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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 27 Jan 2014 (Monday) 16:00
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Adjusting your monitor after profiling to match your prints

 
BrianAZ
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Jan 27, 2014 16:00 |  #1

I just got some prints back from WHCC, and the prints were much darker than the original files. I am using a calibrated monitor, and had an embedded color profile.

I called WHCC about the prints, and they told me I am profiling the monitor incorrectly. They told me that after I calibrate my monitor, I need to take some WHCC test prints and adjust the luminance/color of my monitor until it matches the prints.

That seems nuts to me. I would expect simply profiling the monitor, softproofing using the WHCC profiles, should be all that is needed.

What is the consensus on this?


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ScatterCr
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Jan 27, 2014 18:20 |  #2

Your monitor's brightness is set too high. After you get it adjusted so that your prints match the monitor, recalibrate the color profile.


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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Jan 27, 2014 18:38 |  #3

This sounds odd to me--you're supposed to adjust your monitor to match their particular results on their particular equipment ? I'd then be concerned that your prints will come out well with them next time but that your monitor may be off for all other applications.

I may be one the of the few around here not to use hardware calibration, but I get printed results that match what my monitor shows. I use this ( LAGOM (external link) ) -- in particular, the white saturation, black level and contrast sections while adjusting my monitor / video card settings. In your case I'd be looking at the 'white saturation' page and making sure your settings aren't so contrasty and / or so bright that the swatches are white and indistinguishable. On my setup I can see each checkerboard swatch against the white background.



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BrianAZ
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Jan 27, 2014 20:06 |  #4

My monitor is a 26" NEC calibrated with an eye 1 and spectraview software. The white point is set as d65, black point .24, luminance 95 CD/m2, 2.2 gamma. I've never had a problem with their prints before.

I've checked the software, and I don't have a way to tweak the colors beyond setting the original values in the software. I have no hardware dials to change anything if I wanted to. If I could Chang anything manually post profiling, I have no way to save those settings as part of a profile.

I looked online, and the author of a book on color calibration specifically said that you should never change any settings to match prints after calibration. He was addressing a question someone had raised on whcc telling them to modify their color settings to match prints.

I did notice that this file was saved with an argb profile, instead of sRGB that I normally send to them.

I sent the same file to 3 other labs, and I'll see what their results look like.


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JohnCollins
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Jan 27, 2014 20:42 |  #5

BrianAZ wrote in post #16642626 (external link)
I looked online, and the author of a book on color calibration specifically said that you should never change any settings to match prints after calibration. He was addressing a question someone had raised on whcc telling them to modify their color settings to match prints.

I am no expert here, but as I understand the calibration process, you calibrate your monitor, then leave it alone and process.

If the prints do not match, it is not your monitor, but the printer that is the issue. You need to download a profile from the specific printer you will be using (good commercial printers calibrate and post their profiles on the internet). THEN, when you get your prints looking right on your monitor, you batch process all of them using the profile from the printer you are sending them to and upload those. Then you will have an end-to-end calibrated process.

I have not done this in a while and used to get mine from Dry Creek, but they quit doing them for a while. I'm sure someone will come along and give you another source shortly.

But once your monitor is calibrate, it's done. You do not adjust it for any printer output. You do need to get a profile from the specific machine you will be printing to lock down the other end.




  
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JohnCollins
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Jan 27, 2014 20:49 |  #6

I was wrong, Dry Creek still does this service.

http://www.drycreekpho​to.com/icc/ (external link)

Good luck!




  
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kirkt
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Jan 27, 2014 22:40 |  #7

BrianAZ wrote in post #16642626 (external link)
...I've never had a problem with their prints before. ...

This suggests that you have printed with WHCC before and received prints that matched your display. So what is different about this batch of files, other than the aRGB profile? Or is your display different (did the display luminance get altered, or is your profile corrupted?) Or your viewing conditions?

Do they provide profiles for their print devices? Does the soft proof match your print? Did they provide you with calibration targets so you can calibrate and profile your display to their targets and see if that gives a match?

This assumes that their printer did not all of a sudden ruin everyone's prints - they would probably have gotten several complaints if their equipment failed.

kirk


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BrianAZ
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Jan 27, 2014 23:40 |  #8

My answers are in line.

kirkt wrote in post #16643005 (external link)
This suggests that you have printed with WHCC before and received prints that matched your display. for several years So what is different about this batch of files, other than the aRGB profile? nothing is different Or is your display different (did the display luminance get altered, or is your profile corrupted?) Or your viewing conditions?nothing is different

Do they provide profiles for their print devices? yes Does the soft proof match your print? only a very small change, but nothing as drastic as the actual prints Did they provide you with calibration targets so you can calibrate and profile your display to their targets and see if that gives a match?not sure what you mean. When you become a client, you upload a series of images for sample prints to verify your monitor calibration. My sample prints look really close to what is on my monitor. Their suggestion is if the sample prints don't match your monitor, you need to adjust your monitor by eye until the screen and print match.

This assumes that their printer did not all of a sudden ruin everyone's prints - they would probably have gotten several complaints if their equipment failed.

kirk


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tzalman
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Jan 28, 2014 00:44 |  #9

When you calibrated you were given the opportunity to choose target monitor white point brightness. The usual recommendation is 120 cd/m^ but that is based on average room lighting. If you edit in a dimly lit room, make that 90 or even less and reduce monitor brightness before calibrating/profiling. The idea is to use monitor controls first for gross settings and then let the profile refine them.


