Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark

Started Mar 21, 2013 | Questions
francesco from rome
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Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
Mar 21, 2013

Hi, this is my first post on this forum. I have not been able to find this topic by searching: but please point me to relevant threads if I missed them.

I have a Canon Pro 9500 mark II, I use a calibrated monitor (with huey pro) and self made ICC profiles (made by myself with Colormunki). I am using LR 4.3 on windows 7.

I obtain very satisfying results when printing on matte papers (for instance hahnemuhle photo rag ultra smooth): the result is inline with the monitor, with the Soft proofing feature of LR and the what is more the final result is excellent according to my taste. I am learning a lot on photography by printing, and matte paper is giving me satisfaction.

All this shows (I hope) that my workflow is more or less OK.

My problem is when I print on glossy paper: Hahnemuhle Photo rag Baryta or Innova FibraPrint Ultrasmooth gloss. It seems to me that the result is always "darker" than expected, I often find out that shadows are deeper than I wished for, and blacks are... blacker than expected. What is worse, I am not "100% satisfied".

I have tried to dial in a "+10" brightness in LR (in the print module): the resulting print has been "better", according to my eye. I don't find this solution the best one, since by definition I cannot see the outcome of the adjustment: maybe +10 is enough, maybe sometimes it should be +15 or +5, who can tell?

So I wonder: is such a behavior to be expected when printing on glossy paper? Is there something that I could try? I am thinking that maybe I should print the Colormunki test prints (both the first and the second) and leave them to rest for 1 day (or more?) before measuring them? When I did the calibration I waited for the canonical 10 - 15 minutes but I see that this paper can require a much longer time for stabilizing.

I am left with the impression that I am using this printer and this paper in a suboptimal way, so I am open to suggestion about things that I could try.

By the way, before buying the CM I used the ICC profiles. It has been a long time since I used them, but I recall that the results didn't excite me. Soon after I got the CM and... here I am.

Thanks,

Francesco

ps: I am not 100% satisfied but the prints are very nice all the same IT's just that I "know" that this printer and this paper could be better!

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 21, 2013

one thing you may want to do is when you calibrate your monitor, figure out how to set the contrast ratio (either directly or by calculating your brightness/350) (ie. if you're setting your monitor to 100cd/m2, then 100/350 = 0.35 black point).  Monitors are capable of much greater contrast and deeper blacks than papers.

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Fulvio Senore
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to Howard Moftich, Mar 22, 2013

Howard Moftich wrote:

one thing you may want to do is when you calibrate your monitor, figure out how to set the contrast ratio (either directly or by calculating your brightness/350) (ie. if you're setting your monitor to 100cd/m2, then 100/350 = 0.35 black point). Monitors are capable of much greater contrast and deeper blacks than papers.

This is very interesting, but 100/350 = 0.29. Did you simply make a computing error, or is there more to know?

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to Fulvio Senore, Mar 22, 2013

bad math.   sorry.

contrast_ratio * black_point = luminance_value

lustre papers are about 300-350 whereas matte papers are more like 250-300 ratio

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francesco from rome
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to Howard Moftich, Mar 22, 2013

Howard Moftich wrote:

one thing you may want to do is when you calibrate your monitor, figure out how to set the contrast ratio (either directly or by calculating your brightness/350) (ie. if you're setting your monitor to 100cd/m2, then 100/350 = 0.35 black point). Monitors are capable of much greater contrast and deeper blacks than papers.

Hi Howard,

thanks for the reply. I understand very well the difference between the capability of a monitor and the output that one can attain on paper: but I don't understand the first part of your answer. I have just re-calibrated the monitor (every x days I am reminded to do it: maybe I should do it more often but work and family get almost all my time and so I can only devote to photography some hours during the weekend...).

I use the Huey pro. Calibration goes like this: at first it measures ambient light (which right now is a terribly yellow-ish Ikea lamp) then it asks if I am able to distinguish black and white parts of a circle. Then it measures the patches of colour, and the only possible setting that I have is choosing between D50, D65 and D70 (I think it's the monitor temperature) and the gamma factor (1.8, 2.2...).

