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Author Topic: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?  (Read 1816 times)

Hening Bettermann

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Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« on: September 15, 2017, 02:32:16 PM »

So I understand that I have to calibrate my screen to the same contrast range as the paper. So I bought an i1pro Display to be able to do that. It turns out that the i1Profiler software does not allow this, at least not on my Eizo. The xRite support advises me to use the Eizo ColorNavigator, as it will give better results! So I waisted 200 .

Can I work around the limitations of the Eizo software, which does not pretend to enable contrast adjustment? Could it be done by adding a base Curves layer during softproof, which limits the image to say 7 EVs in brightness? Is this approach theoretically valid? And if yes, (how) can I translate 7EVs to the RGB 256-scale of the Curves diagram?  The contrast of my Eizo CG243W is 261:1 for White Point D50 and gray priority. So I would have to reduce monitor brightness by roughly 1 EV.

Any ideas?
Thank you for your input!

Doug Gray

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 03:01:48 PM »

So I understand that I have to calibrate my screen to the same contrast range as the paper. So I bought an i1pro Display to be able to do that. It turns out that the i1Profiler software does not allow this, at least not on my Eizo. The xRite support advises me to use the Eizo ColorNavigator, as it will give better results! So I waisted 200 .

Can I work around the limitations of the Eizo software, which does not pretend to enable contrast adjustment? Could it be done by adding a base Curves layer during softproof, which limits the image to say 7 EVs in brightness? Is this approach theoretically valid? And if yes, (how) can I translate 7EVs to the RGB 256-scale of the Curves diagram?  The contrast of my Eizo CG243W is 261:1 for White Point D50 and gray priority. So I would have to reduce monitor brightness by roughly 1 EV.

Any ideas?
Thank you for your input!

That advice only applies if you don't have color managed software that can soft proof. It's a non-optimal hack. Printer profiles will take care of dynamic range in color managed apps.

I also use Eizo's and Colornavigator (quite a good tool, btw).

I recommend setting the Eizo to maximize dynamic range (Lowest possible DMin). Then printer profiles should be used in soft proofing with "show black ink" (in Photoshop) selected. Then your soft proofs will show whatever dynamic range your printer/paper affords. This can be quite different such as matte v glossy papers.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 03:56:04 PM »

Thank you Doug! That was an ultra fast reply. I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom but PhotoLine. It has a softproof mode, which however does not provide choices like "Show black ink" or "Simulate paper white". I assume these are baked in and can not be de-selected.

The reason for my attempt was that I just got back a large print from my print service. It was soft proofed. The overall tonality and the shadows seemed all right, but the highlights looked dull. So I thought...

Now I think that the print service's profile and/or process are suboptimal (colors are also off).

Jim Kasson

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 04:25:55 PM »

That advice only applies if you don't have color managed software that can soft proof. It's a non-optimal hack. Printer profiles will take care of dynamic range in color managed apps.

I also use Eizo's and Colornavigator (quite a good tool, btw).

I recommend setting the Eizo to maximize dynamic range (Lowest possible DMin). Then printer profiles should be used in soft proofing with "show black ink" (in Photoshop) selected. Then your soft proofs will show whatever dynamic range your printer/paper affords. This can be quite different such as matte v glossy papers.

I agree with this advice, and I'd go a step further. When you soft proof, set a generous surround area, and make it roughly the same as the mat you'r going to use. If it's a white mat, set your surround to 255/255/255. Also make your absolute lighting levels similar. And, for really critical work, there is no substitute for a hard proof viewed under the same lighting that will be used for the final print.

Jim

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 04:35:11 PM »

Thank you for chiming in, Jim! - As for the matte, that's difficult. The print is 90x130cm and has a black rim of 1 cm. Beyond that, there will be no matte. It is supposed to hang on a white wall. So, should the matte be black or white? I have used middle gray so far. If I choose black, the image will look more contrasty on screen, and hence the print will look even more dull. Wrong?

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 06:58:35 AM »

Thank you Doug! That was an ultra fast reply. I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom but PhotoLine. It has a softproof mode, which however does not provide choices like "Show black ink" or "Simulate paper white". I assume these are baked in and can not be de-selected.

The reason for my attempt was that I just got back a large print from my print service. It was soft proofed. The overall tonality and the shadows seemed all right, but the highlights looked dull. So I thought...

Now I think that the print service's profile and/or process are suboptimal (colors are also off).

