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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 27 Jul 2011 (Wednesday) 13:36
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Monitor Brightness

 
Roxie2401
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Jul 27, 2011 13:36 |  #1

Just got a batch of prints back from an online lab - my first try.

All the prints appear to be 1/3 to 1/2 stop darker than what I was seeing on my LCD monitor.

Colors were correct so I don't think I have a color calibration issue but just a brightness situation.

I tried reducing the brightness of the monitor (it was at 75%) to what I saw on the prints and then used DPP to increase the image brightness. That resulted in a very washed out (lack of detail) image.

The images looked great on the Camera LCD (7D) and with my monitor original default brightness setting.

Should I just ask the lab to increase brightness by +1/3 etc. or is there a better way to set the monitor (and then DPP/LR)?

SOOC seemed great on the monitor - just dark overall on the prints.

Just curious - does the scale on Brightness (RAW Tab) in DPP equate to stops? For example, +0.33 and +0.50 would that be +1/3 and +1/2 stops?




  
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tkerr
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Jul 27, 2011 14:09 |  #2

You need to get your monitor calibrated so what you see on screen will look the same on print. If you don't have the hardware for doing that, take the time to calibrate your screen using these test images and see if it help.
http://www.lagom.nl/lc​d-test/ (external link)

Secondly, what color space are you using and saving your images with, and what is the lab using?

Unfortunately LR or DPP don't allow soft proofing like PS does which can save you those headaches. If you have Photoshop you can ask the lab for the color profile they use, and then soft proof your work with that so there will be consistency from you computer to the lab to final print.


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Roxie2401
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Jul 27, 2011 15:13 as a reply to  @ tkerr's post |  #3

Tim,

Thanks.

The lab is Penn Camera and the color space they are using is sRGB and that's what I saved my images as from DPP.

It appears that its just the overall brightness that is a problem.

On the link you provided, was there a specific test for monitor brightness?




  
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tkerr
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Jul 27, 2011 15:24 |  #4

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12832927 (external link)
Tim,

Thanks.

The lab is Penn Camera and the color space they are using is sRGB and that's what I saved my images as from DPP.

Yeah, but what about their printer profiles? If you can get them to supply that you can soft proof using that to make sure you get it right.

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12832927 (external link)
It appears that its just the overall brightness that is a problem.

On the link you provided, was there a specific test for monitor brightness?

Could you tell anything if I posted a couple of images here?

Brightness and contrast are the usual problems people have. Either too bright or not bright enough.
There are a few tests on that web site that can help correct both contrast and brightness. Contrast, Gama Correction, White Saturation and Gradient Banding. But I recommend testing them all following the instructions carefully.


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Roxie2401
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Jul 27, 2011 16:25 as a reply to  @ tkerr's post |  #5

By way of guidance - if it does turn out to be the monitor is too bright and I am liking what I see, then if I do have under exposed images - is there a correct or accepted technique that works better than most in increasing the brightness for printing without getting a "washed out" or lack of detail image?

Is it just the brightness that I want to bring up?

Does the scale on Brightness (RAW Tab) in DPP equate to stops? For example, +0.33 and +0.50 would that be +1/3 and +1/2 stops?




  
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tkerr
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Jul 27, 2011 16:55 |  #6

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12833341 (external link)
By way of guidance - if it does turn out to be the monitor is too bright and I am liking what I see, then if I do have under exposed images - is there a correct or accepted technique that works better than most in increasing the brightness for printing without getting a "washed out" or lack of detail image?

Is it just the brightness that I want to bring up?

Does the scale on Brightness (RAW Tab) in DPP equate to stops? For example, +0.33 and +0.50 would that be +1/3 and +1/2 stops?

You can use Brightness and Contrast or a Curves adjustments. If you start getting flat colors you can adjust the Vibrance and/or Saturation. (Color Tone or Saturation in DPP)

Sorry, I don't Use DPP enough to be that familiar with it. I can't say for sure how or if it equates to exposure stops. It does appear as though it would be.


