Printing from Aperture - Print Settings / Paper issue

Started May 10, 2013 | Discussions
TeleView
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Printing from Aperture - Print Settings / Paper issue
May 10, 2013

I have a perhaps slight issue when printing from Aperture.

I have a calibrated monitor, and I have calibrated paper using an X-Rite ColorMunki.

This produces a file - ICC - which Aperture sees, selected under "Rendering" / "Color Profile" where there is a list of ICCs including the ones generated and named by myself using the ColorMunki.

However, when I print - which is selected by: "File" / "Priint Image"

then ... a new window environment engages, where there are various selections.

Under "Color Profile", the ICC profile generated by ColorMunki is selectable - which I do of course.

Also, there are two rendering options - "Relative Colorimetric" or "Perceptual", and also below these, a check box for Black Point. I have been using Relative Colorimetric, because it is a lighter image.

The next step is to actually print, and I push the print button lower right, and another final window comes up, which I presume is controlled by the printer's driver.

The printer is an Epson 3880, and my issue is that the output is slightly darker than my screen preview. However, the colours are spot on - quite perfect actually.

But ... the output is a touch darker.

I am concerned that when I select "Print Setting", the "Media" options are very few indeed.

For example, for "Media" / "Photo", they are Premium Luster, Premium Gloss or Premium Semi Gloss.

"Media" / "Photo" Plain paper cannot be selected, and neither can Fine Art papers.

(Of course I have turned off Colorsync as is evidenced by my Colorsync options not being selectable.)

Is the lack of paper selections why my output is a touch darker than what I expect?

Advise would be appreciated ...

Kevin G.
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Re: Printing from Aperture - Print Settings / Paper issue
In reply to TeleView, May 10, 2013

Interesting as I just recently started using Aperture for my printing.  I formally used QImage for years but now I am using Aperture only because I wish to get rid of my pc and stay on the MAC.  I also am printing from an Epson 3800, not the 3880.

TeleView wrote

I have a perhaps slight issue when printing from Aperture.

I have a calibrated monitor, and I have calibrated paper using an X-Rite ColorMunki.

This produces a file - ICC - which Aperture sees, selected under "Rendering" / "Color Profile" where there is a list of ICCs including the ones generated and named by myself using the ColorMunki.

Yes, I don't have a generated paper profile, but use one of the canned ones from Epson.

However, when I print - which is selected by: "File" / "Priint Image"

then ... a new window environment engages, where there are various selections.

Under "Color Profile", the ICC profile generated by ColorMunki is selectable - which I do of course.

Also, there are two rendering options - "Relative Colorimetric" or "Perceptual", and also below these, a check box for Black Point. I have been using Relative Colorimetric, because it is a lighter image.

I also use these settings.

The next step is to actually print, and I push the print button lower right, and another final window comes up, which I presume is controlled by the printer's driver.

The printer is an Epson 3880, and my issue is that the output is slightly darker than my screen preview. However, the colours are spot on - quite perfect actually.

But ... the output is a touch darker.

I am concerned that when I select "Print Setting", the "Media" options are very few indeed.

For example, for "Media" / "Photo", they are Premium Luster, Premium Gloss or Premium Semi Gloss.

"Media" / "Photo" Plain paper cannot be selected, and neither can Fine Art papers.

In my Print Driver when I select "Print Settings" I then select "Media Type" which has 6 selections available - Photo Paper, Proofing Paper, Fine Art, Matte and Other.  Within EACH of these selections are further selections - I use Photo Paper to print using a Luster paper - the selections here are Ultra Prem Photo Paper Luster, Prem Photo Glossy, Semi-Gloss, etc.

(Of course I have turned off Colorsync as is evidenced by my Colorsync options not being selectable.)

Is the lack of paper selections why my output is a touch darker than what I expect?

I think you probably have the correct number of settings within your print driver.  When I was switching over to Aperture I did numerous tests printing the same file using QImage, Photoshop and Aperture for printing and each produced slightly different results, with QImage being the one I liked best, each using the same icc profile, paper type, etc.

Since I liked Aperture best as a replacement, what I did was create and save a print pre-set within Aperture to get its print as close to what I saw coming out of Qimage.  I slightly upped the brightness, saturation and contrast and output sharpness in Aperture, it only affects the print, not the file, and saved this setting as a pre-set to be used for my printing.

Now I can say I am more satisfied with the results.  This probably doesn't answer you question exactly, but I also had slightly different print output results out of Aperture - mine were slightly less saturated and just SLIGHTLY darker.  Also, I think the paper selections are all available in your print driver.  I realize the 3880 may be slightly different from my 3800.