I pick D65 and 2.2 and save the profile.

So: is the 100 cd/m^2 related to the D65 or to the brightness setting of the monitor? How can I set the contrast ratio? And the final lazy question: why is this not taken care for my by the combination of profiles and drivers of the printers? I am joking obviously. I would really be glad if you could help me to understand the content of your reply.

Francesco

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pherold
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 22, 2013

Hi Francesco,

Glossy papers will by their very nature give you darker blacks, and this is a good thing & expected.  Might this be what you're seeing when you say your pics are dark?

It's also common for those who are new to this screen-to-print matching effort for their displays to be too light.  A good thing to test is to compare a blank white screen on your monitor to a blank piece of your printer paper.  If the display is "brighter", then there's no way your prints are going to match your display.  There's more information on this here:

http://www.colorwiki.com/wiki/My_Printer_Is_Too_Dark

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 23, 2013

in-line responses...........

francesco from rome wrote:

Howard Moftich wrote:

one thing you may want to do is when you calibrate your monitor, figure out how to set the contrast ratio (either directly or by calculating your brightness/350) (ie. if you're setting your monitor to 100cd/m2, then 100/350 = 0.35 black point). Monitors are capable of much greater contrast and deeper blacks than papers.

Hi Howard,

thanks for the reply. I understand very well the difference between the capability of a monitor and the output that one can attain on paper: but I don't understand the first part of your answer. I have just re-calibrated the monitor (every x days I am reminded to do it: maybe I should do it more often but work and family get almost all my time and so I can only devote to photography some hours during the weekend...).

I use the Huey pro. Calibration goes like this: at first it measures ambient light (which right now is a terribly yellow-ish Ikea lamp) then it asks if I am able to distinguish black and white parts of a circle. Then it measures the patches of colour, and the only possible setting that I have is choosing between D50, D65 and D70 (I think it's the monitor temperature) and the gamma factor (1.8, 2.2...).

get better lighting for editing.

if the HueyPro software is that limited (and if thats all you can adjust, it is), then pick D65 and gamma 2.2

I pick D65 and 2.2 and save the profile.

OK

So: is the 100 cd/m^2 related to the D65 or to the brightness setting of the monitor? How can I set the contrast ratio? And the final lazy question: why is this not taken care for my by the combination of profiles and drivers of the printers? I am joking obviously. I would really be glad if you could help me to understand the content of your reply.

100 cd/m2 is a measure of the brightness of the monitor, it's not related to the D65 color temperature (white-ness ala leaning toward blue-ish white or yellow-ish).  If the Huey software doesn't allow you to set the black point or contrast ratio, you can't (unless the monitor has some black adjustment).  Hopefully, the Huey software will at least *tell you*, after the calibration, what the luminance and black point are.  From that you can determine your contrast ratio.

Francesco

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francesco from rome
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to pherold, Mar 23, 2013

pherold wrote:

Hi Francesco,

Glossy papers will by their very nature give you darker blacks, and this is a good thing & expected. Might this be what you're seeing when you say your pics are dark?

It's also common for those who are new to this screen-to-print matching effort for their displays to be too light. A good thing to test is to compare a blank white screen on your monitor to a blank piece of your printer paper. If the display is "brighter", then there's no way your prints are going to match your display. There's more information on this here:

http://www.colorwiki.com/wiki/My_Printer_Is_Too_Dark

Hi Patrick,

thanks for the advice. Actually I am happy with the range of the glossy paper: and the rich blacks are what motivates my tests. But I feel that the shadows are a bit too dark, and could be closer to my intent if they were a bit lighter. To be clear: with matte prints I see the difference with the monitor, obviously the rendition of colours (and of blacks) is different (but, as I said, I am very very happy with the result, which is my goal after all ).

I also know the degree of reliability of soft proofing on the monitor: it gives an "idea" of how different from the monitor the print will be, even if it is closer. I use it to check for areas out of (printer's) gamut.

