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Author Topic: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?  (Read 4327 times)

PierreVandevenne

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Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« on: November 08, 2010, 12:25:05 PM »

Just wanted to thank Andrew for a very useful article, devoid of any conspiracy theories ;-), and full of practical and immediately useful information!
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wolfnowl

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 12:28:37 PM »

I'll second that!  Except for the conspiracy theories part, which I think we're secretly peeking out from around the edges...

Mike.
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digitaldog

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 12:31:02 PM »

Except for the conspiracy theories part, which I think we're secretly peeking out from around the edges...

There are without question conspiracy theories embedded, the reason I decided to write the piece in the first place <g>
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Andrew Rodney
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 12:34:14 PM »

There are without question conspiracy theories embedded, the reason I decided to write the piece in the first place <g>
Would that be a conspiracy.icc file?  No wonder my prints don't match my monitor!!
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Schewe

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 01:16:01 PM »

There are without question conspiracy theories embedded, the reason I decided to write the piece in the first place <g>

Actually, I don't subscribe to the "conspiracy theories" concept...to have a conspiracy theory implies that some intelligent beings have gotten together and decided to do something in concert. In point of fact, I think the industry actually suffers from the LACK of reasonable conspiracy activities....

I personally know two of the most knowledgeable display technology experts–one who designed the Sony Artisan series of displays and the other who designed the Spectraview series of displays (Andrew knows who I mean) and while there is "discussion" between them, my preference would be to lock them into a hotel suite for a long weekend (with a supply of great wine) and not let them out till they come up with a conspiracy plan to fix the industry...

The biggest issue really is that the market for computer displays is actually driven entirely by the consumer TV industry. High end displays for computers is actually a very small market segment. What the two experts I mentioned have done is to work the system over the years to sneak in high end computer display and color management technology into an industry segment they really doesn't want it (we do, but the manufactures really don't).

The bottom line of Andrew's article is really that users need to be aware of the limitations of display technology and learn how to work around some of the issues-the biggest being that the luminance output of many displays is simply too high.

The other aspect that Andrew doesn't mention in depth is the role of the viewing environment in general when working at a display. Yes, you can special case the situation for when you are trying to soft proof an image prior to printing but the fact is that the rest of the time your environment must be controlled when you are doing regular image editing. There are strict ISO standards that one can follow but probably the single most important aspect of the viewing environment is one of consistency throughout the day and night. With today's high output displays, there's no reason to work in a dark cave (and several reasons that's a bad idea). Ambient light is good as long as it doesn't strike the display and is low enough that with the light on your eyes adapt so that back on the display appears black. If the ambient light is too low, you'll actually tend to see light coming from the black areas of an image because your eyes adapt to the overall darkness. Ideally, your general working environment will not be much different when you switch into soft proof mode and turn on your viewing lights...and that's important so you don't set up a disconnect between your general viewing environment and your soft roofing environment.

The other little trick Bruce Fraser taught me is than when trying to achieve a display to print match, don't try to have both in the same visual field...they can be side by side if space is an issue but separated so that you only really "see" one rendition at a time. Glance to the screen then glance at the print. Your eyes will adapt immediately...but if both are in the same field your eyes tend to fixate on what's different and can lead to an appearance of difference even if the real difference is very slight. You tend to get hung up on that stuff...

I think Andrew's article should be required reading prior to posting questions here on the forums...at least now we can just tell people READ THIS!


One small nit to pick...the color temp of "tungsten" is actually 3200ºK not 3400ºK. 3400ºK was the color temp of "photo flood" bulbs...(shows Andrew's age on that one, who here still remembers photo flood bulbs)

:~)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 01:17:58 PM by Schewe »
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digitaldog

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 01:31:35 PM »

...to have a conspiracy theory implies that some intelligent beings have gotten together and decided to do something in concert.

They” have. “They” tell users that after calibration the prints are still too dark so fix them with an adjustment layer or a preset in LR. “They” tell users that soft proofing doesn’t really work. “They” should know better.

Quote
One small nit to pick...the color temp of "tungsten" is actually 3200ºK not 3400ºK. 3400ºK was the color temp of "photo flood" bulbs...(shows Andrew's age on that one, who here still remembers photo flood bulbs)

True, I should ask Michael to fix that. And I do remember Photo Floods, the first lighting I used (could afford) making Super 8 movies. They didn’t last long, a few hours if I recall, so maybe they at some point hit 3200K <g>
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Andrew Rodney
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Steve Weldon

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 01:44:01 PM »

Great Article!
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FranciscoDisilvestro

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 01:49:59 PM »


I think Andrew's article should be required reading prior to posting questions here on the forums...at least now we can just tell people READ THIS!

:~)


My vote for that.

Excellent article

Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 02:01:37 PM »

Thanks for that article.
After all its not THAT complicated.
Sometimes so simple things can plague us and we don't see the the obvious any more.
I confess ....

Chris Sanderson

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2010, 02:49:09 PM »

True, I should ask Michael to fix that.
fixed...
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Christopher Sanderson
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digitaldog

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 02:50:28 PM »

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Andrew Rodney
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 07:53:39 PM »

I think Andrew's article should be required reading prior to posting questions here on the forums...at least now we can just tell people READ THIS!
Another "amen" to this! Very timely, too, since there seem to have been a rash of "why are my prints too dark" queries recently.

Superb article!

Eric
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NikoJorj

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2010, 03:48:20 AM »

Another "amen" to this!
And yet another one!

Great article, that goes in depth without being complicated.
To the point that it could be of interest to translate it in other languages? I linked to it in a french forum (where print too dark complaints are as ubiquitous as elsewhere), but the main reaction I got was like "too bad it's in english".
I could offer my limited writing abilities to try to translate it in French.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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digitaldog

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2010, 09:22:28 AM »

To the point that it could be of interest to translate it in other languages? I linked to it in a french forum (where print too dark complaints are as ubiquitous as elsewhere), but the main reaction I got was like "too bad it's in english".
I could offer my limited writing abilities to try to translate it in French.

I am open to anyone who wishes to translate into any language and post (even English <g>).
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Andrew Rodney
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kbolin

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2010, 11:35:16 AM »

Good article Andrew... Thanks!

With my old iMac I could never color manage it properly and always had prints that were too dark regardless of the light it was displayed under.  Once I moved to the MacPro, a high end NEC monitor and properly calibrated... VOILA... problem solved!  :-)

JRSmit

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 01:52:58 PM »

Another "amen" to this! Very timely, too, since there seem to have been a rash of "why are my prints too dark" queries recently.

Superb article!

Eric
Andrew,

Second this, very useful article, clear, concise, and pragmatic.
Will make a Dutch translation if you are ok with this.



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digitaldog

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 02:08:50 PM »

Will make a Dutch translation if you are ok with this.

Sure.
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Andrew Rodney
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walter.sk

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Re: Why Are My Prints Too Dark?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 07:03:01 PM »

The article has a wealth of information, yet is presented in a straightforward, very readable manner without stinting on the technical side of things.  I will have the members of my photo club, many of whom have begun struggling with color management issues, read it on LuLa's website. Great article!
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