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Archive 2013 · Custom printing
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · Custom printing


For the last 5 years I have printed my own stuff, now I am thinking about custom prints. Two motives:

1. I want to print larger than my Epson 3800 provides.
2. I am looking for better print quality in terms of detail and brightness. My current prints are too dark and a bit blocky.

I have tried Mpix and one other custom house but this was the reason I got my own printer, they were also too dark.
My thoughts are to try a local printer where I could take in one of my printed images and go over with him what I wanted different. I understand I would need to work with my own processing to get a final method that works. Thatís why I want local.

Any thoughts on how to approach this? What sort of process would you suggest? I like fine art mat.
Inkjet or one of the photography methods? Giclee perhaps?



Jan 14, 2013 at 07:36 PM
chez
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p.1 #2 · Custom printing


I think the problem does not lie with the printers, but with your monitor. You have it set too bright so when you think the image looks good on the monitor, it is being displayed way too bright. Try to decrease the intensity of your monitor and then post process your image until it looks good on the screen. This should better align what you see on your monitor from what comes out from the printer.


Jan 14, 2013 at 07:46 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #3 · Custom printing


For a while I was calibrating at 80. But that's a poor choice for on line work or for making web images. I recently dropped from 150 to 120. What do you suggest?

Still leaves two other issues, size which has no solution with my printer and the gritty look which may be solved, although I have spent 5 years working on the work flow.



Jan 14, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · Custom printing


The correct monitor luminosity is highly dependent on the level of ambient light in your edit room. The higher the ambient, the brighter the screen has to be. If you're at the low ambient that CRT screens needed, and at 120cd/m2, that may indeed be too bright. You might need to raise the ambient light somewhat if you can't calibrate dimmer.


Jan 14, 2013 at 10:52 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · Custom printing


But what about working with a custom printer. I will still need to do this for larger prints. I can fix the light issue by making multiple proofs and fiddling with the image. But I need some advice on working with a custom printer, if I can even find one in driving distance.




Jan 14, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #6 · Custom printing


The same calibration will work with every output. You don't need to have a different luminance for different devices.


Jan 15, 2013 at 12:20 AM
hugowolf
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p.1 #7 · Custom printing


ben egbert wrote:
My thoughts are to try a local printer where I could take in one of my printed images and go over with him what I wanted different. I understand I would need to work with my own processing to get a final method that works. Thatís why I want local.

I think going local is the way to go. I would start with web searches for photo printing and your town. Or try fine art digital and utah. Salt lake city will certainly have some.
ben egbert wrote:
Any thoughts on how to approach this? What sort of process would you suggest? I like fine art mat.
Inkjet or one of the photography methods? Giclee perhaps?

Giclee is inkjet. You could call your 3880 prints giclee if you want.



Jan 15, 2013 at 05:09 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #8 · Custom printing


hugowolf wrote:
I think going local is the way to go. I would start with web searches for photo printing and your town. Or try fine art digital and utah. Salt lake city will certainly have some.

Giclee is inkjet. You could call your 3880 prints giclee if you want.



Thanks for the info. I have been looking, and found a couple so far. Most are geared to online at the web pages so I probably need to take a drive. Salt Lake is only 40 miles but it feels like a 100 when I do it. I am going to ask a local wedding photographer where he gets his stuff printed.



Jan 15, 2013 at 03:43 PM
VernH
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p.1 #9 · Custom printing


I think you need to find out why your prints out of your Epson 3800 are not up to your desires.
I have a 3800 and an Epson 4900 and I cannot really tell the difference between them. I have also printed on a friends Epson 7900 ? 24" printer and I don't think printing larger and on a different more expensive printer is the answer. The detail has to be there from the start.
My Nec monitor is set at 100 close to 6500 in a low light room and I also convert all my photos that I print to SRGB and them adust in photoshop before printing. I also have a printer paper profiler that I have used to create custom profiles for different papers, net net it is a lot of effort for small difference.
A photo printed on the 3800 at 16x24 from my daughters 5DIII looks really good, and we have printed 24x36 and they look very close, however the viewing distance has to greater.
Vern



Jan 15, 2013 at 07:18 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #10 · Custom printing


I have been happy with the 3800 prints for the most part if I have a properly focused image from a good lens and 21mp camera. This is 236 camera pixels per inch at 24 inches.

I am sure some more detail could be had with a better work flow although I have worked pretty hard at it myself over the last 5 years.

Some images are hard to print because they require too much manipulation in post processing and what looks ok on screen is not transferred to the print. I also have gamut issues some times.

I probably ought to convert from 16 bit Prophoto to sRgb. But often times my printer supports the reds that are lost during conversion to sRGB so I have not done it. I suppose I need to do more image by image processing for print included many proof shots.

