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I have recently upgraded my Monitor and printer and am having trouble getting the prints to match up with what I see on the monitor.
I have an NEC Multisync PA271w monitor which I have calibrated fully
I have an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 printer and I use original epson inks and an archival paper for which I have the icc profiles in Coloursync
When I bring up the print settings none of the papers I have profiles for appear under media type, but they do appear in Printer profile
If I print as I see it on the monitor, the print appears very heavy in the shadows and over saturated
Any suggestions as to what I can do to resolve this issue, much appreciated
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It could be that your print viewing conditions aren't ideal (i.e. too dark) for correctly evaluating the print compared to your screen. Try holding your print near a window on a cloudy day. That generally gives a fairly decent set of viewing conditions for print matching.
It could also be that you have your monitor calibrated to too high a luminance value, hence the reason for dark looking prints. Try calibrating to a luminance value of 90 cd/m for print matching.
If your not already using one, a custom icc paper profile, as opposed to generic one, will often be much, much better. Not only in terms of accurate colour, but also in ensuring your prints have the maximum shadow and highlight detail visible.
Quote: When I bring up the print settings none of the papers I have profiles for appear under media type, but they do appear in Printer profile
That's correct. The media type selections are just where you select the optimum paper type for whatever media you're using.
If you google 'prints darker than the screen' you will see a gazillion posts on this topic. I found that if I follow all advice and set the printer to 'no colour management' my porints are dark - but if I reset it to default settings and set Lightroom to 'Photoshop manages colour then everything is fine, though I have had to reduce the yellow and cyan to remove a green cast. Reducing the brightness of the screen may help as well but the old solution used to be to find the setting that gave a good print and save it as a file then when you have finished processing add the layer, flatten the image then print. The image will look bloody awful but the print will be fine.
Justin's advice is spot on, particularly about luminance value of your monitor. While calibrations systems can match colour well you have to give them a hand to match brightness.
The system doesn't know if you're going to view your prints in bright sunshine coming through a window or via the dimness of a table lamp. If your monitor's brightness (backlight) is very high it's the equivalent of the bright sunshine.
Justin, you mentioned the Media type drop down menu only showing the optimum paper type, but there appears to be a very limited number of choices compared to other print settings I have seen on other computers
Thanks for all your comments - mike, Chris ... think I will go back and recalibrate from the start.
There could be a number of reasons your prints are coming out darker than you expect. As mentioned above, your monitor brightness could be too high. The paper profiles might not be accurate, there might be a fault with the device you're using to calibrate the monitor (it happens). Assuming that the paper and monitor profiles are accurate and screen brightness is appropriate, though, there are still one or two things to be aware of. For example, make sure that you set 'Photoshop Manages Color' in the appropriate dialogue box and that you've selected the correct profile.
One of the reasons that prints come out darker than they appear on the monitor, even when profiling is accurate, is that monitors have a much wider contrast range than paper, with much deeper blacks and brighter whites than can be reproduced on paper. When your image is 'translated' to fit the colour space of your printer and contrast range of the paper, it will typically appear darker and 'muddier' than on screen. You need to add another step to your workflow before you print, which is 'soft proofing' - this simulates on-screen how the image will appear on your chosen medium. You can then make some further adjustments before hitting the print button. For a bit more info on soft proofing, have a look here, or read the chapter on printing in 'The Landscape Photography Workshop'
Hope that helps.
Read this for help.
Why are my prints too dark
Quote: Justin, you mentioned the Media type drop down menu only showing the optimum paper type, but there appears to be a very limited number of choices compared to other print settings I have seen on other computers
That's down to the particular printer. For instance, a photo printer at the cheaper end of the scale, i.e. under £100 for instance, will have far fewer media types offered in the drop down list, than for instance a more professional machine, such as the wide format Epsons and Canon machines. The more basic printers will most likely have all the most popular media types, such as gloss, lustre, matte paper, premium glossy paper, etc. etc., which is often more than enough for anyone that's printing with such a machine. However, should you wish to experiment with other media types, for instance, canvas, fine art papers, heavyweight cotton papers, etc. etc. then that's where the more professional machines come into there own, as they're designed for printing on the more specialist media's, hence that's why they have a much larger range of options (media types). That's not to say you can't experiment with specialist papers (within reason) on the lower end models, but they are unlikely to give a result that's quite as good as the high end printers.
Take your point about different printers but I reckon that the printer I have would not be considered at the cheap end of the market and hence would have more options in the Media Type drop down menu
My menu literally only has three Epson papers listed under photo paper - might I have missed loading some items when I installed the initial Epson printer software or in Photoshop ?
Sorry Paul, I wasn't implying that your printer was a cheap one, in fact I didn't even realize what model you were actually using and completely overlooked that part until I just this minute re-read the thread. As you say, the R2880 is certainly not an entry level machine, far from it in fact and I would definitely expect it to come with far more media choices than that. Might be worth routing around on Epson's website and seeing if you can find the latest printer driver.
I've just had a quick look online at the 2880's user manual and from what I can see your printer pretty much supports the vast majority of media types. There should certainly be considerably more than the three choices you mention. From what I can see there should be closer to thirteen. I would definitely un-install your printer driver and re-install the one downloaded direct from Epson's website.
I also find my prints too dark after profiling and calibrating my monitor and printer.
No, actually it depends on how I view the prints. If I hold my print under a spotlight, it looks great, but at normal room lightness levels (as it will typically be displayed in), I found them too dark.
With a bit of playing about, I found that the problem tended to be with images which have a lot of dark tones in them (the histogram tends to have a peak to the left of center), For these images I apply a custom curve to boost the mid tones prior to printing.
I'm sure this is a dumb newbie question.....but:
If the colours on monitor and printer have been calibrated, any differences in brightness are probably caused by the brightness setting of the monitor. Can you not simply put a good print out next to the screen and then adjust the screen brightness until it matches the photo (if they're next to each other they will also be in the same lighting conditions)?
I appreciate that this might give a slightly darker monitor picture than you're used to, but it would reflect the brightness of your prints. You would then turn up the brightness of the individual image while processing until it is how you want the print to look.
I know that paper type etc can all play a part, but wouldn't this get you as close as possible?
It might be worth considering that extremely low luminance levels in a monitor, and especially a consumer level monitor, likely impacts on performance. Some evidence for that here.
That post from Ethan Hansen, who runs the Dry Creek calibration and profiling website.
I'm not sure why anyone should legislate for cave-like viewing conditions in proofing, and both Lightroom and Photoshop can simulate the dynamic range of printing paper.
Quote: Take your point about different printers but I reckon that the printer I have would not be considered at the cheap end of the market and hence would have more options in the Media Type drop down menu
Media type just tells the printer how to handle the paper - it dosn't affect calibration AFAIK.
I have just been reading this EBook - for £3.50 its a bargain read on everything you need to know about printing.
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