I have to match the brightness of the monitor to the paper. It was set at 70 (don't know which units), now it's at 30. I have created a new profile for this new monitor setting and I have tried a print (on the innova fiba print glossy paper). Right out of the printer the result seems rather close to what I see on the monitor (and closer to the soft proof). I will wait tomorrow to give a final judgement.

I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks everybody for your advices.

Francesco

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camerashy
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 23, 2013

Could you please explain how you are 'creating a profile for this monitor setting'

thanks

dave

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francesco from rome
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to camerashy, Mar 23, 2013

camerashy wrote:

Could you please explain how you are 'creating a profile for this monitor setting'

thanks

dave

Hi Dave,

I simply adjusted the brightness on the monitor (by directly pressing the buttons on the monitor, not via software) and then I calibrated again with the Huey pro.Please ask if you need other details, but it's really only this.

I am currently printing a bw print which I was not satisfied with: let's see if this time it will be better

I will add a brief story to give a warning to other who may try:

I actually calibrated with the colormunki, too. This is interesting, since it has an advanced mode where you can set the target brightness in cd/m^2. After calibration I inadvertently created a conflict with the Huey pro: since both devices tried to "gain control" of the profile, I had to disable one. Trouble is that the windows color management tool was confused, too, and continued to pop up a warning telling me that "the devices tab has been updated following a change in the hardware" (I am translating, the actual message was localized to italian). This was nasty but I fixed it, basically resetting to factory settings which cleared the confusion. Then I proceeded to calibrate with the huey pro and called it a day.

Francesco

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John Crawley
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 25, 2013

I have found that on glossy paper (and now especially on metallic papers) I have to raise the luminance level for a print output by about 1 f stop. I keep my finished picture in file as I like it on the monitor (which, btw, has been carefully adjusted.) Then I make a printing copy and give it an f stop more value of light. When it prints it usually then looks like the image on the monitor from the original. I then place the output on my computer into a file called "Printed Images" so If I ever want to come back to them, I have the right file. I also make a notation in their name as to what kind of paper they had been printed on....that will make a difference in output as well.

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francesco from rome
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to John Crawley, Mar 26, 2013

John Crawley wrote:

I have found that on glossy paper (and now especially on metallic papers) I have to raise the luminance level for a print output by about 1 f stop. I keep my finished picture in file as I like it on the monitor (which, btw, has been carefully adjusted.) Then I make a printing copy and give it an f stop more value of light. When it prints it usually then looks like the image on the monitor from the original. I then place the output on my computer into a file called "Printed Images" so If I ever want to come back to them, I have the right file. I also make a notation in their name as to what kind of paper they had been printed on....that will make a difference in output as well.

Thanks John, it is an interesting suggestion.

Francesco

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Uimeas
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Mar 27, 2013

Interesting stuff. Thank you people

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FranKois
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Re: Prints on glossy paper turn out slightly dark
In reply to francesco from rome, Apr 3, 2013

Francesco,

Having a look on the forum about printing from LR, I found yr post.

I hope, you have settled the matter in the mean time. I just wanted to tell you that the use of colormonki photo has changed totally my life: not any more printing test are necessary.

CM procedure includes to steps: monitor calibration, then the program send a color sample to the printer that will print on a defined paper and finally, with the spectrophotometer, the print is analyzed and compared to the color sample.

In other words for each type of paper you will have a printer profile available.

In addition, selecting a specific picture, the printer profile may be refined according to the colour palette contained in the picture.

Then, when printing from PS or LR you have to select the printer profile corresponding to the paper you are going to use.

At the end of the day, you will be refounded from the 300,00 EUR of the colourmonki  by saving on paper time and mood

By the way, before using colormunki, I noticed that the prediction of the coloured print was better using on PS the command print with preview respect to proof setup.

It tooks me so long time to solve all this matter, then if you think I couls help you do not hesitate...

Francois Cesena (FC)

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