I was getting very good color match at 150 cd/mm^2 but after calibrating at 120, i am getting a pink cast I had not seen before.

I probably ought to just have a dual work flow. One for web and one for print, and even including a different calibration. That is drag my workflow to print needs rather than drag printing to my standard workflow.

I have printed 16x30 which from a camera res standpoint is like 20x30. That print came out fine, but it all depends on content and overall exposure.

My normal viewing distance is about 12-18 inches. I know the drill, but this is what I do. I am the only one who ever looks at them anyway.






Jan 15, 2013 at 07:40 PM
 

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sbeme
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p.1 #11 · Custom printing


Ben,
Not sure why you are having the pink cast. Your monitor is set quite bright. I set mine at 110. Still some prints come out a bit dark and I have learned to dial in extra compensation. Seems to be paper dependent for me, but overall my prints improved when I lowered the monitor luminosity.
Not sure why you want to convert color space. I would not for printing purposes since the gamut your printer can print is greater than sRGB. Does your monitor calibrate well? Is you calibration device up to the task? sRGB makes most sense for posting on the web for those not viewing in color aware browsers and for viewing monitors without wide gamut. Or if your printing vendor requests an sRGB file.
As far as larger prints, not sure why you need to drive anywhere. Many options to chose from and the more pro places like WHCC will ask you to send some images so they can print samples to check proper profiling and color issues.
I have used BayPhoto for a large print (I have the 3800 and usually 12x18, 14x21, 16x20 is enough for my needs). Quick, inexpensive with shipping included. I opted to skip their professional color correction and rely on my softproofing, but you could pay the few extra bucks for their help.

Scott



Jan 16, 2013 at 02:12 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #12 · Custom printing


I am surprised at some replies that 120 is too bright. Thats probably the main issue.

Its a NEC26090 running under Spectraview with an NEC specific Xrite that is 6 months old. Does not get a lot better than that. I suspect the profile issue is my custom print profile. I think it was made for 150.

I should try some prints from images worked at 100 and with a standard Red River profile. Normally this would be too dark when processed at 150 but perhaps not when processed at a darker setting.

Now that I am no longer posting on the web it would not matter.

I have tried Bay and WCCC years ago and even did the soft proofing. But I have made a lot of changes over that time, I ought to try it again.

I think you misread me. I normally stay in Prophoto RGB and send a 16 bit TIFF for print. I was responding to a suggestion to use sRGB.



Jan 16, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #13 · Custom printing


Profiles are not made for a specific monitor luminance. They are made for a specific viewing condition and usually assume a D50 or 5000K light. I may have mentioned it before, but much more important than the specific luminance is the ration of monitor luminance to ambient light. You may just have to raise the ambient levels a bit and you'll be good.

Given your current situation, I would not trust a third party profile to test with until you have all the variables under control. Your best bet, well at least your least expensive, would be to use an Epson branded media and the corresponding Epson profile for that. The Epson profiles have been so good in the last few years that you only get a very minor improvement going to custom with their media. They are more than good enough for testing purposes.

You could also consider moving up to a 7900, for kicks, and you would get more than a few kicks out of one of those. I'm going on four years on my 9900 and that printer rocks.




Jan 16, 2013 at 04:14 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · Custom printing


I had a guy offer a custom profile to allow me to work at a higher luminance and have my prints match better. All he did was lighten the image from a test pattern I printed for him. It works pretty good but not for all images.

I have no control over the light I use to display my images. It is a mix of sunlight and interior light. I can change my display calibration however.

I use 6500 not 5000 I am surprised you mention 5000.

I originally went with Red River because they sold 17x25 cut sheet paper and nobody else did. I have not checked lately. I suppose I could see if Epson has 17x25 matte.

I don't do enough printing to justify the 3800 let alone an upgrade.

Edit, I tried to find some Epson 17x25 cut sheet and did not find any. Anyone know of a source? Don't tell me rolls, I have a roll of Red River and its a royal pain to flatten it enough to load in the printer.



Jan 16, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #15 · Custom printing


"I had a guy offer a custom profile to allow me to work at a higher luminance and have my prints match better. All he did was lighten the image from a test pattern I printed for him. It works pretty good but not for all images."

Well, lightening the test target would make your prints from the resulting test target darker, not lighter, plus it screws with the patch values which makes the profile correction wrong as well. I've been making custom profiles for something like fourteen years now and have rarely had to make tweaks, and never to luminance, once in a while to compensate for the yellow/green bug I discovered in ProfileMaker, and a couple of times to adjust the white point of the Absolute Colorimetric table for more accurate soft proofing of offset press proofs.

