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noob questions on color management in printing
Old 01-21-2012   #1
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noob questions on color management in printing

Somehow, the cosmos sent me word that my photo related New Years Resolution were not to be neglected and as a result, I picked up an Epson R2400 photo printer for free yesterday.

That resolution to get serious about printing my work materialized on the spot, this is a serious piece of equipment.

But, I'm at a loss when it comes to color management. To calibrate my monitor I use a Spyder Express. The scanner is not calibrated (how?) and at this stage, neither is the printer.

Anybody that can point me to a web page or something that explains how to set up a calibrated work flow? Or share their own approach?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-21-2012   #2
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BUMP.

Guess nobody's concerned with color management here?
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Old 01-21-2012   #3
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http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/features.html this guy has a ludicrous amount of info on colour management, and has always given me a polite email back on any questions ive asked.
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Old 01-21-2012   #4
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Scanners don't need profiled, don't worry about that.

I have an R2400 too. Are you doing black and white or color? If black and white, I'd get Quadtone RIP for the printer. Its shareware that you pay $50 for if you decide you like it (fully functional even if you don't register), and is made to give perfect black and white prints. I have a page on my website showing how to use it:

http://chriscrawfordphoto.com/technical/printing.php
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Old 01-21-2012   #5
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What brand of paper are you using? If you use Breathing Color they will email you a target to print, then they'll build a profile for your printer from it for free. Epson may do this, too.
Since I had my profiles made I have no had no issues with color management at all. I use Elegance Velvet and Optica One papers. Before I did this I had major magenta issues.
Also, I've found the generic profiles that are posted on manufacturer websites to be useless, but you may have better luck with them.
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Old 01-21-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
Somehow, the cosmos sent me word that my photo related New Years Resolution were not to be neglected and as a result, I picked up an Epson R2400 photo printer for free yesterday.

That resolution to get serious about printing my work materialized on the spot, this is a serious piece of equipment.

But, I'm at a loss when it comes to color management. To calibrate my monitor I use a Spyder Express. The scanner is not calibrated (how?) and at this stage, neither is the printer.

Anybody that can point me to a web page or something that explains how to set up a calibrated work flow? Or share their own approach?

Thanks in advance!
I have a few articles on my site at http://www.gdgphoto.com/articles/ about setting up Photoshop and Lightroom for color management, and color managed printing from Aperture. It's not complete, but the basics are there.
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Old 01-21-2012   #7
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Really, color management doesn't mean much unless you send out files for print and need accurate reproduction.

I bought my 2400 new. Sure wasn't free. On a Mac management is taken care of in background. YOu don't have to do anything, maybe calibrate the monitor but for the most part the devices will work nicely together. Getting into profiles you will go crazy for no good reason.
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Old 01-21-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aad View Post
Really, color management doesn't mean much unless you send out files for print and need accurate reproduction.

I bought my 2400 new. Sure wasn't free. On a Mac management is taken care of in background. YOu don't have to do anything, maybe calibrate the monitor but for the most part the devices will work nicely together. Getting into profiles you will go crazy for no good reason.
Really? Never heard this before but if that's correct, then I'm a happy puppy!


Thanks all for responding to my request, I've got some nice reading on the issue to do now!

Chris, I jumped on the R2400 because it was listed with QT-RIP, that's indeed what I am driving at. Real good to know you're using it too, always liked tonality in the shots you posted online and it makes sense that you would want them reproduced on paper as well. QT-RIP: I've also read on Frank Petronio's site that he uses it, another photographer whose work I admire for tonality.
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Old 01-21-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
...................... Anybody that can point me to a web page or something that explains how to set up a calibrated work flow? Or share their own approach?
Bruce Fraser's book "Real World Color Management" is an excellent reference. It it 580 pages. Now we don't need to go into that level of detail, but that gives you some indication of the scope. So it is not quite as simple as a webpage or article.

Essentially "color management" is a process of calibrating each step in the process to the same ICC standard and using a consistent color space so one can be assured of the look of the final output.

The challenge arises because our brain makes background adjustments in non-photo situations. Everything looks the same to us even if it is under fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting, bright direct sun or shadow. But if we do not adjust our photo output for those, fluorescent looks green, incandescent looks warm, and shadows look cool. Color Management just gives you a baseline to work from.
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Old 01-21-2012   #10
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Still lost as to how QT-RIP can be set to use my monitor profile and adjust the print accordingly.

