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Full spectrum lighting: recommendations?


col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2020 5:28PM
Hi everyone,

Still racking my brain with regard to a colour management/ monitor calibration problem I recently had (still have, tbh).

Long story short: I sent some images off to a printing lab, they were good quality but the colour & exposure were somewhat off. Having realised, with the help of the awesome EPZ readership, that my monitor is most likely to blame, I ran through the basic calibration which is built-in to Windows. I've also attempted to reverse-engineer the necessary adjustment to get my images looking like they should, and have prepared a test image somewaht akin to a colour chart I can hold up alongside the original document of which they are a copy.

Getting a monitor calibration device to take the guesswork out of it has been kaiboshed - for now - so unless anyone can offer further suggestions, what I've done so far will have to suffice, BUT I was thinking of getting a full spectrum/ daylight bulb for the room where the computer is. Just trying to standardise the viewing setup to remove/ reduce/ mitigate one of the variables. I believe full spectrum is superior for this purpose..? However, I'm struggling to find one with a standard bayonet cap for fitting in the ceiling light fitting. Currently there's an energy saving bulb overhead, and no lamp in the room. I'd prefer to fit a bulb there rather than buying a lamp, if it's feasible.

Do any of you out there use these/ do you think it worthwhile/ can you recommend?
Philh04 Plus
15 2.2k United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 8:23AM
That is going to be difficult, you could try a daylight LED but mostly these have a low CRI around 80, you want the CRI figure to be as high as possible. Is the room used for other purposes? I have a couple of GrafiLights which are designed for print viewing.

A quick search I found HIGH CRI BULBS
sausage Plus
16 673 United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 9:41AM
Not sure that that will have much use, after all the computer screen is backlit so any light falling on it may not make that much difference.
A calibration device is the way to go but can be expensive - but saves a lot of headache trying to get the monitor looking right.
Our club bought one and is free for our members to use, can you borrow one somewhere?
Philh04 Plus
15 2.2k United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 9:53AM

Quote:computer screen is backlit so any light falling on it may not make that much difference.

Agreed, I read it as referring to the prints. Yes beg steal or borrow a calibration and profiling device (just remember it needs to be redone on a regular basis)
col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 10:39AM
Ah, right, it only really helps when viewing prints. In this particular instance I'm trying to accurately reproduce an old document, or rather a mock-up of it using translated text. I've been unable to achieve colour accuracy from the first step, I think at least partly because the paper is old and fragile, thin, cheaply produced. Every scan/ photo I've taken looks different and it looks different under every the lighting in every room I've tried.

So, calibrating the monitor really seems to be the only answer. There is a local club which I could join (or a member who I know would lend it to me) but they're not lending anything to anyone right now, for safety reasons. Can't say I blame them.

I've got a test image prepared which I think will take me closer/ close enough, so I'll press on with that and hopefully that will be good enough to go ahead with full size prints.

Thanks everyone!
18 Sep 2020 11:24AM
I would say Phil is spot on - the difference that a calibration device makes as compared to Windows is a million miles of difference. It is well worth the outlay and may save you the cost of having the document printed - although that depends also on your printer. But if buying is totally out of the question then beg borrow or steal - you will be amazed.

P.S. if they are not lending would 'the member' that you know get a more valid correct colour spectrum?
col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 11:27AM
Thanks, I just need to convince the CFO!
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 699 England
18 Sep 2020 4:57PM

Quote:I think at least partly because the paper is old and fragile, thin, cheaply produced. Every scan/ photo I've taken looks different and it looks different under every the lighting in every room I've tried

The variability of light sources and ambient conditions.
As the paper is thin that can cause variations in colour perception.

It's hard to stress enough how important a correctly profiled monitor is to start with. Once it is you can adjust the image as you see fit to get as close to the original as you can. At least you know that what you see is what you'll get, with the proviso you have the correct printer profiles for output. Don't rule out the ability to adjust the individual hue and saturation values of specific colour ranges should you need to go that far, which you can only do woth confidence with a calibratd screen.