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tonylong
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Jul 27, 2011 20:15 |  #7

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12833341 (external link)
By way of guidance - if it does turn out to be the monitor is too bright and I am liking what I see, then if I do have under exposed images - is there a correct or accepted technique that works better than most in increasing the brightness for printing without getting a "washed out" or lack of detail image?

Is it just the brightness that I want to bring up?

Does the scale on Brightness (RAW Tab) in DPP equate to stops? For example, +0.33 and +0.50 would that be +1/3 and +1/2 stops?

The way Raw converters "normally" display/render an image is not what is called "Linear" -- that is, a "stop" in your DPP Brightness slider will not actually be a stop of image brightness (as in either halving or doubling the light-values) -- you can see this in "action" by first clicking in the little value box for the Brightness slider, then moving the mouse pointer over to a spot of your image and just let it stay hovering. Glance down at the bottom-left of the DPP window and you will see the RGB values that are being rendered. Now, use the keyboard to delete and type over the numeric darkness value by 1 "stop" -- from 0 to 1 to 2, for example. The image will brighten, but it won't be a linear doubling, and the RGB values will depend on the image and the curve being applied, so they won't double for each stop. You can see the opposite by starting with 0 then changing to -1 then -2. So, in "normal" mode the four "stops" that Brightness can get adjusted will not equal four linear stops.

Now if you want to see something really scary, click the Linear check box down in the midst of the group of sliders -- now you see what actually happens to the digital data when you actually span a few stops! You may have something bright that shows up that way because it actually came close to clipping white, but very quickly the scene would show darker tones because, think about this, a stop of light is either halving the amount of light or doubling, and the Linear view helps us to understand what cameras have to deal with "under the hood" and what Raw processors have to deal with to make those linear shots look "acceptable".

So, being scared not, go ahead and repeat the exercise with the Brightness slider, watching your RGB values, and you will not that one "stop" in DPP now actually does move the image brightness by one stop!

This use of the Linear view can, in fact, help you to evaluate what is going on with your screen brightness problem! Since the RGB data shows up as linear and the slider "stops" are now linear then you can move that Brightness slider and check the RGB values as you go -- check a relatively bright area and at 0 Ev not the RGB value it shows up as, and then you will know with a fair degree of accuracy what it will come out as at +1 Ev, double the values at 0 Ev or, if one or more of the RGB values is already higher than about 127 then you know that +1 EV will clip that channel or channels. I say a "fair degree of accuracy" because it seems like those RGB values can be a little tricky to nail down totally accurate.

Anyway, stuff to play with and a good way of knowing whether your highlights are truly being blown, a couple ways of understanding and working with your Brightness slider, and hopefully a valuable if scary illustration about how you don't want to underexpose a digital image, getting your image lost in that dark murky Linear area, and how in fact an understanding about how "Expose To The Right" can be a powerful tool!


Tony
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Roxie2401
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Jul 28, 2011 18:45 |  #8

tonylong wrote in post #12834413 (external link)
The way Raw converters "normally" display/render an image is not what is called "Linear" -- that is, a "stop" in your DPP Brightness slider will not actually be a stop of image brightness (as in either halving or doubling the light-values) -- you can see this in "action" by first clicking in the little value box for the Brightness slider, then moving the mouse pointer over to a spot of your image and just let it stay hovering. Glance down at the bottom-left of the DPP window and you will see the RGB values that are being rendered. Now, use the keyboard to delete and type over the numeric darkness value by 1 "stop" -- from 0 to 1 to 2, for example. The image will brighten, but it won't be a linear doubling, and the RGB values will depend on the image and the curve being applied, so they won't double for each stop. You can see the opposite by starting with 0 then changing to -1 then -2. So, in "normal" mode the four "stops" that Brightness can get adjusted will not equal four linear stops.

