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Author Topic: Color Management - the dreaded question YET again!!!  (Read 11655 times)
Hydrology
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« on: April 11, 2013, 06:40:35 AM »
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Looking for definitve help as I am wasting a lot of expensive ink AND paper!!! But more importantly, I need to be sure that my file(s) that is going out to other comapnies (Society 6 etc) will print out pretty much how I see them on the monitor!
 
First of all the equipment I'm using:-
 
Adobe CS6 Creative Suite
Apple 27 iMac (late 2011)
Spyder 4 Elite Display Calibrator
Epson R3000 Printer
 
My problem - I am simply NOT getting consistent or predictable results between what I see on my calibrated monitor versus what gets printed out on my Epson R3000 using the correct ICC paper profile.
This is something Ive been plagued with for a while but ever since Ive started doing more graphic design work within Photoshop instead of my photography, color saturation, brightness and contrast need to be spot on, and they seem more shifted in brightness, contrast, and saturation. Ive watched the CreativeLIVE course with Eddie Tapp on Color Management, but it hasnt really answered the questions I need answered!
So here's my workflow, and tell me what I need to change to get more consistent results.
 
I ensure that my monitor calibration profile is the default profile for the computer. I start a new file in PS CS6 using sRGB as the color space. I design my image, and get ready to print. In PS's print settings, I ensure that "Photoshop Manages Colors" is selected, that the correct Printer/Paper profile is selected, and I choose Relative Colorimetric. I print the image, and it is more heavily saturated than the on screen version! So I decide to use the "Soft Proof" settings prior to printing to get a look at the simulated print BEFORE printing and wasting paper and ink. I do so, choosing the paper profile, and notice for this particularimage, only one part of the image changes (brighter with Soft Proof ON). However, when I print this image the the print look more like the original, rather than the Soft Proof!
Them this is where I really pull my hair out! I save this image for the web(using sRGB, which is the colour space its already in), and upload it for sale (its their preferred color space too). The image on their site looks more washed out than whats on my screen, in Photoshop - why is this so? This is furtration as I need to be the sure that prospective clients get a print that looks close to my artitci intent, but this workflow seems to suggest that that wont be the case! And dispite finding that monitors generally have more saturated colors than prints, why am I finding the opposite to be true??
 
I read ALL on Gary Ballard's site and understand it, but Im not having the success I should be having. Its affecting my confidence in design, if I cant get the simple task of color management under control even with the right tools for the job. HELP!!!
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 06:42:21 AM by Hydrology » Logged
kingscurate
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 08:38:31 AM »
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On a windows system and using a canon 9000, i do what you do as regard the print, but i then go into properties of the printer and tick/click/select no colour management. You didnt say you have done that bit. I suggested this to someone using a mac and they couldnt find it, now i know its there as martin evening suggests this in his books.
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Hydrology
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 08:46:09 AM »
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On a windows system and using a canon 9000, i do what you do as regard the print, but i then go into properties of the printer and tick/click/select no colour management. You didnt say you have done that bit. I suggested this to someone using a mac and they couldnt find it, now i know its there as martin evening suggests this in his books.

In the Print Settings dialog of the printer settings, both the Color Settings tab is greyed out (but says OFF as it is of course) and also in the Color Matching section, this is also greyed out. So it appears I have disabled CMS within the printer itself, and allowing Photoshop to manage colours.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 08:56:08 AM »
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... I ensure that my monitor calibration profile is the default profile for the computer.. that the correct Printer/Paper profile is selected...

It seems to me that two crucial pieces of information are missing: what do you consider as "default" and "correct"? Canned manufacturer's profiles that came with the monitor/printer or the ones you created specifically for your monitor and your printer/paper combination?
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 09:10:29 AM »
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So I decide to use the "Soft Proof" settings prior to printing to get a look at the simulated print BEFORE printing and wasting paper and ink. I do so, choosing the paper profile, and notice for this particularimage, only one part of the image changes (brighter with Soft Proof ON). However, when I print this image the the print look more like the original, rather than the Soft Proof!

I read ALL on Gary Ballard's site and understand it, but Im not having the success I should be having. Its affecting my confidence in design, if I cant get the simple task of color management under control even with the right tools for the job. HELP!!!

Did you read this?

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml

ICC profiles have two sets of tables, one for output, one for soft proofing. It's also possible the profile’s soft proof tables suck.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 09:22:36 AM »
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It seems to me that two crucial pieces of information are missing: what do you consider as "default" and "correct"? Canned manufacturer's profiles that came with the monitor/printer or the ones you created specifically for your monitor and your printer/paper combination?