"I have no control over the light I use to display my images. It is a mix of sunlight and interior light. I can change my display calibration however."

"I use 6500 not 5000 I am surprised you mention 5000. "

5000K is the viewing standard. There has always been a discrepancy regarding what it takes for the white point of an emissive display to visually match a reflective print. Most people find that 6500K on the monitor more closely matches 5000K in viewing, so they go with it.

"I originally went with Red River because they sold 17x25 cut sheet paper and nobody else did. I have not checked lately. I suppose I could see if Epson has 17x25 matte."

It seems that Epson only sells 17x22, but for purposes of testing and sorting out your color/luminance issues, that would be fine.




Jan 16, 2013 at 05:21 PM
SoundHound
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p.1 #16 · Custom printing


I do my all my own printing (Canon 44" Ipf 8400-see First "Impressions" elsewhere). Long ago I got low cost museum quality (if it's good enough for Musee D'Orsay in Paris...) display lighting with "Solux" globes for "Track" lighting in my electronic photo lab. Elsewhere in my house I installed track lighting to illuminate original oil paintings and my photos.

The globes are less than $10 but most need the twist on Track fixtures that step down the voltage. I suggest their 3800K (ordinary, new, incandescent is about 2700k) globes as more pleasant/practical than their 5000K globes. To see the ultimate color temp it is useful to view in direct sunlight but, of course, no inkjet print will last long that way. So a few 3800K lamps can duplicate high quality museum display. Note that calibrated fluorescent light boxes are limited to small areas and are very expensively.



Jan 16, 2013 at 05:45 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #17 · Custom printing


Peter Figen wrote:
"I had a guy offer a custom profile to allow me to work at a higher luminance and have my prints match better. All he did was lighten the image from a test pattern I printed for him. It works pretty good but not for all images."

Well, lightening the test target would make your prints from the resulting test target darker, not lighter, plus it screws with the patch values which makes the profile correction wrong as well. I've been making custom profiles for something like fourteen years now and have rarely had to make tweaks, and never to
...Show more

I worded the profile wrong. But you get the idea, he made me a profile that would make a print light enough to match my monitor. Works well most times, but some images lose detail because there is not enough black ink.

I wonder why Epson of all paper makers do not sell paper for a printer they make? Go figure. 4x5 cameras are as obsolete as a doodoo bird and I always hated that aspect ratio.

I suspect my best bet is to lower the monitor brightness and use Red River profiles or have a custom profile made for my own prints.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:08 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #18 · Custom printing


SoundHound wrote:
I do my all my own printing (Canon 44" Ipf 8400-see First "Impressions" elsewhere). Long ago I got low cost museum quality (if it's good enough for Musee D'Orsay in Paris...) display lighting with "Solux" globes for "Track" lighting in my electronic photo lab. Elsewhere in my house I installed track lighting to illuminate original oil paintings and my photos.

The globes are less than $10 but most need the twist on Track fixtures that step down the voltage. I suggest their 3800K (ordinary, new, incandescent is about 2700k) globes as more pleasant/practical than their 5000K globes. To see the ultimate
...Show more

I would have a very hard time installing display lighting in my home. Besides, it is swamped by daylight during the day. I have had matts fade but not prints. 4 years is a long time up for a print however. I have room for 9 prints, and swap out the images fairly often.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:10 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · Custom printing


Ok, I downloaded the latest RR profiles, and saw that my old ones are still good. I then calibrated at 80CD/mm^2 65K and 2.2. I printed a test image and it matches my monitor pretty good. It is dark so I would need to brighten it up in CS6.

Any image I made with this calibration will look too bright to most web users I suspect.

Edit.

To make the image work, I had to boost exposure .5 and a gamma offset .92. But this blew out areas so I had to paint it selectively. I think I prefer the custom profile. I could get the same result with a 120 monitor and my custom profile and not need to dodge and burn.



Jan 16, 2013 at 09:19 PM
hugowolf
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p.1 #20 · Custom printing


Ben, my NEC is calibrated at 140 cd/m≤ D65, and definately isn't too bright for my environment - I have large north facing windows in my studio and never print after the sun sets. The luminance level depends on your viewing environment
ben egbert wrote:
To make the image work, I had to boost exposure .5 and a gamma offset .92. But this blew out areas so I had to paint it selectively. I think I prefer the custom profile. I could get the same result with a 120 monitor and my custom profile and not need to dodge and burn.

I don't know what software you are using, but in Lightroom, you would be better dealing with the tone curve sliders than boosting overall exposure. You can do similar things in Photoshop with curves, but it isn't quite as easy. Also llok at eh shaddows/highlights tool, if you are using Photoshop.

Brian A



Jan 17, 2013 at 02:00 AM
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