LightRoom 4, Soft Proofing and Print Profiles
/forum/topic/1167863/0



ucphotog
Registered: May 03, 2010
Total Posts: 488
Country: United States

I have been limited to 8x10 prints because my old printer was a Canon Pixma IP4300, and 8x12 paper is not quite but essentially impossible to find. To get prints, I would either print 8x10 or I would go to one of the many print houses.

I just recently bought a Canon Pro9000 MkII. With several rebates combined, it was an "offer I couldn't refuse". And it let me move up to 13x19 prints. I have really wanted to get past the 8x10 barrier ... And with more inks I could get better color (which turned out to be immediately obvious when I did a test print on those two printers).

So, I had some Canon 8x10 Glossy II paper left from an older printer (Canon IP4300). And I bought some Red River "Arctic Polar Gloss". I downloaded the profile from Red River and installed it.

I decide to make a comparison between the color management controlled by the printer and the specific profile I downloaded. Both prints on the same paper taken from the same box.

First, using the printer profile. The output is beautiful and essentially looks basically like the image I see on my calibrated monitor, only a bit brighter. I'll try to figure out how much brighter at some point...

Next, I click soft proofing in the develop module, select the profile I downloaded and ... the image looks like mud. Contrast is low. Some colors are way off (brown rather than orange). Just awful. I switch over to the print module and print using that same profile. The output matches what the soft proofing showed on the screen. Nothing like the original image, but soft proofing and printing seemed to produce the same wrong results.

I get better/closest results in soft proofing, if I use the Canon supplied profile for their Photo Paper Pro II. That seems to be the closest to what the print actually is of the various profiles I happen to have loaded. It's a bit hard to be absolutely certain as the only daylight corrected light source in the house is up in my wife's sewing room (and it's night right now . The incandescent bulbs are obviously a bit toward the yellow. Nonetheless, it is certainly far closer than the "correct" profiles.

The easiest thing is to just let the printer control the color. That seems to produce the best results. Better even than the Canon profile, as far as I can tell. However, ... that bothers me.

So, what it the issue here? Am I just trying to use a profile that isn't actually matching what my printer is doing? If so, I guess I should use the "wrong" profile that is the most accurate? I am pretty new to this whole business, so am I missing something "obvious"?

As to some of the more obvious things, I went back and confirmed that I had downloaded the correct profile and put it in the right place... The monitor has been recently calibrated via colormunki.

Thanks in advance.



ucphotog
Registered: May 03, 2010
Total Posts: 488
Country: United States

OK. I have figured out about 50% of the issue. My question about the printer ICC profiles exists. I still don't quite understand what is going on there, but let me explain what I did learn.

While reading about ICC profiles and printing, one source said, "Wait for 24 hrs. to judge the quality of the print." I thought that odd, but ...

What I found is that in the first twenty minutes, the colors of the print vary *DRASTICALLY*. They come out initially looking pretty good. Then the reds fade. Red sections go gray. Other sections look greeny/yellow. Contrast drops. It just looks *AWFUL*. Then over time the reds comes back. The contrast comes back. The image starts looking more like it did initially. So, basically, you ignore what the print looks like in at least the first twenty minutes before you evaluate whether the colors are right--or even close.

How the image compares after time with the initial image off of the printer, I have no idea, as all you have to work with is memory, but it does eventually look pretty good.

The print drivers *do* have a difference on the image, varying from minor to fairly significant. And the color profiles from RR are quite different than letting the printer control the color. However, the really awful, muddy colors I was upset about eventually went away. The printer controlled colors are much brighter, and the LR controlled colors are much less bright, but it now looks mostly like a difference in brightness, not between great and awful.