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Author Topic: Need Guidance in Evaluating Prints  (Read 6541 times)
Kit-V
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« on: March 29, 2014, 10:39:53 PM »
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This is my first foray into having images printed. My question has to do with evaluating prints once they are returned from the lab.

First, just some brief background: My images were shot in Raw & post-processed in Lightroom 5 on a calibrated NEC MultSync P221W display. Next, I soft proofed the images in Lightroom using the printer/paper profile provided the lab (ProDPI). In soft proofing, I made any necessary adjustments to match the soft-proofed image with the unsoft-proofed image side by side. The images were then sent to ProDPI to be printed on luster photo paper with no color correction by the lab.

When I received the prints from the lab, I noticed that they all had a definite warm, yellow color cast when I compared them to their respective images on my computer display. Obviously, I could use some guidance here as to the possible cause & correction of the color cast. So, I would appreciate any help you might provide.

Also, I find it difficult to compare the printed images with the image on my computer display since the print is not backlit (like the computer display) & the luster photo paper has a different texture compared to the computer display.

Any help you can provide or recommended reading sources would be most appreciated. Thank you so much!

Kit
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 11:45:10 PM »
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How are you viewing the prints? Do you have a standard viewing environment? (meaning a real print viewing stand or standard lighting like a Solux light)? To have a real good display to print viewing, you need both a really good display (you have that assuming it's properly calibrated and profiled) and a proper, standardized print viewing environment. So far, it seem it's the print viewing that might be at fault. So, exactly how are you viewing the prints?
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Kit-V
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 08:01:21 AM »
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Jeff, Yes, my display is indeed calibrated & profiled. (In fact, it is calibrated to ProDPI's recommended standards). Since this is my initial venture into printing, I admit that my print viewing environment is simply the combination of tungsten room lighting combined with the ambient outside lighting from the windows. Your reference to "a real print viewing stand or standard lighting like a Solux light" seems like the initial step I need to take before pursuing any other steps.

From what I have read thus far, a relatively low-cost way to create a reasonably acceptable viewing environment would be the purchase of a Solux bulb. (Please remember that being a novice at printing I do not plan to have many prints made &, thus, prefer to avoid a major capital expenditure initially). Although it would seem that a 5000K Solux bulb would best match the D50 calibration of my display, some folks recommend a 3500K bulb.

I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for walking me down the right path.

Kit
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 11:00:47 AM by Kit-V » Logged

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Schewe
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 11:46:35 PM »
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I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for walking me down the right path.

Well, looking at a print in a mixed light scenario with changing and variable conditions and no control over luminance output is your current main problem. You need a light that will match the brightness of white in and image on the display to white of the paper. The closer you can get to a match in white point is also important (up to a point). Personally I have 4100ºK bulbs in my Solux (3500ºK is too warm for me and my display and 4700ºK is too cool). I can move the light closer or further away to approximate the luminance of the image in screen. It's also useful to move the print closer and further to see what sort of impact brighter or dimmer light has on the impact on the print.

You should also take into consideration the environmental lighting that the print will be display under...sometime that will indeed be mixed lighting (which you already have but without the brightness control).
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Kit-V
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 08:53:12 AM »
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Thank you for your help. Jeff. Logic tells me to get my viewing environment under control as the first order of business.

Thank you again!

BTW, somewhere along the grapevine I heard you rode a BMW motorcycle. Correct? I have been a regular contributing editor to BMW Owners News for 20-some years.

Kit
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 12:26:18 PM »
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Jeff, Yes, my display is indeed calibrated & profiled. (In fact, it is calibrated to ProDPI's recommended standards).
That may be your first problem! They may think it's a calibrated standard (it's really not). If the calibration targets (aim points) are not such they produce a visual match under a good illuminant viewing booth next to the display, the values are wrong, you are not calibrated. See: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml

Did they allow you to use the profile they sent to convert the data? If not, if they demanded say sRGB, we have no idea if the profile they provided for soft proofing was indeed used by the lab. Had they allowed you to use it, you'd be able to pick a rendering intent you prefer and they would have to send the RGB values, in that output space to the printer. But the printer may have changed behavior due to less than ideal process control. The profile you have may not reflect the output.

ICC output profiles have two important tables to do their job. The preview table in the profile may not be in sync with the output table in profile. What you see isn't what you get.

As Jeff points out, the viewing conditions play a huge role in what you see. Hence the silliness of someone specifically recommending display calibration settings without knowing about the type of display you use, how you view your prints, etc.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 02:29:24 PM »
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BTW, somewhere along the grapevine I heard you rode a BMW motorcycle. Correct?

I used to...I had a 1996 R1100GS that had about 96K miles on it when I traded it for an R1200GS Adventure but, alas, I've given up riding for my health so now I ride an Audi Q5 instead. I can carry a lot more photo equipment. :~)
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Kit-V
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 08:48:57 PM »
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Andrew: Thank you for the response. First of all, I had already calibrated my display. It was merely a coincidence that ProDPI's calibration standards happened to be the same as what I have been using. Nevertheless, your point is well-taken. I will first have to set up a good print viewing environment. It seems that only then can I ascertain whether I have a reasonable screen-to-print match.

I downloaded the printer/paper profile (for the paper I requested) from ProDPI's website. I can only assume that they used that profile.

Kit
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 11:58:25 PM »
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Hi,

I used to do some "sanity checks".

1) I print a test image on my Epson 3800 and send the same image to lab, the images should be almost identical. I would use one of the usual test targets for this:


2) I print a synthetic colour checker on my printer and measure the patches using my ColorMunki Photo and calculate DeltaE values using Babelcolor's 'Patchtool'.



Best regards
Erik
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