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Author Topic: Better shadow detail in BW...  (Read 14731 times)

richardboutwell

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2016, 09:26:04 am »

Hum...I seem to do just fine printing from Lightroom and I do know a bit about the Print module since I helped design it and licensed PhotoKit output sharpening for use in LR's printing. And yes, you really only need 3 levels of sharpening tuned for either matte or glossy paper. Bruce Fraser pretty much wrote the book on image sharpening (literally wrote a book on sharpening which I updated after his passing) and because of that, Adobe licensed it for LR.

However, it's the printing workflow from LR that is the real benefit...and seriously, you can't use LR's local controls? Do you actually know how to use them?

Well it doesn't work for me. And I know a bit about fine prints . . . Just because something "works for you" doesn't mean there aren't better options out there. 

Lightroom Local Tonal Controls: Yes, I can use them, but they are the least intuitive and biggest pains in the anus. And, since there are better options out there, I don't bother with dumbed-down software like Lightroom and the slew of plugins needed to get what I consider decent results from it.

The magical-mystical sharpening algorithms: Judging from the few pictures on your site, I'd argue that they are all over-sharpened. I've never seen one of your prints in person, but I assume they are over sharpened as well. I know your are well regarded as being the one who "wrote the book" on a lot of this digital stuff (I even bought your printing book a few years ago). I also realize you have to stick up for those controls because you helped helped design some of them and licensed the sharpening software to Adobe. But, that doesn't make it good, and just because someone literally wrote the book on a subject doesn't mean that it shouldn't be reevaluated. Every time someone sends me a file to print that has gone through one of these sharpening plugins, I have to ask them to send me a file that hasn't been sharpened so I can make a print that isn't peanut brittle. People can talk all day about spatial frequencies, deconvolution sharpening formulas, and resizing algorithms until the fixer's exhausted, but that doesn't mean the print looks good when its hanging on a museum wall.
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Schewe

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2016, 12:30:37 pm »

The magical-mystical sharpening algorithms: Judging from the few pictures on your site, I'd argue that they are all over-sharpened. I've never seen one of your prints in person, but I assume they are over sharpened as well.

So, you are judging my sharpening based on PNG files on my website? Really? And no, my prints are not over sharpened...they are properly sharpened for the final print size and resolution. Many members of LuLa have seen my prints...maybe somebody who HAS seen my prints might chime in...
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richardboutwell

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2016, 01:32:14 pm »

So, you are judging my sharpening based on PNG files on my website? Really? And no, my prints are not over sharpened...they are properly sharpened for the final print size and resolution. Many members of LuLa have seen my prints...maybe somebody who HAS seen my prints might chime in...

Yes, I am judging your work as it is displayed—how else it is supposed to be judged? If what you are showing on your site is supposed to be a representation of how they look in printed form, and if your sharpening formulas are using the final print size and resolution (in this case "print" size is screen size and resolution), then they are over-sharpened and brittle. Honestly, I would be happy to see more and have a better understanding of your current work and aesthetic. Seeing someone's work is really the only way to put people's opinions and comments in context. I am working to get more of my older work from 2001-2010 rescanned, edited, and finally printed and posted online for that very reason.

It is hard to have other people who have seen your prints comment because you are seen as the expert and you can say, "that is how it is supposed to be for that size and resolution" and people will believe you (do you make them stand back the appropriate distance that your formula dictates as well?).

This gets to my biggest problem with these kinds of plugins and the people who rely on a formulaic and mechanistic approach to printing. It takes aesthetic decision making away from the artist and can result in lowering expectations and standards of what a good print really is.
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Schewe

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2016, 11:29:25 pm »

It is hard to have other people who have seen your prints comment because you are seen as the expert and you can say, "that is how it is supposed to be for that size and resolution" and people will believe you (do you make them stand back the appropriate distance that your formula dictates as well?).

Uh huh...so if Kevin or Michael post a comment, clearly their opinions would be biased by my fame? Sorry bud, you just lost any cred with me...
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richardboutwell

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2016, 01:06:41 am »

Uh huh...so if Kevin or Michael post a comment, clearly their opinions would be biased by my fame? Sorry bud, you just lost any cred with me...

At this point I think I should apologize to the original poster for how this thread has devolved. Someone asked why I thought Lightroom was a joke and my justifiable criticism made Schewe mad, and it went down hill from there. Sorry everyone. Sorry to you too Jeff.

Better Shadow detail with black and white: Like I said, you might do better with something like QTR that will print linearly without completely blocking up in the shadows, and then control the amount of shadow compression with something like a curves adjustment watching the output tonal values on screen and having a physical proof in hand. If you can do that in Lightroom then more power to you. If you are not Jeff and don't have a stake in the software that you endorse or helped develop then find the tool that works best for you.
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Schewe

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2016, 03:26:36 pm »

If you are not Jeff and don't have a stake in the software that you endorse or helped develop then find the tool that works best for you.