Describe dull highlights. Does that mean you don't see detail clarity near paper white similar to clouds that appear as flat blobs of tone or do you mean the highlights in relation to tones around mid gray aren't punchy and don't jump out at you?

And I wouldn't blame all this on the print provider seeing you just admitted you're using a sub optimal soft proofing app that doesn't provide  "Show black ink" or "Simulate paper white".

And your wanting to reduce the EV of your display to simulate the look of this large print tells me you aren't using the same intensity of light to view the print as it is on your Eizo monitor.

But your description of what you are seeing in the highlights needs clarification as I indicated above because some printers no matter if you use a custom profile will not always have the same rate of gradual tone progression in highlights (cloud detail example) as it is in the file. Same applies to shadow graduating out of black.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2017, 07:52:13 AM »

Hi Tim,

thanks for your comments.

> Describe dull highlights. Does that mean you don't see detail clarity near paper white similar to clouds that appear as flat blobs of tone or do you mean the highlights in relation to tones around mid gray aren't punchy and don't jump out at you?

It is more like the latter. The image looks flat, and the shadows and mid tones seem OK.

> And I wouldn't blame all this on the print provider seeing you just admitted you're using a sub optimal soft proofing app that doesn't provide  "Show black ink" or "Simulate paper white".
 
I'll ask if these features are baked in as I believe.

> And your wanting to reduce the EV of your display to simulate the look of this large print tells me you aren't using the same intensity of light to view the print as it is on your Eizo monitor.

How do I compare the intensity of light on the monitor to that in the room? The monitor is calibrated to 100 cd, and with a white point of D50, that gives a contrast range of 1:260. The light i the room, measured at the wall where the print is hanging, is EV 5 according to my Pentax spot meter. This is the brightest I can muster as a diffuse (!) room light with my 6 D50 Yuji bulbs and is what I have used as the ambient light during editing.

Your last comment seems to indicate, that the monitor brightness should match the light in the room (rather than the contrast range of the paper). And since I can not make the room brighter, I may not be that wrong trying to reduce the contrast range on the monitor? And since I can not control the monitor directly, adding a Curves layer ON TOP of (or rather: as a base under) the soft proof might be a reasonable means after all? 

Good light!

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2017, 08:32:14 AM »

Uff! A moment ago, there was bright sunshine outside. The spotmeter reading at the site of the image increased to EV 7. And indeed, in this light, there was quite a good match between print and screen, wrt tonality.

So the problem is the room is too dark. I may need to buy more lamps and bulbs. But: Can I exspect this level of brightness in any gallery? OR I might lower the screen contrast after all, using a curves layer. In this case: How can I translate EVs to the 256 RGB scale?

Jim Kasson

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2017, 10:58:51 AM »

Thank you for chiming in, Jim! - As for the matte, that's difficult. The print is 90x130cm and has a black rim of 1 cm. Beyond that, there will be no matte. It is supposed to hang on a white wall. So, should the matte be black or white? I have used middle gray so far. If I choose black, the image will look more contrasty on screen, and hence the print will look even more dull. Wrong?

If the print is going to be on a white wall, then I'd use a white surround.

Jim

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2017, 12:43:00 PM »

Thank you. Yes of course, this will lead to more contrasty prints.

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2017, 04:26:58 PM »

Uff! A moment ago, there was bright sunshine outside. The spotmeter reading at the site of the image increased to EV 7. And indeed, in this light, there was quite a good match between print and screen, wrt tonality.

So the problem is the room is too dark. I may need to buy more lamps and bulbs. But: Can I exspect this level of brightness in any gallery? OR I might lower the screen contrast after all, using a curves layer. In this case: How can I translate EVs to the 256 RGB scale?

That happens to me quite a bit in my apartment. When even a beam of outdoor sunlight hits objects lit by plenty of overhead LED daylight bulbs with round household style diffusion domes in my kitchen or bedroom it makes objects pop to where I want to photograph them.

I'ld suggest you don't light your prints with round dome styled diffused LED bulbs and consider switching to spot light beam style if it's available in your brand your currently using. This spot beam is what makes Solux halogen based bulbs look so good along with their full spectrum qualities.

The Hyperikon LED daylights I bought on Amazon are spot beam lights and exhibit this non-diffused quality but only if I combine at least two close together due to their severe intensity fall off at greater distances which most likely is the problem you're having with your LED lighting. LED's require specially designed diffusion domes with differing designs that can exhibit varying intensity characteristics that affect contrast.

