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Author Topic: Consistent Printed Image Discrepancies Using QU  (Read 13681 times)
Fred A
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2012, 11:28:27 AM »

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Fred, sorry for the delay in this reply. Several things came up that kept me away from the computer. Hope you're still in the loop. I seem to have misled you. My desire to make the monitor and the prints look like each other naturally and inevitably requires that I have a monitor that shows images which will THEN result in prints that look as near the same as possible on both screen and paper, considering the different contrast range, etc., of additive and subtractive images. The monitor has to come first. The only reason for trying to tweak the monitor so that it looked like my best prints was to try to get a handle on what settings would give me a consistently achievable likeness in other, later, prints from the same monitor. As I see images FIRST on the monitor and THEN as prints, I have to make all my tweaks on the image I see on the screen! So I want to set and forget the monitor profile.

Sorry for my delay.
I am in a different time zone from Terry, and I don't speak metric like Terry does.
Nevertheless, you got it!
That's what we were trying to impart.  The separate and independent parts of making the print and the monitor match.
You must think of it this way. If you have Qimage on screen, prints in the queue,, ready to print, and the monitor went up in smoke, you could conceivably unplug the monitor, run to the nearest store, procure a new monitor, a good one, of a temporary junk monitor, plug it in, and make your print, the print would print the same with either monitor.

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I have settled on 90cd/sqm as the best compromise monitor profile brightness, with +3 "fill" applied at print time by Qimage.

This quote makes me want to ask if you shoot Raw or JPG, and are your images going from camera to computer or from camera to some application that makes your images into a "developed" state before they are saved to the computer?

Glad you have returned.

While you were away, I had some time, so I resurrected my Profile Prism and profiled some HP paper that I use in my Epson R 1800.
This might be interesting to you also.

http://ddisoftware.com/tech/profile-prism/return-to-prism/msg11484/#msg11484

Fred


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davidh
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 12:49:35 AM »

Roger,
  Terry and Fred pretty much covered the issue and it seems your doing better now.
I would just like to add one more thought...
  No matter how good your profiles are, or how good your on screen soft proof may appear, it is often necessary to tweak a file according to a test print.
  There are still other variables involved in producing the final product, and there is nothing that compares to holding that print in your hand and making sure that what your seeing  is what your vision or intent was for it ;-)

Happy printing,
David
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Fred A
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 10:16:08 AM »

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There are still other variables involved in producing the final product, and there is nothing that compares to holding that print in your hand and making sure that what your seeing  is what your vision or intent was for it ;-)

Happy printing,
David

AMEN-David!
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Roger1122
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 05:56:37 AM »

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This quote makes me want to ask if you shoot Raw or JPG, and are your images going from camera to computer or from camera to some application that makes your images into a "developed" state before they are saved to the computer?

Glad you have returned.

While you were away, I had some time, so I resurrected my Profile Prism and profiled some HP paper that I use in my Epson R 1800.
This might be interesting to you also.

Glad you are still around... I'll answer your questions in order.

I shoot RAW, although for a few years after my first switch to a digital work flow from film/scan/digital darkroom I couldn't see any advantage in the larger RAW files. That was probably because my RAW development skills were quite rudimentary. In-camera development is generally pretty good, but of course there are other perfectly good reasons for shooting RAW and I've been doing it for years, already.

I use DXO to develop the RAW images. It provides several camera/lens-specific modules that give excellent results with default settings, and offers a host of fine-tuning "tweaks" that I have gradually learned to use effectively. I can't imagine using anything else. I process them into TIFFs, and do any additional tweaking that needs functions not provided (or not quite so well) in DXO using PS plugins like Power Retouche (which has a truly excellent sharpening function) and Topaz (which does a remarkable job of noise reduction). I was astonished to see a printing program like QU atempting to work with RAW files and am not tempted to play with this. As I have mentioned, my main interest is 360 x 180 virtual reality panoramas and I produce these from the TIFFs of multiple fisheye images. Printing just doesn't come into it as there's no way you can map a full panorama image of this kind to a flat surface. <sad smile> The wider dynamic range of TIFF images is an advantage for stitching panoramas, as you always have to stitch images taken both with AND against the light, and the DR can be H. <grin>

As for Profile Prism, I looked into that. If I got it right, it depends upon using a scanner. Years ago, I remember using an HP standard colour target with an HP scanner in this way, but although I read your post and the thread with interest, I don't really see the point of introducing yet another variable--a scanner--into the profiling process. However, I am open to persuasion, as I still have an excellent but recently untouched scanner and even a Vuescan license somewhere.

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Roger1122
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2012, 06:26:08 AM »

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I've had a look at your stitched images & pano's etc. Very good and interesting locations! 
What software do you use for stitching?
In recent months I have been "playing" with stitched images and using Microsoft Ice, not as dramatic as yours though.
Photosynths http://photosynth.net/userprofilepage.aspx?user=terrym12&content=Synths
Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/tjm04/panos

Welcome change of subject. Hope we don't have any thread hijack police watching, though...

