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Author Topic: Color Workflow  (Read 950 times)

MazenHam

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Color Workflow
« on: September 25, 2017, 11:13:31 AM »

I'm about to acquire my first printer (Epson SC P800) and have a few issues I'm trying to understand.

I realize there are a lot of questions. If you can answer any please do so but pls take the time to read the background info.

Background:

I'm not printing for business today but rather to learn and be able to translate my images to prints that I can enjoy and others as well (hopefully). Print sales will come when I have much more control and understanding and as my photography evolves.

I have an Eizo CX271 calibrated monitor (using i1 Display Pro). I'm using an 90 cd/m2 brightness. for the 27' monitor it feels bright on my eyes given the low illumination overall.

I live in Beirut, so I cannot sell equipment easily. For example, the P800 (and P600) is only available on special order from the distributor. I will also pay 35% over online prices to buy it here. Please factor this in. I also don't want to break the bank on the other hand.

I plan to print up to 16 x 24 ... or 16 x 48 panos at the greatest.

1- I will need a spectrophotometer and those cost quite a bit at $1600 for the i1 Pro 2 Photo which seems to be great. The latest Colormunki is a cheap alternative but the huge difference in price sounds like I might be compromising print quality. Is this so ? Or do I resort to services who would profile my printer for the probably few photo papers I will use for a start?

2- After profiling my printer for each paper I will use, print evaluation is the next step. I've seen several posts on these forums where both a print viewing booth (e.g. GTI which is again quite costly) is used and also solux lamp(s). Can I do with only Solux lamps alone - how can I control their brightness ? Will I be able to match (i realize from discussions it is never really a precise match) print to screen? I guess a different monitor profile needs to be created at a much higher brightness if the solux is very bright.

Are there alternatives?

3- In terms of the overall work environment. I cannot paint a whole room neutral gray. I will eliminate tho anything that has a harsh color cast. Any advice there ?

4- Which paper do I start printing on ? I will print both color and black and white. I usually don't like highly glossy feel. lustre seems to be closer to my own taste although I am ready to experiment.


Thx
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BradSmith

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 11:58:28 AM »

In your position, I'd try to keep it simple and develop my printing skills before branching out into making your own custom profiles and trying a great many different papers.  Start with Epson papers and Epson canned profiles and see how close your prints are to your monitor. Many people find that they are fully adequate, and see little or no difference between images printed thru epson profiles vs custom profiles. (The same also applies to other paper brands.....in general, OEM profiles have notably improved over the past few years).   I've found that almost no one who views my prints can see subtle differences such as you'd get with different profiles or even notice when prints I'm showing them are on different papers that are similar in type.

Once you are comfortable printing, adjusting images, etc AND settle on one or two PK ink papers and MK ink papers, you could investigate a custom profile for one of each paper types and see if you can see a notable difference.  Suggested papers to try.....US paper titles (may be different in other parts of the world): 
PK Inks:  Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster; Epson Legacy Platine (semi-gloss, smooth); Epson Legacy Baryta
MK Inks:  Epson Hot Press (or Cold Press) Natural, Epson Legacy Etching

Have fun
Brad
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MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 12:45:14 PM »

Thanks Brad.

I'm reading Bruce Fraser's book to get more knowledgeable on the subject. I'll most likely start with your simple and practical advice and save quite a bit.

I still need a recommendation re print viewing conditions (e.g. solux lights or alternatives) for anyone willing to contribute.

Regards,
Mazen
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daicehawk

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 04:56:58 PM »

I calibrate client's displays for D65, 160 cd/m2 and tell clients to compare the print under the real sunlight in the shadow. Heck, even checking the print under the midday sun is better than any artificial light. There are yet still no at least as spectrally good light as our dear sun.
As for the spectro, buy a used i1pro. I've had three of them (have two now), if they pass the tile calibration, you can be sure they are OK, no need to recertifucate. The biggest concern is the tungsten bulb lifetime.     
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BradSmith

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 01:56:24 PM »

Thanks Brad.

I still need a recommendation re print viewing conditions (e.g. solux lights or alternatives) for anyone willing to contribute.