Or get your bulbs closer to the print and combine more. I'm not familiar with light characteristics of the brand of lights you're using.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2017, 04:35:29 PM »

And just FYI but due to the extreme advanced technology of current digital imaging processes from capture to editing to print creates wider dynamic ranges that require more exhibition lights than what has been used in the past in museums to light prints created from the old image reproduction technologies of darkrooms to pro photo labs to paintings.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2017, 04:45:21 PM »

I'ld suggest you don't light your prints with round dome styled diffused LED bulbs and consider switching to spot light beam style if it's available in your brand your currently using. This spot beam is what makes Solux halogen based bulbs look so good along with their full spectrum qualities.

The Hyperikon LED daylights I bought on Amazon are spot beam lights and exhibit this non-diffused quality but only if I combine at least two close together due to their severe intensity fall off at greater distances which most likely is the problem you're having with your LED lighting. LED's require specially designed diffusion domes with differing designs that can exhibit varying intensity characteristics that affect contrast.

Or get your bulbs closer to the print and combine more. I'm not familiar with light characteristics of the brand of lights you're using.
Unfortunately, those of us who make money selling prints to hang in office settings have little control over the lighting or the color of the walls.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2017, 05:48:15 PM »

What puzzles me: I established this room light as an attempt to create my own "standard" lighting conditions. I used this light while editing. Why does it not result in a print with a contrast that fits? Why does the print require more light?

Wrt replacing the bulbs with directed light, I see 2 problems: 1- As said my thought was to create a standard light, identical for both viewing and as ambient light while editing 2- I use glossy paper for the larger contrast range; my images would be impossible to view in directed beam light.

Mark D Segal

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2017, 01:54:27 AM »

............

But your description of what you are seeing in the highlights needs clarification as I indicated above because some printers no matter if you use a custom profile will not always have the same rate of gradual tone progression in highlights (cloud detail example) as it is in the file. Same applies to shadow graduating out of black.

Cloud detail is best preserved at the capture stage by using some negative exposure compensation, especially when the remainder of the scene is mid to dark tone. Apart from that, the accuracy of tonal ramp reproduction in the quarter-tones depends very much on the extent of gamut the paper allows and the quality of the profile. With wide gamut papers (e.g. the better luster/gloss offerings) in today's printers, rendition can be excellent over a range of about L*2 to 95+, as you can surmise from the numerous results I've reported on this matter in the course of testing and reviewing various printers and papers.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2017, 02:00:34 AM »

Unfortunately, those of us who make money selling prints to hang in office settings have little control over the lighting or the color of the walls.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

Could you possibly offer some information to help the OP's issue?
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2017, 02:08:14 AM »

What puzzles me: I established this room light as an attempt to create my own "standard" lighting conditions. I used this light while editing. Why does it not result in a print with a contrast that fits? Why does the print require more light?

Wrt replacing the bulbs with directed light, I see 2 problems: 1- As said my thought was to create a standard light, identical for both viewing and as ambient light while editing 2- I use glossy paper for the larger contrast range; my images would be impossible to view in directed beam light.

Then there is no solution for you. You'll just have to live with your setup. I gave it a go but I can't offer solutions without seeing your setup. Take a wide angle photo of your setup and post it here. Edit to get it to look as close as possible.

Big prints need lots of light to get a match to your small screen. Real world viewing venues I've seen of large prints hung on walls at museums and restaurants are presented with light having an intimate dim glow. The curator or restaurant owner don't much care what it looked like on the photographer's backlit display.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2017, 02:09:00 AM »

Unfortunately, those of us who make money selling prints to hang in office settings have little control over the lighting or the color of the walls.

Alan, your observation makes sense if you're talking stock photos. However, if you are being commissioned by an office to decorate their walls with photos, I would presume they could allow you in to measure the surrounding conditions and lighting, giving you the info you would need to customize the prints you would be selling to them. Does that make some sense?
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2017, 02:18:31 AM »

Cloud detail is best preserved at the capture stage by using some negative exposure compensation, especially when the remainder of the scene is mid to dark tone.

I wasn't using clouds as an example for post processing. I was using it pin down what the OP meant by dull highlights on his large prints. Apparently he doesn't have enough light or a characteristic of light to offer an intensity of reflectance in the highlights to get a match what he sees on his display.

It's a print viewing light issue. Below is an example of lighting characteristics I described above between lights of different construction (spot halogen vs diffused daylight CFL) and their effect on highlight rendering on white paper.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 02:23:46 AM by Tim Lookingbill »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Matching monitor to paper contrast - how to?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 02:30:02 AM »

Yes, quite possible.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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