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Thread: Please help, why does PS softproof look nothing like my print

  1. #1
    Donor sumilux is on a distinguished road
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    Please help, why does PS softproof look nothing like my print

    Hi Guys,

    I'm new to all this icc profiling stuff. Forgive me if I'm asking naive questions.

    I've spent days trying to wrap my head around the process and it seems like quite a steep learning curve.

    I use both Mac and PC. My mac is an old but late model G5, the pc is a HP workstation laptop with Quadro graphics.

    I have a pretty fancy Samsung XL20 LED monitor with its own hardware LUT, also known as the Lacie 720.

    I have an Eye-One pro UV spectrophotometer

    My printer is an old HP Designjet 100 4 colour A1 plotter, I also have a Designjet 120NR 6 colour with roll feed.

    I've tried calibrating two types of paper. An Ilford galerie inkjet photo type paper for photos. I also have a bunch of 100gm Xerox laser printer paper that can be used for inkjet. It appears coated and is quite bright. No good for photos but still great to have it profiled.

    So I profiled both these papers in the DJ100 4 colour using profilemaker 5 on mac.

    Prints with the profile applied do seem to work. Gray scales going from dark to light seem fairly linear though i see some red in the low registers on the photo paper. (Anyone know what may be causing this and how to fix it?)

    My monitor has been profiled properly. Being an LED monitor it has a really wide gamut that surpasses Adobe RGB. This is nice in theory but unless I'm doing something wrong it looks much too saturated and its certainly no use for web browsing. As a result I've got it running srgb emulation most of the time which makes things look normal, particularly the web.

    I guess having a monitor with full adobe-rgb would work for photo editing and one of these new super gamut printers but for my current printers which are both really quite old with fairly narrow colour range this seems like overkill. The gamut of the 4 colour plotter is almost laughably small.

    So I'm pretty sure my monitor is well calibrated, I'm sure the same goes for the printer icc profile. What I cant figure is why the soft proof setup in photoshop is showing me an image that is way brighter and looks nothing like the printed output.

    I have CS4 set to adobergb as the working space (should I be running the LED monitor in adobe rgb gamut mode when using this? or should I switch it to SRGB mode as well as the working space?)

    The monitor is calibrated to 80cdm brightness, D65

    I specify my icc profile in CS4 soft proofing and when enabled I get an image that looks nothing like what emerges from the printer.

    Am I doing something wrong (probably) and if so what do you think may be the reason for this. I've spent days reading and playing. I think I have a fairly basic grasp but I remain unsure about many things. I'm pretty sure one of you experts will know what part of my workflow is failing.

    Any help would be most appreciated.


    I've profiles

  2. #2
    PRC Member odda will become famous soon enough odda's Avatar
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    Color Management

    If you have a monitor with it's own LUT, then you should be taking advantage of that during the calibration process. You have not mentioned what software you are using to do the monitor calibration, but there are several programs available on this forum, which will calibrate the hardware LUT.
    Color management is a steep learning curve; I've been working with it for years and I still make mistakes.
    You must have patience and the willingness to be frustrated beyond belief to succeed.
    If you use a RIP to drive your printers, you will have more control over them; control over all your processes is the key to a color managed workflow.
    Your soft proofing problem(s) could be related to some of what I mentioned above. Does it improve at all when you select different rendering intents? Have you enabled the black point compensation checkbox?
    I use CHROMiX ColorThink, to check my profiles for problems, it is a great tool. (Also available here)
    I'm happy to help if I can; give us some more details...

  3. #3
    Donor sumilux is on a distinguished road
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    Thanks for your response and offer of help Odda.

    I'm using Samsung's software which talks to the monitor and programs it. Seems to work quite well in that it really does appear to calibrate the monitor to a fairly accurate standard though I really should try checking it with the software you mention.

    Which other calibration software communicates with the monitor's hardware LUT. Would be great to find something else that speaks to this model as I can't seem to make Samsung's software work on my pc laptop (though it worked fine on my old desktop, I believe it needs to be compatible with the graphics card in the system and the one in my laptop obviously doesn't work).

    I tried using Lacie's Blue Eye Pro (PE edition) which talks to this monitor but it blue screens my laptop when run so I guess it too is fussy about the GFX card.

    The calibration software needs to be specifically compatible with the monitor as it also sets the colour temperature of the monitor. Being LED based it can change like a CRT which is of course great.

    So the Samsung software (Natural color expert) works fine on my G5 and I've been using this to calibrate the monitor and its LUT.

