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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Valid approach to calibration?
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03/16/2005 06:11:26 PM · #1
Ok, keeping in mind I am not going to afford a hardware calibration whatsit, does the theory I have here make sense if I want to calibrate both my monitor and printer, specifically to match the two together for accurate prints.

1) Use one of the printer calibration services. I am talking of the type where your download their test print, print it, send it in to them and then they make you a printer profile for that particular type of paper (I tend to only use Epson Premium Semigloss for important prints).

2) Install the updated printer profile.

3) Print their test sheet again. In theory the colour there is now correct, regardless of what I see on the monitor.

4) Now manually tune the monitor so that the colours I see on it match the last print.

Sound theory? Or is it flawed in some way I have not considered?
03/16/2005 06:13:45 PM · #2
i asked the same question a bit ago about comparing my prints to dpcprints...

i got little for responses. seems logical to me though.


03/17/2005 05:54:27 AM · #3
Originally posted by Natator:

1) Use one of the printer calibration services. I am talking of the type where your download their test print, print it, send it in to them and then they make you a printer profile for that particular type of paper (I tend to only use Epson Premium Semigloss for important prints).

ok.

Originally posted by Natator:

2) Install the updated printer profile.

ok.

Originally posted by Natator:

3) Print their test sheet again. In theory the colour there is now correct, regardless of what I see on the monitor.

there's some magic missing. maybe your operating system (or printer mfgr) provides it in tying the print driver to the profile, doing an automatic conversion to the given profile based on paper selection and such. however, it's more likely you'll need to use a printing application (photoshop, qimage, a rip perhaps) that will provide this magic (i.e. know how to use the printer-paper profile).

Originally posted by Natator:

4) Now manually tune the monitor so that the colours I see on it match the last print.

bad mojo sensified!

when you tune a guitar do you blast random music at your ears while doing so or do you use a tuning fork/device to provide objective feedback during the active tuning process? do you tune a guitar once and assume it's perfectly tuned for all time?

if you do photo editing in a cave or under consistent lighting conditions then perhaps you can calibrate by eye, but the human visual system is inherently unreliable in providing objective feedback for accurate colour calibration. your monitor degrades over time, so you have to calibrate it regularly (let's say weekly).

finally, tuning your monitor manually to match a single print is horribly misguided despite your intentions.

Originally posted by Natator:

Sound theory? Or is it flawed in some way I have not considered?

no. yes.

your next purchase will be: Real World Color Management by Bruce Fraser et al.

Message edited by author 2005-03-17 05:54:51.
03/17/2005 06:27:26 AM · #4
Don't know if you have photoshop or not (I'm assuming not) but even if you pic up a copy of Adobe Elements (Just under $100 i think), you'll get a copy of adobe gamma (You may even be able to DL this for free) I'd use that to calibrate your monitor FIRST then move on to adjusting your printer. And I whole heartedly agree about the coppy of Real World Color Mangment.

Hope this helps,

L8r,
03/17/2005 06:33:04 PM · #5
Originally posted by dwoolridge:


i]i.e.[/i] know how to use the printer-paper profile).


Yup, that's a given. I have heard though that you can get far better profiles that are shipped with the printer.

Originally posted by dwoolridge:

when you tune a guitar do you blast random music at your ears while doing so or do you use a tuning fork/device to provide objective feedback during the active tuning process? do you tune a guitar once and assume it's perfectly tuned for all time?


No, hence I was going to be using one of the test pattern type colour balance images. I would also never assume it was tuned once and then good for ever, I would calibrate again periodically.

Originally posted by dwoolridge:

if you do photo editing in a cave or under consistent lighting conditions then perhaps you can calibrate by eye, but the human visual system is inherently unreliable in providing objective feedback for accurate colour calibration. your monitor degrades over time, so you have to calibrate it regularly (let's say weekly).


Agred, and I always have trouble tunign by eye ... but at the same time I need to be practical. These are prints for myself and friends mainly, I am not going to buy a hardware solution. Realistically tuning every month or so, especially as the monitor is new and a high quality graphics monitor, will more than suffice.

