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Author Topic: Book Module, blurb and color management  (Read 10616 times)

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #80 on: January 29, 2018, 04:08:02 PM »

That 19 Delta measurement of the burnt orange color is pretty bad but can you show how much a custom ICC profile can fix it vs how much it would be limited by offset printing technology and paper being used.

I don't think it's opinion that you can't possibly turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

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Rhossydd

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #81 on: January 29, 2018, 05:18:05 PM »

how much a custom ICC profile can fix it vs how much it would be limited by offset printing technology and paper being used.
A huge chunk of this thread has repeatedly said that it's simply not possible to provide a specific custom profile for the exact press your book will use. There are just too many processes and presses across the world to do it.
Andrew has again produced proof that even on a single book the cover and pages won't be exactly the same due to those differences.

Where we differ is the usefulness of the profile Blurb provide;
Andrew says it's entirely useless.
Some of us say it's helpful in gaining an idea of what the books will look like, even if it's not to be entirely relied on.

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andrewrodney

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #82 on: January 29, 2018, 07:29:58 PM »

A huge chunk of this thread has repeatedly said that it's simply not possible to provide a specific custom profile for the exact press your book will use.
It is quite possible to do so, I've done it. With many, many dozens of presses. They all have to behave the same and they all have to do this consistently! My tests show this isn't possible with Blurb.
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Andrew Rodney
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #83 on: January 29, 2018, 10:25:28 PM »

A huge chunk of this thread has repeatedly said that it's simply not possible to provide a specific custom profile for the exact press your book will use. There are just too many processes and presses across the world to do it.
Andrew has again produced proof that even on a single book the cover and pages won't be exactly the same due to those differences.

Where we differ is the usefulness of the profile Blurb provide;
Andrew says it's entirely useless.
Some of us say it's helpful in gaining an idea of what the books will look like, even if it's not to be entirely relied on.
I've thoroughly understood the purpose of this thread but fail to see why anyone would want to use a book printing service to reproduce one's cherished photos and yet expect to get an idea of what it will look like. What do you expect to see? Quality? or some reasonable facsimile? Not a chance in my book.

Why does one want a book of their photos? To preserve the quality in the form of an archived hard copy instead of printing each individually and placing in a photo album?

If Blurb is printing by outsourcing to numerous different CMYK offset presses on non-glossy paper, quality is not one's concern and especially color matching so why even soft proof. Just send it to Blurb and hope for the best which won't be the image's best rendition with concern to archival quality. That book will act as a rough cut preview of a much better looking image that no one will ever be able to see.

I'm facing the same issue with all my fantastic looking images in that I have too many to be able to afford to print even an 8x10 of each so maybe there could be a high quality contact sheet printing service that at least prints 4x6's to be archived in a photo album.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #84 on: January 30, 2018, 01:29:32 AM »

It is quite possible to do so, I've done it. With many, many dozens of presses. They all have to behave the same and they all have to do this consistently! My tests show this isn't possible with Blurb.
<sigh>We all know it's possible to build "custom profiles", what it isn't possible to do is know which actual printer Blurb will use for any individual book. Hence why any profile they supply will only give a general idea of what you might get, not a specific output profile.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2018, 01:47:38 AM »

Why does one want a book of their photos? To preserve the quality in the form of an archived hard copy instead of printing each individually and placing in a photo album?
I would hope that anyone who has seen a book and seen a high quality photo print (inkjet or analogue) will appreciate that book printing can never really match 'proper' photo quality.

For me, and most people I know that print their own books, we choose to bring together sets of images to build a story from. You can then build a narrative with images, and sometimes appropriate text, that isn't so easy with say 120 individual images. It provides a different context for our images that isn't possible with a box of prints.
I'm sure we'd all love to perfect proper 'photo quality' reproduction, but economically it's just not possible yet for us. Maybe one day ? but for now 'book quality' is better than nothing.
Of the POD services I've seen Blurb gives the best value. There's a lot worse, but anything significantly better is usually a magnitude more expensive and beyond my budget.
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andrewrodney

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2018, 10:47:59 AM »

<sigh>We all know it's possible to build "custom profiles", what it isn't possible to do is know which actual printer Blurb will use for any individual book. Hence why any profile they supply will only give a general idea of what you might get, not a specific output profile.
<sigh> clearly this is a topic that confuses some of the people posting here.
This has nothing to do with custom or non custom profiles! ICC profiles define device behavior or they do not. Blurb's not only doesn't, the bigger issue is, their process control sucks!
I don’t know if some here purposely trying not to understand this, or if they are really struggling with it.
I sent the SAME RGB values from 24 patches to Blurb over the course of a year. They are a MILE off in terms of matching. No profile defines both or either I suspect but it doesn't matter. Even the SAME book is a mile off between the cover and the inside yet some here continue to believe the ONE profile Blurb supplies is of any use. It isn't. Nor do they conduct adequate quality control; patches should not be 19dE off from each other, ever!