Now if you want to see something really scary, click the Linear check box down in the midst of the group of sliders -- now you see what actually happens to the digital data when you actually span a few stops! You may have something bright that shows up that way because it actually came close to clipping white, but very quickly the scene would show darker tones because, think about this, a stop of light is either halving the amount of light or doubling, and the Linear view helps us to understand what cameras have to deal with "under the hood" and what Raw processors have to deal with to make those linear shots look "acceptable".

So, being scared not, go ahead and repeat the exercise with the Brightness slider, watching your RGB values, and you will not that one "stop" in DPP now actually does move the image brightness by one stop!

This use of the Linear view can, in fact, help you to evaluate what is going on with your screen brightness problem! Since the RGB data shows up as linear and the slider "stops" are now linear then you can move that Brightness slider and check the RGB values as you go -- check a relatively bright area and at 0 Ev not the RGB value it shows up as, and then you will know with a fair degree of accuracy what it will come out as at +1 Ev, double the values at 0 Ev or, if one or more of the RGB values is already higher than about 127 then you know that +1 EV will clip that channel or channels. I say a "fair degree of accuracy" because it seems like those RGB values can be a little tricky to nail down totally accurate.

Anyway, stuff to play with and a good way of knowing whether your highlights are truly being blown, a couple ways of understanding and working with your Brightness slider, and hopefully a valuable if scary illustration about how you don't want to underexpose a digital image, getting your image lost in that dark murky Linear area, and how in fact an understanding about how "Expose To The Right" can be a powerful tool!

Tony,

Well, either I didn't do it right or.......but when I set the cursor to a point in the image (example:RGB=255,255,2​55) and then typing a 1 or 2 in the brightness box - the image changed but the RGB values remained the same.

I do see the effect of the Linear function, too.

Now, was I supposed to do this in the RAW tab brightness and not the RGB tab?

Also, "Expose to the Right"???? Do you mean to go on the overexpose or + side? And, can that be done successfully with the Exposure Compensation + on Canon cameras like the 7D? For some reason I thought underexposing was better for retaining detail? (Glad you got your 5D back!)




  
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tonylong
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Jul 28, 2011 23:01 |  #9

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12839892 (external link)
Tony,

Well, either I didn't do it right or.......but when I set the cursor to a point in the image (example:RGB=255,255,2​55) and then typing a 1 or 2 in the brightness box - the image changed but the RGB values remained the same.

I do see the effect of the Linear function, too.

Hmm, odd, I don't remember it acting that way when I was messing with it before, but I just checked and you are right, the RGB figures stay the same unless you either click or move the mouse. Dang, that doesn't make sense. You don't want to click the mouse because then the active point moves out of the little text box.

But, try doing this: hover the pointer over part of the scene with a smooth tone, making the numerical change, then just wiggle your mouse a smidgen -- the numbers should go to the revised number.

Now, was I supposed to do this in the RAW tab brightness and not the RGB tab?

Well, the RGB tab and the Raw tab seem to act differently from each other and I'm not an expert in DPP and can't really give an analysis of it all, so I guess it's a matter of experimenting. I don't know how extensive the learning materials are about DPP and how much exploring various people have done. I've just mostly done quick messing around with it. Of course the Linear option is not available with a jpeg/in the RGB tab.

Also, "Expose to the Right"???? Do you mean to go on the overexpose or + side? And, can that be done successfully with the Exposure Compensation + on Canon cameras like the 7D? For some reason I thought underexposing was better for retaining detail?

Expose To The Right (ETTR) is a technique that is specific to digital and in paricular to Raw shooting. It takes advantages of one of the strengths of digital Raw files in order to combat one of the weaknesses of digital.

A digitital Raw file will retain all "good" light as long as the signal is not "blown" -- as long as your R, G and B channels stay within the 255 clipping point, then they will retain both accurate color and tonal information. This means that all image info is retained and can be worked with, and if, say, you have a shot that you used a bit of Exposure Compensation (or the Manual equivalent) to bump the exposure a bit so where it was a bit brighter than seemed "normal" when viewed, as long as there was not highlights clipping or color channels clipping then in post processing if you lower the brightness setting a bit you will have the "proper" exposure without losing anything.

