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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Calibration, yeah I know, exciting as lint
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01/27/2006 03:52:25 AM · #1
I'm about to start a college course (presuming I get in) and I need to do all my printing at home. The lecturer who interviewed me said my b/w's were good, but most had a slight color cast to them. She said that they will hammer them time and again, the whole course for the two years is b/w and she said they want true b/w's. Anyways, to cut a long story at least a little less long, how do I go about this? I have a Canon 20D, Sony 828, Sony Vaio laptop and a Canon Pixma ip4000. What software profiles do I need and what hardware. I have been to sites where they say you should be able to distinguish between certain boxes, and I can, so I don't want to trust my own eyes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
01/27/2006 03:53:24 AM · #2
Try printing with black inks only. no color.
01/27/2006 05:26:42 AM · #3
Thanks for the advice Brent. Surely there's more to it than that? I had the portfolio pictures printed at a lab, but even with only black ink, I want to be able to be sure that the monitor and the print will look the same don't I?
01/27/2006 05:31:54 AM · #4
I believe his suggestion was more to find out if the black ink was actually tinted or as a quick fix to get past the initual hurdles.

With the cost of a college education (still paying for mine) purchasing a spyder to ensure proper calibration should not be completely out of the question.

David
01/27/2006 08:09:21 AM · #5
Not worried about spending money on the problem but would like to see at least a solid overview on how to go about it (and what to buy I guess too). Thanks for the help so far. Anyone got anymore ideas?

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 08:10:34.
01/27/2006 08:44:23 AM · #6
When printing from film, b&w specific paper is required to get a true black and white print. If the lab uses colour paper for a b&w print, it will always print with a colour cast (often bluish). If you use a photo lab and want true b&w prints, you need to get them to use specific b&w paper.

In respect of home printing, there are grey print cartridges available to replace the colour ones with the purpose of giving better tonal reach than is possible with a single black toned cartridge. This may eliminate colour casts (eg if your colour printer is simulating some greys with blended colours+blacks). You may find that there is a cartreidge already prodduced for your printer, or you may have to get a compatible printer. Given that you will be printing, not exposing, an image, I would have thought that the paper used for printing would not matter too much.
01/27/2006 09:10:56 AM · #7
My wife is in the printing biz. Her company does all the current blockbuster movie posters that you see when you go to the movies.

They are all dialed in with the latest everything.

The one thing she told me that surprised me was that they 'do not calibrate their monitors'.

Why? You ask.

Because, every monitor is differant. Differant format, differant manufacturer, differant size, blah, blah.

Calibrateing monitors does not give them the color guarentees or black and white guarentees that is crucial in the bizness that they compete in.

What they do is print off samples of the artwork, or photowork, that they want and adjust the hues and tones from the printer, in turn guarenteeing proper calibration.

So the moral of this story is....

...Don't waste your college money on a monitor calibration hardware. Calibrate your b&w tones like the pro's do it.

Take that money to buy beer.
01/27/2006 09:28:07 AM · #8
You may want to print "test" images on your home printer and then take your final prints to a professional print house to be printed.

I am unsure of the particular brand printer a truly pro house will use, but I do know that they would or should use a laser exposure system that takes your digital image and exposes traditional photographic paper, which is then dunked and finished. It is not a traditional laser printer with toner and such, but a highly advanced form of a traditional enlarger.

From what I understand, it produces prints that are superior to even the best Dye Sublimation systems and comes close, if not equal to the level of quality one can recieve through a traditional dark room print process.

I will have to go back through the mailing list this was discussed on a few weeks back and find the printer they discussed. (No, it's not a Photography mailing list, it's actually a Linux User Group list...)
01/27/2006 09:51:27 AM · #9
Originally posted by pgatt:

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Go to Walmart, and simply have them print out your photos. It's like $0.29 /4x6 and like $2.85/8x10 and that is in uber-expensive Connecticut pricing.

01/27/2006 09:56:29 AM · #10
Originally posted by theSaj:

Originally posted by pgatt:

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Go to Walmart, and simply have them print out your photos. It's like $0.29 /4x6 and like $2.85/8x10 and that is in uber-expensive Connecticut pricing.


Wal-Mart doesn't really use all that great of equipment for printing images, especially what one would consider a 'Fine Art' image.
01/27/2006 09:56:35 AM · #11
right, well...your going about it all wrong.

it's not about calibrating your moniter as much as it is color correction the right way! Everyone has their own prefered way to color correct but it's really very hard to learn them all. try playing with color balance and curves and stay away from the "auto" feature.

if you have done all of that then it's the printer/computer. they aren't talking correctly. you have to make sure the color profiles match. for most printers there are color profiles out there on the internet that you can download.
01/27/2006 09:58:29 AM · #12
As mentioned before - if you use a lab then specify b&w paper to avoid colour casts that b&w prints suffer on exposure on colour paper. A colour cast on a b&w print has nothing to do with colour calibration.