Good luck,

Kevin

Advise would be appreciated ...

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Alpha Doug
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Re: Printing from Aperture - Print Settings / Paper issue
In reply to Kevin G., May 10, 2013

It appears that your settings are appropriate from what you have said.  The paper settings in the printer driver that pops up last are merely controls for how much ink gets laid down on the paper. For instance, ir you choose Premium Glossy, the printer will lay down less total ink in order to not make a mess, and if you choose Matte, the printer will lay down more because the ink soaks into the surface of the paper.  So all you want to do is choose an option that is "close" to the surface you are printing on.  Also, I usually print at the 1440 dpi level, because I find that the 5760 setting does not look better, and just wastes ink.

If you currently have the Photo Black (PK) cartridge being used for printing, the print driver will not allow you to use any of the matte or fine art paper settings.  You must switch to the Matte Black cartridge to use these.

Most likely, the reason the print comes out a little darker than your screen image is twofold.  First, comparing a print which gets it's color from light reflecting off pigment vs. a screen which makes color by shining a light through colored pixels is never very accurate, with the print always looking slightly darker.  However, I have found that if you place a desk lamp with a daylight balanced CFL bulb facing down next to your monitor, and hold the print under the light, you will get a very accurate idea of how well the print matches the monitor.  The other issue you may be having is that you monitor is actually set a bit too bright.  Even though it's calibrated for color, if it is running too bright, then the prints will look too dark.  Well known phenomenon.

Also, are you using "Onscreen Proofing" in Aperture, and have you selected your paper ICC profile for proofing?

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TeleView
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Re: Printing from Aperture - Print Settings / Paper issue
In reply to Alpha Doug, May 10, 2013

Firstly, thanks to both of you for commenting.

Keven, you said:

In my Print Driver when I select "Print Settings" I then select "Media Type" which has 6 selections available - Photo Paper, Proofing Paper, Fine Art, Matte and Other.  Within EACH of these selections are further selections - I use Photo Paper to print using a Luster paper - the selections here are Ultra Prem Photo Paper Luster, Prem Photo Glossy, Semi-Gloss, etc..

I only have selectable options for Photo and Matte. Which is not good, as my son may want to print using plain papers for his university work. Maybe I need to re-install the Epson driver, or download it again and re-install it. I am using the latest version of Lion on this particular hard disk.

And Doug, all great advise. As to your last advise, I am using the on-screen printing.

Alpha Doug wrote:

... The paper settings in the printer driver that pops up last are merely controls for how much ink gets laid down on the paper.

Makes sense!

Most likely, the reason the print comes out a little darker than your screen image is twofold.  First, comparing a print which gets it's color from light reflecting off pigment vs. a screen which makes color by shining a light through colored pixels is never very accurate, with the print always looking slightly darker.

Yes, I understand that. Even how if you line up RGB, and CMY, you remove the opposite to figure out which colours make what.

However, I have found that if you place a desk lamp with a daylight balanced CFL bulb facing down next to your monitor, and hold the print under the light, you will get a very accurate idea of how well the print matches the monitor.  The other issue you may be having is that you monitor is actually set a bit too bright.  Even though it's calibrated for color, if it is running too bright, then the prints will look too dark.  Well known phenomenon.

Yes, I agree - my screen is set too bright. I am unsure though how to darken it ... perhaps lower it to 6000k? I can also calibrate the room brightness with the ColorMunki, but I am not yet used to all that. Its setting is supposed to be low, at 80 ... but another way around that, is using as you say, a proper bulb ... even room darkness effects the monitor appearance it seems. My monitor even has a should available for it, but I've not put it on. But it would make the screen brighter. I should really do all that, and buy a cheap monitor for normal stuff. If I was a Pro, I'd do that. But two monitors seems a bit rich for home ... I may do it at some time though.

And the monitor people here in Australia, advise about the light too. They say:

It is best to view/evaluate your prints in a D50 dimmable light box (GTI or JUST are good brands), or a more affordable option is to view under 4700k Solux Halogen “full spectrum” bulbs. Solux bulbsare not dimmable but you can control the brightness by the distance of the bulbs from your printed surface. It is better to have a dimmer illuminant (the brighter the illuminant, the brighter the monitor must be set, but the brighter the monitor is set, the shorter the life span of the monitor). Note that every-day consumer-brand D50 light tubes are not recommended due to their uneven spectrum characteristics (can cause colours in a print to look different to what they truly are – this is called metameric failure).

If you don’t yet have a colour balanced light source, please put it on your shopping list and for the time being place the print in your normal print viewing area (eg, on your desk near the monitor). Better to be away from a window, and closer to a constant light source that will not change throughout the day.