There will always be reflected light/emitted light difference between paper and screen because of the way the different images are produced, however small, but with good colour management that difference should be minimal.
col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
18 Sep 2020 5:17PM
Those bulbs, 200W equivalent, might be overkill - I was thinking more like the 60 - 80W range! It's only a small room.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.2k United Kingdom
19 Sep 2020 11:26AM

Quote:Those bulbs, 200W equivalent, might be overkill

Probably Wink just an example of what is available, but as we have said they won't make much of a difference to the display, only the viewing of prints.
col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2020 11:30AM
Sorry to keep digging up this thread - might as well keep it coherent/ consistent, though - I'm not going to bother with a full spectrum light if its only real use is critically evaluating colour accuracy of prints against the image on screen; it's simply something I wouldn't do much of at all.

As for keeping lighting conditions consistent, I'm curious how others achieve this - by necessity my monitor is next to an East-facing window so we get direct daylight in the morning which dims in the afternoon and going into the evening as the sun moves past and around the house, variable weather conditions, etc.

If editing photos, should I perhaps close the vertical blind and/ or curtain and use interior lighting in order to keep it consistent?
justin c 16 5.1k 36 England
28 Sep 2020 12:55PM
Closing the blind is certainly a good idea when editing photos and it will keep the light relatively consistent. But, whilst that's a good option for actually editing your images, it's a very poor option for actually viewing your prints and trying to get a close screen to print match.
For print viewing, a few options that come to mind, are: Hold your prints near the window to view them, on a brightish but cloudy day (cheapest option).
Buy something like a Grafilite, reasonably cheap and more consistent than variable daylight.
Third option and the most accurate and consistent would be a dedicated print viewing 'booth'. I can't remember the correct name off-hand. Expensive and requires a lot of desk space.
col.campbell 17 1.3k 4 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2020 2:20PM
I don't often print, so lights for viewing prints by is pretty low on the list, for me. The problems I've had stem mainly from an uncalibrated monitor, and the limitations of my photo-editing skills.

Considering buying one of the X-Rite i1 devices, or Spyder or similar. The print lab I used uses X-Rite. In the meantime I have a test image to send off to the print lab; it's a crop from one side of the document I'm recreating, in a series of 1/4-stop steps. For it I've also re-done the colour since I had the original prints done, so hopefully that'll do for now, until I get my act together and buy a calibration device.

Incidentally, up until now images I've viewed on the Internet look okay; presumably lots of people have similarly uncalibrated monitors. If I were editing for sharing on the Internet and not printing, can I switch between profiles so that I'd be using the correct profile for printing, and a different one when the end result is someone else viewing on a too-bright/ too-blue monitor?
justin c 16 5.1k 36 England
28 Sep 2020 4:11PM
Sorry, I misunderstood. I assumed the window light and the overhead lighting you referred to was to match print to screen.
For editing photos, definately pull the blind down so any changing daylight hitting the screen isn't an issue. Any room lighting will be fine really, whether that be overhead or a desk lamp. Ideally make sure it isn't a lot brighter than your monitor and you don't want the light reflecting off of your monitor screen.
A calibration device is definately the way forward and pretty much essential IMO if you want accurate and consistent results.
The Eye1 would be an excellent choice.

You calibrate your monitor and it will create a profile automatically. The only time it needs to be changed is when you re-calibrate and it will take care of that for you.
You use that same monitor profile whether editing images, printing, posting to the web, etc.
For printing, your printer/paper profile is used, but that's different from your monitor profile, which remains unchanged.
All you can do to make sure your images look as you intended is to calibrate your monitor, edit them to your liking and then share them. You'll have no guarantee how they'll look at someone else's end. They may be viewing on a phone, a tablet, a tv, a cheap, uncalibrated monitor or a calibrated high end screen. All you can do is prepare the image to your liking at your end.
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
29 Sep 2020 9:27AM

Quote:
As for keeping lighting conditions consistent, I'm curious how others achieve this - by necessity my monitor is next to an East-facing window so we get direct daylight in the morning which dims in the afternoon and going into the evening as the sun moves past and around the house, variable weather conditions, etc.


Adding a bit more detail It is normal to have indoor lighting "semi dark" and to have the monitor set to somewhere near half maximum brightness to best see accurate colour on a monitor.

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