Thank you for the encouraging comment. I have been fortunate in visiting some very photogenic locations, and panoramas are an ideal medium for someone with modest photographic skills but considerable computer experience. I really enjoyed your gallery. How beautiful England is, given good weather. My wife and I will be visiting Scotland and England (London and the West of England) towards the end of June. One of the pleasures that QU has given me is to create better prints from our honeymoon in England nearly four years ago.

I think you should try PTgui for stitching panoramas. The idea of someone using anything else for stitching multiple rows of shots makes me wince. It is a rich and extremely flexible program with lots of fine tweaking available "under the hood" but a fairly simple wizard mode to help you get started. There's a free trial version. I thoroughly recommend it. I've been using it since v2.0 and I think it's up to v9.3 now!

To give you an idea how good the support mailing list for PTgui is, I recommended QU to a friend who belongs to it by saying "QU support is as good as PTgui's." I also know a few wrinkles myself and would be glad to share them although it doesn't look as if you need any help! To see some of my more more conventional photography, some dating back to when I was shooting film using rangefinders and manual SLRs, you might like to visit www.usefilm.com/member/roger. To see the photos at maximum size you have to register, but it's pretty painless and I assure you no spam or unwanted mail generation will follow.
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Fred A
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2012, 10:27:13 AM »



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have calibrated and re-calibrated my LCD, and upgraded from Datacolor Spyder 3 Pro to Spyder 3 Elite (a US$99 software upgrade) before recalibrating. I have profiled my printer/paper combination using the Datacolor Spyder 4 colorimeter.

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As for Profile Prism, I looked into that. If I got it right, it depends upon using a scanner. Years ago, I remember using an HP standard colour target with an HP scanner in this way, but although I read your post and the thread with interest, I don't really see the point of introducing yet another variable--a scanner--into the profiling process. However, I am open to persuasion, as I still have an excellent but recently untouched scanner and even a Vuescan license somewhere.

Hi Roger,
You sound so busy, and I might say, happy!

The reason I mentioned Profile Prism is due to the fact that you mentioned profiling your printer and papers using the Data Color Spyder 4 (Pro, Elite, Express), using a colorimeter, and as far as I can tell from reading their product data, none of the Spyders does paper printing profiles.  (See quote above)

They do make a product called Spyder Studio, and a less expensive, Spyder Print that works on printer/paper profiling.
If you do have either of those, I would appreciate to hear what you think of the product and the results.

Just chatting...

Fred
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Roger1122
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2012, 10:45:35 AM »

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You sound so busy, and I might say, happy!

Aha! It shows, does it? Well, I'm that unusual thing, an old-age pensioner who is also a newly wed. Well, three-and-a-half years into a marriage with a wonderful and much younger Japanese woman, anyway. That might have something to do with it. <shy smile>

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The reason I mentioned Profile Prism is due to the fact that you mentioned profiling your printer and papers using the Data Color Spyder 4 (Pro, Elite, Express), using a colorimeter, and as far as I can tell from reading their product data, none of the Spyders does paper printing profiles.  (See quote above)

This is a misunderstanding. One of the two Spyder products I have is their printer/paper profiler, which is a colorimeter. The other is their monitor profiler. Their site is admittedly a little confusing and they have a plethora of very similar product names. The colorimeter is really quite expensive bought new but as I wrote in an earlier post I got mine second hand. I nearly had a fit last month when it completely refused to work; seemed quite dead. The local rep here in Japan said they couldn't repair it even if I had been inside the guarantee period and offered me a discount off a new one. However, I noticed in a description of available software upgrades on their site that the latest was to cure failures to initialize properly on Windows 7 64-bit computers like mine. When I downloaded and installed the upgrade it started working again. Phew! The discounted price was higher than the price I paid second hand, so it didn't look too attractive. And She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed would have resisted a repeat purchase for something I use very infrequently.

Although I have the exact same colorimeter sensor as is used inside their latest paper/printer profiler, and use the current software, I do not have the latest MODEL, which comes mated with a special template that constrains the device to run precisely over the printed colour tabs on the  printed page. This, I imagine, is very convenient for speeding things along. I, with the earlier model, have to place the device accurately over each tab and depress it to take the individual measurements. This is not particularly hard, but it does get a bit tiring when you have to do it 256 times (or more, if you want to do complete grey-scale profiling as well as colour). I did, and am delighted with both the coloured and B&W prints I am getting.

The software is pretty easy to follow, with lots of help, and SHOULD be followed. If you assume you don't need to read it, you can pretty soon get out of your depth. Or at least I did. Once I buckled down to following the instructions it was straightforward.

Their support is superb. Fast, knowledgeable, easy to follow and patient with people who don't get the expected results. "Oh, if you are seeing that, you probably selected the wrong intent." (Then followed a reference to where I could learn about printing intents, the details of the intent I should be using, and where to select it in PhotoShop.) Very impressive. Right on the nail!