Actually I no longer "have a stake" in Lightroom (or ACR), but my experience in helping to develop the app has allowed me to deeply learn all of the strengths and weaknesses of printing out of LR. I don't get "mad" when people denigrate what I've been involved with, I know what I know and know how to do what I want. That knowledge & experience does not extend to everybody else who uses the app. Which is one of my motivations for teaching and writing books, to bring my knowledge to others.

Lightroom is an excellent app for a printing workflow and the quality of the printing from LR rivals all other apps & rips I've tried. There are, of course some specialty apps that offer expanded functionality such as QTR for advanced toning or ImagePrint for dedicated workflows. Heck, even Qimage has some functionality unique to that app, but I don't often use it due to its Win only platform restrictions.

The best advice I can give for improving shadow detail is use a really good paper with a really good profile and learn to soft proof to get the most out of your image files. That advice holds regardless of what app you are printing from.
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brandon

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2016, 04:10:09 am »

That knowledge & experience does not extend to everybody else who uses the app. Which is one of my motivations for teaching and writing books, to bring my knowledge to others.

The best advice I can give for improving shadow detail is use a really good paper with a really good profile and learn to soft proof to get the most out of your image files. That advice holds regardless of what app you are printing from.
Nice, and valuable advice! Thanks Jeff.
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JRSmit

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2016, 04:25:07 am »

Hum...I seem to do just fine printing from Lightroom and I do know a bit about the Print module since I helped design it and licensed PhotoKit output sharpening for use in LR's printing. And yes, you really only need 3 levels of sharpening tuned for either matte or glossy paper. Bruce Fraser pretty much wrote the book on image sharpening (literally wrote a book on sharpening which I updated after his passing) and because of that, Adobe licensed it for LR.

However, it's the printing workflow from LR that is the real benefit...and seriously, you can't use LR's local controls? Do you actually know how to use them?
I use Lightroom as my printing application for my commercial print services. For several reasons:
- I can see the image the same way my customer sees it in his image application mostly PS or LR  .
- I can catalog the images for reprint, including the print setup (s) used.
- The print quality is second to none. (I did try several print solutions) ( i print at 720 ppi etc)
- The softproof virtual-copy concept, so I can Adjust to match the paper characteristics. I can do this for whatever paper profile easily.
- Explain or even show possibilities to further improve their image. In a way they can easily add to their workflow

In short i can litterally connect with my customers with their unique image on my screen as if it is their screen and get the best possible fine art print out on my epson surecolor p printers.


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Schewe

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2016, 01:25:54 am »

I use Lightroom as my printing application for my commercial print services. For several reasons:
- I can see the image the same way my customer sees it in his image application mostly PS or LR  .
- I can catalog the images for reprint, including the print setup (s) used.
- The print quality is second to none. (I did try several print solutions) ( i print at 720 ppi etc)
- The softproof virtual-copy concept, so I can Adjust to match the paper characteristics. I can do this for whatever paper profile easily.
- Explain or even show possibilities to further improve their image. In a way they can easily add to their workflow

Which explains quite nicely why somebody might want to print out of Lightroom but it falls a bit short of singling LR for B&W printing. Yes, using ABW in the Epson driver is pretty darn good but you cant's actually use soft proofing because it's atypical to use B&W ICC profiles (since the ABW pipeline are NOT ICC profile based–which for me sucks).

Lets just say, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat...sometimes it is based of faith (and experience) and sometime it's based on profiles.

Based on experience, I can usually look at the dynamic range of an image and apply the correct adjustments for a really good ABW print. Sometimes I may need to make adjustments to correct the resulting print. Not often and not usually but sometimes...but I used to print in a B&W darkroom (with a chem based system) and I used to make a bunch of prints to get one I thought was "good".

If you want the best possible print, it may take a couple of test prints before you decide how to print the rest of the print run. And that's ok too...
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JRSmit

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2016, 11:45:51 am »

Printing black&white i also do from LR. The problem with ABW is like you said not icc profile controlled.
With the new sc-p line of printers you get a rather cool tone (b is  a bit negatieve in the bottom half of the tone curve)
When i print black and white is use the normal icc route.
Works fine with the new sc-p printers. They show a very smooth tone response curve both in luminance and a and b dimensions.

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deanwork

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Re: Better shadow detail in BW...
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2016, 06:29:33 pm »

Are the new Epson gray inks neutralized, or do they have the same warmish hue they always have had.

john



Printing black&white i also do from LR. The problem with ABW is like you said not icc profile controlled.
With the new sc-p line of printers you get a rather cool tone (b is  a bit negatieve in the bottom half of the tone curve)
When i print black and white is use the normal icc route.
Works fine with the new sc-p printers. They show a very smooth tone response curve both in luminance and a and b dimensions.
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