What I mean is I use my Spyder 4 Elite to calibrate my monitor weekly which BECOMES the default used profile of my computer. I then use the profiles supplied by the paper manufacturers I use (Epson, Ilford etc) for my output. I would assume that this should give me close (not perfect, I understand monitors are brighter and more color saturated) but ultimately CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE results. My main concern is ensuring that what I see onscreen translates well when I upload/send to another publisher (print lab or online store such as Society6 etc)
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Hydrology
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 09:24:02 AM »
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Did you read this?

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml

ICC profiles have two sets of tables, one for output, one for soft proofing. It's also possible the profile’s soft proof tables suck.

I did read it. It seems my biggest bugbear is more colour, specifically the saturation of colour. Brightness or contrast has been a fairly easy fix, but Ive found the saturation WAY off.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 09:29:18 AM »
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I did read it. It seems my biggest bugbear is more colour, specifically the saturation of colour. Brightness or contrast has been a fairly easy fix, but Ive found the saturation WAY off.

Could be the soft proof table of the profile (so try more than one) OR the Spyder is doing a less than ideal job of calibrating the display (do you have sufficient controls to alter the calibration?).
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 09:35:24 AM »
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Could be the soft proof table of the profile (so try more than one) OR the Spyder is doing a less than ideal job of calibrating the display (do you have sufficient controls to alter the calibration?).

To rule out the Spyder I rented an equivalent model and tried that - the profiles created were the same.

As my work incorporates both photography and graphic design/art, I decided from last weekend at least to co to my 'Color Settings' in PS and change my RGB working space to ProPhotoRGB. I havent done any more tweaking/printing since (till I really nail the problem) but I think Im going to continue with this working space at least as I also use LR4. For my graphic work, and online, I will convert to sRGB before exporting.

But I still need to solve this inconsistency!!!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 09:36:40 AM »
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To rule out the Spyder I rented an equivalent model and tried that - the profiles created were the same.

Doesn't rule out that device itself isn't so good (or the software). How about renting say an EyeOne Display Pro?
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2013, 09:42:16 AM »
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Doesn't rule out that device itself isn't so good (or the software). How about renting say an EyeOne Display Pro?

I understand that colorimeters can be out, but having owned two in my time (including this one), renting one and still no nearer a solution, Im reluctant to spend more money on THAT side of the equation, despite knowing how important it is. I previously owned an i1 and it never worked properly from day one, and support from X-rite was zero. If Im going to keep buying these devices and they simply dont work as advertised, whats the point of having these devices on the market in the first place?
While calibrating by eye is not recommended, I can say with confidence that colour does look good on screen, its the printing that seems to be out. Usually its the screen that is over saturated, but its my prints that are the case!
Lets say for the sake of argument that the monitor calibration IS correct, what areas could I explore elsewhere?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2013, 09:46:27 AM »
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I understand that colorimeters can be out, but having owned two in my time (including this one), renting one and still no nearer a solution, Im reluctant to spend more money on THAT side of the equation, despite knowing how important it is.

Lets say for the sake of argument that the monitor calibration IS correct, what areas could I explore elsewhere?

It's either the print profile or the display profile (or a bit of both) and of course the print viewing conditions. In terms of the display profile, that could be a less than ideal instrument or even a great instrument mated with less than useful (fully functional) software. You get to decide where the issue(s) lie. The article I wrote explains the importance of software that isn't crippled such you could get a visual match.

A Spyder with X software features really is not in the same league as a SpectraView with it's sofware and the best Colorimeter it supports (I'd suggest an EyeOne Display Pro).
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 09:56:49 AM »
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It's either the print profile or the display profile (or a bit of both) and of course the print viewing conditions. In terms of the display profile, that could be a less than ideal instrument or even a great instrument mated with less than useful (fully functional) software. You get to decide where the issue(s) lie. The article I wrote explains the importance of software that isn't crippled such you could get a visual match.

A Spyder with X software features really is not in the same league as a SpectraView with it's sofware and the best Colorimeter it supports (I'd suggest an EyeOne Display Pro).

Appreciate the help Andrew.
Based on the zero support I got from X-Rite before, I will never contribute to that company again by way of a purchase. When I bought my older i1 Display LT device, it was regarded as better than the Datacolor Spyder range. However plenty of positive users out there prompted me to buy the ELITE late last year. The software is good, and I am confident in its ability. I understand a 27" iMac screen is no match for NEC or Eizo screens out there, but surely investing $250+ in a device specifically for calibrating should yield me good results. I want predictable results - if I can get them I can work around the quirks. It pains me to have spent money on a good computer, a great printer (with expensive consumables), not to mention the Creative Suite AND the tools to get the display in order as well as all my camera equipment, and still be told its not good enough.