This is true with film and digital "prints". This is because most mini-labs do expose all images digitally, even film images. As Nelzie says, the image is exposed onto traditional photo paper using lasers and wizadry. Film images are scanned from the negative and enlarged onto photo paper, and digital files straight from the file. All printed at effective resolution of 300-400 dpi depending on printer used.

I do not know what services Wal Mart offers in the US, but to get a proper b&w print in the UK I have to go to a quality mini-lab.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 09:59:05.
01/27/2006 10:01:43 AM · #13
Let me emphasise A colour cast on a b&w print has nothing to do with colour calibration.
01/27/2006 10:25:08 AM · #14
Originally posted by theSaj:

Originally posted by pgatt:

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Go to Walmart, and simply have them print out your photos. It's like $0.29 /4x6 and like $2.85/8x10 and that is in uber-expensive Connecticut pricing.

Costco's a lot cheaper ($0.17 4x6 or $1.49 for an 8x10) and you can get thier printer profile from //drycreekphoto.com
01/27/2006 10:32:35 AM · #15
1. Use the recomended paper and ink in the printer if you need 100% accuracy.

2. use a B&W cartridge in your printer.

3. select the "greyscale printing" or similar option in printer properties

4. desaturate your image so its pure B&W. You can enhance R G or B as you wish.

5. Mouse over the image and check the R, G, B values at different places. The R G & B values should be the same, if they're not, you haven't desaturated the image completely. Don't worry about what it looks like on your monitor, your monitor may be off. (on the other hand, you may have to adjust your printer).

6. It's probably not necessary to calibrate your monitor, but if you do, also calibrate the printer you will use or get the profile from a professional calibration lab--don't use the manufacturer's default. You have to use the same paper and ink and hope the lots are consistent. Then set photoshop to show you what the image would look like on paper.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 10:33:40.
01/27/2006 10:41:31 AM · #16
Originally posted by pgatt:

I had the portfolio pictures printed at a lab,


+

Originally posted by pgatt:

The lecturer who interviewed me said my b/w's were good, but most had a slight color cast to them.


=

Almost certainly, lab printed b&w photos on colour paper.

But hankk's advice is good if your colour to b&w process is failing somewhere. Except that for home printing I would replace your home printer's colour cartridge with a greys cartridge.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 10:43:32.
01/27/2006 10:45:25 AM · #17
Originally posted by pgatt:

I'm about to start a college course (presuming I get in) and I need to do all my printing at home. The lecturer who interviewed me said my b/w's were good, but most had a slight color cast to them. She said that they will hammer them time and again, the whole course for the two years is b/w and she said they want true b/w's. Anyways, to cut a long story at least a little less long, how do I go about this? I have a Canon 20D, Sony 828, Sony Vaio laptop and a Canon Pixma ip4000. What software profiles do I need and what hardware. I have been to sites where they say you should be able to distinguish between certain boxes, and I can, so I don't want to trust my own eyes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Do yourself a favor as soon as possible...get a hardware monitor calibration device such as a Colorvision product - I use the Spyder - or something from a different supplier. Then get some custom profiles for your paper/ink combination(s) for your printer. I get mine from Cathy's Profiles.

Since taking that route, I no longer have any color castes on my b/w prints - I use an Epson 1270. There may also be third party black only ink solutions for your printer...
01/27/2006 10:46:12 AM · #18
Originally posted by American_Horse:



Because, every monitor is differant. Differant format, differant manufacturer, differant size, blah, blah.


Urm, if they actually had someone who knew what they were doing, they'd understand that that's the point of calibrating, along with profiling.

But you are right, many companies don't use a colour managed workflow and waste a lot of time and effort tweaking things visually.

Another good lesson to know is that just because someone is paid to do something, doesn't mean they are doing it the best way.

Time pressures, lack of knowledge, cost, 'how we've always done it' and other factors all contribute to make bad decisions in even the best companies.
01/27/2006 11:01:41 AM · #19
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

Let me emphasise A colour cast on a b&w print has nothing to do with colour calibration.

Hope that message got through loud and clear... monitor calibration is NOT the problem... two different issues all together. I suspect that you do not see any color caste on the monitor... it only comes out on the print.

Color casting of B&W on home printers is a common problem. I have a Epson printer and it has a magenta color caste.

If you want to print B&W at home then printing with just black inks will not solve the problem I do not believe. The colored inks are necessary to produce grey tones.

I recommend you do a google scan to find out how other people solve the problem for your particular printer and inks. I'm guessing you will find one. There is a cheap RIP that works for the Epson and probably a solution for your printer if you dig in and look.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 11:02:40.
01/27/2006 11:04:06 AM · #20
Originally posted by Gordon:



Urm, if they actually had someone who knew what they were doing, they'd understand that that's the point of calibrating, along with profiling.