Regards,
Mazen

I have Solum 4100K, 36 degree MR16's in a generic track mounted on an 8 ft tall ceiling.  They are pointed at a white wall three feet away on which I have a number of my framed photos.  Below that, up against the wall, I have a work table.  That table is my "print evaluation station".  The light level is a close enough match for my monitor brightness.  Once again, I suggest that at your stage, you keep it simple, implement "good enough" and put your efforts, energy and resources into learning printing and image adjustments.  In my opinion, a world class physical setup is not needed by the vast majority of people reading this forum and certainly not needed by someone just starting on this journey.

You've already implemented what are far and away the two most important elements of a good printing environment.....a high quality, properly calibrated monitor and a printer that will print as high a quality image as you can print.   Now, take lots of images.  Work on them hard in your image editing software and print, print, print.  Once you encounter minor impediments that only custom profiles or the perfect image editing/print evaluation setup might resolve, then think about those more expensive and complex "solutions". 
Brad
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digitaldog

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 02:09:05 PM »

How to build your own Solux Lighting system ala Joe Holmes:


http://digitaldog.net/files/16TheRightLightpart2.pdf
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/

MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 03:03:23 PM »

I have Solum 4100K, 36 degree MR16's in a generic track mounted on an 8 ft tall ceiling.  They are pointed at a white wall three feet away on which I have a number of my framed photos.  Below that, up against the wall, I have a work table.  That table is my "print evaluation station".  The light level is a close enough match for my monitor brightness.  Once again, I suggest that at your stage, you keep it simple, implement "good enough" and put your efforts, energy and resources into learning printing and image adjustments.  In my opinion, a world class physical setup is not needed by the vast majority of people reading this forum and certainly not needed by someone just starting on this journey.

You've already implemented what are far and away the two most important elements of a good printing environment.....a high quality, properly calibrated monitor and a printer that will print as high a quality image as you can print.   Now, take lots of images.  Work on them hard in your image editing software and print, print, print.  Once you encounter minor impediments that only custom profiles or the perfect image editing/print evaluation setup might resolve, then think about those more expensive and complex "solutions". 
Brad

Thanks a lot Brad for your advice. I will place the order for the printer tomorrow.

I have been making photographs for 3 years now (not a whole lot given it started as a hobby - turned to a true passion, albeit a disciplined one). The most I learned came from the feedback of experts particularly when I attended a workshop with Bruce Barnbaum, Jack Dykinga and Bill Ellzey early this summer. A full week with these guys reset my brain. Heck I hear their comments "to watch for the perimeter" or high contrast areas in my ears as I am making shots! I think I will hear your "print, print, print" advice over and over as well !

I changed gear a lot in the process of these 3 years, hence my idealism when I made this post. I will opt for a simple setup for now.

Thanks!
Mazen
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MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 03:05:03 PM »

How to build your own Solux Lighting system ala Joe Holmes:


http://digitaldog.net/files/16TheRightLightpart2.pdf

Thanks for the pointer ... seems like a much more affordable soln.

Cheers
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Rhossydd

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 05:32:21 PM »

Once you encounter minor impediments that only custom profiles or the perfect image editing/print evaluation setup might resolve, then think about those more expensive and complex "solutions".
I generally agree wholeheartedly with all your advice in this thread. However I should point out that a custom profile isn't necessarily an expensive item, my business (and many others) makes them for £15 (UK pounds). That's hardly a big investment in the whole picture of a digital printing system.

Much of the advice around about getting custom profiles made goes back ten or fifteen years when manufacturers own profiles were often pretty poor. As you've pointed out, in 2017 OEM offering are very good and custom profiling only really comes into it's own when a OEM profile isn't available. 
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digitaldog

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 05:43:36 PM »

Much of the advice around about getting custom profiles made goes back ten or fifteen years when manufacturers own profiles were often pretty poor.
Not all ICC profiles are created equally, even from the same supplier!

Not all ICC profiles are created equally
In this 23 minute video, I'll cover:
The basic anatomy of ICC Profiles
Why there are differences in profile quality and color rendering
How to evaluate an ICC output profile
Examples of good and not so good canned profiles and custom profiles on actual printed output.