Reading Gary Ballard's site, he seems to suggest (if Im reading it right, his formatting is ALL over the place) that using your monitor's calibration profile as your RGB working space is recommended in PS. Thoughts?
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 10:09:38 AM »
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Reading Gary Ballard's site, he seems to suggest (if Im reading it right, his formatting is ALL over the place) that using your monitor's calibration profile as your RGB working space is recommended in PS. Thoughts?

I suspect it's a misread because the idea of using a display profile as a working space is completely wrong and has been since Adobe introduced the idea of RGB working space's back in 1998. Using your monitor's calibration profile as your RGB working space is NOT recommended.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 07:25:43 AM »
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I tried my other printer last night, a Canon MP640, and with my current monitor calibration, and using the paper manufacturer's profiles (just like my Epson R3000) the colours and brightness seemed very close to the screen output. SO I need to troubleshoot why the better printer, the Epson, is under performing.
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GlueFactoryBJJ
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2013, 04:53:31 PM »
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Just as a thought, since both sRGB and Adobe RGB use a 6500K white point, you have to view the print under its "standard" light color (white point), which is 5000K light, or your colors are going to be messed up.  Since prints are reflective, the color (and spectrum) of the light is going to have a large influence on the appearance of the print.

Anyway, I would start with viewing it under a 5000K light and then see how well the print matches the screen.  If, when you use a 5000K light (in an enclosed area with no light bleed) and the colors match, then you will likely need to ensure that your customers also use that kind of light set up to approve the print on their end.  Unfortunately, how the print will appear on their end is an unknown because you will not know how well they have calibration matched their screens and printers.  Yep, more headaches.

This is one of the reasons why many people send both the digital file and a proof print that they KNOW matches on their end and then it is up to the customer to make sure that their monitors/printers also match.



Note: I edited this because I had a brain fart in the first paragraph by saying initially that the prints should be viewed with a 6500K light rather than the 5000K standard for print. Sorry.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 04:17:00 AM by GlueFactoryBJJ » Logged
Hydrology
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2013, 08:08:56 AM »
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Ive been working on a new design, and have tried printing this one again. On screen, using my calibrated display profile, it looks great. In print on the R3000, the colour is not far off what I see on screen, but the image is dark, to a degree that a leather-style dark pattern used predominately as background is almost lost in the background. If I print the same image on my Canon MP640, the colour is closer to the screen (more vibrant), but still got the darkness issue.
I did read (AGAIN!) the link Andrew suggested - Im confident the display profile is good, and Im confident the Ilford ICC profiles for both printers for the luster paper are also good. Ironically when I go into Soft Proof mode in CS6, the colours shift dramatically (but of course come close to good in the print), but the perception of brightness DOESNT seem to change, despite this being my current problem.
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2013, 09:54:57 AM »
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I had a brain fart in the first paragraph by saying initially that the prints should be viewed with a 6500K light rather than the 5000K standard for print. Sorry.

Maybe. Keep in mind that any Kelvin value is a range of colors. D65 is a specific color, 6500K is a range. The type of lighting too can play a huge role. A 6500K Fluorescent with the spiky spectrum may produce a vastly different color appearance than a Solux with a similar spec for Kelvin. Add OBA's into the mix, you'll soon find that such values are not really useful. Getting a screen to print match is and often, differing values end up producing this goal.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2013, 12:06:05 PM »
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Hello,

I've read in your original post that the rendering intent you use to print is relative colorimetric. Have you tried using relative colorimetric with black point compensation or perceptual? Especially perceptual can open up your shadows, and will desaturate your colors.

A great image to help you troubleshoot your workflow can be found on the outbackphoto.com website. See http://www.outbackphoto.com/printinginsights/pi048/essay.html and download and print the (ProPhoto RGB) Printer Evaluation Image. Look at the step wedge in the bottom left corner. On a properly profiled printer you should see a difference from step 10 or 12 (compared to the background that is). What does your monitor tell you?

Also, the big horizontal gradient should be smooth and neutral gray. Oh yeah, the image in the middle is gray too.

If you can get a hold on an Eye One Pro, then you can take it a step further and assess the colorimetric accuracy of your output by printing and measuring a step wedge and compare the result against a known reference (see http://www.idealliance.org/downloads/idealliance-iso-12647-7-color-control-wedge-2009 ).

Regards,
Yann
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2013, 03:36:37 PM »
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Keep in mind that any Kelvin value is a range of colors. D65 is a specific color, 6500K is a range.

I think I know what is meant, but somehow it reads backwards. Is D65 not a standard illuminant specified by a spectral emission (range) of visible wavelengths (colors); and is not 6500K a color temperature specified by a single color?

picky, picky . . .
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best regards,

Ted
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