How do I know...... (Printing output question from a newbie)

Discussion in 'Wet Process Machine & Traditional Prints' started by mark, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. mark

    mark Member
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    If what I send to the printer as a digital file will be printed to match what I see on my screen?

    If I send a slide to an optical printer and say match the slide then they match the slide. A computer file is not a slide, so I am a bit confused. I have a digital image I want to get printed but I want it to look like what it looks like on my computer.

    Not sure if this makes sense.
     
  2. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Maybe is the answer. For black and white printing i have printed a step wedge and then compared the print out to what is on the screen using a reflection densitometer. From there, I can correct the output to match what is on the screen. I don't print in color, so I cannot offer specific advice on how color is matched between screen and print.
     
  3. Ted Harris

    Ted Harris Subscriber

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    It makes sense but .... it only make sense if your monitor is properly calibrated amd profiled and the lab knows what they are doing. To calibrate your monitor you will need something like an Eye One or an Optix "puck" and the software. Having said that you still might want to send along a proof print that has the colors you want.
     
  4. clay

    clay Member

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    You are getting into the whole huge subject of color management. Four inch thick books are devoted to just this topic. In short, you need to have a color profile for both your monitor and the target printer, as well as a profile attached to the file which is a numerical description of the way in which the image was captured - whether by digital camera or scanner. Having these three things will allow you to do what is called 'soft proofing' which will give you a preview of how the image will look on the selected output device. This is done through the color conversion engine (usually the Adobe Color Engine in photoshop) which is a kind of Rosetta Stone that translates from one set of device color capabilities into another's. Here is a good basic introduction to softproofing:

    http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/lib/downloads/technique/documents/proof_theartof.pdf
     
  5. OP
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    mark

    mark Member
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    What a PIA.
     
  6. clay

    clay Member

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    Well, yeah.

     
  7. OP
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    mark

    mark Member
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    So, do these companies' websites have these color profiles?

    Are there anygood ones out there that will not break the bank?
     
  8. clay

    clay Member

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    Most paper manufacturers will post (for free) profiles for a particular printer/inkset/paper combination. They are generally okay to pretty good. Be aware that your monitor at least needs to be sort of calibrated. There is a manual process on Macs that you can use if you don't want to spring for a calibration device like a Spyder.

     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator
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    If you look at www.westcoastimaging.com, they have some information about sending "pre-flighted" scans to them for printing on their printers (Chromira, LightJet and various inkjets), and you can download printer profiles from them.

    So the idea is that if your monitor is calibrated and you use their profile, you should get pretty close as such things go.
     
  10. OP
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    mark

    mark Member
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    So, if I want a print off of a scan to look like what I finally want it to look like as represented by my computer screen I have to calibrate the monitor then download the profiles. I can do that, assuming I will ever be able to afford a color calibrating system. Those spyder things are expensive.

    I think I need a different hobby, one that does not require so much capital outlay.
     
  11. desertfotog

    desertfotog Member

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    I am smack in the middle of this very situation. I bought a huey to calibrate my monitor and now I have to calibrate my printer and money flows out of my bank account at a very high rate. Ya wanna play, ya gotta pay.
     
  12. lenny

    lenny Member

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    No.

    It won't match in your house with your own printer, nor will it match on someone else's. A transmissive medium (your monitor) will never match a reflective one. Monitor calibration is a matter of getting a clean gray in the background. It's a fairly gross adjustment.

    If you use a very small color space, then it gets a little easier (but why would any photographer do that?).

    The only way to know what something will look like is to try, as in print it. Good color management can get you closer, but it will never match. One should not expect it to.

    Lenny
     
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