitor too bright. Most folks set it to 100 to 140 cd/m2 depending on viewing conditions. Mine is at 105 cd/m2 which gives a reasonable match to the print.
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manzico
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 08:56:36 PM »
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A couple of things.
I don't print from Photoshop but those settings look okay except possibly the printer profile. Is that the correct one downloaded from the paper manufacturer for that printer?
Next, are you sure you have turned off colour management in the Epson driver?  On my printer it's easy, I select "no colour management". It's a while since I had an Epson printer, but from memory turning off colour management in the printer was a bit fraught.
Finally, it looks like you have your monitor too bright. Most folks set it to 100 to 140 cd/m2 depending on viewing conditions. Mine is at 105 cd/m2 which gives a reasonable match to the print.

I'm pretty sure the printer is set to no color management.  The odd thing (pointed out on another forum - I'm seeking help everywhere) is that the option, while set to no printer color management, grayed out and it shouldn't be.  I'm presently trying to run that to ground.  As for the profile, I'm using the Epson provided profile for that paper, and don't forget, printing with that same profile, but out of Nikon Capture NX2 seems to work just fine.  I believe my monitor brightness is OK, but I'll check it again.  I'm curious, what makes you say my monitor might be set to brightly?

Thanks for the reply,

Dave
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David Sutton
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 10:13:38 PM »
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  I'm curious, what makes you say my monitor might be set to brightly?


Dave

The lower print looks too dark.
As I said, I seem to recall turning off colour management in the Epson driver can be an issue, and wrong colours are often caused by double profiling. Sometimes followed by graphics card issues, corrupted printer/monitor installs and other more weird stuff.
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smjphoto
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 03:24:19 AM »
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I have no idea if this is applicable to epson/apple issues, but I had a problem with LR and apple double profiling. The issue had to do with  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 needs to be added to the AppColorMatchingInfo.xml file. I can direct you to the canon info if you, or any one else who knows about this, think there is any value to adding to this file.

I would strongly suggest trying to print with an older version of LR or PS to see if its a version issue.
good luck,
Stuart
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 12:41:31 PM »
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I don't have your printer but am familiar with Epson Printer dialog boxes so thought I'ld throw this out and see if it changes anything.

When Photoshop Manages Color, it usually has everything in the Epson and Photoshop Print dialog box turned off. I see you have a lot of things turned on in the Photoshop Print dialog. You might try unchecking...

Send 16 bit data (uncheck anything that says 16 bit in the Epson Print dialog as well)

Also uncheck Match Print Colors and Show Paper White. I have no idea what those do even when I have them turned on or off in my Epson driver. Nothing changes the look of the print anywhere within any software interface or print result.

In the Epson Print Dialog I see you're using a Colorsync profile listed in the Advanced dialog so I'ld suggest you scroll up to Color Matching in the menu shown in this screengrab:

http://sites.udel.edu/art-tech/files/2012/06/PSCS4_SP4800_OSPrint_Choose_PrintSettings.png

I'm having to assume you have Color Matching in your Epson driver. Make sure Colorsync isn't selected in that dialog box.

Do a test print and see what happens.

I have a suspicion dealing with my own Epson driver on a cheap Epson NX330 & 440 using "Printer Manages Color" out of ANY software that allows printing that something within Apple's OS is switching print pipeline data interpretation on the fly using Apple's Quartz driven color managed video frame buffer display preview to define the color but applying a default 2.2 gamma transfer function which appears to be happening going by how dark the brick wall behind the butterfly looks on your actual print. I get pretty good color matches printing using "Printer Manages Color" and even out of Apple's Preview.

The reason for this suspicion is on the fact I can convert my images in Photoshop to any color space thus CHANGING the RGB DATA while the preview stays the same and so does the print choosing "Printer Manages Color". Edit the Photoshop preview and NOW the print changes. Before color managed systems were implemented on the OS level and "Printer Manages Color" was selected, the image's RGB data was sent to the printer and it showed it in the print results. This isn't happening any more. Apple's color managed previews on the OS level seems to be getting in the act at some point.

Without changing anything I said above what happens when you print choosing "Printer Manages Color" in Photoshop Print dialog and choosing Epson Color Controls in Epson Print dialog?