Now, as to the weakness of digital, the fact is that digital noise is "picked up" by the sensor in any ISO. This noise is not necessarily visible when the exposure has gotten plenty of light, because the light "drowns out" the visible noise. But, the less light picked up by the sensor, the more likely it is that noise will be visible, especially if the low-light scenes are then amplified. This is why a high ISO scene tends to show more noise than a low ISO scene -- the ISO operation amplifies the combined light and noise, and if little light is collected, then more noise will be visible. It's also why in post-processing if you take a nice dark shadow and boost the brightness of it with your processor, eventually you will see noise, and this is true of any ISO -- if you have an ISO 100 image that has a deep dark area that you really want to lighten up and you boost those shadows by 3 or 4 stops, you will see that ISO 100 isn't quite what we may have expected:)!

So, the solution to this digital noise is to let in more light so that we have as much range as possible to work with shadow areas without getting messed up with noise! This is what has caused the ETTR topic to be of interest amongst digital photogs, especially for those of us who do a lot of outdoor shooting in challenging light -- if you can increase your exposure a bit without blowing out highlights, you are letting more light into those dark areas, and the result is you can work with those shadow areas without as much noise becoming visible and, because of that capability of digital imaging that I spoke of above, you can lower the brightness of your image and it will accurately retain the color/tone info that would be considered "right".

Raw shooting has several strengths, and this is one of them -- for example, a Raw file will hold all the details captured by the camera, including highlight detail, that is in danger of being discarded by the camera if you shoot jpegs. This ETTR technique takes advantage of that. With jpegs, I'd advise sticking with your best "normal" exposure but for Raw shooters this can be a powerful technique when needed. For me it's usually just a matter of bumping my exposure a bit until I either see highlight "blinkies" or I see one of my RGB channels hitting the end of the histogram.

I also have my Picture Style set to Neutral and the Saturation and Contrast set to the lowest level (-4). This is because the histogram and the highlight alerts use the RGB "rendering" of the camera (that which produces a jpeg) and will give misleading readings (too high) for highlights and colors. If you are working with a challenging scene and looking to ETTR, then you can use all the help you can get, and getting a bit more viible accuracy in your exposure aids gives you a bit of help!

Also, know that Canon cameras have an interesting "undocumented feature", (which for some is a shortcoming). Canon as well as the other companies have put a lot of work into producing "clean" images, especially at high ISOs. Canon has "led the pack" in this up until a couplle of years ago when Nikon and Sony finally "got it" and now they are all competing in this area. Well, a "little problem" has come to light -- Canon evidently hasn't made this effort equal across all ISOs. In fact, it has been shown that the amplifiers used in the lower ISOs do, in fact, generate a bit more noise than those used in the higher ISOs.

What this means is that it is inaccurate to assume that you can underexpose an image in a lower ISO and then boost it by say, one, two or three stops and get the same (or better) results as you would get using the ISO one, two or three stops higher.

You can test this dramatically yourself by shooting a scene in Manual (and Raw) that is "properly exposed" at ISO 1600. Make sure things like High ISO Noise Reduction and Highlight Tone Priority are turned off. Avoid dark shadows and blown highlights, get everything showing properly in the histogram, take the shot.

Then, think about this: the high ISO is four stops higher than ISO 100! Now, the thinking above, that the lower exposure will be "OK" might seem at this point extreme, but then there is that "High ISO causes noise!" thinking (that originated in the film world) and so hey, let's put it to the test!

So, since you are in Manual, this is easy -- just lower your ISO to 100 and, since your shutter and aperture are the same, you are good to go. Make sure the lighting is the same (shooting indoors, even at night with "fixed" lighting can help). Think now, the scene will be horribly underexposed but the aperture and shutter will be letting in the exact same amount of light and so the sensor will be collecting the exact same exposure. The only difference between the two images will be the ISO amplifictation. Got that? So go ahead, take the shot! Then here is the fun part -- to load the two shots into your Raw processors and "equalize" them!