Used QT-RIP to print an image from Lightroom but it came out nearly black, while there was a nicely toned image of a black dog looking up from a leaves-covered ground on my screen...

Any intel on this is much appreciated!
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Old 01-21-2012   #11
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You don't have to set your printer to use the monitor profile. That's something that's handled by the operating system, doesn't matter if its windows or mac. When you profile your monitor, the profiling software automatically sets the profile with the OS, and from then on any software that you use that is color managed (Photoshop, Lightroom, Firefox, etc.) automatically uses that monitor profile to display images correctly on screen. When you print them, assuming you use the right printer profiles and settings, it'll match closely.
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Old 01-21-2012   #12
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Now that's some useful info, Chris! Thanks! I've always wondered how that monitor profile should be linked to the printer profile, had not occured to me it could be linked automatically...

Got square eyes from reading up on this matter, off to bed now (3:17 AM here, yawn)
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Old 01-21-2012   #13
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here's some more links for you:

http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdf...w_workflow.pdf

http://www.adobepress.com/articles/a...15593&seqNum=2

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/col...t-printing.htm

colour evaluation test images (these can be found at various places around the web)
http://www.on-sight.com/downloads/

http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Guid...r_part2_01.htm

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...int-mgmt.shtml

More resources if you google "colour managed workflow".

I use Martin Evening's books to help with my workflow. Currently I'm working on getting more accurate soft proofs, to better manage the difference between monitor appearance (transmissive light) and print output (reflected light); and monitor colour space vs printer colour space.
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Old 01-21-2012   #14
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Calibrate your monitor with the Spyder, done.

You want to work in Photoshop in a wide gambit color space like Adobe RGB or wider, not sRGB which is smaller (less colors) so it doesn't hold the subtleties as well. That's why you set your dslr to Adobe RGB (and 14-16 bit).

Install Harrington RIP, be sure printer uses a USB port and not wifi for this. Installing the RIP and the curves is confusing so ask the pros (it stumps me sometimes, I need to attempt it with my new Mac running Lion and can't wait.... ugh) But it works very well and is worth the hassle.

Note the RIP creates a new printer. You still use the Epson driver for color printing.

Once you get the RIP set up, start with neutral curves, be conservative. PK ink for glossy Baryta type paper; MK ink for the uncoated papers. Different curves and profiles for each. Pick the closest to the paper you'll use. This takes experimentation. Switching PK and MK inks is a pain and wasteful too.

Printing from Photoshop... in the print dialog disable printer color management and let Photoshop manage color. Select Adobe RGB or whatever you work in for your source profile; pick one of the Quadtone RIP profiles for your output.
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Old 01-21-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
Still lost as to how QT-RIP can be set to use my monitor profile and adjust the print accordingly. .............
Johan: a color managed workflow has each device independently calibrated to a ICC standard. Your monitor profile only calibrates your monitor so that it will accurately show a standard file as a standard monitor image. Your printer profile prints a standard file to look standard. That way you can replace any device and need to calibrate only that device to the ICC standard. This also means that you can use any color space, if consistently applied through the workflow, without changing any of the profiles.

Be aware there are color spaces, such as Adobe RGB or sRGB, made for color files. There are also color spaces, such as GG2.2 or 10% dot gain which are made specifically for b&w or grey scale files. You can do b&w in a color space made for color but I find this adds a degree of complexity and unnecessarily large file sizes. I think (but am not positive) that Roy Harrington's RIP (raster image processor) converts grey scale files to color before sending them to the printer.

Personally, I find that assigning a grey scale color space to a b&w image makes the processing more consistent. I use GG2.2 (Grey Gamma 2.2) consistently for all my b&w work. Everything in my workflow is color managed. I am not sure if it was necessary to develop a custom profile for my scanner to color manage it but I did so I use it.

I do not use the Harrington RIP as I have great consistency without it. All the Epson printers from the 2400 and up have a built in RIP called "ABW". You just feed the printer a grey scale file and adjust the tone of the grey (warm grey to cool grey) using the ABW controls. I find that 97% of the initial prints I send to the printer are also final because the monitor tells me exactly what the print will look like.

Color management is not a simple do this, then this, click here, click there process. But a small amount of time spent in understanding the underlying fundamentals will really pay off long term.
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Old 01-21-2012   #16
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Like Bob, the GreyScale profile default I use is the 2.2 Gamma - sorry forgot, I have the Color Settings in Photoshop to automatic. Most of my workflow is in Adobe RGB and I only convert to greyscale at the end.
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