I've worked in shops that have far more digital processes, spread across the world than Blurb does, and yes, they can be managed such they never produce a single dE error over 5! In EVERY press in operation. People like Rhossydd, Tim and now presumably Blurb have no such experience setting up color management systems with profiles that notify a client within minutes if their press run exceed a set of deltaE metrics. It's called process control. it is time consuming and expensive and hobbyists labs like Blurb, the labs some here use for soft proofing and utterly inconsistent print output use them too. Now you know why I do not, expect for actual colorimetric testing so few here can conduct and a few do not understand.


NO! Their one profile is not a general idea of what you 'may' get, and if you understood the ramifications of a dE 19 (or even dE9) means, you'd retract that non colorimetric comment really quickly.

Blurb can't maintain process control. Blurb's profile is not based on their output unless and perhaps you're lucky enough to print on a day when the moon and star's align perhaps. The next day, the next month, all bets are off. They were off 19dE in one example; that's horrible. Again, without data, you're just a person with an opinion. My data suggests it is based on misunderstanding of maintaining the ideal behavior of ICC profiles for large numbers of digital presses. I'm sorry again if actual data has ruined your day.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 10:56:53 AM by digitaldog »
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Andrew Rodney
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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #87 on: January 30, 2018, 10:51:42 AM »

I would hope that anyone who has seen a book and seen a high quality photo print (inkjet or analogue) will appreciate that book printing can never really match 'proper' photo quality.
Nor without a lot of work, it's consistency. Had you ever created ICC profiles for a major printing company for them to release, as I have, you'd know this fact too.
That's what actual colorimetric experience teaches some of us. If you have only imagined it, you haven't experienced it.
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Andrew Rodney
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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #88 on: January 30, 2018, 10:54:52 AM »

I've thoroughly understood the purpose of this thread but fail to see why anyone would want to use a book printing service to reproduce one's cherished photos and yet expect to get an idea of what it will look like.
What you thoroughly don't understand is the purpose of process control, where you send the same RGB numbers of ANY image to a device and get the same color appearance you got in the past and will get in the future. Some of us expect consistency in our work and output. Some can't figure out IF they should calibrate and profile a display, let alone actually do so. That's the difference between a pro photographer looking for professional quality and consistent output and a hobbyist. Blurb's inconsistent output and I suppose more so, their pricing, is ideal for all you hobbyist who don't care if the color today and the color in a month are off (differ) by a mile.
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Andrew Rodney
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David Eichler

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #89 on: January 30, 2018, 12:32:35 PM »

What you thoroughly don't understand is the purpose of process control, where you send the same RGB numbers of ANY image to a device and get the same color appearance you got in the past and will get in the future. Some of us expect consistency in our work and output. Some can't figure out IF they should calibrate and profile a display, let alone actually do so. That's the difference between a pro photographer looking for professional quality and consistent output and a hobbyist. Blurb's inconsistent output and I suppose more so, their pricing, is ideal for all you hobbyist who don't care if the color today and the color in a month are off (differ) by a mile.

POD services like Blurb are not just for hobbyists. Many professionals use them as well. Of course they realize the limitations in doing this, but these books still have their place for professional usage. For example, a former teacher of mine at NESOP, Neal Rantoul, has used Blurb (and before that, My Publisher) to print many books of his art photography, which he prints in quantity and sells. Neal is a master digital printer as well as a master printer with traditional black-and-white gelatin-silver. Not saying the print quality of the POD books would be near that of exhibition prints, but these books are a relatively inexpensive way to disseminate one's work with acceptable quality. Would always advise doing a proof copy first before having multiple copies printed.
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andrewrodney

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #90 on: January 30, 2018, 01:14:58 PM »

Would always advise doing a proof copy first before having multiple copies printed.
What does one do if the proof is spot on/approved and the finished product differs visually by a large amount?  :-[
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Andrew Rodney
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David Eichler

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #91 on: January 30, 2018, 01:45:15 PM »

What does one do if the proof is spot on/approved and the finished product differs visually by a large amount?  :-[

According to the former teacher I cited, when he has pushed back against poor print quality and color, he has been able to get them to do another
print run and been pleased with the (eventual) results. Given the consistency problems, if doing this a lot, it makes sense to deal with a local service,
which is what this person has done, with resulting lower cost and higher convenience. Of course, not everyone will have this available to them. Looking for
such a service in the San Francisco Bay Area, if anyone knows of one.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 01:54:34 PM by David Eichler »
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #92 on: January 30, 2018, 03:18:16 PM »

It's called process control. it is time consuming and expensive and hobbyists labs like Blurb, the labs some here use for soft proofing and utterly inconsistent print output use them too. Now you know why I do not, expect for actual colorimetric testing so few here can conduct and a few do not understand.

According to the former teacher I cited, when he has pushed back against poor print quality and color, he has been able to get them to do another
print run and been pleased with the (eventual) results. Given the consistency problems, if doing this a lot, it makes sense to deal with a local service, which is what this person has done, with resulting lower cost and higher convenience. Of course, not everyone will have this available to them. Looking for such a service in the San Francisco Bay Area, if anyone knows of one.

Between all the time Andrew has spent preaching to the choir over this subject vs Blurb's reprinting a entire book for those not satisfied with their print quality, who is making more of a profit?