    When I then switch to the the PC I calibrate it in a regular way, ala with no communication with the monitor so I guess the OS makes the relevant adjustments to the GFX card LUT right?

    The other great thing about this monitor is that it will emulate the icc of pretty much any other lesser gamut monitor which I guess is good for collaborating.

    But by all means please advise me of other calibration software as it would be amazing to find a pro level package that happens to fully support the XL20 / Lacie 720. I've so far tried Profilemaker 5 and Monaco which both seem to do a good job of making printer profiles but I have so much more to learn and understand.

    As far as CS4 softproofing, enabling the black point correction seems to change the contrast and the colours somewhat but overall it just doesnt get it right. I think the soft proofing is just set way too bright compared to what I get on paper. The shadows are filled with all sorts of banding and funk which is probably there buried in the shadows on the printed output. Its possible cs4 softproof is giving an image seval stops brighter. I might try some screen shots, nothing like visual communication.

    I want to isolate where the problem may be, I'm also unsure of how to use my monitors ability to display the full adobe rgb gamut. When switch the screen to this mode and set the working space to the same I still get images that appear ridiculously saturated and not pleasant at all. I guess I don't have enough understanding of things to properly explain the problem.

    You mention Rips,

    I'm very keen on getting one up and running. I think EFI looks like the one to go for though onyx production house looks good too.

    I'd like to experiment with halftone soft proofing. I'm also very interested in producing ink jet wall paper murals. Can someone recommend the best rip for this process, ala the ability to print full bleed with very precise control, also to render the image with great control of how the printer arranges the ink dots and pixels given images are scaled up quite huge. Any advice from someone with digital wallpaper experience would be much appreciated.

    I have many more questions, for instance when printing the grey scale while preparing to profile, the bit where one checks for the best printer paper type in the manufacturers printer driver. On the Xerox paper I notice the paper surface craps out, breaks up and gets saturated with ink around the 5% mark. The pure black 0% patch is pure black as though the paper coating has totally dissolved, the 5% seems to hit just the point where the paper falls apart and the patch ends up with a weird speckled half white half black pattern in it. The next 10% patch holds the ink fine right up to pure white. So the result of this is that I get a band of this speckled patterns anywhere the ink hits approximately 5% which looks like a solarisation effect, particularly on b&w pictures.

    So I'm guessing its a linearisation thing, I need to move the absolute black point above the 5% mark. I haven't yet figured out how to do this in profilemaker 5. Any help would be most appreciated.

    Also what does one do to correct colour bands in the grey scale grad. My ilford photo paper profile renders a distinct band of red down around the 10% mark. I might try to scan an image to illustrate what I mean.

    Many thanks for any and all help.
    Last edited by sumilux; 11-07-2011 at 05:39 PM.

  4. #4
    PRC Member odda will become famous soon enough odda's Avatar
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    Hi Sumilux,
    It sounds like a great monitor actually; I'm quite jealous. I've never had the good fortune to use a DDC monitor, so I can't help you with the Adobe RGB emulation, you are utilizing the hardware LUT, which is a great start. If you can trust what you are looking at, everything else will flow from there.
    So; let's assume your monitor situation is good. That would mean, then, that the problem is in the printer profile, because your soft proofs are no good.
    I use both EFI Colorproof and Onyx ProductionHouse, so I can help you with the setups, but again, I would caution against a quick resolution. I spent a LONG time getting to know EFI; it's a great RIP, but it is NOT an easy app to get to know. That being said, my prints and my soft proofs are pretty close.

  5. #5
    Donor eflatun is on a distinguished road
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    Hello Sumilux,

    How do you print your files? Are your images in RGB mode or you convert them to your printer profile ? And if it is possible please share your printer profiles.


  6. #6
    Member PanozJani is on a distinguished road
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    There are 3 things involved in colour perception:
    1. light
    2. object
    3. observer (eyes)

    People tend to forget about the first. You must compare the printed sample under light which complies to ISO 3664 (P1). That's at least a 1000 lux (or 2000 lux - sorry i don't remember exactly ) D50 light source. Also you should have neutral surround, you shouldn't wear colourful shirts (it reflects back from the monitor) etc. Softproofing is still in its infancy because we still don't know enough how exactly our colour perception works (CIEXYZ was introduced way back in 1931, based on 2 separate studies which involved no more than 40 people as observers!). So try to learn to tolerate small mismatches, and you'll be happier.
    i hope.
    Last edited by PanozJani; 11-15-2011 at 06:51 AM.

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