So, now you are comparing your image on screen to the same image printed.

Some pointers

- Remove paper white borders from your print, or cover borders with some black card

- In photoshop, select the F button to bring image to full screen with black border, and hide the

palettes with the tab key.

- Size of image on screen should roughly match size of print.

They then say after all that, to "tweak" the monitor to match your image !!

The good news though is that its just a brightness issue ... the colour match is great, which is the most important. But if I can get the brightness right, it will save paper and ink!

I also am keen to print from Quark Xpress, and fortunately the Colormunki generates ICCs files that it says work in Quark. So I'll next try that process.

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Jacques Cornell
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Screen brightness - 100cd/m2
In reply to TeleView, May 11, 2013

TeleView wrote:

Firstly, thanks to both of you for commenting.

Keven, you said:

In my Print Driver when I select "Print Settings" I then select "Media Type" which has 6 selections available - Photo Paper, Proofing Paper, Fine Art, Matte and Other.  Within EACH of these selections are further selections - I use Photo Paper to print using a Luster paper - the selections here are Ultra Prem Photo Paper Luster, Prem Photo Glossy, Semi-Gloss, etc..

I only have selectable options for Photo and Matte. Which is not good, as my son may want to print using plain papers for his university work. Maybe I need to re-install the Epson driver, or download it again and re-install it. I am using the latest version of Lion on this particular hard disk.

And Doug, all great advise. As to your last advise, I am using the on-screen printing.

Alpha Doug wrote:

... The paper settings in the printer driver that pops up last are merely controls for how much ink gets laid down on the paper.

Makes sense!

Most likely, the reason the print comes out a little darker than your screen image is twofold.  First, comparing a print which gets it's color from light reflecting off pigment vs. a screen which makes color by shining a light through colored pixels is never very accurate, with the print always looking slightly darker.

Yes, I understand that. Even how if you line up RGB, and CMY, you remove the opposite to figure out which colours make what.

However, I have found that if you place a desk lamp with a daylight balanced CFL bulb facing down next to your monitor, and hold the print under the light, you will get a very accurate idea of how well the print matches the monitor.  The other issue you may be having is that you monitor is actually set a bit too bright.  Even though it's calibrated for color, if it is running too bright, then the prints will look too dark.  Well known phenomenon.

Yes, I agree - my screen is set too bright. I am unsure though how to darken it ... perhaps lower it to 6000k?

You're confusing brightness with color temperature. 6000K is the latter.

I can also calibrate the room brightness with the ColorMunki, but I am not yet used to all that. Its setting is supposed to be low, at 80 ... but another way around that, is using as you say, a proper bulb ... even room darkness effects the monitor appearance it seems.

Much better not to adjust for ambient light and instead keep the ambient light constant and on the dim side. That way, you won't need an overly bright monitor to see what you're doing.

My monitor even has a should available for it, but I've not put it on. But it would make the screen brighter. I should really do all that, and buy a cheap monitor for normal stuff. If I was a Pro, I'd do that. But two monitors seems a bit rich for home ... I may do it at some time though.

The point is you need to set your monitor brightness to the same level as the light under which you're evaluating your prints, and this also needs to be similar to the light conditions under which the print will be displayed. So, there's no one correct setting. That said, I find a monitor brightness of 100cd/m2 (candelas per square meter, also called "nits") generally gives me a good idea how a print will look hanging on a wall in a home with indirect sunlight from nearby windows.

When you calibrate your monitor, you may be able to set a target brightness level. The cheaper versions of some calibration software may not include this feature. If you're using an iMac or an Apple display, chances are the appropriate brightness level will be around 50-65%.

I've given up on using artificial light to evaluate color in my prints. Even with special 92CRI 5500K spiral fluorescent bulbs in my workspace, my prints look different under indirect daylight. I discovered this once after printing a dozen or so images at night. They looked a bit greenish, so I tweaked the color. The next morning, when I viewed the prints by a window, the all looked magenta, and I had to undo all the color tweaking and reprint.

So, I do work prints at night first, just to check overall levels. The next day, I examine them by window light or skylight light to check color and then make final prints.

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TeleView
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Re: Screen brightness - 100cd/m2
In reply to Jacques Cornell, May 12, 2013

Your right about the colour temp - it should be 6500k.

And your right about the brightness. Incidentally my monitor is set at 80.

But after calibration, there is a more detailed 'expert' menu, and in there, I can do lots, including vitally, being able to dim the monitor. So that will be the answer.

I agree about the ambient light issues too ...

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