Originally posted by dwoolridge:

finally, tuning your monitor manually to match a single print is horribly misguided despite your intentions.


Which is why I'd be using a test pattern, to at least reduce that error. Again, from a practical point of view I am not going to realistically be able to tune print by print.

In an ideal world I agree with what you have written there, but in a practical world of finding a realistic compromise that will give good prints, I can't see many people tuning their monitor on a print my print basis, though maybe I misunderstood you.

Originally posted by dwoolridge:

your next purchase will be: Real World Color Management by Bruce Fraser et al.


Book looks good, I might well look into a copy, thanks :)

Originally posted by rigrider:

Don't know if you have photoshop or not (I'm assuming not) but even if you pic up a copy of Adobe Elements (Just under $100 i think), you'll get a copy of adobe gamma (You may even be able to DL this for free) I'd use that to calibrate your monitor FIRST then move on to adjusting your printer. And I whole heartedly agree about the coppy of Real World Color Mangment.


Yup have used that already to tune the monitor, though I admit I find it so subjective each time I could end up with a different result. Thanks :)
03/17/2005 07:13:31 PM · #6
Originally posted by Natator:

Yup, that's a given. I have heard though that you can get far better profiles that are shipped with the printer.

You'll have to talk to other Epson-heads. Gordon seemed pretty pleased with the default profiles. Gordon is smart and I trust his judgement, but don't talk to him today (I think he might have green gills).

Originally posted by Natator:

Which is why I'd be using a test pattern, to at least reduce that error. Again, from a practical point of view I am not going to realistically be able to tune print by print.

(Actually, as an aside, iterative changes to images as you discover how they look in prints (hard-proofing) will always give you the best results ... at the greatest cost.)

Originally posted by Natator:

In an ideal world I agree with what you have written there, but in a practical world of finding a realistic compromise that will give good prints, I can't see many people tuning their monitor on a print my print basis, though maybe I misunderstood you.

No, I didn't mean to stress the "single" in my statement. Doing manual calibration using any number of prints is where I see the road to hell. Practically speaking with a high-end, newish monitor, colour isn't your concern. You just have to worry about your whitepoint (easy/close enough with monitor presets), gamma, and blackpoint (several web sites claim to help with this; adobe gamma is another tool to aid there). If you think your colour is off that much, calibrating by eye is just going to put you in a new zone of error, not necessarily (or probabilistically) closer to a properly calibrated state.

I think it's worth repeating that you should calibrate, not only regularly, but when ambient light conditions change. Even a little sunlight can have a dramatic effect on colour. How tired your eyes are will impact visual acuity. The longer you look at various patches of colour will also impact your brain's interpretation of colour. Awareness of these factors won't help you much in controlling them, unless you are Bender Bending Rodriquez.

Probably what you want to hear is, "your solution is good enough", but you didn't need anyone on DPC to tell you that. Your results will be much more telling.

Originally posted by Natator:

Yup have used that already to tune the monitor, though I admit I find it so subjective each time I could end up with a different result. Thanks :)

What you intend to do is reintroduce the subjectivity in a different way, but you'll be happier doing it.
03/17/2005 07:42:31 PM · #7
Originally posted by dwoolridge:

I think it's worth repeating that you should calibrate, not only regularly, but when ambient light conditions change. Even a little sunlight can have a dramatic effect on colour. How tired your eyes are will impact visual acuity. The longer you look at various patches of colour will also impact your brain's interpretation of colour.


I have full control over the ambient light, which is nice. The tired eyes thing ... yeah, that one is a constant problem for me :(

I think my monitor is probably reasonably accurate, certainly as good as I am likely to get it without a spider now at least.

I agree that the Epson printer profiles are bloody good ... but I have been hearing that custome profiles, even for Epson printers with Epson paper can be even better. Maybe Gordon will comment when the pills wear off ;)
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