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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 15 Aug 2016 (Monday) 11:56
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Darker images print way too dark; others print fine

 
ncjohn
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Aug 15, 2016 11:56 |  #1

This is not your typical "why are my prints too dark" post. For me, if an image has "normal" density (whatever that is) it prints perfectly. I don't even need to soft-proof. But if an image is on the dark side intentionally, the prints are waaay too dark! My monitor is calibrated, but that seems irrelevant since most images print perfectly. It seems to me that if one image prints perfectly, then they all would, regardless of the subject matter.
I can't post the image I'm working on right now because it's NSFW, but it's not just one; it's been going on for a while.
Anybody have any insights on this?
Thanks




  
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kirkt
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Aug 15, 2016 12:12 |  #2

Do you soft proof and do you enable black point compensation? Make a test file in PS with blocks of solid neutral starting from 8-bit RGB (0,0,0) in increments of 1 (i.e., (1,1,1), (2,2,2), etc.) and see what the lowest level of neutral your printer can print where you can see the difference between adjacent blocks. This will give you an idea of the minimum black that your printer can support and help you adjust your black and shadow tones accordingly. When the print has a fuller tonal range, you may simply not be able to notice that certain lower level blacks are getting crushed slightly (it probably adds nice contrast to the print).

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Post edited over 3 years ago by Archibald.
     
Aug 15, 2016 12:25 |  #3

What about high key pics - do they print way too light?


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ncjohn
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Aug 15, 2016 15:46 as a reply to  @ kirkt's post |  #4

I used to softproof but don't anymore; my prints these days are great without it so it's pretty much a waste of time. (When I used to softproof I always used black point compensation.)

That's a lot of blocks, kirk! :-) When I print any of the standard test images (Like from Northlight Images) that have step wedges, they always look right. Do you still think your idea would be beneficial?




  
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ncjohn
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Aug 15, 2016 15:47 |  #5

Archibald wrote in post #18096191 (external link)
What about high key pics - do they print way to light?

I'll test that, thanks.




  
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kirkt
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Aug 15, 2016 15:49 as a reply to  @ ncjohn's post |  #6

You don't need to go crazy, try blocks from 0 to 20 for starters. Also, try soft proofing the image that is currently giving you problems and enable BPC. I'm not sure if it will make a difference, but try different rendering intents as well. It may be just this image that is a problem?

Good luck,

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ncjohn
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Aug 15, 2016 16:28 |  #7

When I print this from Norman Koren it's absolutely beautiful. I'm guessing the profile is (close to) perfect.


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ncjohn
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Aug 16, 2016 16:56 |  #8

Archibald wrote in post #18096191 (external link)
What about high key pics - do they print way too light?

Ha! Thanks to your question, I've found that I've never made a high-key image!
So, I've remedied that and the answer to your question is, No, high-key images print just great.
Thanks for the suggestion.




  
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Aug 16, 2016 17:28 |  #9

ncjohn wrote in post #18097554 (external link)
Ha! Thanks to your question, I've found that I've never made a high-key image!
So, I've remedied that and the answer to your question is, No, high-key images print just great.
Thanks for the suggestion.

OK, so it's apparently not a simple contrast issue.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Aug 16, 2016 17:53 |  #10

ncjohn wrote in post #18096465 (external link)
When I print this from Norman Koren it's absolutely beautiful. I'm guessing the profile is (close to) perfect.

thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by ncjohn in
./showthread.php?p=180​96465&i=i246345698
forum: RAW, Post Processing & Printing

Define perfect.

Take a look at the two different gamma strips, particularly where the darks fade to black. On my phone I can see the differences in black all the way to the end on both. But the 2.2 has a large jump from the last to the second to last. The 1.8 is much more even but the blacks are a little too dark, almost obscuring the final step of two. Different systems have different native gamma, that is you starting point IMO.

I'm kind of delerious with fever, so probably not much help, :p but letting us know what you see on your monitor and the print will help.


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ncjohn
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Aug 16, 2016 20:24 |  #11

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18097592 (external link)
Define perfect.

Take a look at the two different gamma strips, particularly where the darks fade to black. On my phone I can see the differences in black all the way to the end on both. But the 2.2 has a large jump from the last to the second to last. The 1.8 is much more even but the blacks are a little too dark, almost obscuring the final step of two. Different systems have different native gamma, that is you starting point IMO.

I'm kind of delerious with fever, so probably not much help, :p but letting us know what you see on your monitor and the print will help.

Well, my eyes are 65 years old;-)a, but what I see on the print matches what I see on the monitor. No matter how long I look, I can't see a difference. I can't ask for more than that.




  
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ncjohn
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Aug 16, 2016 20:25 |  #12

I've tried softproofing with the different rendering intents and none of them produce an image that's as dark as my prints. I even made a print using absolute colorimetric and it's a little redder and more contrasty but otherwise pretty much like my original print (too dark). (Which was interesting; I thought AC intent was supposed to be more or less unusable, but that's not the case at all.)

Anyway, considering that the test image from Norman Koren came out so great, and that all my other prints look great (including the high-key) I'm starting to wonder if it's just my eyes playing tricks on me with a dark image. :(




  
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Illume
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Aug 18, 2016 03:09 |  #13

ncjohn wrote in post #18096171 (external link)
This is not your typical "why are my prints too dark" post. For me, if an image has "normal" density (whatever that is) it prints perfectly. I don't even need to soft-proof. But if an image is on the dark side intentionally, the prints are waaay too dark! My monitor is calibrated, but that seems irrelevant since most images print perfectly. It seems to me that if one image prints perfectly, then they all would, regardless of the subject matter.
I can't post the image I'm working on right now because it's NSFW, but it's not just one; it's been going on for a while.
Anybody have any insights on this?
Thanks

I have a Canon Pixma Pro-1 and consistently experience this same issue. The printer performs beautifully for my bird photos and other images taken during the daytime in more "normal" lighting situations. However, I do a lot of sunrise photography (so high contrast situations), and these prints are always extremely dark/muddy in the shadow areas of the image. I have tried an exhausting number of trouble-shooting methods (including several correspondences with Canon) with no solutions to the issue. I have printed the exact same photos on other printers (HP Z6100 42PS, HP Latex 360) with excellent results. My (Mac) workflow is Adobe RGB—from camera to printer—printing directly out of Photoshop (have tried numerous papers/profiles). I've also experimented using Canon's Print Studio Pro (Pattern Printing, Pro Mode, etc.), tried sRGB, etc... all with the same/similar poor results in the dark areas of the images. In fact, very little changes even when fairly radical adjustments are made to the images.

My conclusion, sadly, is that the Pixma Pro-1 just cannot properly output my sunrise/sunset images. Again, it produces wonderful results for my other photos, but I've found absolutely no solutions for the consistently overly dark/muddy results from my images taken in very high contrast situations.


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Aug 18, 2016 08:33 |  #14

ncjohn wrote in post #18097698 (external link)
Anyway, considering that the test image from Norman Koren came out so great, and that all my other prints look great (including the high-key) I'm starting to wonder if it's just my eyes playing tricks on me with a dark image. :(

I wonder if the screen background is affecting what you're seeing? Take a look at POST #30 in this thread: A few Car Lighting Tips
The gray bar at the center is the same density all the way across & the background makes the bar look brighter & darker against it.


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Aug 18, 2016 08:51 |  #15

What printer, paper, profile and programs are you using?
A little insight into your process could solicit actual educated suggestions...


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Darker images print way too dark; others print fine
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