I don't think it's Andrew, so why does he keep hanging out here arguing about technical issues no one can afford to implement anyway? He's already asserted his authority on the subject so what else does he get out of these discussion other than the joy of beating a dead horse.

I too would like to know an efficient way to print a lot of my images but at a price I can afford that at least maintains the print quality of a Fuji Frontier drylab at Walmart. Right now I can get 8x10's for $3 each and they can print larger if I wanted them to at slight cost increase.

I guess this is as good as it's going to get...
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #93 on: January 30, 2018, 03:39:58 PM »

I didn't need to soft proof those Walmart prints but I did download a Fuji Frontier drylab ICC profile from Dry Creek Photo's database and assigned it to an sRGB (the color space the Frontier drylab prints in) sample image and got a very close match especially burnt oranges that originally looked yellow.

That printer profile was more accurate at predicting the hue shifts more so than even Andrew's Delta E measurements of the Blurb printers.

Wonder if there are canned CMYK icc profiles in Photoshop that could be used as a predictor of similar hue shifts by converting to a "standard" CMYK profile that reflects closely the characterization of the Blurb prints and implementing the same assigning routine that worked for the Frontier in standard sRGB in my case. I can't do this because I've never printed to a CMYK offset press. But from what David indicated it might not be worth the trouble.

This is how I soft proofed in sRGB for one of the Walmart Fuji Frontier prints shown above...
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 03:47:39 PM by Tim Lookingbill »
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David Eichler

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #94 on: January 30, 2018, 05:14:41 PM »

Between all the time Andrew has spent preaching to the choir over this subject vs Blurb's reprinting a entire book for those not satisfied with their print quality, who is making more of a profit?

I don't understand this comment. Presumably, the vast majority of Blurb's customer base is not as demanding as the person in example I have given. Otherwise, Blurb and similar services would have to rethink their business model. It kind of makes sense for them to leave things as is. If they were to offer a premium service to more demanding customers at a higher cost, then that might have adverse consequences for trying to market their standard service to the hoi polloi.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #95 on: January 30, 2018, 05:46:30 PM »

I don't understand this comment. Presumably, the vast majority of Blurb's customer base is not as demanding as the person in example I have given. Otherwise, Blurb and similar services would have to rethink their business model. It kind of makes sense for them to leave things as is. If they were to offer a premium service to more demanding customers at a higher cost, then that might have adverse consequences for trying to market their standard service to the hoi polloi.

That was more a rhetorical question, David, as a comment comparing Andrew's point about the expense of maintaining consistent color managed process controls across a series of different CMYK printers vs having it good enough seeing that Blurb will still make a profit even if they get a demanding customer such as your teacher you cited where he pushed back and got what he wanted from them.

So, is it worth getting it "good enough" and not being able to soft proof accurately, when as you've said with the teacher, it's possible to get Blurb to do a reprint if a customer is not satisfied?

Don't see the importance of soft proofing if Blurb will do a reprint.
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David Eichler

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #96 on: January 30, 2018, 06:26:56 PM »

That was more a rhetorical question, David, as a comment comparing Andrew's point about the expense of maintaining consistent color managed process controls across a series of different CMYK printers vs having it good enough seeing that Blurb will still make a profit even if they get a demanding customer such as your teacher you cited where he pushed back and got what he wanted from them.

So, is it worth getting it "good enough" and not being able to soft proof accurately, when as you've said with the teacher, it's possible to get Blurb to do a reprint if a customer is not satisfied?

Don't see the importance of soft proofing if Blurb will do a reprint.

It is worth to the person I cited because it offers a way to disseminate a fair amount his work at a reasonable price, with adequate quality for someone who is an experienced and demanding maker of exhibition prints. If he had to rely only on traditional book publishing, he would have many fewer opportunities for having his work published and disseminated. Furthermore, the consistency issue aside, the print quality levels of various traditional book publishers can vary quite a bit, with some being not that much different from typical POD quality. Obviously, there are a few POD printers with higher consistency than Blurb and the like, but what is the cost involved for, say a typical 11 x 13 monograph-style book?
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herminy

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Re: Book Module, blurb and color management
« Reply #97 on: February 06, 2018, 03:15:23 PM »

An update, for what it's worth. I'm making a hundred books for a project, and was considering blurb for this to keep it economical. This thread has been helpful. I ordered a book with some side by side correction/profile options for me to get a feel for how they do, but as has been stated here multiple times, that sample means nothing because they may do something totally different next time. Consistency is the issue. I have approached a local printer that has an HP indigo digital printer and can make the book I'm hoping to make for $19 per book and I won't have to pay for shipping like I would have through Blurb (and it would have been a lot!). The nice thing is that they are right here in town, and they will make a proof for my approval that I can look at WITH THEM. If anyone out there is trying to do a small run of books economically, this seems like a nice route. If you have a reputable local printer that offers indigo digital printing, it may not be as expensive as you might have thought to make a book with them (obviously NOT if you are only making 1 or 2 copies).
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Hannah in Minnesota
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