But you are right, many companies don't use a colour managed workflow and waste a lot of time and effort tweaking things visually.

Another good lesson to know is that just because someone is paid to do something, doesn't mean they are doing it the best way.

Time pressures, lack of knowledge, cost, 'how we've always done it' and other factors all contribute to make bad decisions in even the best companies.


Yeah, your right, people that have been doing this for over 50 years really don't have a clue. (sarcasm)
01/27/2006 11:07:09 AM · #21
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

Let me emphasise A colour cast on a b&w print has nothing to do with colour calibration.


Actually that isn't probably true.

A colour cast on a b&w print can certainly be a monitor calibration issue.

It can also be a monitor profile issue.

It can be a printer colour management set up issue.

It can be a printer colour profile issue, even if the CM is set up correctly for the printer.

It could even be applying the correct profile multiple times.

It could be that you are using the wrong ink for the colour profile, or vice-versa.

It could be that you are using a printer profile for a different paper stock, or vice-versa.

But even once that's all solved, there's a fundamental limit of using colour inks to make B&W prints - they just aren't very good at it. (even though you can certainly make neutral B&W prints with a properly calibrated monitor & printer)

Digital inkjet B&W is a long way behind the quality of true B&W printing. Unless you want to head towards speciality inksets like those from //www.piezography.com/

With these, and a properly calibrated montior, a properly created monitor profile, correct CM setup in your editor, proper CM setup for your printer driver and the correct profiles, paper and inks, then you can start making some truely beautiful B&W prints. (with a controlled warm or cool colour cast)

The other side point to note is that any good B&W print has a 'colour cast' usually either cooler cast (blue) or warmer. Perfectly neutral prints are usually perfectly boring.

Edited to fix link

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 11:08:56.
01/27/2006 11:10:12 AM · #22
One point that has been only mentioned as a tangent is that your Prof. is looking toward a particular "standard". Get a sample of what he sees as fine printing. B & W printing went through several stages on the way to silver nitride

The suggestion that you try printing in black only is a very good one as Canon ink's black may have a cast to it your professor doesn't like. The Canon like tends to have a slight magenta cast which can be compensated by balancing the cast witht the compimentary color, but before you can hit the pright printer profile, you need to know what your target is.
01/27/2006 11:21:56 AM · #23
I disagree with the assessment that monitor calibration is not an issue. In order for one to get an accurate and usable *printer* profile one must first have a properly calibrated monitor. Both are integral parts of WYSIWIG system. After all...isn't what you want a print that accurately matches what you see on the monitor? An improperly calibrated monitor will not display either color or b/w properly.
01/27/2006 11:26:18 AM · #24
Originally posted by American_Horse:



Yeah, your right, people that have been doing this for over 50 years really don't have a clue. (sarcasm)


Yes. No sarcasm. In fact, if they've been doing it for over 50 years then it is extremely likely that they don't have a clue about modern colour management workflow - and if it works for them, that's why they do it.

However, that doesn't mean that just because they do it that way, that their understanding of calibration or colour management is correct. Your comment about 'every monitor is different' exactly proves this point. That is fundamentally what calibration is about - it is an expected part of it. If every monitor was the same you wouldn't need to calibrate, or profile (which are two different things that both need to be done) If you, or they, think calibration is pointless, because every monitor is different, then you, or they have no idea what calibration and profiling is about.

I work with huge, multinational companies, every day, who are at the top of their industries, yet do things in antiquated, backwards ways because that's how they did it in the past. My job is explaining how these things have evolved and improved and then deploying the new technologies in more efficient ways.

Just because a way works, doesn't mean it is the correct, most efficient or best way to do something. Yes, you can do print matching by eye, or even by the numbers in photoshop, but it is a great way to waste a lot of time and ink to get to a final solution. The technology has moved way beyond that approach.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 11:32:33.
01/27/2006 11:43:19 AM · #25
Originally posted by Gordon:

Originally posted by legalbeagle:

Let me emphasise A colour cast on a b&w print has nothing to do with colour calibration.


Actually that isn't probably true.

A colour cast on a b&w print can certainly be a monitor calibration issue.

I agree with most of what you said in your post, especially that ink jet printers are lousy at printing black and white, but are you suggesting there is a physical connection between monitor calibration and a color caste printing problem?

Could you explain that, please? This is the first time I have ever heard of such a thing.

When I convert an image to B&W it displays B&W on my monitor screen yet still prints with a color caste unless I use the RIP. Is there some monitor calibration that makes it appear "more" black and white appearing on the screen that I can somehow relate to a color caste printing problem by appearance only? If so, what is it and how can I tell by looking?

Make no mistake, I'm saying your monitor should ALWAYS be properly calibrated and recalibrated frequently. That goes without saying.

I understand how monitor calibration relates to the appearance of grey tones matching the printed tones but not at all how a monitor calibration helps you either see or correct a color caste printing problem.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 11:45:23.
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