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Author Topic: Help with Soft Proofing and Printing  (Read 5837 times)
SHPhoto
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« on: December 19, 2009, 10:37:11 PM »

Hello:
I'm an amateur photographer. I've been using Qimage for 6 years with great success.  I keep my monitor (a wide gamut NEC LCD2690WUXi) well calibrated. 

Until recently, I printed all of my photos at Costco.  I use the ICC profiles from Dry Creek Photo.  The prints turn out quite nicely and match what I see on my screen in Qimage.  Now, I've found that when I soft proof in Qimage, the soft proofed image I see is much "brighter" and more washed out than the image I see when I double click on the image in Qimage (e.g. to do adjustments) or what I get from Costco.  In other words the soft proofed image does not match the print.  The print does match what I see when I double click.

I just purchased a Canon Pixma Pro9500 Mark II.  Today I did a test print on my Pixma of a photo I also recently printed at Costco.  I set up the ICC profile for the Canon paper (Canon Fine Art "Photo Rag").  This time the print matches the soft proofed image and is brighter and more washed out that what I see on the screen when I double click.  The blacks for example aren't a deep black.

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  If my Costco prints didn't match the screen so well, I would have assumed that my monitor (being wide gamut) is fooling me. 

BTW: I tried adjusting the brightness down in Qimage.  But even then the soft-proofed image looks washed out.   

Any thoughts?

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SHPhoto
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 02:35:29 AM »

Here's a bit of a follow-up.  I think I may have jumped the gun.  I think my problem was the paper.  When I switched to a glossier paper (and its associated profile) both the soft proof and final print darkened considerably.  I'm guessing that the heavy matte type papers just do not get the same deep colors as other papers.
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Terry-M
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 02:23:47 PM »

When I first saw your post, I was going to ask about the 1st paper type, but I see you have spotted that matt/fine art type papers cannot reproduce the contrast of gloss or semi-gloss.
Soft proofing relies on having very accurate profiles for both printer & monitor because there are 2 conversions going on.
The real test is a real print, every time.  Shocked
Quote
BTW: I tried adjusting the brightness down in Qimage.  But even then the soft-proofed image looks washed out. 
I have noted that there are many queries about prints being too dark or too light compared with the monitor; I believe that is often due to the brightness setting of the monitor. I do very well with my Eizo LCD set to 120Cd/M2; others set their monitor brightness to match the print.
Terry
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Eljae
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 06:08:53 PM »

Hi SHP,

I have recently moved from dreading my custom printing sessions, to loving them, and this credit I give to Fred and Terry.  Here is how my very similar problem was solved.  Just keep in mind that I calibrate my SyncMaster monitor weekly and build custom profiles for each paper and ink type with a ColorMunki, but only use manufacturer inks.

1.  I use the most recent monitor calibration in the Qi Mntr ICC.
2.  I use the ColorMunki custom print profiles in the Qi Prtr ICC and make sure printer color management is off.
3.  I make a print and adjust my monitor brightness and contrast to match the print.
4.  If I change paper I re-adjust my monitor brightness and contrast to match the print.

Although this sounds simple enough there is more to it, but it is only my opinion; for me the printing process begins when I snap the shutter.  Lighting to histogram ratio plays a big part for me, as does the direction of lighting.  This could be lengthy, but basicly it is about exposure and effect, and being familiar with what results from my equipment under different conditions; and having the idea in my mind of what I want my print to look like before I release the shutter.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2009, 06:28:52 PM by Eljae » Logged
Eljae
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 06:26:09 PM »

BTW SHP,

I don't soft proof in Qi, I make all my adjustments in Lightroom and tweeks in Photoshop.  I work with these programs a lot, and always under controlled ambient lighting conditions.  Maybe my eyes have trained themselves to be able to see what a well saturated and balanced digital image on my monior needs to looks like in order to get a nice print...but I don't need to soft proof at all.

Lj
« Last Edit: December 20, 2009, 06:30:50 PM by Eljae » Logged
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