And to be fair, although they said they couldn't repair a device, they said this was because their calibration process was very detailed and complex and they would never be sure that something that had gone wrong once wouldn't drift out of kilter in future, so they have a no-questions-asked policy of replacing a problem device with a new one inside the guarantee period. And the discount offer was pretty generous... seeing as I had bought mine second hand!

Hope that answers your question.
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Fred A
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2012, 10:54:44 AM »

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Aha! It shows, does it? Well, I'm that unusual thing, an old-age pensioner who is also a newly wed. Well, three-and-a-half years into a marriage with a wonderful and much younger Japanese woman, anyway. That might have something to do with it. <shy smile>

Yes thank you. I have the complete picture.  Grin

Once you posted the little selection above, I paid no more attention to the colorimeter after that!!  Wink Wink Wink Wink

Really, thanks a lot! Good info.

Fred
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Roger1122
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 11:13:14 AM »

Fred,

I normally take great care to optimise the sharpening of my images for the actual size of print I am going to make (and looking at the same size image on screen), and I see there are two places where QU sharpening settings can be made. One is in the overall settings page that includes all the other adjustments, and seems to function just like a straightforward USM, but the other is in the actual print details, you know--the one that has 5% as the default. I take care of USM in other software, but don't understand what the latter one does...

I tried this for the first time yesterday, and I got a perfectly sharpened print. Are these alternatives, supplementary, or what? How do they interact?

Please share your thoughts on this...
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Fred A
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2012, 11:49:58 AM »

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I tried this for the first time yesterday, and I got a perfectly sharpened print. Are these alternatives, supplementary, or what? How do they interact?

Please share your thoughts on this...

Hi roger,
First of all the USM when used as a plain ordinary USM, is still extraordinary since it offers an Equalizer slider.... ( to be explained later if necessary)

So you would use the USM to suite yourself as you normally do, and make the screen image just perfect.
Now we go to print!
Different printers have different results with regard to sharpening and looking sharp on paper.
Some print sharper than others. Some papers tend to print sharper than others.

The Smart sharpen is your setting (default 5 is usually just about right anyway) for compensating for the loss of sharpness between screen and print paper.
It also compensates for the size of the print!!!! AUTOMATICALLY
That's why you bought QU. It takes all the worry away.

... Have you tried the Tone Targeted Sharpening?
Fred
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Roger1122
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« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2012, 01:02:07 AM »

Dear Fred,

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First of all the USM when used as a plain ordinary USM, is still extraordinary since it offers an Equalizer slider.... ( to be explained later if necessary)

Yes, thanks, but I have already found that and used it to avoid sharpening the skin tones on my wife's face (she is very conscious of some freckles, which are not considered attractive among Japanese). Apart from that, which is a really useful function, I must say I never use USM for sharpening. Instead I use the sharpening plugin in the Power Retouche set, which is worth acquiring on its own if you don't want the others in the set. Just as I wouldn't use anything but DXO for RAW development I wouldn't think of using anything else for sharpening. It takes a while to find out how all the variables affect the final result (as USM does, of course, but this is an order of magnitude more complex as it includes all the standard USM parameters plus things like edge treatment). But once you have found out how the settings work, it is hard to beat.

Power Retouche is a two-edged sword, though. These plugins have largely insulated me from the complexities of PhotoShop, which I have never mastered and probably never will. They are too convenient! For instance, the B&W conversion settings are all I ever use to produce B&W images from my colour shots, which I usually tailor to reproduce the look of Tri-X developed in D76 with the appropriate filter, usually yellow x2 but sometimes green x3 or orange x4. DXO make a rather expensive plugin dedicated to this but I am not even tempted to try the free demo version.

But the idea of having the printer driver handle sharpening at different print sizes? That is completely new to me! And by gum it works! I have an A4 print of a street scene in Camden town (taken on our honeymoon but printed for the first time yesterday) that is beautifully sharp, renders colours very close to those I see on my display, and with a full range of tones from a lovely deep black to paper white. Thank you, Qimage!!

With the LCD monitor set to 90CD/sqm I still need a slight boost to "fill" (3% or so) to get this print quality. With your help, it didn't take long to get this kind of satisfying result! Incidentally, I notice great improvements in the results I am getting from my Epson PM-4000PX with the latest Epson papers and inks. At first I had to use matte or semi-matte paper and got a lot of bronzing, but now I can use glossy paper. There is a very slight loss of glossiness in paper-white highlights, barely noticeable, which implies that the inks are laying down additional gloss. And the colours are quite satisfactorily saturated for my taste. The only slight reservation I have about this aging printer is that it uses up light magenta, and to a lesser extent, light cyan and yellow, faster than the other colours--I am noticing more-or-less DOUBLE the rate in my diary of printing costs.
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Fred A
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2012, 09:07:37 AM »

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(she is very conscious of some freckles,

Roger,
My wife would trade wrinkles for freckles any day of the week.
Me too!

Enjoy!

Fred
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