High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Not_All_Profiles_are_created_equally.mp4
Low resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNdR_tIFMME&feature=youtu.be
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/

MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 05:54:49 AM »

How to build your own Solux Lighting system ala Joe Holmes:


http://digitaldog.net/files/16TheRightLightpart2.pdf

I went over this and was wondering why the insistence on the L2770 P vs. the MB... Is this related to the absorption of the "unwanted" light mentioned ?

Thanks
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MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 04:35:52 PM »

Not all ICC profiles are created equally, even from the same supplier!

Not all ICC profiles are created equally
In this 23 minute video, I'll cover:
The basic anatomy of ICC Profiles
Why there are differences in profile quality and color rendering
How to evaluate an ICC output profile
Examples of good and not so good canned profiles and custom profiles on actual printed output.


High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Not_All_Profiles_are_created_equally.mp4
Low resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNdR_tIFMME&feature=youtu.be

Now this got me wondering if the P800 canned Legacy Paper profiles are "good enough". I'll run the test prints you provided in this video (once the printer arrives in 4-6 weeks).

- I also watched the "why Are my prints too dark" video. When you are doing your initial edits on your images, do you immediately edit with the intended profile for the printer/paper combo ? Or do you perform an initial edit without this, and then make adjustments with the soft-proof feature for the combo ?

Thanks again
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digitaldog

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2017, 10:45:39 AM »

- I also watched the "why Are my prints too dark" video. When you are doing your initial edits on your images, do you immediately edit with the intended profile for the printer/paper combo ? Or do you perform an initial edit without this, and then make adjustments with the soft-proof feature for the combo ?
I rarely ever edit for the output initially. I edit to make the master image appear as best as possible, then output specific edits if printing.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/

MazenHam

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2017, 08:35:22 AM »

How to build your own Solux Lighting system ala Joe Holmes:


http://digitaldog.net/files/16TheRightLightpart2.pdf

Quoting from the article:

"The lamp works by releasing amber from its dielectric reflector-coated back, and reflecting bluish light out the front,resulting in a color temperature far higher that of the filament. The amber light must be totally absorbed by the fixture so as not to pollute the room with the wrong color of light (about 2000K). The 3000K light that comes out of the front at a wide angle to the beam, directly from the filament, must also be absorbed. Only the model L2770 fixture achieves sufficient absorption of this unwanted light."

Solux offers a Black-Back version of their MR-16 bulbs. From Tailored Lighting's website the following is mentioned: "The spectral output of the black back bulb is pure SoLux daylight, with the added benefit of no light coming out the back." Tailored offers their own fixtures,track, etc... for these bulbs.

If I opt for this Black Back bulb, will I then not need the L2770 Halo lighting? or is Halo still a better option since the light beam coming out the front needs to also be diluted by the soft focus lens mentioned in Holmes' setup?
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BradSmith

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Re: Color Workflow
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2017, 03:13:42 PM »


Solux offers a Black-Back version of their MR-16 bulbs. From Tailored Lighting's website the following is mentioned: "The spectral output of the black back bulb is pure SoLux daylight, with the added benefit of no light coming out the back." Tailored offers their own fixtures,track, etc... for these bulbs.

If I opt for this Black Back bulb, will I then not need the L2770 Halo lighting? or is Halo still a better option since the light beam coming out the front needs to also be diluted by the soft focus lens mentioned in Holmes' setup?

Once again, keep it simple (inexpensive).  I have solux non-black bulb versions in an inexpensive, rather generic head/track system.  In the US, you can find many four foot tracks with 3 heads for $50 - $70.   I can't imagine that the minor off-color light emanating dimly from the rear of the fixtures, away from where the beams are directed have ANY eyeball viewable impact on my print viewing decisions.  I'm sure that Joseph Holmes and Digital Dog are correctly making their recommendations for a near perfect solution.  But in my opinion, the huge majority of us don't need that.  I imagine that a relatively small percentage of the experienced, pretty serious individuals on this forum have neither the black back bulbs or the special, expensive heads from Tailored Lighting.  And they produce spectacular prints that match their monitors very well. 
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