In DPP you will actually have to use both your Brightness controls, because neither the Linear nor the RGB Brightness controls will go four stops in one direction. So set your Raw slider to its max (2) and then go to the RGB tab and adjust Brightness until the brightness of the ISO 100 image matches that of the ISO 1600 image. Now, compare the two images! Zoom in and do a noise check and ask yourself, is the ISO 100 image cleaner than the ISO 1600 image? If not, you have learned something valuable!

So, at least with Canon cameras (this can differ with other makes), the use of digital ISO can play powerfully into getting our best results, and has in POTN been merged in with the ETTR methods into a method called "HAMSTTR":

https://photography-on-the.net …=744235&highlig​ht=hamsttr

It was fun being part of the discussion that "spawned" that term a couple years ago, check it out!

(Glad you got your 5D back!)

Hey, thanks, so am I:)!


Tony
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tzalman
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Jul 29, 2011 05:52 |  #10

What this means is that it is inaccurate to assume that you can underexpose an image in a lower ISO and then boost it by say, one, two or three stops and get the same (or better) results as you would get using the ISO one, two or three stops higher.

There is nothing surprising or revolutionary in this. The simple rule is that electronic amplification (real ISOs in the camera) always trumps digital amplification (in the RAW converter). This is always true, but with the one reservation that the advantage of electronic amplification decreases as the amplification increases, although it is still always better.


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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 29, 2011 07:01 |  #11

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12839892 (external link)
Tony,

Well, either I didn't do it right or.......but when I set the cursor to a point in the image (example:RGB=255,255,2​55) and then typing a 1 or 2 in the brightness box - the image changed but the RGB values remained the same.

If I understand what you are saying: Yeah. 255 cannot get any brighter.


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Roxie2401
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Jul 30, 2011 07:16 as a reply to  @ René Damkot's post |  #12

Just one more question - I just checked some of the prints (same lab) that I had made from my 40D images (RAW converted to jpeg) and they were not dark. Also, they display at the same level as my 7D images on the monitor.

Is it possible that there was something in the 7D jpegs that caused the lab to print darker? I don't think I used DPP to do the conversion on the 40D images. Could this be the ICC data being included with the DPP conversion that caused the lab to print darker?

I realize the 7D RAWs are more "dense" etc. but a converted jpeg should resolve that?? Or is this just a lab tech issue and I'm reading too much into this?




  
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Greg ­ Edge
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Jul 30, 2011 09:27 |  #13

Step one is to calibrate your monitor. The tool to do this is not very expensive. I also think you can rent them from some of the lens rental outfits if you can't afford one. Then after you have a calibrated display you will know what the issue is. Otherwise you are guessing and wasting time and money on prints. Most labs will reprint if the colors are off but not if you have brightness issues or are constantly requesting reprints.




  
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Jul 30, 2011 09:54 |  #14

Roxie2401 wrote in post #12847471 (external link)
Just one more question - I just checked some of the prints (same lab) that I had made from my 40D images (RAW converted to jpeg) and they were not dark. Also, they display at the same level as my 7D images on the monitor.

Is it possible that there was something in the 7D jpegs that caused the lab to print darker? I don't think I used DPP to do the conversion on the 40D images. Could this be the ICC data being included with the DPP conversion that caused the lab to print darker?

I realize the 7D RAWs are more "dense" etc. but a converted jpeg should resolve that?? Or is this just a lab tech issue and I'm reading too much into this?

Hmm, so you're saying that you have images from the 40D and the 7D that you can view on the monitor and they match up as far as overall brightness on a monitor, but the 7D prints were darker?

Well that doesn't sound right, it sounds like you need to work with the print lab on that.


Tony
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Tony Long Photos on PBase (external link)
Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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