Other than that I have no idea what is happening with your situation.

 

« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 12:49:48 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
manzico
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 04:02:43 AM »
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Tonight I took another crack at the problem.  I fully deleted all of my printers, and any traces of Epson on the hard drive.  For good measure I also removed all of my Epson icc profiles in my ColorSync directory.  I repaired the permissions on my HD, and then reinstalled.  Whether or not this helped I don't know.  What I do know now, after much testing, is that I will never enable the 16-bit printing option in the Printer Settings dialog.  They might as well make it the "Print Like Crap" button.  It turns out that if this is enabled, even if printer color management is disabled in that very same dialog, the prints turn out with odd color casts.  I don't know why this is, but my theory is that this options sits outside of the realm of printer color management disabling that occurs when you turn of printer color management in the driver (Printer Settings dialog).  If you turn 16-bit on in that dialog, maybe it re enables part of the printer color management and you get a conflict between PS/LR and the printer.  I am still leaving the 16-bit option enabled in PS/LR as that doesn't cause a problem.  I'm curious however if I'm actually getting 16-bit printing with this set up.  I'm going to close the loop with Epson's support line anyway. 

Thank you all for the suggestions and information.   You encouraged me to keep trying to find a solution.

Dave
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 09:32:30 AM »
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Well at least I got one of those suggestions right...turn 16bit off.

Dave, I'm not surprised about the trouble you're having with something as simple as disabling or enabling things within any software that has to integrate with two others namely the OS and PS/LR.

You'ld be surprised what one line of code one character, character space or syntax off or absent all together can do to ruin an end user's day.

When I finally upgraded to OS X for the first time buying a newer system years ago, I was so entertained by the new OS's animated "wooshing" window opening and closing GUI but it started to wear thin pretty quick so I found a line of code hack online to turn it off entering EXACTLY the characters and spacing in Terminal to turn it off and it worked without a hitch.

But the thought still lingered in the back of my mind how easy it was to make such a huge change with just a simple line of code that I'm still surprised it all works as well as it does between Epson, Apple and Adobe.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 02:13:22 PM »
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Dave, I'm glad to hear you are making some progress. In the end, most of us aren't trying to get the exact shade of red on the label for Coca Cola, we just want the stuff to work well enough to explore our photography. Screen to print matches will never be near as long as the print is a reflective medium, despite what people claim. But I'm happy to get to the point where where I can look at the screen and reasonably predict what will happen when I print. And sometimes it is a stab in the dark, which opens the door of serendipity.
I hope you get a solution to your problem. If you feel you aren't there in a month or so, then I would just go for what works and give the two fingered salute to what is supposed to be correct. Remember the whole idea of "controls" can be the enemy of art. The most important area of control we need to exert is when we decide which prints should be kept and which should be burnt.
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manzico
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 03:17:33 PM »
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Dave, I'm glad to hear you are making some progress. In the end, most of us aren't trying to get the exact shade of red on the label for Coca Cola, we just want the stuff to work well enough to explore our photography. Screen to print matches will never be near as long as the print is a reflective medium, despite what people claim. But I'm happy to get to the point where where I can look at the screen and reasonably predict what will happen when I print. And sometimes it is a stab in the dark, which opens the door of serendipity.
I hope you get a solution to your problem. If you feel you aren't there in a month or so, then I would just go for what works and give the two fingered salute to what is supposed to be correct. Remember the whole idea of "controls" can be the enemy of art. The most important area of control we need to exert is when we decide which prints should be kept and which should be burnt.

I couldn't agree more.  There's never going to be a perfect match.  Of course close would be nice.  It looks like with that one button clicked off the match is back where it was before, which is close enough for me.  Thanks for the encouragement and the support.

Dave
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manzico
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 03:31:01 PM »
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Just to close this out fully, I just got off the phone with Epson and they confirmed that if you have PS or LR managing colors, EVERYTHING needs to be off in the printer driver including the 16-bit option.  You will still get 16-bit printing via PS's color management.  Apparently the "Off (No Color Adjustment)" option and the 16-bit checkbox operate independently in the driver and if either is on there will be a conflict with a color managed print utility.  Just wanted to pass that along.

Thanks again for all the help,

Dave
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