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kirkt
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Jan 28, 2014 09:09 |  #10

And you have been using the same calibration and profile with the previously successful images and prints as you are for this set of images/prints? Or have you recalibrated/profiled your display since the last successful set of images/prints with WHCC?

I know I am sort of being redundant, but you have to try to narrow down the possible sources of error before you approach WHCC and tell them their equipment and methodology has failed.

kirk


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BrianAZ
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Jan 28, 2014 10:46 |  #11

tzalman wrote in post #16643169 (external link)
When you calibrated you were given the opportunity to choose target monitor white point brightness. The usual recommendation is 120 cd/m^ but that is based on average room lighting. If you edit in a dimly lit room, make that 90 or even less and reduce monitor brightness before calibrating/profiling. The idea is to use monitor controls first for gross settings and then let the profile refine them.

While I appreciate the information on how to do hardware calibration, that really isn't the issue. WHCC says my hardware calibration method is fine. However, they recommend a post hardware calibration step that causes you to tweak your monitor settings by eye to match up to one of the sample prints they provided.


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BrianAZ
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Jan 28, 2014 10:50 |  #12

kirkt wrote in post #16643884 (external link)
And you have been using the same calibration and profile with the previously successful images and prints as you are for this set of images/prints? Or have you recalibrated/profiled your display since the last successful set of images/prints with WHCC?

I know I am sort of being redundant, but you have to try to narrow down the possible sources of error before you approach WHCC and tell them their equipment and methodology has failed.

kirk

I recalibrate at least every two weeks, and always to the same values. If I have done a lot of photo editing I will recalibrate more often. The machine I use is dedicated to photo editing, and does not do anything else (including web browsing, email, or anything like that).

As I said before, WHCC told me that my hardware calibration setup/steps are fine. However, they require a post hardware calibration, done by eye, to tweak your monitor to match physical prints they have previously done for you.


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kirkt
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Jan 28, 2014 12:17 |  #13

So, every time you calibrate and profile your display do you then tweak the values as suggested by WHCC? If not, why was your methodology working previously (i.e., not needing you to tweak your display to match the test prints)?

Am I missing something? It sounds like you have a standard target to which you calibrate and then profile your display. It sounds like this has always worked for you and your WHCC prints, without ever having to tweak your display to get a match to the WHCC test prints. Now, suddenly, this methodology is not working - so the question is "why?" What is different from the previous successful prints?

WHCC's website suggests target calibration values for white point (6500°K) and gamma (2.2), with a suggestion that if your viewing environment lighting is warmer, to try a white point of 5000°K. Fine. They cannot suggest a luminance target because they know nothing about your working environment (80, 90, 100, 110 cd/m2?) and viewing light intensity.

Did you change the luminance target, even inadvertently, prior to the calibration you did before sending the images off that came back dark?

WHCC suggests AdobeRGB or sRGB as the file color space that you should submit - they stress that the file needs to have a color space tag embedded, otherwise their machines will assume sRGB. So, it sounds like as long as your AdobeRGB files had the color space tag embedded, that should not have caused a problem.

If the color in the prints is still accurate, then the "tweak" would be the luminance target. Why this suddenly changed for your workflow with WHCC, I have no idea.

kirk


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BrianAZ
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Jan 28, 2014 12:53 |  #14

Kirkt,

No, I have never touched my monitor settings once calibrated. My prints have always been good. That is why I don't understand why WHCC is now telling me that post hardware calibration I have to do further manual adjustments to luminance/color if my screen image doesn't match a sample print they sent.

This manual adjustment sounds asinine to me. Not to mention that my monitor won't allow it. The NEC Spectraview software controls everything, and disables any hardware adjustments. If I try to push any of the buttons on the monitor, besides the power button, the monitor brings up a dialog box saying that the adjustments are locked out.

Since everyone is trying to walk me through calibrating my monitor, which I already know well how to do, and nobody is addressing the issue of WHCC's recommendation to then manually adjust the monitor settings to try and make the monitor look like a print, I'll assume that nobody has ever heard of this.

I'll just call WHCC back and reference this link:

http://photo.net/digit​al-darkroom-forum/00M182 (external link)

specifically the quote from the author of the book "Color Management For Photographers"

DO NOT adjust the display to match their prints. You'll hose everything else you hope to match. You need to calibrate and profile the display, then you need an output profile of the device to soft proof in Photoshop.

Andrew Rodney Author "Color Management for Photographers"


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kirkt
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Jan 28, 2014 13:44 |  #15

If you haven't changed anything and it has worked for you in the past, then something must be funky with the print job. Wait until you get the same prints from the other labs to compare. Who knows if WHCC did some auto adjustment by mistake. I have no idea, I have never used them - their advice is likely a reaction to many customers who probably call and say "my prints are too dark!" because they have the display luminance way too high when they edit.

Also, even if you needed to tweak something, I wouldn't do any tweaking based on one, anomalous print job. If every lab prints the images and they come back wrong, and consistently wrong, then maybe you have a problem on your end. Otherwise, reserve judgement until you get the other prints.

kirk


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